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A Look Back at 2018: A Message from Dr. Jerry Kruse

February 5, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

On a quarterly basis, I will provide a written or video description of some of the recent activities, accomplishments, and upcoming events at SIU Medicine.  I will keep you appraised of the various opportunities and challenges that are before us.  These updates certainly will not include all of the important activities at SIU Medicine, but I will try to represent things that fulfill our mission and strategies, and that I will also bring to the attention of the leaders of the SIU System. 

This communication is a type of “News and Views” delivered right to your desktop.  I will continue my twice-a-year, face-to-face “News and Views and Q’s with Kruse.”   We also will continue our communications with these regular publications: Aspects (news magazine), the Examiner (employee newsletter), Scope (literary magazine), The Buzz (clinical newsletter) and regular events calendar emails.

We have much to celebrate at SIU Medicine, and I hope that these messages will spark more recognition among colleagues and set off a few more celebrations.

Patient Care and Patient-Care Facilities

In December, we celebrated the opening of the new Women and Children’s Clinic, located across 9th Street from the HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital.  This building houses most of the primary care and specialty outpatient services for our Department of Pediatrics and for our Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the South Central Illinois Perinatal Center, and the outpatient clinics for pediatric surgical services for both SIU Medicine and HSHS Medical Group.  This beautiful facility also has several hospital outpatient services, such as rehabilitation and imaging.   This building was developed in collaboration with HSHS St. John’s Hospital.  Please drop by and take a look at the new facility.                       

There has been continued expansion of the SIU Center for Family Medicine (CFM).  In fall 2018, we opened a new clinic space in the Sangamon County Department of Public Health building on South Grand Avenue East.  This January we opened a CFM clinic at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.  We now have CFM sites in Springfield, Quincy, Decatur, Jacksonville, Lincoln, Taylorville, Carbondale and other sites.  These facilities offer points of access for our neighbors and families who need effective, affordable and convenient primary care.

The services of our Division of Cardiology expanded significantly in 2018.  By the fall of 2019, we will have three general cardiologists, two interventional cardiologists, two structural interventional cardiologists, and an electrophysiology cardiologist.  We have matched our first class of three cardiology fellows, who will begin their fellowship in July 2019.  Our cardiologists’ outpatient practice will move to the fourth floor of Memorial’s Baylis Building when renovations are complete.

Community Service

Over the past two years, you’ve heard about our Access-To-Health Collaborative in Springfield’s Enos Park neighborhood.  This project won the American Hospital Association’s prestigious NOVA Award in summer 2018.   The collaborative is now being extended to include the Pillsbury Mills neighborhood northeast of our medical district.  HSHS St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Medical Center will financially support the program in Enos Park and Pillsbury Mills from 2019 through 2021.  The program links medical and health care with the expertise of many other Springfield agencies that focus on social determinants of health and health equity.  We are truly fortunate to collaborate with two generous hospital partners and other community agencies that are vested in improving the health of our community.

Research

The advances in health research underway at SIU are impressive.  Here are some of the things that I have reported to the SIU System Board of Trustees.  Women’s health research is thriving at SIU.  Dale Buck Hales, PhD, Laurent Brard, MD, PhD, and Karen Hales, PhD, are studying the use of naturally occurring agents, such as flaxseed, for the treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer in egg laying hens.  Their results will likely be generalizable to human research.  Andrea Braundmeier Fleming, PhD, Ricardo Loret de Mola, MD, and Brard, and colleagues are studying use of microbiomes for the treatment of endometriosis and the early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancer.  

Several of our researchers have recently obtained NIH R01 funding.  Vickram Ramkumar, PhD, and his research team have been awarded a $2.3 million NIH grant to investigate whether an extract in green tea could provide protection to cancer patients who lose their hearing as a side-effect of chemotherapy.  Down the hall, Erin Hascup, PhD, Kevin Hascup, PhD, Andrzej Bartke, PhD, and Kristin Delfino, PhD, are conducting a series of experiments in the glutamate system of the brain to track the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The work is promising, as evidenced by two recent NIH grant totaling $6.3 million for these studies.  This is a small sample of the great research being done at SIU Medicine. 

Education

Changes to our Year 3 Clerkships and the new Critical Clinical Competencies (CCC) have been successfully integrated into the curriculum – and they are already paying dividends.  The changes provide our students greater flexibility in finding their professional passion, and the reviews have been positive.  The students’ Senior Comp CCX and the clerkship ratings have remained very high.  Students’ contact with patients and the number of procedures performed have doubled.   Several other medical schools are now actively implementing all or elements of the new SIU Clerkship and CCC curriculum. 

There are plans to expand our student base through a new Lincoln Scholars program.  This initiative will annually enroll 8 students who will complete all of their medical school training in Carbondale.  We plan to enroll the first students in 2020, to engage more local groups in the educational process, to elevate interprofessional education between physicians and physician assistants, and train more physicians who will eventually practice in the Southern Illinois region.

 

I’ve touched on a few highlights here, but I realize that there are always issues that need to be addressed and processes that need to be improved. This quarterly communication will also be a forum to address some of those critical issues. Please feel free to contact me at jkruse@siumed.edu or 217.545.3625 if you have any questions or concerns. If you would like to share your thoughts anonymously, you can submit a note here or through campus mail.

I thank you for your daily contribution that makes our institution stronger and the community healthier.

Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH
Dean and Provost