Research has long been a passion for Monal Punjabi, COP ’15, who was always amazed that a tiny pill could treat and possibly cure an illness.
“Since my high school days, I knew that I wanted to conduct research,” said Monal, who moved with her family from her native India to Chicago in December 2006.
While working toward her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago, she encountered what a career in outpatient pharmacy practice might be like while working at a local community pharmacy. This experience showed Monal the integral role the pharmacist plays in population health and would eventually lead her to pursue her PharmD degree.
“My passion for improving the health of humankind confirmed my interest in the pharmacy program,” she said. “I really liked the smaller-sized campus.” The importance of education has always been a high priority for Monal, as neither of her parents were able to finish high school while in India due to lack of resources.
“My parents always encouraged my siblings and me to get a good education,” she said. “They were very excited for me when I was the first in my family to go on to college.”
Undeterred after not receiving a research position the summer following her first year of school, she applied to a variety of internships for the summer of 2013, ranging from academic settings to private drug companies to a research position through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“I knew it was the time to see if research was really for me,” said Monal. “I wanted to see if I liked it enough to pursue it as a career after graduation.”
Approximately two weeks after submitting her NIH application, she received word from future supervisor Katherine Meilleur, PhD, NP, that her application had been accepted and that she would be heading to the NIH Clinical Center, the nation’s largest hospital devoted to clinical research.
Working at the National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR) in Bethesda, Maryland, the eight-week internship focused on the preparation of an investigational new drug for use in an upcoming clinical trial in patients with central core disease. Her project also involved validating a clinical severity score for patients with congenital muscular dystrophy for use in future clinical trials.
Having already benefited from the interprofessional education she experienced as a first-year student at Rosalind Franklin University, Monal had an opportunity to see interprofessionalism at work. Her internship was a collaborative exercise between nurse practitioners, nurse scientists, neurologists, and a pulmonologist.
“It was great to take what I learned while in class and apply it to my work experience,” said Monal. “We say that research is very important, but you don’t realize how true that is until you are there, doing it.”
A testament to her dedication and contributions to the team at NINR, she has already been invited to continue her involvement with the project next summer. “I’m looking forward to returning to Bethesda,” said Monal. “I’m excited to be able to provide the pharmacist’s perspective and make a difference on the team.”
On any given day, a podiatric physician will need to administer the most effective course of treatment for time-sensitive conditions, such as foot ulcers. Finding the most effective treatment as quickly as possible can have great implications on improved quality of care for patients trying to manage diabetes.
In her first trip to the American Podiatric Medical Association Annual Scientific Meeting in July, Cassey Crowell, SCPM ’15, earned second place in the Outstanding Poster Abstract, Student or Resident category for her research entitled “Identification of Biomarkers Associated with Prediction of Healing versus Non- Healing Chronic Diabetic Plantar Foot Ulcers.”
Under the tutelage of Associate Dean of Research and Director of the Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research (CLEAR) Stephanie Wu, DPM, MSc, and Marc Glucksman, PhD, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of the Midwest Proteome Center, Cassey’s project took a closer look at blood samples that may eventually lead to more efficient treatment plans to decrease healing time.
“This is the quintessential translational research endeavor with clinical samples that traverse from the lab bench, to hopefully in the future, the patient’s bedside with diagnostic and prognostic potential,” remarked Dr. Glucksman. “This project was the first to utilize the University’s newly acquired Thermo Orbitrap Elite mass spectrometer, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, to begin to decipher differences in the proteins of different afflicted patients with diabetic foot wounds.” The mass spectrometer is the only one of its kind in the Chicagoland area.
“If you can better predict a wound’s progression, you can treat a patient more effectively from the start and help save them unnecessary treatment,” said Cassey.
“Foot ulceration is one of the most common complications secondary to diabetes that often leads to infection and amputations. Cassey’s work can help us identify biomarkers in patients who develop these difficult to heal wounds,” said Dr. Wu.
Cassey took advantage of research opportunities within a molecular biology lab while studying biology and biochemistry as an undergraduate student at Indiana University, knowing she wanted to explore all the research options that exist within the podiatric field.
“Looking at the molecular level of wound care was just a natural progression for me, which is why I chose to work with Drs. Wu and Glucksman on the project,” said Cassey, who intends to incorporate research into her professional career after she graduates from the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.
“I’ve always enjoyed research, but I love being in a clinical setting and experiencing interactions with patients,” said Cassey. “I like having the full perspective and understanding of the profession.”
Aside from her studies at Scholl College, the Richmond, Indiana native is concurrently working toward her master’s degree in health services administration, offered through the College of Health Professions. Having earned a certificate in business as an undergraduate, Cassey hopes to one day open her own practice.
“I look forward to experiencing the full scope of practice but also being able to conduct research as well,” she said.
For Nick Hawley, CMS ’16, having connectivity with his classmates has been tantamount to his experience from the very beginning.
“When I started looking into schools, my friends who had participated in the summer research program spoke so highly of the people that the Chicago Medical School (CMS) had in place, both the students and faculty,” said Nick, who earned his undergraduate degree from DePaul University.
“Once I began the application process, an acquaintance who was in his third year here went out of his way to talk to me, telling me all the great things that Rosalind Franklin had to offer, asking if I had any questions and offering advice based on his experience. “In that gesture, it really showed me that the people I would be interacting with and having as my classmates at CMS were people who look out for each other,” said Nick.
And since beginning his studies in the 2012-2013 academic year, he has certainly looked out for his fellow classmates in return. “I’m very involved on campus,” said the Rockford, Illinois native. “Maybe a little too involved.”
Nick currently serves as the president of the Oncology Interest Group and sits on the class council as the CMS ’16 representative in the Organization of Student Representatives, or OSR.
“The OSR is really the voice of the CMS student body for my specific class, speaking to the larger medical school community as it’s an organization within the Association of American Medical Colleges.
“I attended a conference in the spring and met with several other medical students,” he said. “It was great to represent CMS on the national level and engage with students from across the country.”
Back on campus, Nick has been instrumental in the creation and implementation of programs that help introduce first- and second-year students.
In the spring of 2013, he began working on what he coined the “CMS Sibs Program,” where a second-year student serves as the elder sibling to an incoming “little sib.” More than 250 students have signed up to take part in the collaborative program that counts on support from the CMS Office of Student Affairs, as well as the Office of Academic and Retention Services.
Nick also implemented the first CMS Field Day, held at the end of August, where both first- and second-year students joined with faculty members for a day of recreation as classes got underway. The festivities included the unveiling of the newly implemented Learning Communities initiative for the school, which sorted students into four teams which were named after noteworthy Chicago Medical School alumni.
“We had about 200 students, along with faculty and staff, come out to play various games,” he said. “It really brought people together.” Nick was very enthusiastic about the new programs in place for the new academic year. “I’m hoping that both of these initiatives will help bridge the gap between the M1 and the M2 classes. We’re all in this together.”
A chance encounter while fulfilling an undergraduate requirement would completely shift PhD candidate Andrew Scheyer’s course of study from the liberal arts towards a life of research and the sciences.
The Chicago native entered Pitzer College in Claremont, California with the intent to major in English, but a course titled “Brain and Behavior” would provide the spark that would guide Andrew down a different path. “I decided then that I wanted to shift my studies to neuroscience,” said Andrew, SGPS ’15. “One of the things that really attracted me to the sciences is that there is an answer. I wanted to be in a field that felt a lot more gratifying in that regard.”
As an undergraduate, Andrew would work on a thesis which focused on amphetamine sensitization, a process that sees repeated doses of the drug creating a direct enhancing effect on behavioral responses over time. “It is a way to model certain aspects of addiction,” he said.
While working on his final project, he realized that Marina Wolf, PhD, chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School, was coming up quite frequently in his citations, so Andrew reached out to the researcher. The initial point of contact would eventually lead him to continue his studies with Dr. Wolf and Dr. Kuei-Yuan Tseng in the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Taking his initial interest from his undergraduate studies in neuroscience, Andrew’s continued research, funded by an individual predoctoral grant from the NIH, looks at addiction and what may cause potential relapse triggers at the cellular level.
“My research focuses on changes in a part of the brain in a region called the nucleus accumbens, which is integral to the reward circuitry that underlies compulsive and addictive behaviors,” said Andrew. “What I am looking at is a subset of cells that we have shown to drive a lot of behaviors associated with relapse.
“What we want to understand as a lab is what is causing people to be so sensitive when facing cues and environmental situations that they may associate with previous drug use,” he explained. He has found that changes occur to receptors within the brain that may be the key to relapse triggered by such cues.
“We believe and have shown that these particular cells, these medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens, undergo changes over time that underlie the increased risk of relapse,” he said.
The experience while working with Dr. Tseng and Dr. Wolf created an ideal path for Andrew, who intends to remain within academia upon receiving his doctorate. “I really enjoy teaching,” said Andrew, who teaches a course in neuroanatomy for medical students on campus. “I would like to ultimately one day hold a faculty position at an institution where I’m able to run a lab and teach.”
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS) hosted more than 500 guests for the dedication ceremony that marked the opening of the new Rothstein Warden Centennial Learning Center, a 73,000-square-foot, three-level addition to its campus.
As part of the Alliance for Health Sciences initiative between RFUMS and DePaul University, the new facility houses a suite of offices for DePaul’s Master Entry into Nursing Practice program. School of Nursing students will have the option of taking courses either on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus or at Rosalind Franklin’s North Chicago campus.
The Alliance for Health Sciences, launched in October 2012, streamlines entry for qualified students into the health professions, strengthens academic programming, deepens opportunities for faculty collaboration, and expands research opportunities for students. With this Alliance, DePaul and RFUMS offer one of the widest arrays of health science programs in the Midwest.
The latest expansion at Rosalind Franklin was named in honor of Mrs. Ruth M. Rothstein, who served as chairman of the RFUMS Board of Trustees from 2005 until her passing in 2013, and for Mr. Gail Warden, a longtime board member who now serves as chair.
The facility features state-of-the-art learning spaces that foster collaboration and enhance interaction between students and faculty. These rooms and their configurations further the university’s commitment to interprofessional education. The circular workstation seat eight students and gives them the ability to interact during group course work more efficiently and effectively.
The Centennial Learning Center provides additional student common areas, including an expanded and renovated cafeteria, new fitness center, game room and media room.
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science welcomed American Medical Association president Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, to its campus on Sept. 26. Hoven’s visit included a breakfast with student leaders, meetings with university leadership, and a presentation to more than 500 members of university community regarding the future of American health care.
Hoven’s visit to the first medical university in the nation named for a female scientist coincided with Women in Medicine month. Rosalind Franklin, PhD, first captured the double helix structure of DNA through the use of X-ray crystallography. Her discovery led to Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins receiving the 1962 Nobel Prize. Franklin passed away in 1958.
During her presentation entitled “Shaping the future of American health care,” Dr. Hoven stressed the importance of team-based healthcare delivery, a cornerstone of the university’s interprofessional education. Hoven would also discuss the anticipated shortage of family medicine physicians, the Affordable Care Act, health system reform and long-term strategic goals of the American Medical Association.
From Dr. K. Michael Welch, President and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science:
It is with great sadness that I must share Mrs. Ruth Rothstein, chair of our Board of Trustees, passed away on the morning of Sunday, August 4.
As many of you are aware, Mrs. Rothstein was an integral part of the University community, having offered her steadfast support throughout her years of service on the board, providing guidance at critical junctures in the University’s history and helping shape our vision for the future. Through her dedicated leadership, the University refined its interprofessional mission, expanded its programs to meet future health care needs, and opened the College of Pharmacy. Her life-long commitment to improved access to health care was recognized and celebrated at the University’s Centennial Gala last fall where she received the Rosalind Franklin, PhD Award.
Shortly thereafter, in additional recognition of her service on the board and that of our equally dedicated vice chair, Mr. Gail Warden, we announced that the new facility on campus would be named the Rothstein Warden Centennial Learning Center. Mr. Warden, a long-standing member of our board who has served as vice chair for several years, will assume the role of acting chair of the University’s Board of Trustees.
I know you will join me in sharing our deepest sympathy with the Rothstein family and ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers. There isn’t a part of our University that was not impacted by Mrs. Rothstein’s leadership.
To honor the legacy and accomplishments of one of the most steadfast supporters of the University, please consider making a contribution to the Ruth Rothstein Memorial Fund.
On what would have been her 93rd birthday, the scientific achievements of Rosalind Franklin
and her groundbreaking imagery of DNA is being celebrated by Google on July 25 in the form of a Google Doodle. The RFUMS Marketing and Communications department submitted a suggestion of Dr. Franklin as a potential subject to Google for her breakthrough advances of understanding DNA through the use of crystallography, or x-ray diffraction.
Part of an ongoing series of images that grace the popular search engine’s home page, the Google Doodle highlights cultural milestones like that of Dr. Franklin’s “Photograph 51,” the first structural documentation of DNA ever captured on film.
Through more than 100 hours of X-ray exposure using a special equipment that she modified and assembled herself, Franklin's photo was the first to capture what would become the most significant biological breakthrough of the century--the discovery and description of the double helix structure of DNA, which earned Franklin's fellow scientists Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins the 1962 Nobel Prize.
The architect's rendering of the Rothstein Warden Centennial Learning Center
In November 2012, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS) celebrated the construction kickoff of the Rothstein Warden Centennial Learning Center. This 73,000-square-foot, threelevel building, designed for interprofessional learning, expands Rosalind Franklin University’s facilities with lecture halls, wellness center, a cafeteria and student common areas. Also included in the Rothstein Warden Centennial Learning Center will be a suite of offices for the DePaul University School of Nursing’s Master Entry into Nursing Practice program, which will be partially located on the RFUMS campus as part of the innovative Alliance for Health Sciences created in 2012 by DePaul University and RFUMS. Approximately 75 percent of the building will be dedicated to learning spaces, featuring state-of-the-art and innovative designs that foster collaboration and enhance interactions between faculty and students. This expansion provides much-needed space for our students and also serves the needs of future classes as the demand for health care professionals continues to grow.
The new building is named in honor of Mrs. Ruth M. Rothstein, longtime board chair, and Mr. Gail Warden, board vice chair, for their steadfast commitment to the institution. “Planning for the future is of the utmost importance to our University, and we would not be able to do this without the leadership support of Mrs. Rothstein and Mr. Warden,” said Dr. K. Michael Welch, President and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University. “Their service to the University, and in turn to our students, faculty, staff and the countless communities we impact, can never be repaid.”
In her remarks, Mrs. Rothstein noted that the past four years, especially, have been very exciting. “We have expanded programs in the College of Health Professions, added the Interprofessional Education Center and started our fifth college, the College of Pharmacy. At the same time, we welcomed new board members, expanded our role in the community and redoubled our efforts to provide care to the underserved,” she said.
Mr. Warden shared his perspective of the University’s accomplishments. “For the benefit of our students, we have expanded our academic programs, enhanced facilities and entered into strategic alliances,” he said. “That’s a testament to strong leadership, from the staff to the faculty to the administration.”
Mrs. Rothstein concluded, “It is truly an honor to be affiliated with this University and to celebrate the start of our next chapter, the Centennial Learning Center.”
On August 7, the Kids 1st Health Fair reached its 21st year of providing free health screenings to local families. Rosalind Franklin University has been an early supporter of this event and has worked in partnership with the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center and the United Way of Lake County to offer these critical services.
The fair began in 1993 to help children from low-income families in Lake County receive required health services in time for school enrollment deadlines. Today, hundreds of Rosalind Franklin University volunteers provide health screenings, foot and shoe assessments, and nutrition recommendations for families. In addition, physical therapy professionals are on hand to analyze the impact a student's backpack has on their gait and make necessary adjustment for better weight distribution. This year, almost 900 children received these much-needed services.
Kids 1st Health Fair is made possible through the steadfast dedication of its supporters, donors, in-kind contributors, and community volunteers. We thank the Abbott Fund and AbbVie for their major funding support and Baxter International Inc, the Chicago Dental Society Foundation, Sharon Doney, First Bank of Highland Park, North Shore-Highland Park Hospital,WIntrust Community Banks: Lake Forest Bank and Trust, Libertyville Bank and Trust, State Bank of the Lakes, Gurnee Walmart (Wal-Mart Foundation) and Zion Walmart (Wal-Mart Foundation) for their contributions.
"Kids 1st allows our students to see the impact of health care and how, by working together as a team, physicians, physical therapists, physician assistants, and other providers can best deliver care to the families who need us most," said Dr. K. Michael Welch, President and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University.
Can Rosalind Franklin University play some role in meeting the health needs of the world? Dr. Inis Bardella says the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.”
As Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Global Health Initiatives at the Chicago Medical School, Dr. Bardella, who joined the University in 2011, is charged with leading efforts to fulfill an important mission. “My role is to facilitate engagement of the entire institution in efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality in underserved populations, both in the US and globally,” she says.
Her responsibilities include leading efforts to cultivate faculty members who are valued and engaged as effective educators, scholars and leaders, and to cultivate long-term, equitable global partnerships that prepare students, residents and faculty to meet the health needs of the world, especially the poor.
Dr. Bardella emphasizes that in creating her position, the University demonstrated its strong commitment to global health. “It is important to note that efforts have been underway at Rosalind Franklin University for a number of years, largely due to the incredible energy and passion of the students themselves. In fact, global health initiatives in the past were largely coordinated through a student organization, International Health Interest Group (IHIG). Now, through our office, the University is enhancing student electives and developing equitable partnerships locally and globally.
“We are building on existing students, faculty and alumni relationships and forging new ones,” she adds. “Importantly, these are partnerships in which we work with in country organizations to determine how we might best help them achieve their goals. We are interested in cultivating long-term collaborations so that we may support our partners to achieve sustainable improvements.” Current partnerships include Hope of Children and Women Victims of Violence (HOCW) in Uganda, which provides education, job skills, English classes and access to health care for refugees assimilating into Uganda; and Heartland Alliance, a human rights organization, through which RFUMS is exploring a partnership with the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo
Medical School in Mexico to transform the curriculum and enhance information resources for both schools. Several partnerships are in the exploration phase. The University’s global health initiatives are assessed for their potential for RFUMS to contribute to education, research or clinical care. “Our efforts must contribute to at least one of these,” Dr. Bardella says. Efforts are also underway to provide scholarships for interested students to help defray the costs of travel and projects. “We have support from several alumni and faculty, which is much appreciated.”
Dr. Bardella says her interest in global health initiatives stems from her religious faith, rural background and longstanding commitment to serve underserved rural and urban populations globally. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania, received her MD degree from Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and completed a family medicine residency at Washington Hospital, Washington, Pennsylvania. Over the years, her clinical practice emphasis has been on the care of underserved rural and urban populations. She has served on regional and national committees, addressing both clinical care and education of health professionals for these populations. She also has firsthand global experience, having worked as a physician, consultant and medical educator in Rwanda, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Albania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“As a health sciences university in the United States with great resources, we have a responsibility to address the health needs of low-income regions and countries in a manner that will improve morbidity and mortality,” Dr. Bardella says. “By applying our passion, abilities and resources through equitable, collaborative partnerships we can make a sustainable worthwhile impact.”
The Alliance for Health Sciences between DePaul University and Rosalind Franklin University took another step forward as faculty members from both institutions met to explore areas for potential research collaboration.
“We were delighted with the turnout and amazed at how quickly faculty produced actionable projects on which to begin collaborating,” said Dr. Joanne Romagni, DePaul’s Associate Vice President of Research, who helped organize the program at DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.
The 70 participating faculty members, split evenly between the two schools, broke into eight working groups for an afternoon of discussion on the research currently underway. They discussed where new and expanded joint efforts might logically take place. Though most DePaul participants were from the College of Science and Health, some initiatives will draw on the talents of faculty from other schools, including the colleges of Communication and Computing and Digital Media.
According to co-organizer Dr. Ronald Kaplan, Vice President of Research for RFUMS, participants will provide written summaries of what they specifically would like to pursue and what resources would be required. “This was an extraordinary event in which faculty from many diverse fields worked together to develop new collaborative projects, thereby enabling their distinct areas of expertise to be utilized to explore problems of scientific importance,” Dr. Kaplan said. “The pilot project funds, which exemplify the commitment of both institutions to support research, will provide the wherewithal for the development of new high-impact projects leading to important advances in knowledge.”
As a high school chemistry teacher, Dr. Jim Carlson enjoyed the fulfillment of seeing students grasp difficult concepts. Though his career took a different path, his love of teaching and learning has continued. Today, Dr. Carlson is the Director of Interprofessional Simulation at Rosalind Franklin University and recently became the first person to earn a PhD in Interprofessional Healthcare Studies at RFUMS.
“I left teaching to become a physician assistant,” he explains. He earned his Master of Science degree in physician assistant practice from Rosalind Franklin’s College of Health Professions in 2001. “I worked for about 10 years in a range of clinical settings, including occupational medicine and dermatology. But I wanted to pursue an advanced degree, and a master’s is considered a terminal degree for a physician assistant.”
Having joined RFUMS in 2003, he became interested in the dynamics of interprofessional education. “In particular, I was eager to explore how teams work, how the individuals on a health care team especially can work together to improve diagnostic accuracy and ensure good outcomes.” With this focus in mind, Dr. Carlson decided to pursue a PhD in Interprofessional Healthcare Studies.
His dissertation included assessment of a simulation exercise in which students and residents conferred with interprofessional members of the team in making a diagnosis, and were then also asked to use a web-based clinical decision support tool. “The results have led me to increased understanding about the needs and opportunities,” he says. “We continue to explore how we can work more collaboratively and remove biases that can get in the way of our dialogue. Importantly, our team is working on ways to use our Simulation Laboratory to accomplish these goals, which means that students in every school at Rosalind Franklin will benefit. My hope is that through simulation exercises in which they will be asked to engage a member of the team, often someone from another discipline, students will improve their assessment, diagnostic and treatment accuracy. Of course, this approach also prepares them for
their work after graduation, where they will likely be part of a team model when providing patient care.”
Dr. Carlson notes that health care has, until recently, lagged behind other industries in understanding the role of teamwork in ensuring successful outcomes. “High-risk industries such as aerospace, nuclear power and the military have focused on how teams work in achieving goals and ensuring safety,” he says. “A university such as ours, which is already ahead of the curve in its focus on interprofessional teamwork, is well poised to be a leader in this area.”
Fang “Amanda” Lin, DSc, brings a careerlong interest in body mechanics and movement to her new role as Director of the Human Performance Laboratory of the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.
“Growing up in China in a family where both parents were college professors, I always loved science,” she says. “As an undergraduate I chose to focus on biomedical engineering. Then I pursued a medical degree and worked for a time doing research at a cardiovascular specialty hospital.” But she says she became restless and yearned to return to engineering. “So I went back to school and got a doctorate degree in electronic engineering and information processing.”
Several years later, Dr. Lin had the opportunity to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in biomechanics at Northwestern University. “This was transformational for me, since as part of this fellowship I worked with patients at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the country’s finest rehab hospital. It was there that I first appreciated that my work was not just theoretical—that it could have a real impact on a person’s life and mobility.”
Dr. Lin says she was delighted to have the opportunity to come to RFUMS and direct the Human Performance Lab, a state-of-the-art facility for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of human physical activity. “I was so impressed when I first saw it—it was unlike anything I had ever worked in. The lab includes a state-of-the-art movement capture system that allows us to do very faithful recording and detailed analysis.”
As a part of Scholl College’s Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research (CLEAR), the lab’s activities include study of the issues pertaining to lower limb complications of diabetes. These include wound prevention and healing, fall prevention, objective assessment of corrective surgeries, and safely improving physical activity levels in individuals at risk of diabetic foot ulceration. In addition to the diabetic complications, additional focuses include reducing and preventing athletic injuries, improving physical activity performance and evaluating the impact of medical interventions on physical activity.
Dr. Lin says she hopes to cultivate research partnerships with RIC and other institutions to promote research at Human Performance Laboratory with the strength that RFUMS offers. “In line with our University’s effort to launch the research collaboration with DePaul, my colleagues at CLEAR and I have already been in discussion with colleagues from the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul,” she says. “We are hoping to use their expertise in video game design to benefit patients with diabetes and other conditions. The game would have a physical movement feature, like the Wii system, and would implement emotional empowerment to encourage patients to engage and track their success. Our objective is to create a game that includes lots of positive reinforcement so that the player does not get discouraged. The goal is to help diabetes patients reach fitness goals that can help them manage their disease.”
“Understanding human movement is so important to our efforts to assess, prevent, diagnose and treat a range of conditions,” Dr. Lin adds. “I am privileged to do this work.
Olsi Gjyshi’s love for science began when he was a child in Albania. “I always loved it and early on thought I would choose a career in medicine.” At 19, his dream, commitment and the unconditional support from his parents took Olsi to the United States, where he pursued his undergraduate degree at the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida “I also had an interest in cancer research, and was lucky that my college was located next door to the famed Scripps Research Institute. I was able to get experience in microbiology and oncology there, and also had the opportunity to do an internship
in cancer biology at Harvard Medical School and in neuro-oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.”
Olsi says he loved the research work but was also interested in clinical care. “As an undergraduate, my interest in cancer studies strengthened, but I also knew I would enjoy both patient care and research,” he says. “So, as I prepared to apply to medical schools, I looked at programs that offered a combined MD/PhD.”
The Chicago Medical School and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Rosalind Franklin University were among the programs that seemed like a fit. “When my older brother, who is an attorney, moved to the Chicago area right about that time, I knew it was meant to be.”
Olsi explains that in the combined MD/PhD program at Rosalind Franklin, students complete the first two years of medical school, then the three or four years needed for the PhD, followed by completion of the MD studies, then a residency in the chosen specialty. Right now, Olsi has completed the first two years of medical school and has begun working on his PhD in microbiology. His work is mentored by Bala Chandran, PhD, Professor and Chair, and Virginie Bottero,
PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
“My research is focused on Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), which infects up to three percent of the western population and as many as 40 to 50 percent in certain Asian and African populations. It is a virus that is linked to several cancers, including Kaposi’s sarcoma.” Olsi explains that his research focuses on the upregulation of a key molecule that regulates anti-oxidant response. “I am trying to determine the role of this molecule in KSHV pathology and how it might relate to the development of cancer. This work is being done in two steps. First, we want to look at how this molecule is upregulated by KSHV. Then, we look at whether this upregulation aids KSHV in causing cancer and, if so, what to do about it.”
Olsi knows his dream of a combined degree will take some time. “I am lucky to have found the right place,” he says. “I love this work and am fortunate to work with Dr. Chandran, who is one of the top researchers in this field.” He adds that his ultimate goal has not changed. “I want to make a difference both short term, in caring for patients as a clinician, and long term, as a researcher contributing to finding causes and cures. I look forward to doing both.”
Dr. Abbie Lyden is a team player. And, as an emergency department (ED) pharmacist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, her role on the team is vital in providing responsive care, often when minutes count. In August 2012, Abbie Lyden, PharmD, BCPS, brought this expertise, along with a commitment to interprofessional care, to the faculty of RFUMS’s College of Pharmacy, where she is now an assistant professor.
“The College of Pharmacy at Rosalind Franklin University, through its emphasis on the pharmacist’s role as a member of the health care team, exemplifies the changing nature of health care,” Dr. Lyden says. “Every day in the ED I see the critical role our profession plays in the delivery of patient-centered care, and I feel privileged to be able to share that with students.”
Dr. Lyden, an Indiana native, received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Purdue University. She then completed a pharmacy practice residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “This type of residency is one important way we prepare pharmacists to practice,” she explains. “It puts the pharmacist on the frontlines with other caregivers, providing hands-on experience in a variety of clinical settings. It was at Brigham and Women’s that I became interested
in emergency department clinical pharmacy. This led to my current position at Northwestern Memorial and my commitment to share my passion for pharmacy practice with students. It’s important for students pursuing a pharmacy degree, as well as those pursuing other health care careers, to see us as part of the team in a clinical setting and understand the essential contribution our profession makes to patient care.”
Her critical care pharmacy expertise has also led to research interests. She and her colleagues at Northwestern Memorial are in the process of publishing a case series focused on the acute management of bleeding complicated by the use of new, novel oral anticoagulant medications. “The newer drugs are potential alternatives to warfarin, which has been the standard oral anticoagulant treatment for decades. Unfortunately though, the novel oral anticoagulants lack any direct antidotes, which presents new and difficult challenges in the management of life-threatening bleeding. Our case series describes two cases of patients with bleeding complications taking novel oral anticoagulants, their management and outcomes.” She has also participated in a randomized, multi-center analysis, with results published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, which demonstrated the positive impact of ED pharmacists on reducing medication errors.
Joining the College of Pharmacy allows Dr. Lyden to fulfill another passion. “I have always wanted to teach, which may be something of a ‘genetic’ trait,” she jokes. “My father was faculty at Purdue University in the Department of Agricultural Economics and my mother is a third grade teacher. I am so happy to be able to share my insights and knowledge about the profession I love with the next generation of health care professionals.”
One hundred years. It’s a milestone that signifies achievement. For Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, the roots of a distinguished history lie in the founding of two of its schools, the Chicago Medical School and the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, which both opened their doors in 1912. The visionary commitments of these two schools led to the later establishment of the College of Health Professions, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the College of Pharmacy. It is, then, the history of all of RFUMS’s five schools, beginning with CMS and Scholl, which we now celebrate.
Chicago Medical School
Chicago Medical School (CMS), originally named Chicago Hospital-College of Medicine, was founded in 1912 with the vision of creating a school that, in quiet defiance of the times, would welcome students of diverse backgrounds and without bias due to race, religion, gender or ethnic origin. The school was first located at 38th and Rhoades; it moved to 710 S. Wolcott St. in 1930 and to 2020 W. Ogden Ave. in 1961.
Over the years, the school would weather many storms and for more than three decades it fought for accreditation. In 1948, under the inspired leadership of John J. Sheinin, MD, PhD, DSc, Chicago Medical School would become the first and only privately funded independent medical school to survive a national effort to reduce the number of medical colleges.
Over the next six decades, CMS made significant investments in research and facilities and in developing clinical affiliations with hospitals and universities throughout the US. The establishment in 1967 of the University of Health Sciences expanded the CMS curriculum and mission, making it one of the first medical schools in the nation to develop integrated educational programs for both future physicians and health sciences professionals. This was one of the early steps in RFUMS’s journey to become a leader in interprofessional education.
Chicago Medical School moved to its present campus in North Chicago in 1980. Today, it welcomes nearly 200 students each year, providing them with an interprofessional, team-based education that continues the school’s legacy of preparing outstanding physicians and health care leaders.
Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine
The history of the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine also begins in 1912, when its namesake, Dr. Scholl, opened the school, then called the Illinois College of Chiropody and Orthopedics, at 1321 N. Clark St. Dr. Scholl was a man of indisputable drive, character and foresight. His conviction that the lower extremity, all but neglected by early medicine, was a vital part of overall health ignited the emerging field of podiatry and helped transform it into a respected and highly valued discipline. Throughout his career, Dr. Scholl pushed to advance the specialty and improve the college through a series of reorganizations, a move to larger quarters and stronger curriculum and research. The college would ultimately undergo a number of name changes, taking the name of its founder and most ardent supporter in 1981.
Like CMS, Scholl College withstood challenges from the medical establishment of the times. The school advocated for the specialty and its students, eventually prevailing in a number of efforts, including insurance parity, inclusion in the Medicare program, clinical privileges at the nation’s hospitals and federal funding under the Health Professions Educational Assistance Act. The college joined RFUMS in 2001.
In the 100 years since its founding, Scholl College has educated more than one-third of the nation’s podiatric physicians and continues to be at the forefront of podiatric medicine, research and interprofessional education.
An Interprofessional Commitment
The commitment to excellence that led to the founding of both CMS and Scholl College is echoed in the stories of RFUMS’s other schools: the College of Health Professions (CHP), the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) and the College of Pharmacy. In fact, the University’s current stature as a model of interprofessional education began in 1967, when the University of Health Sciences was created and joined with CMS. This model was strengthened the following year, 1968, with the establishment of SGPS. And, at the forefront of the concept of the interprofessional health care team is CHP, which was modeling and teaching teamwork long before national and international commissions began calling for strategies to address issues including physician shortages, lack of accessibility and disparities in patient outcomes. Today, CHP is home to programs for future physician assistants, pathologists’ assistants, physical therapists, nurse anesthetists, nutritionists, psychologists, clinical counselors, health care administrators, and those pursuing interprofessional studies, to name a few. In 2011, RFUMS further enhanced the scope of its health sciences education programs with the creation of its newest school, the College of Pharmacy, and the arrival of its first class.
Today and Tomorrow
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science stands as a tribute to its visionary early leaders, men and women who fought for an inclusive approach to medical education and advocated for acceptance of an emerging specialty. One hundred years later, this spirit continues to inspire its current leaders, faculty and students, who on a daily basis exhibit a strong commitment to excellence, interprofessional education and an innovative vision for the future.
RFUMS of 2012 reminds us that many of the obstacles faced by young people a century ago have been largely erased. But there are still challenges to address, especially the cost of education. To help ensure that worthy students are given the opportunity they deserve, the University, in commemoration of its 100th year, has embarked on a 5-year, $5 million campaign to increase support for scholarships and to help fulfill a commitment to invest in the educational future of tomorrow’s health care leaders. Two lead gifts have been received in support of this campaign.
The Dr. Scholl Foundation, established by Dr. William M. Scholl in 1947, has donated $1 million toward this effort. This gift will provide scholarships for students in RFUMS’s colleges for the next several years. In addition, during the Centennial celebration, the family of Rosalind Franklin announced a gift of $500,000 to the Centennial Scholarship Campaign. In making this gift, Martin Franklin underscored the importance of this gift in securing the University’s continued focus on innovation and interdisciplinary education.
Nicole Oddo says she was raised in a home where health and fitness were valued. Now, as a second-year physical therapy student in the College of Health Professions, she is sharing those commitments with people in the community. A 2012 recipient of a Schweitzer Fellowship, Nicole has designed and implemented a program aimed at improving the health of underserved older adults in Waukegan, Illinois.
“I appreciate the role of regular screenings, diet and exercise in helping people get healthy,” she says. “When I heard about the Schweitzer Fellowship and its goals, I saw an opportunity to develop a program that could have an impact.” Named in honor of famed humanitarian and Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program encourages service-minded health professions students to follow his mission to “make their lives their argument” by addressing the health challenges of people whose needs are not currently being met. Nicole proposed a multifaceted project that aims to improve the health and safety of seniors, especially those who have been inactive.
Her Balance Workshop combines fitness approaches and education to help seniors understand the importance of fall prevention, determine their level of risk and learn techniques to improve balance.
The other initiative is the Walk It Out program, aimed at encouraging senior participants to make walking a regular part of their efforts to be healthy. Both programs are being presented through a partnership with Waukegan’s Park Place Senior Center.
“In addition to the fitness programs, I am also presenting lectures on health-related issues such as nutrition and conditions common to seniors,” she says. “And, an important part of the program is its focus on bringing people together to promote a sense of community, friendship and mutual support. Preventing the isolation and loneliness that can plague our older adults is a central feature of this program.”
Through the Schweitzer Fellowship, Nicole is expected to provide at least 200 hours that address an unmet community need. And she must submit regular reports that detail the progress of her program. “I have identified goals and objectives, such as the number of steps I hope my ‘walkers’ will eventually complete,” she says.
Her fellowship also provides Nicole with a monetary award that will help with tuition costs. “I am so grateful,” she says. “The Schweitzer Fellowship has given me some financial support for my schooling at Rosalind Franklin University. But even more important, it has allowed me to create a program that can help people in our community. I feel very lucky.”
Jeeten Singha admits he had a singular motivation in seeking the office of vice president of social affairs for the Class of 2014, Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. “I knew that one of the main responsibilities of this position was to be in charge of the Dance for Diabetes,” he says. “I wanted that job!” Jeeten got his wish, with a position that also included organizing fundraisers, setting up class events and attending Student Council meetings. But he says the most exciting challenge was organizing the Dance for Diabetes, an annual event sponsored by Scholl students that raises money for the American Diabetes Association. “This year, our Dance would be the first event of the University’s Centennial year celebration,” he says. “And I planned to knock it out of the park!” The event, held in January at Chicago’s Drake Hotel, was attended by more than 500 guests. Through Jeeten’s efforts, and with strong support from students at all RFUMS schools, faculty, administration, staff and alumni, the event raised $28,000 — $21,000 for the ADA and another $7,000 for the University’s new Students Dedicated to Diabetes Research and Education Initiative. “We aimed to start our Centennial year with a night to remember, and we did,” Jeeten says.
Jeeten’s leadership of the Dance is just one of the ways this third-year student has made his mark since coming to Scholl. He is also active in a number of student professional organizations, including the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Student Chapter, the American Podiatric Medical Student Association and the Illinois Podiatric Medical Student Association. He has also served as Chair of the Lake County Arthritis Walk and has volunteered for events such as Lollapalooza, the Chicago Marathon and the Ironman, Wisconsin.
He also serves as a Scholl Ambassador, a role he relishes. “I love having the opportunity to talk to prospective students about this wonderful college,” Jeeten says. His activities have also included outreach to the community’s young people. He served as President of INSPIRE, a student group that mentors and tutors at-risk students from Zion-Benton Township High School, in nearby Zion, Illinois. His efforts as a student leader have led to a number of awards and recognitions, including the RFUMS Student Leadership Award and Scholarship, the “You Rock” Student Leadership Award and Scholarship and the Scholl College Alumni Association Community Engagement Award.
Jeeten was also a nationally ranked junior tennis player, a passion he credits with his interest in podiatric medicine. “As an athlete, I was always aware of the importance of sports medicine,” he says. “As an undergraduate at Olivet Nazarene University, I got to know an inspirational podiatric physician, which contributed to my decision.” But Jeeten also attributes his choice of profession to the home where he and his identical twin,
Seeten, grew up. “My mother and father are both in health-related fields and openly shared with us the joy and fulfillment of working in a profession where they could help people,” he says. “They are happy with their work and inspired me to follow in that direction. I know I’ve made the right choice.”
Three generations of the Franklin family joined the Centennial celebration.
During the Centennial celebration, three generations of the Franklin family traveled to Chicago to be present at the unveiling of the Dr. Rosalind Franklin Tribute Wall as well as a weekend of Centennial activities celebrating the University named in her honor. During this visit, Sir Roland Franklin and his wife, Lady Nina Franklin, took time to reflect on their memories of Rosalind.
“My sister was almost six years older than me, and I did not really get to know her well until I had finished my naval service in 1947,” he says. “I remember several holidays that we spent together walking up mountains in Wales, rambling in the Lake District and skiing in France. This last was a typically exciting excursion as neither of us could ski properly, but as mountains were there Rosalind had to climb them. We had a guide who was appalled when he realized after a few thousand feet of climbing we had no idea at all how to ski down. Fortunately, he was an expert guide, but said he had never before been so relieved to get clients down safely!
“I never went rock climbing with her but I understand she was a competent mountaineer,” he continues. “We played tennis quite a lot together. Dinner with her was never dull. She was all too likely to serve disgusting-looking toadstools, which any sensible but ignorant person like myself would never dream of eating. However, such was my reverence for my older sister that I always ate them and of course found that they were delicious.
“Rosalind got on very well with my wife, even though they had nothing whatsoever in common except strong characters. Once a week they used to go to the theatre together while I was trying to manage a boys’ club in the East End of London.
“I have to confess that neither I nor my brothers or sister appreciated for one moment how distinguished Rosalind was,” Sir Roland adds. “My father, who had studied science at University, probably did. The only person who really understood her importance and who knew nothing about science whatsoever was my wife.”
“At that time we didn’t yet know the meaning of her work,” says Lady Nina. “But I could see back then that she was special, and I told her so.”
“Rosalind was modest,” Sir Roland says. “She hardly ever talked about her work. She had an independent income and never used any of the money gifted to her by our parents. She never made a virtue of this. Her reluctance was principled but never advertised.
“When she became terminally ill she was only 35,” he continues. “She was unable to look after herself in her apartment and came to live with us. She was always good with children and they adored her. We had four at the time and I think they helped take her mind off her illness. She had extraordinary courage and while she was physically able to work or play tennis she did. When her pain was too great she returned to the hospital and then came back to us. She never made a fuss and never complained. At one time she told Nina what a pity it was that her life was going to be so short as she felt she was working at problems, the solution of which could materially improve the chances of survival of cancer victims.”
Lady Nina Franklin agrees about Rosalind’s strength during the time she was battling her disease. “She was very focused, even while fighting her illness,” she says. “When she was feeling good she kept on working, with the same purposeful approach she brought to everything she did.”
“I believe Rosalind would be astonished and delighted to know that RFUMS was named for her,” Sir Roland concludes. “The great honor conferred on Rosalind’s memory by the naming of this University is so appropriate in every way that it stands out far beyond all the other honors that have been so liberally bestowed upon her. She would have loved to have known that she had become a source of inspiration to so many students.”
Each year, the University receives almost 10,000 applications for less than 800 admission slots. In some instances, students who have the drive and the aptitude to pursue a career in health care face difficult financial decisions as they try to balance existing student loans with other life circumstances. Giving these students the opportunities they deserve is critical, and as part of the University centennial celebration, Rosalind Franklin is embarking on a five-year, $5 million campaign to increase support for scholarships. Students with the talent and compassion to make a difference in the world of health care tomorrow need our commitment today.
We are pleased to announce that the University has received a lead gift of $1 million from the Dr. Scholl Foundation toward this effort. The Foundation, established by Dr. William M. Scholl in 1947, is a private, independent grant-making foundation for charitable purposes, and for many years has been extremely generous to Scholl College and Rosalind Franklin University. The Foundation’s gift will provide scholarships for the students in our colleges for the next several years. With this gift, the Dr. Scholl Foundation is challenging our supporters, alumni, faculty, staff and friends to donate an additional $250,000 during the 2012 Centennial Year. Alumni donations made towards the challenge will be utilized by the college from which the alumnus graduated, and the sooner we can meet the challenge, the sooner our students will benefit.
In addition to the generous support of the Dr. Scholl Foundation, the University Board of Trustees, President Welch, the deans, members of the President’s Cabinet and other donors have already made commitments to the campaign.
“We know that scholarships transform the student experience and provide opportunities for students with the aptitude and the desire to pursue a career in health care. Raising additional funds for
scholarships will help the University to remain competitive with peer institutions, to attract and retain the highest caliber of students, and to maintain a diverse student body,” said Dr. K. Michael Welch, President and CEO.
Rosalind Franklin University has experienced tremendous growth in enrollment over the past five years, and has expanded its health sciences education to five graduate-level colleges and schools.
To learn more about the scholarship campaign and the students who have already benefited from donor generosity, please visit
Jessica Richason’s parents always stressed the importance of faith, hard work and service. “They were also great motivators,” she says. Now a third-year student at the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Jessica recalls how her parents raising their four children in Denver, Colorado, thought successful role models were important. “My dad used to drive me by the home of a well-respected African-American surgeon and say, ‘See, Jessica, that could be you someday.’”
Motivation, along with her academic success and career ambitions, eventually led Jessica to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she received her bachelor of science degree from Southern University. She then went to the DeBakey Institute at Texas A&M University in College Station, where she conducted graduate biomedical engineering research on the Pallid bat wing. “I got a taste of research, which I liked, and firmed up my resolve to pursue health care.”
Her objectives next took Jessica to the University of Memphis, where she received a master’s in health administration. “While I was in Memphis, I also shadowed and assisted some physicians in the hopes of solidifying my plans to go to medical school,” she says. “It was in this environment that I decided that podiatric medicine was the best fit. I applied to Scholl and was thrilled to be accepted.”
Jessica adds that in her first year at Scholl, she embraced the chance to be involved in the community. “Volunteering at events including the Kids Ist Health Fair, Chicago Marathon, Avon Breast Cancer Walk and Midwest Podiatry Conference deepened my passion for my chosen profession,” she says.
The commitment and hard work that has fueled Jessica’s educational path earned her the Geppner-Turnbow Minority Scholarship, an award given to a student who reflects the values and ideals of the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. “The financial support helps, and the award reminds me of the goals I have set for myself once I complete my education,” she says. “I hope to one day work in a hospital setting, using all of my experience and education to improve care for patients.”
Jessica also understands the influence she may have. “I am proud of the choices I have made and hope to give back, to inspire others like myself to set a goal and work hard to reach it. Maybe someday a child will look at Dr. Jessica Richason and think, ‘That could be me.’”
In November 2011, Ateequr Rahman, PhD, MBA, RPh, joined the College of Pharmacy as associate professor of pharmacy practice, bringing with him his passion for providing quality care to the medically underserved, and enhancing the public health perspective of the college’s curriculum. Dr. Rahman has worked extensively on rural health issues and has studied how the underserved population is affected by health disparities, focusing on the socioeconomic conditions that impact access to care.
Dr. Rahman earned his PhD in pharmacy administration with a focus on pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Previously, he had obtained a master’s degree in business administration with a focus on health economics from Northeast Louisiana University. Rosalind Franklin University presented unique opportunities for him – the chance to be part of a new college, grow along with it and help shape its future.
He also knew he could make a difference in Lake County, Illinois, a diverse community with marked health disparities and where his research experience translated well.
His research in the areas of diabetes management and fall prevention has looked at how infrastructure affects access to services and influences the health of a community. By designing appropriate intervention strategies, nurses and case managers are able to educate patients on simple but important things, such as using the right test strips with glucometers, and are able to fall-proof homes by customizing bathrooms or recommending the installation of carpeting to provide more traction. “The intervention strategies have a measurable effect on patient health and outcomes,” Dr. Rahman said. “You can never assume that everyone has the same basic understanding of the little things they can do to help manage their conditions and improve their health.”
Dr. Rahman’s passion for pharmacists’ unique abilities to impact patient health is evident. “Whether it’s by counseling patients on their medication therapy or teaching them how to use a medical device, our students must always remain cognizant that they are in a position to empower patients to be their own advocate.”
Since joining Rosalind Franklin University, Dr. Rahman has sought out various organizations that offer care to low-income residents and has discussed the potential of developing partnerships. Dr. Rahman will also play a critical role in pharmacy student development by lending his expertise in support of student organizations. Specifically, the college is in the process of starting a student club, made possible thanks to a generous gift from Walgreens, which will celebrate diversity in pharmacy, both from the perspective of student development and community outreach.
Recently, Lisa W. Zenni, a Lake Bluff resident who is active in a variety of community and philanthropic causes, joined the University’s Board of Trustees. She comes to us with an admirable history of service to our community.
Currently, Mrs. Zenni is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Allendale Association, a private, not-for-profit organization located in Lake Villa, Illinois, that provides social services and advocates for troubled children, youth and their families. She is a member of the Allendale Shelter Club, which provides fundraising support to Allendale Association and through its efforts has become the Association’s largest donor, and is actively involved in the strategy and the management of the school.
Mrs. Zenni’s other charitable causes include the Equestrian Connection, a therapeutic riding center located in Lake Forest, Illinois, that provides critical programs for individuals with special needs. Additionally, Mrs. Zenni was a longtime member of the Parent Board of the Lake Forest Country Day School, and was the recipient of the Bondy Hodgkins Award in 2007 for outstanding accomplishment and service.
She and her husband have supported numerous children’s causes and have provided scholarships for local high school and college students in Lebanon. Mrs. Zenni was a founding supporter of Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.
Prior to being involved in philanthropy and community service, Mrs. Zenni was employed by Merrill, Lynch & Co. Inc. at the Chicago Board of Trade.
A striking, two-story image of Dr. Rosalind Franklin on the wall of the Morningstar Interprofessional Education Center was dedicated to her memory, including a permanent installation highlighting her life and work, on Thursday, September 6, 2012, as the University kicked off its Centennial Weekend.
Honored guests at the Centennial Salute and Tribute to Dr. Rosalind Franklin included three generations of the Franklin family: Dr. Franklin's brother, Sir Roland Franklin and his wife, Lady Nina; Dr. Franklin's nephews, Martin Franklin and his wife, Julie, and Jonathan Franklin and his wife, Jennifer; University Trustee Rosalind Franklin Jekowsky and her daughter, Stephanie. The ceremony was capped off with the announcement of a $500,000 gift to the Centennial Scholarship Campaign from Dr. Franklin's family. Also joining the celebration were members of the University's Board of Trustees, elected officials, community leaders, academic partners and alumni, as well as faculty, staff, and students.
The significance of adopting Dr. Franklin's name for the University in 2004 was explained by Shannon Liu, MS '11, CMS '15, President of the Executive Student Council. "The students and faculty wanted a story to tell about their school - one that would be compelling, one that would speak to a quality medical education, one that would inspire. Dr. Franklin was a brilliant scientist who demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her life's work- she sets an example for our community of students, faculty, staff, and researchers to pursue excellence with courage and humility."
University President and CEO K. Michael Welch, MB, ChB, FRCP, also spoke of similarities between the determined researcher and the University, in particular, her refusal to accept the status quo. “Like her, we are pioneers, striving to find new ways to meet the health care challenges of tomorrow,” said Dr. Welch. “Like her, we are tenacious. We will continue to challenge and replace archaic systems that inhibit the delivery of care. We will continue to work to break down barriers to the education needed to supply highly skilled clinicians to every corner of the country, thereby ensuring that every man, woman, and child in this great nation can get the health care they deserve.”
“Our family is deeply touched by this tribute,” said Martin Franklin, Dr. Franklin’s nephew. “We too are proud of this institution’s rich history and the tremendous growth it has enjoyed since it aligned itself with the identity of our beloved sister and aunt…. We appreciate the faithfulness with which the University has stewarded her story and spirit.”
It’s not a stretch to say that Barbara Vertel, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy at Chicago Medical School, sees connections in everything around her. Having studied cell biology as it relates to cartilage and connective tissue, she welcomed the opportunity at Rosalind Franklin to see how her research related to human diseases and medicine. Finding new and unexpected connections between one field of study and another is the main reason she is so enthusiastic about the Molecular and Cellular Sciences Seminar Series.
"The series really evolved from my longstanding interest in cell biology combined with the interests of my colleagues strongly focused on molecular biology, and the fact that my intellectual life is fueled by going outside of my area to learn what is relevant in other fields," Dr. Vertel explains. "I believe in minimizing boundaries and promoting collaboration and interaction."
Dr. Vertel's own career followed a similar path. When she started out, she was comfortable studying cells through light and electron microscopy. "I am a very visual person," she notes. But over time, from exposure to and collaboration with colleagues in different fields, she came to appreciate a more multidisciplinary approach to problems. She began to wonder how her studies of chickens – and the discovery of a mutation in aggregan (a cartilage proteoglycan) that causes dwarfism through a mechanism of cellular quality control - might be applicable to human diseases as well. "This discovery had a profound effect on me," she explains. "One of the reasons I came to Rosalind Franklin was for the opportunity to collaborate and learn from colleagues with completely different expertise who might offer some insight into my specific research areas, and vice versa. From the beginning, my participation in team-taught courses here allowed me to contribute my knowledge of cell and developmental biology and expand it into the realms of human biology and disease."
To encourage this kind of interdisciplinary learning, every year the Molecular and Cellular Sciences Seminar Series features one speaker invited by faculty from each of the basic science departments and one speaker invited by the graduate students. The series includes the Werner Straus Memorial Seminar, in honor of an esteemed faculty member who passed away in 2003. The speakers are highly esteemed thinkers, cutting-edge researchers, and leaders in their fields; some have even been Nobel Prize winners, such as John Walker (Chemistry) and Giinter Blobel (Physiology/Medicine).
By his own admission, he's like a kid in a candy store - a medicinal chemist interested in drug discovery, surrounded by experts with a wealth of biology expertise. "I can't wait to start collaborating with some of my new colleagues," says Russell Dahl, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Science in the College of Pharmacy with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neuroscience in the Chicago Medical School.
Dr. Dahl joined Rosalind Franklin in August 2012. Currently, he is hard at work building the Laboratory for Molecular Design and Drug Discovery at the University.
"It used to be that drug companies did a lot of their own basic discovery research in addition to development," he explains, "but now most companies have significantly scaled back the basic research component. It takes around $1-2 billion to bring a drug to market from scratch. However, there is an exceptional opportunity for academic scientists doing innovative research to do the early discovery part and eventually partner with pharmaceutical firms to take it into the clinic. What we want to do is find biological pathways of interest, then develop small molecule modulators of that pathway that can affect or ameliorate the disease. My goal is to build a drug discovery engine, a Rosalind Franklin pipeline if you will."
Dr. Dahl, a veteran of the drug industry, has worked as a medicinal chemist at big pharmaceutical and smaller biotechnology firms, contributing to the discovery of drug candidates for a variety of conditions including cancer, HIV, CNS disorders, and inflammatory diseases. He came to the College of Pharmacy from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research where his team developed multiple chemical probes for a variety of biological targets as part of the NIH Molecular Libraries Program.
Currently, Dr. Dahl's lab is focusing on two seemingly opposite conditions: neurodegeneration and cancer. "At first, they may seem totally different; one is associated with premature cell death and the other with uncontrolled cell growth," notes Dr. Dahl. "However, there is a growing body of evidence that they share aberrations in many of the same pathways and genes that play central roles in cellular signaling, repair, and cell cycle control. Since my lab has significant synthetic chemistry expertise, we are using small molecules to interrogate multiple cellular signaling pathways to discover putative therapeutic targets for both cancer and neurodegeneration. We have shown that we can affect both cell proliferation and cell death by modulating the same pathways either positively or negatively using small molecules."
Traditionally, medicinal chemistry focuses on a target and a ligand that interacts with that target. But Dr. Dahl wants to take a more systems-based approach to his research. He is looking at how a disease state affects the whole organism by modeling a complex molecular environment that takes everything into account. "I invite any and all of my new colleagues to contact me if they are interested in collaborating - or even just learning more about the Lab," Dr. Dahl continues. "I would love to hear what the biologists on campus are interested in."
Jessica Minder wants to do it all. A student researcher and scholarship recipient at the Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research (CLEAR) at the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Jessica is nearing the completion of her core rotations. She dreams of continuing her research after graduation in 2013 while carrying a large patient load in her own practice. "I just want to keep learning," she laughs, "and that's the great part about seeing patients-you never see the same thing twice."
Her interest in podiatric medicine started at an early age. "My mother was a diabetic educator and dietitian. She taught me about the importance of podiatric care in the diabetic population,"says Jessica. "Then I spent time working in public health with underserved populations in New Mexico where there was a high incidence of diabetes. I saw firsthand how important podiatric care is. Plus," she adds, "I was also interested in surgery and trauma care, and podiatry combines them all."
Why did Jessica end up at Scholl College at Rosalind Franklin University? Three reasons: "First, the legacy of the Scholl name. So many practicing clinicians have graduated from here; it has such a good reputation and a wonderful alumni network. Second, I liked the interprofessional aspect of taking classes with students going into other professions. And third, Scholl gave me the greatest opportunity to do research as a student. Rosalind Franklin just has more and better research resources than most other colleges."
Jessica has taken full advantage of those resources, garnering many awards and accolades, including the Gold Prize in the student/resident abstract competition at the American Podiatric Medical Association's scientific meeting in 2011. Jessica's detailed poster on the safety and efficacy of mild compression (18-25 mmHg) therapy in diabetic patients with edema in their lower extremities has also been presented at several other forums and meetings. "While further research is needed," says Jessica, "in our five-week study, we did not find any danger of using mild compression on diabetic patients."
Jessica was also named Student of the Year by the Illinois Podiatric Medical Students' Association in 2012, which comes as no surprise to those who know her. "The amazing thing about Jessica," says Dr. Stephanie Wu, DPM, Director of CLEAR and Jessica's advisor, "is her dedication to and focus on everything she does, and how she makes it all look so easy."
It seems like Filomena Rauschert, PT '94, DPT, '08, just can't stay away. A native of the Chicago area, Dr. Rauschert has graduated from Rosalind Franklin University twice, and recently returned as a full-time faculty member. "What can I say? I am so proud of this school. I love it here and always have," she says.
Dr. Rauschert discovered her strong interest in math, science, and health care early on. After volunteering in various fields, she found her niche in physical therapy. She spent three years at Indiana University before transferring to the College of Health Professions. "The department was pretty small back then," she notes. "I had classes and labs in Building 51 on the VA property. Nothing like the state-of-the-art facilities we enjoy now!"
After graduating from CHP's former baccalaureate degree program in 1994, she went on to practice physical therapy in a number of different outpatient settings over the next 18 years. When the profession transitioned to a doctoral degree, Dr. Rauschert came back to CHP to get her transitional doctorate degree, graduating for a second time in 2008. "It was wonderful to be back - some of the same professors I had in the '90s were still teaching and involved with the Physical Therapy department," she adds.
Finally, in 2011, Dr. Rauschert came full circle and joined the faculty of the school as Co-Director of Clinical Education for the Physical Therapy department. "I have always been impressed with the dedication of everyone at CHP, to their students, and to the profession. During my years in practice, I reached out to a faculty member numerous times for help and mentorship-and I always received exceptional guidance. I am just so proud of how the department and the University have evolved and continue to be leaders in the educational community.
"For a smaller university," she continues, "we are remarkably advanced and innovative. We have an impressive history of research and we were one of the first to focus on interprofessionalism. Here, students learn to collaborate as they grow; it's built into the foundation of everything we do. And I can tell you from 18 years of experience that Rosalind Franklin University's teamwork approach can be instrumental to success as a practicing professional."
What's next for Dr. Rauschert? She's working toward her certification in Geriatric PT, planning her own research, and learning more every day-from her colleagues, students, and fellow alumni. "It's a dream come true to be back here," she says.
On August 1, the Kids 1st Health Fair reached its 20th year of providing free health screenings to local families. Rosalind Franklin University has been an early supporter of this event and has worked in partnership with the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center and the United Way of Lake County to offer these critical services.
The fair began in 1993 to help children from low-income families in Lake County receive required health services in time for school enrollment deadlines. Today, hundreds of Rosalind Franklin University volunteers provide health screenings, foot and shoe assessments, and nutrition recommendations for families. In addition, physical therapy professionals are on hand to analyze the impact a student's backpack has on their gait and make necessary adjustment for better weight distribution. This year, more than 1,000 children received these much-needed services.
Kids 1st Health Fair is made possible through the steadfast dedication of its supporters, donors, in-kind contributors, and community volunteers. We thank the Abbott Fund for their major funding support and the Chicago Dental Society Foundation, Baxter International Inc, First Bank of Highland Park, NorthShore University HealthSystem/Highland Park Hospital, Sharon Doney, Gurnee Sam's Club (Wal-Mart Foundation), and Baxter Healthcare for their contributions.
"Kids 1st allows our students to see the impact of health care and how, by working together as a team, physicians, physical therapists, physician assistants, and other providers can best deliver care to the families who need us most," said Dr. K. Michael Welch, President and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University.
To better understand the challenges in education today, Rosalind Franklin University is co-hosting a speaker series on the state of education in America and its effect on global competitiveness and human potential. The first speaker, invited by the Gorter Family Foundation, North Chicago Community Partners, Advance Illinois and Trinity International University, was Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Thomas Friedman. He spoke to an audience of more than 700 people and shared that employers are looking for team members who possess critical thinking and problem-solving skills, “people who can invent, re-invent, and re-energize” their jobs while they’re performing them. To see Mr. Friedman’s entire presentation, visit www.youtube.com/rosalindfranklinu.
Beginning in the 2012-13 academic year, the Chicago Medical School will award the Israel and Bella Finkel Scholarships. These scholarships were created through a bequest made by Dr. Marion Finkel, CMS ’52, in honor of her parents. As part of the Centennial Scholarship Campaign, these scholarships will make a significant impact for several students over the four years of medical school.
After graduating from the Chicago Medical School in 1952, Dr. Finkel went on to have a very successful career. She completed a rotating residency at the Jersey City Medical
Center and internal medicine residencies at Cumberland Hospital and Bellevue Hospital in New York. Dr. Finkel worked at the Food and Drug Administration for 22 years, holding several key positions including Director of the Office of Orphan Products Development. Following her career at the FDA, Dr. Finkel worked with Berlex Laboratories, now a part of Bayer HealthCare. She received many federal awards including a presidential award, public health service awards, and FDA awards. Dr. Finkel passed away in June 2011.
Dr. Finkel embodied Rosalind Franklin University’s core values of excellence and innovation, and was awarded the CMS Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997. She has further distinguished herself through her generous gift.
Even if you weren’t able to join us for Centennial Weekend, you can still be part of the celebration. Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rfums to see photo albums of the weekend’s activities and see what our alumni, faculty, and current students are sharing online. By visiting www.rosalindfranklin.edu/centennial/aspx, you can share your memories and reconnect with your classmates.