Celebrating 50 years of SIU School of Medicine
Forever Forward: Little did we know when we chose this tagline, how well it would define SIU School of Medicine during this unprecedented time. As we celebrate our golden anniversary year, we have been called to care for the health of the communities we serve in a way that we never have before.
Shortly after our anniversary kick-off, we became SIU STRONG, a medical community supporting one another during a pandemic. Our leaders and years of experience afforded us opportunities to continue to safely serve those who needed us. SIU School of Medicine continued essential research, quickly implemented remote teaching and learning and successfully transitioned to a remote work model.
And, SIU School of Medicine called upon you — our friends, our alumni, our community partners — and you answered. This report shows some of the many ways you have supported us; you are the reason we will continue Forever Forward for years to come.
In the past 50 years, SIU School of Medicine has grown from a small medical school providing patient care with the help of community clinicians to an internationally recognized institution, partnering with hospitals, clinics and associations across Illinois. Today the school is a key player in the continued advancement of medical care in Springfield, Decatur, Quincy, Carbondale and dozens of towns in between.
Some have interpreted the school’s mission as filling the region with primary care physicians. Certainly, the numbers represent that: About half of the school’s nearly 3,000 graduates chose primary care. According to the Association for American Medical Colleges, SIU School of Medicine has the highest percentage of graduates in the nation practicing in rural areas, serving citizens who have few medical resources.
The word has spread. Shortly after the close of the fiscal year, the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) presented its inaugural ASPIRE Stellar Award to SIU School of Medicine in recognition of our commitment to excellence in a range of educational areas. SIU is one of only two medical schools in the world to have received as many as five Aspire to Excellence Awards from AMEE.
Our accomplishments are many. We are proud of our graduates and our school. We are proud of our faculty, staff and learners. Thanks to all of you, we will keep up the good work.
Wishing you all good health,
Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH - Dean & Provost of SIU School of Medicine
Happy 50th Anniversary, SIU School of Medicine
Your support of SIU School of Medicine can take many forms, and a gift of any amount is appreciated. Below is a partial list of opportunities that will provide the greatest impact. All endowments begin at $25,000.
STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS – We are woefully short of funding for student scholarships. Providing full-tuition support for one medical student or partial support for several can significantly reduce student debt.
FACILITIES – To remain innovative in medical education, we must maintain state-of-the art facilities and technology. The school has a strong need for updates to facilities, classroom space and technology.
FACULTY – Our world-renown faculty is the foundation of the school’s success. Faculty support helps retain talented physicians and researchers and provides them the resources to do their best teaching and scholarship.
RESEARCH – Supporting research at SIU School of Medicine advances knowledge and treatment in areas like Alzheimer’s disease, sickle cell anemia, hearing loss, aging and cancer.
LEADING DURING A PANDEMIC
Helping to protect our communities against threats like the COVID-19 pandemic is at the core of our 50-year mission. In times like these, we are fortunate to have great expertise and years of experience on our side. Here are some of the ways our leaders have been recognized and how we have come together to remain SIU STRONG.
- Working with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the SIU Pandemic Health Worker program serves five regions in central and southern Illinois. This program supports families in need of food, pharmacy, therapy, and telemedicine.
- SIU School of Medicine researchers assisted in the improvement of COVID-19 testing capabilities in our region. They are also mapping the COVID-19 genome and collecting samples from downstate Illinois hospitals to enter regional strain information into the worldwide data base for COVID-19.
- Keith Gagnon, PhD, is collaborating with the Illinois Department of Public Health to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome using samples of the virus from Illinois patients who tested positive for COVID-19. The lab will share its information with health officials and deposit it on an international database, which will contribute to helping to make a better vaccine and therapeutics.
- Douglas Carlson, MD, was named to the Illinois Department of Public Health Task Force on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Associated with Coronavirus Disease.
- Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH, was appointed to a committee that helped shape how campuses across the state reopened safely this fall.
- Harry Lausen, DO, was a recipient of the Medical Group Management Association's Rise Above Recognition for his leadership during the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Sameer Vohra, MD, JD, FAAP, was appointed to serve on the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund advisory board.
- Andy Wilber, PhD, Chris Chambers, PhD, and Don Torry, PhD, developed a quantitative serological antibody test that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of new vaccines.
Community needs remain high, and we continue to raise funds for the SIU STRONG Pandemic Fund. You can help ease the burden by donating using the included card or at forwardfunder.siumed.edu/covid.
Through the SIU STRONG Pandemic Fund, we are helping in some of the following ways:
- The Family & Community Medicine Food Pharmacy provides food and hygiene products to those affected by crisis.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies for our front-line workers will promote the health of the community.
- Telehealth offers our patients primary and specialty care while they remain safe at home. Telehealth preserves the continuity of care for our health care professionals and their patients.
- Medical students may experience unforeseen situations due to the pandemic that impact or interrupt their academic coursework.
Thank you for your gifts to the SIU STRONG Pandemic Fund, which give us the tools to remain flexible and fulfill our mission.
1977 | 1980 | 1998
IT'S A $50K FOR 50 YEARS MATCHING CHALLENGE
Doctors Jerrold Willis, ’77; Prashanth Shekar, ’80; and Ryan Willis,’98, issued a challenge to their classmates in honor of the 50th anniversary. Each agreed to match the gifts from his respective class, up to a combined total of $50,000. If all three classes meet the challenge, that’s a minimum of $100,000 for SIU School of Medicine scholarships and programs.
To date, we have $12,225 to reach the $50,000 goal. It's not too late to give! Members of the classes of 1977, 1980 and 1998 can donate to any fund as a part of this challenge. Help us leverage this very generous gift to create the maximum impact on scholarships that every medical student truly needs.
Donate today at forwardfunder.siumed.edu/scholarshipchallenge.
2020 Distinguished Alumni Erik Constance, MD - Class of 1988
Dr. Erik Constance personifies SIU’s mission. The Alumni Society Board of Governors of SIU School of Medicine agreed and selected him as the 2020 Distinguished Alumni for a career of service to his alma mater.
Erik Constance, MD, has served as Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions for 25 years. In that position, he has been a de facto gatekeeper and guidance counselor for many of the 1,750 learners who have gone on to medical practice. He has had an immeasurable influence on the School of Medicine’s student body – and hence, the health of the 66-county service region – for half of our school's existence.
“Change is omnipresent in medical education, and Dr. Constance’s steadfast fidelity and advocacy for the students has helped shepherd and maintain a very positive learning climate at SIU, ” one nominator said.
A Belleville native, Constance was an undergrad at SIU Edwardsville when he decided to pursue medicine. During his first year at Carbondale, the medical school’s rural, family-like culture set the hook in him. For residency, he interviewed all over the country but found the ideal match was staying home at SIU.
Internal Medicine chairs Sergio Rabinovich, MD, and David Steward, MD, became further resources for training and role modeling, giving Constance his first taste of administration, mentoring and teaching as the department’s chief resident in 1991.
Constance then spent four years on faculty at SIU, building relationships and growing a rural practice in Auburn, until a request from the dean came in 1995. Carl Getto, MD, asked him to chair a search committee for the new Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
“I thought about it for a while, then went back to Dean Getto and told him I’d rather apply for it,” Constance says. He advanced through the national search and was selected. Twenty-five years in, he still relishes the challenges and variety of the job.
“When people ask me what I do, I often tell them I’m a teacher.” He most enjoys the daily interactions with students and teaching a course on differential diagnosis for the second-years. And the feeling is mutual. Four classes of graduates have awarded him the Golden Apple Award for excellence as an instructor. Some of his lessons are easy to retain. Alumni who have been through SIU in the last 25 years can probably recite two out of three of Dr. Constance’s Medical School Rules: 1. Be on time. 2. Don’t make excuses. 3. Ask for help.
Asked about his proudest achievements, he recalls an innovation from his earliest years: opening up the student enrollment process to diversity. “In 1996, I held the first diversity training at SIU School of Medicine for the student body. It didn’t go over as well as I’d have liked,” he says. So he and Dr. Getto initiated diversity training and used data from the NBME to create a new admissions process that took a more holistic approach, one of the first medical schools in the nation to do so.
A student of history, Constance recognizes progress moves in fits and starts. “Dean Kruse, Dean Dorsey and I, we’re all proud of where we are at against our peers – something like the top 2 percent for training underrepresented students – but we all agree that we can do more. There weren’t a lot of allies doing this 25 years ago. I hope I’ve set the table for more improvements because it’s important to have a student body that looks more like the general population.”
Constance remains steady in his pursuit of social justice and equity in the medical field. Most recently he helped to initiate the SIU White Coats 4 Black Lives Scholarship with his donation as the catalyst for other contributions. The scholarship will help future students with a commitment to social justice.
"It's always about the students," he says. Whether it's donating to scholarships, sponsoring medical students to support the Camp COCO Golf Outing or speaking at events, the medical students are foremost on his mind.
Flack, McDowell named endowed chairs
Hascup leads Alzheimer's center
Erin Hascup, PhD, is the new director of the SIU Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (CADRD). Dr. Tom Ala is now CADRD's medical director.
This is a golden age for research funding in Alzheimer’s disease, and comes at a propitious time given the growing wave of Americans expected to be afflicted with the disease in the next 20 years. A major goal of CADRD is leveraging current resources to grow research efforts into the causes, treatments and modes of care of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Her duties as director will be a re-visioning of the mission and goals of CADRD including research, clinical care, outreach, education and philanthropy.
Dr. Hascup has been with the school since 2012, initially as a research associate within CADRD, and joined the neurology department faculty in 2013. Her research is centered on neurodegeneration and in particular, Alzheimer’s disease. She is a recipient of several external grants, including two from the National Institute of Aging awarded in 2018, totaling over $6 million dollars.
SIU Medicine expands in Christian County
SIU Medicine and Memorial Behavioral Health are partnering together in a new clinic that integrates primary care and mental health services in Christian County.
The SIU Center for Family Medicine-Taylorville provides primary care for all ages and offer women’s health and behavioral health services. Memorial Behavioral Health-Taylorville provides crisis intervention, mental health assessments, community-based recovery services, therapy and integrated behavioral health.
The Harbinger Society is open to all those who make a significant financial commitment to SIU Medicine in support of its goals. Donors may qualify as members by meeting one of the following criteria:
- Making a cumulative or one-time gift of $25,000 ($50,000 for a business or organization) in cash, securities, equipment, materials, supplies or other gifts-in-kind.
- Pledging $25,000 payable over a 5-year period, not less than $5,000 annually.
- Bequeathing a whole-life insurance policy valued at $50,000 or more.
- Donating a trust (instrument) valued at $50,000 or more.
Based on their generous gifts in FY20, the following people have moved to a higher level of the Harbinger Society. The * indicates those we welcome as our newest Harbinger members. Thank you for your generosity!
Diplomat - $500,000-$999,999
Memorial Health System
Orthopedic Center of Illinois, Ltd.
Distinguished Fellow - $100,000-$499,999
Lynn C. Mitra
Les B. Pauly
Keith & Lisa S. Wichterman
Bank of Springfield
* BJ Grand Salon & Spa
Springfield Plastics, Inc.
Dean’s Inner Circle - $50,000-$99,999
William & J’Amy Payne
Buck & Karen Hales
* Southern Illinois Healthcare
* Schwab Charitable Fund
* Denney Jewelers, Ltd.
Cornerstone - $25,000-$49,999
* Wei Du & Jianjun Ma
Day of Giving Reigning Champions
SIU School of Medicine raised the highest number of gifts for an academic unit — $200,226 from 322 gifts. Thank you for your generosity!
SAVE THE DATE
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - join us as we move FORWARD TOGETHER to better the health of our communities through SIU Day of Giving. If you'd like to issue a giving challenge, contact us to learn how we can make a greater impact together.
Thank you to our 50th Anniversary Sponsors
Forever Forward Sponsor
Dr. Roland Folse
Dean & Provost Sponsor
Hospital Sisters Health System
Drs. Clifford Johnson & Cristina Medrano-Johnson, ’94
Dr. Christine Todd, ’93
Drs. Gina Kovach, ’76 and Dave Steward
SIU Family & Community Medicine and Centers for Family Medicine
SIU Medicine Internal Medicine
Drs. J. Eric & Lorie A. Bleyer, ’89
Dr. Diane Hillard-Sembell, ’86 & Mark Sembell
Dr. Holly Novak, ’79
Dr. & Mrs. Terry Travis
Dee Kirby & Friends
Department of Population Science & Policy
SIU Medicine Psychiatry
SIU Family & Community Medicine and Centers for Family Medicine
Dept. of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology
Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU
SIU Medicine Neuroscience Institute
Fiscal Year 2020 Financials
July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020
School of Medicine’s Endowment Total - $28,901,656.13
FY20 Endowment Gifts - $848,503.46
ALUMNI PARTICIPATION IN SOM PHILANTHROPY
Total number of solicitable MD Alumni – 2,888
Total number of all solicitable medical school Alumni (PA, MEDPREP, PhD, etc.) – 3,200
Total number of MD Alumni donors – 465
SOM Alumni giving (includes resident alumni) - $122,936.21 from 499 donors
All other individuals (i.e. grateful patients & families, etc.) - $591,516.74 from 3,967 donors
SOM faculty & staff - $202,225.68 from 1,503 donors
Corporations - $1,013,713.69 from 424 donors
Institutions/Organizations - $89,685.63 from 68 donors
Personal/Family foundations - $2,000.00 from 1 donor
Other private foundations - $289,050.00 from 12 donors
Total dollar amount - $75,568.75
Total number of gifts - 434
Total number of donors - 579