SIU Medicine tops leaderboard in annual SIU Day of Giving

Southern Illinois University Carbondale held its third annual Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 6. The 24-hour fundraising campaign raised more than $909,000 for scholarships, programs and other SIU priorities. The School of Medicine raised more than 16 percent of that total, bringing in more than $150,000. The participation at the school also increased from 250 donations to 395.

Thanks to the generosity of employees, retirees, alumni, learners and community members, the School of Medicine won the coveted SIU Day of Giving traveling trophy for the most dollars raised by an academic unit. The school also earned the trophy for most individual gifts.

Hal Smith joins SIU Medicine as executive director of development

The Foundation Office at SIU School of Medicine welcomed new leadership in February. Hal Smith, who has served in senior staff roles for members of the US House of Representatives and the Senate, brings more than 40 years of public and private sector experience to the Springfield Foundation office.

Hal Smith

Smith, a Springfield native, has previously worked in development, first at Springfield College in Illinois and more recently at Lincoln College. Over the years he has also served in various roles in state government and spent nearly 30 years as a marketing consultant for Arthur Young (now EY) Consulting Services, Scientific Games, Inc., IGT Corporation and Jonathan Goodson Productions.

Smith has a passion for working in partnership with organizations to improve the local community. “Springfield is my hometown,” said Smith. “After many years of traveling elsewhere to earn a living, I am now focused on efforts to help strengthen this community. It is my honor to join the very capable staff at the SIU School of Medicine Foundation to support the institution’s ongoing mission of providing improved health care and educating medical providers for the 2.2 million residents and communities of central and southern Illinois.”

To connect with Smith, visit the Foundation Office at 409 W. Calhoun Ave. in Springfield, or reach out at 217-545-6447 or hals@foundation.siu.edu.


Family Medicine partners with Taylorville Memorial Hospital

SIU School of Medicine opened the Center for Family Medicine - Taylorville inside Taylorville Memorial Hospital on January 15.

Janet Albers, MD, along with physician assistant Christine Albers and nurse practitioner Airn Etherton will see patients three half-days per week. Services provided at the clinic include: well child care, chronic illness management, women’s health, geriatrics and behavioral health.

Taylorville Memorial Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital with a mission to improve the health of the people and communities they serve. The hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission and is an affiliate of Memorial Health System.

The SIU Department of Family and Community Medicine now serves patients in 10 sites in central and southern Illinois.


Joseph Henkle, MD, retired in January, as professor and chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine (CCM) at SIU School of Medicine. For more than three decades, Dr. Henkle taught medical students, provided patient care and pursued research for those with respiratory problems and sleep disorders.

Dr. Henkle joined the faculty in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at SIU in 1986 and served as division chief during the last 20 years. During his career, he was program director of the pulmonary medicine fellowship, director of the SIU/Memorial Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center, medical director of ICU education at St. John’s Hospital and medical director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center at SIU.

Longtime colleague and the new chief of the pulmonary and critical care division Peter White, MD, said, “Simply put, Dr. Henkle is a legend. He is an outstanding clinician, medical educator and administrator, who as the division chief for 20 years quietly built the pulmonary/CCM division into a clinical powerhouse. He is esteemed by his colleagues, medical students, residents and pulmonary fellows for his keen intellect and practical approach to solving clinical problems. He is beloved by his patients. Dr. Henkle represents all that is good and right about academic medicine.”

Dr. Henkle earned his bachelor of science and medical degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He completed his residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and his fellowship in pulmonary medicine at Good Samaritan and the Veterans Administration Medical Centers in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a proponent for getting proper rest to support the body’s immune functions, Dr. Henkle has healthy retirement plans. “I’m going to wake up to something other than the pager. Travel, spending more time with family and friends, and trying to improve a rusty golf game are on the short list, and I’ll figure the rest of it out as I go along. I will miss the medical care environment and the interaction with my colleagues, students, housestaff and patients. With many great memories, I look forward to the years ahead.”

On February 15, faculty, staff and learners, including Brittany Idusuyi, Class of 2019, presented “The Vagina Monologues,” by activist and playwright Eve Ensler. Proceeds benefitted The Phoenix Center, Central Illinois’ LGBTQ community center, and Sojourn Shelter and Services, which provides housing and resources for domestic violence victims, supporters and the community.


Speaker, guests spark authentic conversations about race, health care

Dave McIntosh, PhD, is the chief inclusion and diversity officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Racial inequalities are pervasive within our systems of education, criminal justice and health care, said invited speaker Dave McIntosh, PhD, and need to be recognized and addressed for America to achieve its promise. McIntosh delivered “Authentic and Critical Conversations on Race, Health and Patient Care” at the Third Annual Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew, MD, Presentation on Health Inequities and Disparities at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation on February 12. Discussions continued the next day as Dr. Wendi Wills El-Amin welcomed panelists to the Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew, MD, Forum on Health Inequities and Disparities. Panelists shared stories of encounters where they felt “minoritized” because of system practices that impede racial understanding. Guests also discussed their own experiences, sparking authentic conversations that can lead to changes in behavior, attitudes and policies within their personal and professional spheres.

McNeese presented with inaugural Equity Award

Wesley G. Robinson-McNeese, MD, was awarded the 2019 Equity Award in recognition of his “legacy, devotion and commitment to health equity, diversity, and inclusion at SIU School of Medicine and the surrounding community.” Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Wendi Wills El-Amin presented the award at the Third Annual Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew, MD, Lecture on February 13 (photo at top).

Dr. McNeese serves part time as the SIU System’s executive director of diversity initiatives. Previously, he worked as SIU School of Medicine’s associate dean for diversity and inclusion.

Over a 15-year span, Dr. McNeese created and organized numerous initiatives to promote and expand the culture of diversity and inclusion at the school. Most notably, he launched “P4”—the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program—to encourage high school students to pursue careers in medicine. He also spearheaded Diversity Week, the Eastside Health Initiative, the Metro-East Healthcare Elective, and the Alonzo H. Kenniebrew Lecture and Forum.


Breast cancer survivor walks at New York Fashion Week

Two-time breast cancer survivor and SIU Institute for Plastic Surgery patient Susan Danenberger strutted the AnaOno Intimates runway at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 10 in Manhattan. Danenberger, owner of Danenberger Family Vineyards in New Berlin, was one of 24 models, all of whom are living with or are in remission from stage IV, metastatic breast cancer.

AnaOno Intimates, which specializes in apparel for breast cancer patients and survivors, is in its third year at New York Fashion Week. The show aimed to shine a light on those living with metastatic breast cancer and raise funds for METAvivor Research and Support, Inc., a nonprofit organization that funds research to benefit people with stage IV breast cancer. According to METAvivor, only 2-5 percent of money for breast cancer research is dedicated toward metastatic breast cancer or finding solutions to extend the lives of MBC patients.

Danenberger used the platform to raise awareness not only about metastatic breast cancer and breast reconstruction, but also about the quality of care available in her own backyard of Central Illinois. After an out-of-state reconstructive surgery left her with dented, asymmetrical breasts, Danenberger returned to Springfield where fellow-ship-trained plastic surgeon Nicole Sommer, MD, FACS, ‘96, director of SIU Medicine’s Cosmetic Clinic, performed three reconstructive surgeries.

I learned from my sisterhood that it’s okay to be strong and sensitive, brave and scared. I learned that I am never alone and that it’s important to both lean on others and be the person holding someone else up. -Susan Danenberger

Danenberger first battled breast cancer in 2014. Two years later, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. Now Danenberger says she is ready to move from cancer patient to cancer survivor. “I made it,” she said. “I made it through all of this. This show was a celebration.”

Sommer joined Danenberger on her trip to Fashion Week along with Maria Ansley, photo-grapher at the SIU Medicine Institute for Plastic Surgery, and Nicole Florence, MD, Danenberger’s primary care doctor from Memorial Physician Services, who is also a 1996 graduate of SIU School of Medicine.

Danenberger receives a hug from SIU Medicine plastic surgeon Dr. Nicole Sommer as primary care provider, Dr. Nicole Florence looks on.


Senior medical students in the graduating Class of 2019 at SIU School of Medicine received results from the National Resident Matching Program Friday, March 15, at the same time other U.S. medical students learned their matches to postgraduate training programs. Sixty-three SIU seniors secured residency positions.

Match results also were announced for SIU’s residency programs in Springfield, based at the school’s two affiliated hospitals – Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital. Seventy-eight starting positions in Springfield were filled. The first-year residents will join more than 200 senior residents and fellows already in training at SIU programs in Springfield.


SIU School of Medicine

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