Medical Dosimetry Program Receives $100,000 Technology Grant

Canis Lupus LLC, a medical device manufacturer and design firm specializing in radiation therapy innovation, announced today it will award an ongoing technology grant to the Medical Dosimetry Program offered at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The grant, worth $100,000 per year, will begin with SIU Carbondale’s incoming dosimetry class in August 2013, and will be renewed with each new incoming class. All students and faculty in the program will receive licenses of “Quality Reports [EMR],” a software solution that reads data exported from all commercial radiation therapy planning systems and generates customized, meaningful use EMR reports designed for modern radiation therapy.

The Quality Reports software gives immediate, quantitative reports to medical dosimetrists to gauge their performance in reaching the clinical goals. It is an “enabling technology” that allows dosimetrists to: 1) measure and document performance for each unique treatment plan in comparison to the physician’s goals, 2) mitigate the risk of omission during plan analysis, and 3) trend progress over many treatment plans, enabling and inspiring continual improvement.

Quality Reports is the same technology used for the popular “Plan Challenge” – an annual study conducted by Radiation Oncology Resources (Goshen, IN) in conjunction with the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD).

Program Director K. Scott Collins, Ph.D., RT(R)(T), CMD says: “This software will be a great tool to improve the planning skills of our students. It will make them aware of the maximum achievable plan quality and indicate which metrics can be improved. This information will add great value to the learning process.”

Benjamin Nelms, Ph.D, founder of Canis Lupus LLC, adds: “In working with the leadership team at SIU’s program, we agreed it would be great to get the Quality Reports technology into dosimetrists’ hands during their professional training.”

Nelms continues, “Over the past several years, I have had an opportunity to meet a few of the dosimetry students from SIU’s program, and I’ve been impressed by their hunger to learn and improve. They want to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce. I love this attitude, and we want to support and encourage it in any way we can.”

SIU’s Medical Dosimetry Program is a year-long, intensive program consisting of lectures, clinical rotations, group interaction, and preparation for professional certification. Usage of the software will be incorporated not only into the clinical rotations, but also the lectures, as many aspects of modern radiation therapy – such as how machines work, best practices with respect to planning parameters, differences between planning and delivery systems, etc. – are easily explained using the software’s tools and graphics as a backdrop for learning.

Integrating the Quality Reports technology into the curriculum of SIU’s program will further help prepare the students to be highly qualified and confident upon graduation.

About Canis Lupus LLC

Canis Lupus LLC is a privately owned medical device manufacturer and design firm, specializing in radiation therapy innovation. The Canis Lupus mission is to work – through creation, invention, discovery, and collaboration – to meet the needs critical to the future of healthcare. Specifically, to: 1) increase the quality of customized radiation therapy; 2) ensure the safety of radiation therapy; 3) enhance the professional lives of clinicians through useful and intuitive tools; and 4) decrease the cost of healthcare.

About the SIUC Medical Dosimetry Program

The Master of Science Medical Dosimetry program at Southern Illinois University is one of only three graduate degree programs currently offered. It was the third JRCERT accredited program out of seventeen total in the country. The program is offered 100% via distance education through the use of live video conferencing and the Desire2Learn education platform. Students can attend the program from most any location as long as certain criteria are met.

Inaugural Lane intern cherishes legislative work

For recent Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate Lauren V. Connor, learning first-hand about the legislative process in Springfield was an opportunity she will cherish.

Connor, the inaugural Alexander Lane intern, recently finished her work with the House Democratic Issues/Communications staff for the Illinois House of Representatives. Connor, who earned her bachelor’s degree in theater in May, worked from mid-January through May 31 on tasks including assisting representatives in communicating with constituents, and researching and analyzing proposed legislation.

Lauren Connor - Inaugural Lane intern

The daughter of Lawrence and Vernea Connor of Chicago, she said the experience at the Capitol “was a crash-course in state government, politics, policy and professionalism.”

“This is invaluable to anyone interested in pursuing a career in politics and government,” she said. “My knowledge of public policy, relationships with politicians, and understanding of the legislative and political process are the things I most cherish from my experience.”

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute established the internship program in November 2011 to honor Lane, the first African American male student at what would become SIU Carbondale. The paid internship allows at least one student each spring to work with a minority member of the Illinois General Assembly toward a goal of carrying on Lane’s legacy of high achievement and public service.

Lane rose from meager beginnings in pre-Civil War Mississippi to become a school principal, physician, and an Illinois state legislator, in addition to attending then-Southern Illinois Normal University, enrolling in the teachers college in 1876, just two years after instruction at Southern Illinois Normal University began. Lane was the ninth African American elected to the General Assembly in 1906, and was re-elected in 1908. He died in 1911 in Chicago.

“Lauren was a great student to have as our first Lane intern,” said David Yepsen, Institute director. “We got a lot of good feedback about her performance. I’m also grateful she was given the chance by the House to learn and to contribute in some way to the development of good public policy in the state. So thanks to Lauren and thanks to the Legislature for giving her the opportunity.”

With a passion for writing and public speaking, Connor said one of her favorite aspects of her internship was developing speech-writing skills for remarks prepared for House members for conferences and hearings. As a staff member she also worked with numerous committees.

Connor said one of her more memorable experiences was the General Assembly’s approval in late May of concealed carry legislation that is now awaiting approval by Gov. Pat Quinn. She wrote news releases, researched the topic, and recalls watching Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, give a closing speech prior House approval. She also recalls the passionate speeches of legislators opposed to the measure because of the possible detriment to their communities.

“I am still fascinated that I was able to participate in such a historic moment for Illinois,” she said.

Connor, who is living in Chicago, said she wants to continue to work closely with House Democrats who are in the Chicagoland area, and she also wants to proceed with plans to produce and direct her not-for-profit theater company while working as an actor and performer. She is also planning to attend graduate school.

Simon Institute associate director Matt Baughman noted private donors provided the Lane internship stipend.

“Dozens of individuals and corporations have generously supported this internship to provide an opportunity to change the life of a student while also preserving the legacy of Alexander Lane, who is an important figure in the rich history of our University and our state,” Baughman said.

Lane Internship endowment donations may be made online at or sent to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Mail Code 4429, Carbondale, IL 62901. Checks should be made payable to the SIU Foundation.

Greg Cook elected Foundation board president

Greg Cook

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A successful businessman and philanthropist who is a longtime advocate for Southern Illinois University Carbondale has been elected to preside over the SIU Foundation Board of Directors.

Greg Cook, president and co-founder of Cook Portable Warehouse (also known as Cook Sales, Inc.), is the newly selected president of the SIU Foundation. His appointment was effective July 1.

The volunteer board governs the SIU Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that provides alumni and friends a means to invest in the University’s future. Established in 1942, the Foundation solicits and administers gifts from private sources in support of SIU Carbondale’s academic mission. Private funding is generated through annual giving, planned giving, major giving, corporate and foundation relations and campaigns.

“Being a part of the Southern Illinois University Foundation, and being asked to serve as its president, is an incredible honor,” Cook says. “I am happy to give back to an institution which I so dearly love. The act of ‘giving back’ or ‘paying it forward’ and seeing the impact one can make in other’s lives is incredibly rewarding.

“I look forward to working with the Foundation Board, the Foundation staff, our alumni, and our University along those lines.”

Cook, who majored in business administration at SIU Carbondale in the late 1970s, was initially elected to the SIU Foundation Board in 2006. He served the last two years as president-elect of the Foundation Board.

The Carbondale native and his father, John Cook, co-founded Cook Portable Warehouses, which are small to midsized residential wooden storage buildings; with manufacturing plants in Cobden Ill., Valdosta, Ga., Hattiesburg Miss., and Austin, Texas. The four plants service more than 250 dealers in portions of 13 states, with sales of more than 12,000 buildings annually. The company currently employs more than 250 people.

Cook and his wife, Nancy, a 1980 elementary education graduate of SIU Carbondale, are avid Saluki fans, and, life members of the SIU Alumni Association. They were both born and raised in Carbondale.

The Cooks are season ticket holders for Saluki football, men’s and women’s basketball, and softball. The couple donated $1 million to Saluki Way in memory of Greg’s father in 2008. Additionally, Greg also served on a six-member, volunteer steering committee to generate private support of Saluki Way, an $83-million project. Primary components of Saluki Way included building Saluki Stadium; renovation of the SIU Arena; and constructing Boydston Center, an athletics support facility housing locker rooms, meeting rooms and office space for Saluki men’s and women’s basketball, as well as football.

Cook and his father also served on the “Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment” planning committee.

A licensed pilot with a lifelong love for flying, Cook has owned and piloted four different aircraft that have been used to enhance his business. He often utilizes his aircraft to give back to organizations he is passionate about. In addition to Saluki Athletics, he generously supports the Corporate Angel Network, Special Olympics, the American Cancer Society, and the Veterans Airlift Command in this fashion.