Donation to help upgrade SIUC Mortuary Science program lab, provide assistantships

Donation to help upgrade SIUC Mortuary Science program lab, provide assistantships

Present for the donation was Abel Salazar, clinical instructor of mortuary science (from left); Kevin Lee, vice president of community engagement, Mid-America Transplant; Carrie Hering, funeral home liaison Mid-America Transplant; Scott Collins, director, School of Allied Health; Anthony Fleege, mortuary science and funeral service program director, and Andy Wang, Dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

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CARBONDALE — A donation by Mid-America Transplant Foundation will mean renovations and additional equipment for Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Mortuary Science and Funeral Service embalming lab and continued undergraduate research assistantships for the program.

The bulk of a $98,000 donation presented Aug. 17 will be for renovations and equipment, with $15,000 going toward supporting students with assistantships, said Anthony Fleege, program director. This is the third year the foundation has provided support and the donation is the largest to a non-medical unit, he said.

The foundation approached the program about three years ago as it identified a shared purpose in serving families and supporting the community. To date, the foundation has provided nearly $134,400 to the university and SIU Foundation in support of the Mortuary Science and Funeral Service program, Kevin Lee, vice president of community engagement for Mid-America Transplant, said.

Mid-America Transplant Foundation has been “our greatest supporter and collaborator,” Fleege said. In addition to supporting students through assistantships, scholarships and board fee reimbursement, the foundation supports faculty through grants to travel and continue professional development and research.

Lee said Mid-America Transplant and its foundation are proud to partner with the university “as it educates the next generation of funeral home professionals.” The foundation has shown a commitment to the ongoing development of a strong, skilled workforce within its designated services area and is continually reviewing opportunities to support students.

“As funeral home professionals, these students have the ability to impact thousands of lives during their career,” Lee said. “Every day, these dedicated individuals work with families in times of unimaginable grief, providing compassion and comfort. We, too, seek to offer solace by providing their loved one with the opportunity to save lives through organ and tissue donation. We are grateful for the role funeral home professionals play in their communities and for their support of the organ and tissue donation process.”

The embalming lab renovations will provide students with one of the most up-to-date facilities in the Midwest, said Fleege, noting that there have not been “any significant upgrades” in about 40 years. The facelift will include drywall repair, paint and new ergonomic flooring. The project should be completed by Jan. 1, 2019.

The equipment donation will provide for:

• A camera/microphone over each embalming station connected to a large monitor over each station and a DVR to record all embalming and restoration operations. The monitors will also be connected to a laptop computer to assist students while they are embalming and doing lab activities.

• A new embalming table, so there will be four individual workstations for the optimal student-to-donor ratio.

 

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Morris Library’s Josh Vossler wins award for creativity

Josh Vossler of SIU Morris Library wins 2018 Arlies Best Development/Fundraising Films award.

Josh Vossler of SIU Morris Library wins 2018 Arlies Best Development/Fundraising Films award.

One of the best things that results from the SIU Day of Giving is the creativity that SIU staff and faculty exhibit leading up to the big day. While the SIU Foundation produces a series of videos designed to inspire donors to give to their favorite project or college, the staff from many of the colleges and units often decide to produce individual videos promoting their favorite initiatives as well.

One such example is the video that Josh Vossler produced featuring Morris Library. As head of reference and instruction reference and instruction services, Vossler is passionate about his place of work. So passionate that he produced a video that went on to win the prestigious 2018 Arlies award from the Association of Research Libraries film festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

The film festival highlights and shares multimedia products developed by member institutions to increase knowledge and use of libraries, their spaces, services, collections, and expertise.

Josh Vossler of SIU Morris Library wins 2018 Arlies Best Development/Fundraising Films awardOut of 40 entries, Vossler’s video won the category award for Best Development/Fundraising Films. The video was shared via the library’s social media and embedded on SIU’s website. With the help of Vossler’s creative production, Morris Library and its affiliates raised nearly $20,000 from 73 gifts during the 2018 SIU Day of Giving.

We want to congratulate Josh Vossler and the entire staff at Morris Library for the pride and passion they exhibit each day as they work at the library.

To view Vossler’s video, click here: https://vimeo.com/258105241. To review last year’s SIU Day of Giving results, visit www.siuday.siu.edu.

Morris Library Day of Giving 2018 from Joshua Vossler on Vimeo.

Challenging Alumni to Make a Difference

Interim SIU System President Kevin Dorsey

By Rebecca Renshaw

Note: Since the publication of this article, Dr. Kevin Dorsey has assumed the role of interim president for the SIU system as of July 30, 2018.

If you talk to Dr. Kevin Dorsey for more than a few minutes, you’ll recognize that his life passion is reflected within the mission of SIU School of Medicine, which he led for 14 years. That mission is “to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.”

Dorsey, who has been with the school since the early 1970s, says it was founded to improve the health of central and southern Illinois residents.

“We recruit and admit students from those regions, educate them and hope that, after they complete their training, they will return back to central or southern Illinois because the people in those areas need physicians,” he says.

Dorsey’s other commitment is to total community health.

“I’m pretty passionate about community health and service,” he says. “It’s just not enough to create physicians to go back to our Illinois communities. We must get out into the community to improve poverty and education and housing. Social determinants of health are critically important.”

He says the new generation of doctors will make a difference.

“Our students are great,” he says. “They are more committed to social justice, they have a strong conscience and they want to do good in the world. We need to enable their success, which is why I decided to initiate the SIU School of Medicine ‘Alumni Class Challenge.’ ”

As his parting act as dean and provost of the School of Medicine, Dorsey issued an SIU School of Medicine “Alumni Class Challenge” in 2015. He challenged each class to collectively raise at least $25,000 to endow a scholarship in honor of their class. Matching grant funds totaling $500,000 would be available to double the gifts or pledges received by Dec. 31, 2015.

The result was a resounding success. Most notably, gifts in honor of Dorsey’s leadership established the J. Kevin Dorsey Endowed Scholarship. This is the School of Medicine’s largest endowed scholarship fund, and it will assist several students each year for generations to come.

The need for the scholarships might be a surprise to some, but not to Dorsey.

“One thing you must understand about our students is that, coming from central and southern Illinois, they are in the lower parental income brackets,” he says. “However, medical students across the nation tend to be from the top 20 percent in parental income.

“When you look at the average indebtedness of an SIU School of Medicine graduate, he or she comes out with an average accrual of roughly $180,000 in debt. That figure is significantly higher compared to other medical schools that can offer huge scholarships to students. The Alumni Class Challenge will help more students with more scholarships to assist them in their medical studies.”

Dorsey came to SIU School of Medicine as one of its founding faculty members, arriving with a Ph.D. in biochemistry and teaching the first two classes in the school’s history. Dorsey then became a student in the third class and obtained an M.D. degree from SIU. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Iowa before returning to southern Illinois to practice rheumatology.

“While I had obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin and a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology at Johns Hopkins a few years before, I recognized that a career in bench research just wasn’t going to do it for me,” he says. “I wanted to directly and immediately make a difference in people’s lives.”

As the end of his tenure as dean and provost in December 2015, more than 2,600 medical students had graduated from the School of Medicine.

The school offers an M.D., a master’s degree and doctoral degree in various biomedical sciences, including a master’s degree for physician assistant students, as well as advanced training in clinical specialties (17 residencies and 13 fellowships). There also is a small number of SIU students each year who pursue combined degree programs in law and medicine, or in medicine and public health.

When asked what he wants his legacy to be, his answer is simple: “I tried to fulfill the mission.”

Reflecting on his parting gift as dean and how others could contribute, Dorsey says, “Whatever anyone can contribute – whether it is time, talent or resources – all of it is valuable and important.”