tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:/stories/feed/ We Are ND 2018-08-16T02:31:58-04:00 tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/88776 2018-08-13T10:00:00-04:00 2018-08-14T16:14:20-04:00 Domer Doctors Work Together to Prevent Nuclear War <p>They have worked with physicians in Russia, North Korea, to promote peace</p> <p>“We’re comrades against arms,” <strong>Dr. Jim Muller ’65</strong> says of his relationship with fellow Domer <strong>Dr. John Pastore ’63</strong>.</p> <p>Muller co-founded International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and Pastore was one of the first board members of the group, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.</p> <p>“I’ve actually never said that before, but that’s what we are—comrades against nuclear arms,” Muller continues. “We believe North Korea and the rest of the world should denuclearize. Nuclear weapons should be outlawed like chemical weapons and removed as the basis of the international order.”</p> <p>The pair’s unprecedented work uniting American and Russian physicians against nuclear weapons in the 1980s earned that Nobel Peace Prize, and today both Muller and Pastore are focused on creating a similar relationship with physicians in North Korea.</p> <p>Muller, a Boston cardiologist who has been on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for more than 25 years, says the threat of nuclear war is a public health issue.</p> <p>“Those who say doctors should treat pneumonia and nuclear wars should be prevented by statesmen and the military have it wrong. We need the worldwide voice of a profession dedicated to life and health to chime in,” he says. “When medicine encounters a situation where you can’t really treat something—say, advanced cancer—you try to find it early and prevent it. Similarly, nuclear war is absolutely something that has to be prevented.”</p> <p>Pastore, who is also a Boston-based cardiologist, has traveled to North Korea twice to share medications and medical advice, as well as educate physicians about the dangers that nuclear war presents.</p> <p>“As physicians, we have something different to offer than diplomats. It is a two-pronged effort, offering medical assistance and education, but also with the subtext of physicians’ role in preventing nuclear war by emphasizing the medical catastrophe that could ensue,” he says.</p> <p>Muller discussed this type of medical catastrophe in explicit detail during meetings with United Nations representatives of North Korea in New York City in December 2017.</p> <p>“If a single nuclear bomb exploded over Manhattan, everything within a mile radius would be vaporized. The crush, fire, and radiation injuries would afflict hundreds of thousands, quickly overwhelming any surviving medical supplies and facilities,” he says. “Attempts to shelter underground in a subway would lead to deaths by burns and asphyxiation.”</p> <p>And that’s just the immediate impact area—Muller also says that surrounding areas would be subject to excessive radioactivity carried by the wind.<br> Muller and Pastore have long worked to prevent such scenarios from ever unfolding, and they have seen their work pay off. </p> <p>“In 1981, there were 61,000 nuclear weapons in the world,” Muller says. “When you have that many, it has become a game. That number is too large, even for those arguing they are needed for deterrence. After public opinion was changed by the world peace movement, which I believe the IPPNW helped get started, that number has now fallen to 16,000.”</p> <p>Muller, whose father, <strong>Paul Muller ’37</strong>, encouraged him to study Russian at Notre Dame after witnessing the country’s successful space program, spent 20 years cultivating cooperation among American and Russian doctors. He was inspired to take action after attending a lecture about the dangers of a nuclear conflict when he was a student at Johns Hopkins Medical School.</p> <p>In 1967, Muller traveled to Moscow as the first American medical exchange student. Later, he worked in Russia as part of the U.S. Public Health Service and, in the 1970s, jointly studied heart attacks with Russian doctors.</p> <p>“By 1980, we had built a spirit of cooperation with the Russian doctors and converted that to a joint opposition to nuclear weapons,” Muller says. In 1982, three years before winning the Nobel Prize, Muller and Pastore participated in a panel discussion about nuclear weapons in Moscow that was broadcast to 100 million Russians on Soviet television and as part of a Frontline episode on PBS in the U.S. The broadcast was unprecedented at the time, given the Soviet Union’s policy of banning western views from the public.</p> <p>“There is a certain risk there, for Americans to go to Moscow and organize Russian doctors against nuclear weapons at a time when the U.S. and Russia were heading toward a nuclear conflict,” Muller says. “We felt we were working against nuclear war and trying to protect millions of children, so we didn’t worry about the risk. We thought the benefit would be greater than the risk.”</p> <p>Pastore, the son of longtime U.S. Senator John O. Pastore of Rhode Island, first encountered the concept of nuclear war when his father was chair of the joint congressional committee on atomic energy in the 1950s and 1960s. Pastore remembers his father advocating for peaceful uses of atomic energy. After graduating from medical school, Pastore spent two years working with the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, where he witnessed firsthand the lasting impacts of the atomic bombs dropped during World War II.</p> <p>“One of the things that made a very big impression on me was that even those who survived were scarred both psychologically and physically,” Pastore says. “There was an increased incidence of leukemia in Japan in the 1950s, and these people felt like they had poison in their bone marrow that was sooner or later going to catch up to them. It was hard to get my arms around what that must feel like—they were alive but felt like this death bomb was in their bone marrow. It made me determined to do whatever I could to spread the word that you can’t do this thing again.”</p> <p>Both Muller and Pastore were inspired to work against nuclear weapons by the example of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. who led the Atomic Energy Commission. Father Ted helped them raise the initial funding for IPPNW, and on his last day as president of Notre Dame, said Mass in a Soviet hotel while attending the IPPNW congress.</p> <p>Nearly 50 years after they first began this work, both Muller and Pastore remain committed to preventing nuclear war. Pastore helped lead IPPNW as it co-founded the International Campaign for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.</p> <p>“We’ve lived with the threat of these weapons for 73 years, and had a number of close calls: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War in the ’80s, and now we have North Korea,” Muller says. “Eventually our luck will run out and the things will go off, whether it is a computer error or a terrorist or a rogue nation. Either we’re going to get rid of them, or they’re going to get rid of us.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, please visit <a href="https://www.ippnw.org/">ippnw.org</a>.</em></p> Maura Sullivan Hill tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/88628 2018-08-06T09:00:00-04:00 2018-08-07T08:06:23-04:00 Seeing Homelessness Moved Her to Make a Difference <p>She led organization that delivers crucial assistance</p> <p>When <strong>Mary Brosnahan ’83 </strong>was living in New York City’s East Village in the late 1980s, she saw homelessness up close every day as she made her way home.</p> <p>“There is this tiny park, Cooper Triangle, and there were just dozens and dozens of men sleeping in the park, and washing off in the fire hydrants,” she says.</p> <p>Brosnahan had recently returned to New York after working on the 1988 Dukakis presidential campaign and says, “it took me leaving New York and coming back to be smacked in the face with how out of control the homeless crisis was.”</p> <p>Determined to do her part to help people like the men she saw in that park every day, Brosnahan decided to work for the <a href="http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/">Coalition for the Homeless</a>. The Coalition is the oldest advocacy and direct services organization helping homeless men, women, and children in the United States. Founded on the principle that housing is a human right, it provides housing, food, crisis services, job training, and youth programs, along with public education campaigns and advocacy to end homelessness in New York.</p> <p>Brosnahan started as the director of the New York office and then took over as executive director of the Coalition six months into her tenure. This year, after 30 years at the Coalition, she stepped down from her role as president and CEO.</p> <p>While she was at the helm, Brosnahan expanded the office from 13 employees to 70, and led the fundraising campaign to purchase a building in lower Manhattan, which brought all its services under one roof. She remembers struggling to meet payroll each week at the beginning, but since then, the Coalition has grown its budget and helped more than one million New Yorkers find housing and get off the streets. It now helps more than 3,500 homeless and poor New Yorkers daily through its programs.</p> <p>Brosnahan says she never envisioned spending 30 years at the Coalition when she first came on board, but it was the people she met who fueled her commitment.</p> <p>“Whether it was a man who’d been living on the streets for many years because he was mentally ill, or a single mom fleeing domestic violence, at the end of the day, they need what we all need, which is a door behind them that locks. They need the sanctuary of home,” she says, choking up. “They would inspire me so much, and I let that feed my soul instead of beat me down.”</p> <p>When she did get frustrated, Brosnahan says it was with the attitude that the poor and homeless are trying to work the system and get handouts.</p> <p>“I could have walked out into the Coalition waiting room, and I’m sure there were two or three people trying to take advantage. But you don’t design your whole system to trip those people up,” she says. “What about the other 97 percent of people that just need a hand up?”</p> <p>The Coalition’s annual State of the Homeless reported that there were an average of 63,495 adults and children sleeping in shelters in New York City each night at the end of 2017. Brosnahan and the Coalition attribute that number to New York’s lack of affordable housing and income inequality.</p> <p>“The Coalition was out feeding 1,000 people on the streets every night, so we knew exactly what was going on,” Brosnahan says. “We were able to follow these things on a much more granular level. We were giving voice to the people who really had no voice.”</p> <p>Brosnahan’s late husband, John Sullivan, had a similar commitment to helping the homeless, and the couple met when she served on the board of the housing organization where he worked. When she eventually decided to step back from her all-consuming work at the Coalition, she says, it was largely to spend more time with the couple’s 15-year-old son, Quinn.</p> <p>During her career, Brosnahan often spent nights handing out food on the streets of New York to support the Coalition’s food program, which serves hot, nutritious meals 365 days a year. She says she saw Jesus in the people she met, including in one memorable interaction at the Port Authority bus terminal.</p> <p>“A gentleman came up, pushing his bike. He was perspiring and out of breath, and was so glad he made it to get the food,” Brosnahan says. “He explained that his pedal had fallen off his bicycle and he didn’t have the five dollars that the bike shop wanted to get the bolt to reattach it. I gave him the five dollars, and he started crying. You realize what a huge difference a small amount of money makes in many people’s lives. When you hear those stories of courage, it really animates and informs your work.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about the Coalition for the Homeless, <a href="http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/">please visit its website</a>. </em><br>  </p> Maura Sullivan Hill tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/88479 2018-07-30T10:00:00-04:00 2018-07-30T10:33:30-04:00 Helping Haiti to Heal Wounds <p>Doctor started sustainable wound care program following 2010 earthquake</p> <p>When the catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, more than 220,000 people were killed and 300,000 injured. <strong>John Macdonald, M.D. ’58</strong>, a doctor who had been traveling to Haiti annually since the 1980s, was on the ground caring for patients in Port-au-Prince just two days later.</p> <p>“We got to the airport and there was no electricity anywhere,” Macdonald says. “They took us in a pickup truck along the tarmac to these large warehouse tents where the United Nations was stationed. We walked into those two tents and there were about 200 patients on mattresses and cots on the floor, with crush injuries, diabetic acidosis, congestive heart failure. There was a small table with dressings, but no running water, no toilets, and no nurses. All we had with us were morphine tablets, and we began to say, ‘What are we going to do with all this?’”</p> <p>Macdonald, a former thoracic surgeon now specializing in wound care, had arrived in Haiti with six other doctors. They immediately hopped out of the pickup truck and started triaging and caring for the patients. The acute need for Macdonald’s wound care expertise was apparent immediately.</p> <p>“I realized all of a sudden—wait a minute, I was put here for a reason,” Macdonald says. “Eighty percent of these people had open wounds, and I said, ‘What we’ve got to do is create a structured wound care program.’”</p> <p>Macdonald gathered all the available wound care gauze, sponges, and sutures into a central area and devised a systematic approach to treating the patients’ wounds. Four large, circus-size tents were then donated and built next to the Port-au-Prince airport tarmac. From January to July 2010, with the support of more than 300 volunteers, doctors treated 24,000 patients with open wounds.</p> <p>Macdonald, who was traveling back and forth between Haiti and his home in Ft. Lauderdale during those seven months, had created the world’s first-ever designated wound care program after a natural disaster. Once his group made it through the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, he was determined to turn the wound care clinic over to the Haitian people, so they could continue caring for more typical, everyday wounds. The group had moved from the tents at the airport to a 20-bed clinic in Port-au-Prince, but with the support of a generous donor, they were able to create a wound care clinic and a 60-bed general hospital.</p> <p>“We decided it was important for us to give this to the Haitians so they could sustain it without us,” says Macdonald, who still serves as the medical director of the clinic, located at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. “After the earthquake, we were dealing with diabetic patients with ulcers, spinal injury patients with pressure ulcers, people with venous ulcers. The quality of life in such countries does not depend on longevity; it depends upon freedom from pain and disability. These people don’t need open heart surgery or total hip replacement—they need good wound care.”</p> <p>Macdonald has worked with the World Health Organization as a wound care expert in Haiti, Africa, and South America, and says that the majority of resource-poor countries don’t have adequate wound care. Throughout Haiti, 75 percent of diabetic patients with foot ulcers will require an amputation. At Macdonald’s clinic, only 15 percent of patients with that same ailment need amputations, thanks to proper wound care.</p> <p>“This is the example we want to give to the rest of the world,” Macdonald says. “We have many places like Haiti that have no idea how to treat a basic wound, and that means that people are out of work, or they die from preventable infections. People don’t recognize that these wounds can be devastating.”</p> <p>As medical director, Macdonald makes monthly trips to Haiti to check in at the wound care clinic, which is staffed by eight Haitians —a doctor, a nurse, and six others.</p> <p>“One was an accountant, some were cooks, but we trained them in the basic principles of wound care and supervise them,” Macdonald says. “We’re taking care of 500 patient encounters a week—it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Caribbean.”</p> <p>The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and its Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, where Macdonald is currently on staff as a wound care expert, have also thrown their support behind the clinic. Going forward, it will be known as umCARE for Haiti, and there are plans to expand the program both within Haiti and internationally.</p> <p>Macdonald counts his wife, Kari, the couple’s four sons, and his education at Notre Dame and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine among his life’s blessings, and says he feels a sense of obligation to help others because of all that he has been given.</p> <p>“The entire legacy of the effort after the earthquake is whether or not we can use umCARE as a center of excellence to teach effective wound care,” he says. “I just took whatever gifts God gave me and am trying to use them as best I can. For to whom much has been given, much is expected in return.”</p> Maura Sullivan Hill tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/88336 2018-07-23T10:40:00-04:00 2018-07-23T10:59:19-04:00 She Survived Cancer And Raised Money to Fight It <p>She developed a passion for raising money to support&nbsp;life-saving research</p> <p><strong>Sheila (McDaniel) Henry ’87</strong> knew if she was going to make a career in fundraising, it would have to be for a cause she was passionate about. She found that passion at UCLA’s <a href="https://cancer.ucla.edu/">Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center</a>, where she spent 18 years raising money for cancer research.</p> <p>As a three-time cancer survivor since she was 17 years old, Henry found her work deeply meaningful. </p> <p>“I am absolutely committed to the mission of the organization as a cancer survivor,” Henry says. “For me to be close to the discoveries and knowing that progress was really happening and that I had a role as a fundraiser to contributing to it, that was very personal work to me.”</p> <p><strong>A Personal Journey</strong></p> <p>When Henry was a senior in high school, she was diagnosed with a sarcoma. After surgery, she was able to graduate on time and attend Notre Dame in the fall of 1983.</p> <p>During her sophomore year as an American Studies major, her schedule included 10 rounds of chemotherapy at St. Joseph Hospital because the sarcoma recurred in her lung, something she was warned about after her first surgery. </p> <p>A big concern for Henry was being able to stay at Notre Dame, something her parents continually supported.</p> <p>“I am grateful to them forever for not insisting that I move back home,” she says. “They were very supportive of me to try and live my life through the cancer experience I was having.”</p> <p>Henry was cancer-free from the summer of 1984 until 2001, when she was diagnosed with a new cancer in her left breast. Her treatment was more aggressive because she was older (though still young to be diagnosed with breast cancer). Following a lumpectomy, she received radiation and eight rounds of chemotherapy. </p> <p>In the summer of 2013, she was diagnosed with breast cancer again, this time in her right breast. Treatment consisted of a double mastectomy and another eight rounds of chemotherapy. Now, she’s nearly five years cancer-free.</p> <p>“I am so grateful,” Henry says. “So many people went before me and did clinical trials and got researchers to know more about these diseases. My last two diagnoses were when I was working for one of the best cancer centers in the country and I had the best people close to me.”</p> <p><strong>Making a Difference</strong></p> <p>Henry appreciated the opportunity to make a difference at Jonsson.</p> <p>“For me, it really was about being able to make my contribution using the skills that I had,” she says. “I was not cut out to go to medical school or be a researcher, but I was cut out to write and to advocate and to help explain to others how their gifts could make a difference.”</p> <p>Henry most recently worked with donors who wanted to make large gifts to the organization, usually somewhere in the six to seven figure range. She also assisted donors who made estate gifts, helping them use the correct language to ensure their wishes would be honored after they died.</p> <p>Before that, Henry was focused on raising funds for projects that needed an initial push to move past the idea stage. Those funds helped researchers launch clinical trials and test novel theories with a goal of developing better cancer treatments.</p> <p>Henry says most of the donors she worked with were patients or had family members treated by Jonsson. She got to know many donors personally, hearing their stories while guiding them through the giving process.</p> <p>“They were the embodiment of the progress, the advances being made,” Henry says. “I could see that progress happening and it was a gift to me in a lot of ways because it gave me hope. I knew there were people working to change the future of many thousands of cancer patients.”</p> <p>Henry’s decision to leave Jonsson didn’t come lightly. She loved being part of the work the center was doing, but the weight of thinking about cancer daily was taking a toll on her.</p> <p>“As a cancer survivor from the age of 17, I had thought about cancer a lot most days,” Henry says. “But to do that every day in my working life, it really did get to a point where I recognized it was not healthy for me. Even with the positive signs, it just weighed on me too heavily and I felt it was time for me to step away.”</p> <p>Since retiring in the summer of 2017, Henry has taken the time to be a full-time mom to her 14-year-old son. She is thankful for the opportunity to dedicate more time to her family, and grateful she had the chance to help others who, like her, had faced battles with cancer. </p> <p>“This was really my way of giving back and being able to pay it forward for other people who would be diagnosed with cancers,” she says. “And I found it impactful and deeply meaningful to use my skills to ultimately help make a difference for others.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about the work UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center does to help fight cancer, please visit <a href="https://cancer.ucla.edu/">cancer.ucla.edu</a>.</em><br>  </p> Alexandra Smith tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/88096 2018-07-16T09:45:00-04:00 2018-07-16T09:53:52-04:00 Entrepreneur Took a Stand Against Harassment <p>She&rsquo;s created a diverse and welcoming culture at her company</p> <p>If you Google “Lindsay Meyer entrepreneur,” more than half of the results on the first page reference Meyer’s decision to speak out about the sexual abuse and harassment she faced from an investor in her first company.</p> <p>Meyer, who says she would rather be known for the success of her San Francisco-based retail company, <a href="https://www.visitbatch.com/">Batch</a>, struggled with the decision to go public about her experience.</p> <p>“Over the last year, I’ve come to realize that oftentimes, these big events in your life find you, and it is up to you to make the most of it and deal with it, or to run away from it and bury it,” says Meyer, a 2008 Notre Dame graduate. “When I was being taken advantage of, I felt like I didn’t have any other choice except to keep going and suffer the consequences of other people’s bad behavior, because I needed the money for my company. So I’ve chosen to, even though it has always been agonizing, to use it as a way to inspire and encourage others so that they don’t have to suffer.”</p> <p>In June 2017, Meyer spoke to the <em>New York Times</em> as part of a story about the culture of harassment in the tech industry and Silicon Valley—months before the Me Too movement exploded in October 2017, when a number of Hollywood actresses accused powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse and harassment.</p> <p>Before Meyer talked to the <em>New York Times</em>, a group of women had made harassment allegations about the same investor who had harassed her, but the story—which ran in a niche tech publication—hadn’t gained much traction. “I had an overwhelming amount of evidence—thousands of text messages, horrible voicemails, email trails—even though it had been about two years since the incidents,” she says. “I could clearly see the wrongdoing and felt like there was an obligation to tell the story.”</p> <p>In December, <em>Time Magazine</em> named The Silence Breakers its 2017 Person of the Year, honoring all the women involved in the Me Too movement. <a href="http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/">Meyer was recognized as one of these Silence Breakers</a>, alongside the likes of actress Ashley Judd and women in the hospitality, restaurant, farming, and journalism industries. The attention and recognition that came with sharing her story did not elicit simple emotions of relief or triumph. Meyer says she still struggled with shame about the harassment—even during photoshoots with <em>Time</em> or interviews with NBC News.</p> <p>“It was a year ago that I was going through this, and it has taken me the last 12 months to really start to feel okay with what happened and my role in it. It’s funny for me to look back on the photos from the <em>New York Times</em> story and know how I was feeling at the time, but see that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to judge that from looking at the picture of me in my nicely pressed sweater with my perfect hair,” Meyer says. “For so long, people would recognize me or thank me, and I just felt like hanging my head. But now I’m past the PTSD of the experience and can recognize the historical and social significance—it’s certainly not gone to my head, but something I reflect on. Especially one year ago, no one was really talking about this and there wasn’t this culture where women who made accusations would be believed or supported.”</p> <p>Speaking out about the harassment was not without risks—she was just weeks away from raising the initial round of funding to start Batch when the <em>New York Times </em>story came out.</p> <p>“There is little precedence in history of women going up against powerful men with more financial resources and professional clout and winning,” she says. “I was worried about whether it would jeopardize my entire career, and if my livelihood was on the line. I didn’t want to jeopardize the opportunity to get my dream company up and running.”</p> <p>But today, more than a year after launch, Batch is thriving. Meyer describes the company as an “immersive, tactile shopping experience.” Even though much of the retail industry is shifting to online sales, Meyer says that research shows that people still prefer buying more expensive items for the home in person. People can see, touch, and experience at the Batch showroom, which is located in an old firehouse in San Francisco and set up like a home, rather than a store.</p> <p>“Shopping has this cool opportunity to shift into spaces that are more like people’s homes, which are highly personalized, and a more intimate and inspiring setting,” she says. “It’s not a store or a shopping mall, and it’s not even just through your iPhone or computer screen. People are coming in to discover new things, try things before they buy them, then actually buy them here with us.”</p> <p>They change the “batch” (what they call the store inventory) five times a year: once for each season and a bonus holiday edition. Everything in the showroom is for sale, including home décor, food and beverages, art, electronics, and more. The brands for sale are often fellow entrepreneurial ventures, and Meyer says she likes being able to help other early-stage entrepreneurs.</p> <p>They are preparing to launch in a second city soon, and Meyer has consciously created a company culture that is diverse and welcoming.</p> <p>“Silicon Valley is largely viewed as an unfriendly place for women, whether it is workplace policies or commitment to diversity,” she says. “Now I’m in a position where I’ve had to come through all of that, and I think I can change that in the micro by being an entity that employs a lot of women, that has progressive policies, that offers things like paid maternity leave and unlimited paid time off and really tries to build up other women in support of their goals and career objectives.”</p> Maura Sullivan Hill tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/87977 2018-07-09T11:00:00-04:00 2018-07-11T16:05:21-04:00 She Now Treats the Children of Former Patients <p>Pediatrician makes a difference serving generations of families in Philadelphia</p> <p><strong>Denise A. Salerno, M.D. ’89</strong> has practiced pediatrics at The Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia long enough that she is now seeing the children of her patients.</p> <p>“One day, about three months ago, I saw three infants and each of their moms had been my patient. One of the babies, I had been the physician for both the mom and the dad,” Salerno says. “I take care of a lot of extended families, and patients that I had as children are now in their 20s and starting their own families. That they feel comfortable and want to take their children to me—that is such an honor and a privilege when it comes full circle like that.”</p> <p>Salerno, a science preprofessional major at Notre Dame and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, was one of the founding physicians of Temple Pediatric Care, the university’s pediatric primary care practice. She helped launch the practice 21 years ago, right after her residency training.</p> <p>“It was a great challenge,” Salerno says. “It was exciting to start something from scratch and to bring pediatrics to a campus that hadn’t treated children in a long time. There was a nursery and a neonatal intensive care unit, but other than that they weren’t used to treating children, so we did educational seminars on pediatric topics for the nurses, hospital staff, and others involved in patient care to make sure they were equipped and ready to handle pediatric patients.”</p> <p>Since those early days, Salerno has maintained that same level of commitment to Temple and to her patients, most of whom live in the economically depressed north Philadelphia neighborhood surrounding the hospital.</p> <p>“There are definitely challenges, in their neighborhood and in their own family. I had a five-year-old child whose dad was shot and killed while they were waiting at the school bus stop together,” she says. “My teenage patients are dealing with a lot in adolescence and don’t always have someone that they can talk to about it. Knowing that they can turn to me and I can help them with resources is very rewarding.”</p> <p>As a first-generation college student herself, Salerno also stresses the importance of education to her patients. Many of her patients’ parents did not go to college, so she counts it as a highlight when she signs off on a patient’s pre-college physical.</p> <p>Salerno fondly recalls patients running up to her in the office hallway to give her a hug and say thank you, and the mom who sent her a message on Facebook with photos of her daughter’s recent high school prom and graduation that said, “Thank you for helping me help her.”</p> <p>Salerno says her family and Catholic upbringing taught her to be grateful for what she has and to help raise others up. It’s part of why she became a physician, and why she works with the patients at Temple. It’s also an attitude that she hopes to pass on to her two sons, Chris, 12, and Dominic, 10. In 2017 and 2018, she and her husband, Bob, took them to Notre Dame to participate in Family Volunteer Camp, which allows Notre Dame families stay on campus and support service projects in the South Bend area.</p> <p>She champions this same kind of compassion and empathy in the course she teaches at Temple University Medical School. As a professor of clinical pediatrics, she teaches a course for all first and second year medical students called “Doctoring: Fundamentals of Clinical Care.”</p> <p>“The doctoring course teaches clinical skills, such as how to perform a physical exam and take a medical history,” she says. “I love seeing the excitement in the students as they experience their first encounter with a patient, and also helping them deal with the challenges of medicine, like breaking bad news—how they approach that, and acknowledging how it can personally affect them.”</p> <p>The course helps Salerno’s medical students synthesize their academic knowledge with professional practice, with an emphasis on social determinants of health, patient-centered care and communication, and patient safety. In addition to teaching, she is also Associate Dean for Academic Affiliates, coordinating with the hospitals and medical centers throughout Pennsylvania where Temple students participate in clinical rotations and training. The medical students’ enthusiasm reminds Salerno to maintain joy in her own work.</p> <p>“As you go through a career in medicine, sometimes the administrative stuff can take away the joy, like waiting for insurance approvals for tests that you know patients need immediately. But I love seeing children grow and helping families deal with challenging situations, preparing them for what to expect as children go through different phases of life.”</p> Maura Sullivan Hill tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/87834 2018-07-02T10:00:00-04:00 2018-07-02T10:47:35-04:00 Saved from Substance Abuse, Supporting Others’ Recovery <p>He works for faith-based nonprofit that helps men with addiction</p> <p>Five years ago, <strong>Joe Radzikowski ’96</strong> faced a turning point. Years of intermittent alcohol and drug abuse had caught up with him, and he faced criminal charges and an ultimatum from his wife, who told him he needed to turn things around.</p> <p>That’s when Radzikowski sought help from <a href="http://www.trinitylifeministry.com/">Trinity Life Ministry</a>, a faith-based nonprofit in Lafayette, Ind. that provides an intensive residential recovery program for men struggling with addiction. The decision to enter a months-long program was difficult, since it required time away from his wife, Melanie, and daughter, Emma, but it paid off.</p> <p>The program enabled him to build a new life of recovery and faith, a life he now uses to help others as Trinity’s development and communications director, where he helps find crucial funding and resources while directing public relations and marketing efforts for the nonprofit. Last year, Trinity helped more than 60 clients and added a family program to support their loved ones, and the organization plans to expand services to a neighboring county in 2019.</p> <p>“That experience has propelled me into a new track in my life and a new purpose: serving Christ,” Radzikowski says. “I believe that in God’s economy, nothing is wasted. My past struggles are an asset.”</p> <p><strong>Finding Hope</strong></p> <p>The struggles that brought Radzikowski, a South Bend native, to his current vocation with Trinity began in his youth.</p> <p>His father committed suicide when he was just 18 months old, leaving his mother with three children under the age of five. It was a difficult start. In high school, he began drinking and using marijuana. He drifted aimlessly for a few years afterward, at one point moving to California. At 22, he decided to move back, thinking he might pursue college.</p> <p>Nearly a year later, after transferring buses at an Indianapolis Greyhound station on a return trip to South Bend, he sat next to a nun. As Radzikowski shared his past struggles and expressed his still-vague plans to pursue education, the nun asked, “Growing up in South Bend, didn’t you want to attend Notre Dame?”</p> <p>Nothing was further from his mind at that point, as Radzikowski had long ago forgotten this childhood dream, but the conversation planted a seed. He prayed, went to work, and gained admission to Holy Cross College, where he spent a year. Just 13 months after that bus ride, he was accepted at Notre Dame. At Christmas in 1993, he presented his mother with the presents he’d never imagined: an “ND mom” coffee mug and sweatshirt, and his acceptance letter.</p> <p><strong>A Turning Point</strong></p> <p>After graduating with a double major in finance and sociology, Radzikowski worked a succession of jobs. He had a short stint as a stockbroker, started a mortgage services company, and consulted. But despite his outward success, he says, he felt something was missing, and every so often, he’d turn to alcohol and drugs to help fill a spiritual void.</p> <p>One evening in October 2013, Radzikowski was driving under the influence of drugs when he came upon the scene of an accident cleanup. He panicked, and in trying to get away as quickly as possible, he accelerated and almost hit a police officer, then led police on a chase. The officers who arrested him didn’t realize he was driving impaired, but he still faced charges: aggravated battery, resisting law enforcement, and criminal recklessness.</p> <p>Radzikowski pled to lesser charges, and with his wife’s help, found Trinity. He entered a five-month program where, he says, he found freedom from addiction and shame and developed a measure of humility. The program also helped him discover a meaning in his faith—one that had eluded him thus far.</p> <p>“I was always looking for the next big thing to make me happy,” Radzikowski says. “The staff and volunteers at Trinity helped me to cultivate my faith and a new identity in Christ, but also to begin to trust this God who I’d believed in for so long.”</p> <p><strong>Giving Back</strong></p> <p>Radzikowski was grateful for the help Trinity offered him, and after his program ended, he worked as a volunteer for the organization. In 2016, he accepted his current position as Trinity’s development and communications director. His wife joined the staff in the fall of 2017 to develop and implement Trinity’s family program.</p> <p>The organization works with clients from a variety of backgrounds. Some are working professionals, while others have just finished a prison sentence. But whatever their drug of choice— often opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or alcohol—clients are often trying to escape their emotions and a life that lacks meaning.</p> <p>“We employ a biblical model of addictions treatment,” Radzikowski says. “Getting someone to stop using drugs or alcohol can be challenging. But that can be easy compared to helping them find freedom from the root causes or heart issues and addressing the other areas of their life—areas that are going to be necessary to remain drug and alcohol free.”</p> <p>Trinity now offers a one-year residential program that includes daily chapel, classroom instruction, biblical counseling, mentoring, service projects, and job training. The goal, Radzikowski says, is to help clients find freedom, embrace a new identity in Christ, and honor God in all areas of their lives.</p> <p>“Once they’re free from drugs and alcohol, the other issues are often that they’re riddled with anxiety, bitterness, shame, regret, and fear,” Radzikowski says. “So we utilize scripture and a biblical approach to address the shame and the guilt through the blood of Jesus, but we also help them cultivate a trusting relationship with God and other people to help them reduce anxiety. There are so many things they need to deal with. Part of it’s spiritual, a lot of it’s emotional, and then of course there’s the collateral damage—relationship issues, medical problems, and legal issues.”</p> <p>Thanks to Trinity’s holistic recovery approach, Radzikowski says, he can look forward to seeing clients succeed. After completing the residential program, they have gone on to repair relationships and build families and careers. A number continue to volunteer as mentors or come to work for Trinity: four of its five life coaches are program graduates.</p> <p>Radzikowski draws deep meaning from his work—a meaning that has become more poignant in recent months. In November 2017, his mother passed away from cancer, and in early January, he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. But as he and his wife battle his difficult health prognosis, they draw strength from their work.</p> <p>“We believe in what we’re doing and we lay down our lives for what we believe in,” Radzikowski says. “We are committed to serving and giving of ourselves. If we didn’t have this purpose and passion in our hearts, if we didn’t have these wonderful, committed people who care not only about our mission but who care about us, I couldn’t tell you where we would be emotionally right now. I can tell you most days we have joyful hearts and give thanks.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about the work Trinity Life Ministry does to help men struggling with addiction, please visit <a href="http://www.trinitylifeministry.com/">its website</a>.</em></p> Josh Stowe tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/87680 2018-06-25T10:00:00-04:00 2018-06-25T10:21:57-04:00 Kidney Donor Gives Cousin a New Lease on Life <p>After her cousin began looking for a kidney donor, she answered the call</p> <p>When his kidney function began to decline, <strong>Patrick Laughlin ’76 </strong>emailed almost 100 cousins, hoping to find a match who could provide a transplant. <strong>Patti (Bergin) Bedard ’86</strong> answered the call.</p> <p>Laughlin recently celebrated his 64th birthday with his wife and 10-year-old son. He’s preparing to compete in the 10K Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, where he lives, thanks to the renewed vitality that came with Bedard’s kidney.</p> <p>“There’s no doubt about it, she’s a saint,” Laughlin says.</p> <p><strong>A Long Wait</strong></p> <p>Laughlin’s life-changing transplant surgery in January followed several years of trying to find a donor, and decades of knowing that his polycystic kidney disease, an inherited condition that causes kidneys to lose function over time, might take a devastating toll. His maternal grandmother died in her 50s, and his mother passed away at 72. In 1986, tests confirmed that Laughlin also had the condition.</p> <p>“I realized that I couldn’t do much about that, but I needed to take care of everything else,” Laughlin says.</p> <p>So he maintained an active lifestyle, swimming and running competitively, and enrolled in clinical trials at Emory University Hospital. That meant regular checkups, which for years showed a very slow decline in kidney function—something he knew could quickly change at any time.</p> <p>And then, about three years ago, things changed. His kidneys were functioning at about 18 percent of capacity. That meant he would need to find a donor. The alternative was dialysis, which would require frequent and time-consuming medical care that might prolong his life a few years. So Laughlin began contacting family members. </p> <p><strong>Answering the Call</strong></p> <p>Bedard’s brother discovered he wasn’t able to donate, so in August of 2017 he called her and urged her to get tested. She found she was a match and navigated a battery of psychological and physical health screenings designed to ensure that she would be a good candidate to donate. Everything checked out, and in January, she made the trip from Rochester, New York, to Atlanta. There, she underwent a 3 ½-hour surgery to provide her cousin with a new lease on life.</p> <p>“I didn’t think it was going to be so meaningful and so overwhelmingly positive when I was going through the testing process,” Bedard says. “It didn’t really dawn on me how extraordinary a thing it was until after the surgery.”</p> <p>She urges anyone to who’s considering kidney donation to educate themselves, noting that it’s a deeply personal decision—and one that can make a big difference. More than 100,000 people in the United States are on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, and each year, approximately 4,500 people die while waiting to find a donor.</p> <p>Bedard’s decision to donate has brought her closer to her cousin, she says, recalling how she stayed with Laughlin and his family for a couple weeks after the surgery. On her last night in town, family members gathered, including her mother as well as her brother and his family. They shared a poignant moment over dinner as Laughlin described what Bedard’s gift meant to him.</p> <p>“Patrick told us how a client in the horticultural business once gave him a bonsai plant,” Bedard says. “Patrick went to thank him, and the man told him, ‘You don’t thank someone for giving you something that’s living—you just tell them that you will take care of it.’ Then Patrick continued, ‘I owe a lot a of gratitude to everyone here, so I will just say I will take care of this kidney.’”</p> <p>There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, Bedard recalls. And that moment has stayed with her and Laughlin.</p> <p>“So he doesn’t thank me for it, he’s just taking care of it,” she says. “I get these little texts every so often: ‘I ran here.’ Or I get a text saying that my kidney is celebrating an extra birthday this year. He just got back from a trip to Europe, so I think I should get credit also for the frequent flyer miles now.”</p> <p><strong>A New Life</strong></p> <p>Laughlin is savoring his newfound vitality. Before the surgery, as his condition worsened, he had begun sleeping more to alleviate his falling energy levels. Activities like running became a chore, and he had struggled to finish his last race, walking at the end. But now he’s training for his next 10K in July, when he plans to run across the finish line.</p> <p>“I can travel and do everything I did before,” says Laughlin, who works as a real estate agent. “But the part that amazes me is that I feel like I’m 30 or 40 years younger.”</p> <p>Bedard, for her part, is thrilled she had the opportunity to help her cousin.</p> <p>“I’m certainly not a saint or hero in any of this,” she says. “This is just something I did because I could do it. So why not? I’m just so happy I was a match. You get to a certain point in life—I’m 53 and I’ve lost my father, I’ve lost my brother, I’ve lost people to cancer—and sometimes you just think, ‘I wish I could get those guys back for just one day.’ So I did it as much for Patrick’s wife and his son, Martin. Now Patrick can play basketball with his son, he can play tennis, he can go swimming. He’s got a good life with his wife and son, and that’s wonderful to see.”</p> Josh Stowe tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/87544 2018-06-18T10:45:00-04:00 2018-06-18T11:05:08-04:00 Healing Wounds <p>His company uses technology to help chronic wound patients</p> <p>The stakes are high for the chronic wound patients that <strong>Joseph Ebberwein ’86</strong> serves.</p> <p>Some have diabetic foot ulcers, which, if not treated properly, can require amputation. Others are bedridden and have developed sores. Still others have wounds as a result of vascular conditions, or must use ostomy bags to divert bodily waste following surgery.</p> <p>For these patients, a timely and effective treatment can greatly increase their quality of life—or even save it. And Ebberwein is passionate about helping them.</p> <p>That’s why he and his business partner, Katherine Piette, both longtime veterans of the healthcare industry, co-founded <a href="http://corstrata.com/">Corstrata</a> three years ago. The Savannah, Ga. company connects patients and their healthcare providers with board-certified wound management experts who use technology to remotely assess wounds and recommend evidence-based treatments.</p> <p>“One of the things we knew from our previous experience was what a pain point wound care management is in the healthcare system,” Ebberwein says. “There is a shortage of wound care clinicians—only one in 500 nurses are board-certified in wound care, and there’s only one wound care nurse for every 900 wound patients. So there’s a huge issue around access to care, which really drives a lot of the problems.”</p> <p>Corstrata helps treat a diversity of patients in a variety of settings—everything from home health care to nursing homes and hospice care. Some patients, with proper treatment, can work productively for years to come. Others are looking to live out their final years in comfort and dignity.</p> <p>The results so far are encouraging, Ebberwein says. In one case, his company helped a man heal from a diabetic foot ulcer that had not improved after six months of prior treatment, allowing him to avoid an amputation. In another, it enabled a mother of four who’d had an emergency ostomy to have a consult in the privacy of her home rather than travel 100 miles for treatment. And in just three months, it successfully treated a nursing home patient who had dealt with a debilitating venous leg ulcer for 18 months.</p> <p>Technology plays a major role in the company’s approach, Ebberwein says. Healthcare providers take pictures or videos of wounds, which they upload into a HIPAA-compliant mobile app that the company’s wound clinicians can review remotely before making recommendations. And a patient engagement app offers video chat, messaging, and reminders that keep people engaged with their treatment.</p> <p>“We’re developing assessments that are related to the social determinants of healthcare,” Ebberwein says. “We’ll be able to ask patients questions about nutrition, about whether they have access for transportation to their doctor’s appointments. We’ll be able to send them depression assessments to see if that’s a factor. The literature now is showing that it’s the social determinants of health as much as the underlying medical condition that determine the outcomes.”</p> <p>A newer technology is increasingly helpful for diabetics, Ebberwein says. Many suffer from neuropathy and can’t feel ulcers developing on the bottom of their feet. But if they stand on a smart mat for 20 seconds a day, the mat will detect minor temperature changes that indicate a foot ulcer is imminent. That gives Corstrata’s team, working with local providers, time to get them into offloading diabetic shoes that relieve pressure.</p> <p>“We can intervene and prevent that ulcer from forming, and we’re doing that in 75 percent of the cases that we’re involved with,” Ebberwein says. “We’re trying to be a company that intervenes with this extremely vulnerable population of complex diabetics—many of whom are still working. These are people who are on their feet and really need assistance in preventing these ulcers.</p> <p>“It really is a huge problem. And I live in the south, and some of the studies indicate that there are twice as many amputations among African Americans with diabetes in the south. There’s no real clinical reason for that other than access to care. So we’re passionate about changing those statistics and really getting to people before they even form ulcers. And with technology, we can do that.”</p> <p>Technology also allows clinicians to serve more people, Ebberwein says. Some nurses who work for his company now see up to 25 patients a day virtually, up from the two or three a day they might have seen previously when they had to drive to various sites.</p> <p>As Corstrata considers opportunities to expand and serve patients internationally, Ebberwein finds his work deeply gratifying.</p> <p>“I think one of the incredible opportunities that I’ve had in my life was that my grandmother lived with our family the last 10 years of her life, and so I was exposed to caring for an elderly person with all of their activities of daily living, and assisting with that,” he says. “And I think that really set the tone for the work that I do now, because it is a vulnerable population. Many of these people are elderly, a lot of them don’t have social support systems, and they don’t even have someone to help them look at the bottom of their feet on a daily basis to see if there are any problems occurring. And so if there’s a way that my company and I can use technology to get ahead of some of these issues, that’s extremely rewarding.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about the work Corstrata does to serve chronic wound patients, please visit <a href="http://corstrata.com/">its website</a>.</em></p> Josh Stowe tag:weare.nd.edu,2005:News/87362 2018-06-11T10:55:00-04:00 2018-06-11T11:04:32-04:00 Priest Empowers Fellow Haitians to Overcome Poverty <p>His organization provides training, resources to become self-sufficient</p> <p>Before <strong>Rev. Fritz Louis, C.S.C., ’09 M.A.</strong> earned a degree in French Literature from Notre Dame, he grew up in Haiti speaking Creole. And it is in Creole that one can best understand the work he does with <a href="http://kanpe.org/en/">The KANPE Foundation</a> to help fellow Haitians escape poverty.</p> <p>“Kanpe,” Father Louis says, “is a Creole word that means ‘to stand up.’ Our mission is to help those people who are living in great despair to have the hope to stand up, to give them the training and the resources they need to stand up.”</p> <p>It’s a mission to which Father Louis has dedicated himself since joining the Montreal-based nonprofit as its program director in December 2010. He helps take KANPE’s programs from ideas to realities as it partners with Haitian organizations and empowers impoverished communities to become self-sufficient. The foundation offers a holistic program that incorporates healthcare, education, agriculture, leadership, entrepreneurship, and infrastructure strengthening. </p> <p>At the moment, it works primarily with the rural community of Baille Tourible, a village in the Thomonde region of Haiti. Before KANPE arrived, the village’s 15,000 residents were living without many basic resources.</p> <p>“People were abandoned—no healthcare clinic, no teachers in the classroom, or if they were there, they were there just a few days a week,” Father Louis says. “The children didn’t have food at school. The farmers didn’t get training. Young women getting pregnant were dying before they gave birth to their children because they couldn’t receive treatment.”</p> <p>With the help of partner organization Zanmi Lasante, KANPE set up the Baille Tourible Clinic, which helps treat malnutrition, cholera, and malaria, and provides a monthly average of 150 consultations to pregnant women. Father Louis and his team have focused on helping women, he says, because they in turn can help their households. <br>  <br> “In Haiti, many organizations are working with women,” he says. “And the reason is not because they want to exclude the man. It is because in every household there is a woman with children, but not always a man. So if you support a woman, if you support one woman, you might be supporting six, seven, or eight people. Women are motivated, they have the passion, and they want good for their children.”</p> <p>One of the women KANPE helped is a good example of this, Father Louis says. When the nonprofit found her, she was scraping by on less than a dollar a day, rationing food for her five children. The family lived in makeshift home—a roof cobbled together from tree branches, walls made of mud, and a dirt floor. Water seeped in each time it rained and made everyone sick.</p> <p>KANPE stepped in and helped the woman turn things around. The organization made sure she had safe drinking water and provided her with livestock—two goats, two pigs, and two chickens. Its staff taught her how to manage her resources and care for her new animals. Over time, she was able to sell animals and save up to buy a piece a land, which she uses to grow food she can sell. The money she now makes enables her to provide for herself and her family.</p> <p>The woman’s success story is one of many, Father Louis says, adding that the program that assisted her allowed 97 percent of participants to maintain two sustainable sources of income. KANPE confirmed this through a survey, one of the ways it solicits feedback and measures results to determine which programs are helpful.</p> <p>“Our philosophy is not to give things away like Santa Claus,” Father Louis says. “Our philosophy is to listen to the people—to listen to their voice, to their needs, to what they want to say, to what they want to achieve in their lives. We talk to local leaders so that they have their say about what we are doing—if there are things they want us to change, if there are new initiatives that they want to happen on the ground. So it’s that way that we assess our work and how we understand that what we do on the ground is really bearing fruit for the community.”</p> <p>Father Louis enjoys listening to local people and building relationships with the communities he serves, and he finds it deeply satisfying to help people work their way to a better life. </p> <p>“We bring hope to the people,” he says. “We still have a long way to go, but we see the light of hope in their eyes.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about The KANPE Foundation's economic empowerment work in Haiti, please visit <a href="http://kanpe.org/en/">its website</a>. </em></p> Amanda Pilarski