Taylor Murphy didnâ€™t let the ups and downs of a cancer diagnosis hold her back ALSO IN THIS ISSUE PAGE 1
New Heart Technology Brings Big Benefits for Small Patients PAGE 2
The Forefront of Medicine Now Closer to Home PAGE 9
The Power of Talking to Your Baby and Preschooler PAGE 10
Healthy and Fit after Surgery to Treat Ulcerative Colitis
The University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences has been at the forefront of medical care, research and teaching for more than 90 years. Located in historic Hyde Park on the South Side
GREETINGS FROM THE FOREFRONT OF MEDICINE
of Chicago, the University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences includes: Patient Care » Center for Care and Discovery » Comer Children’s Hospital » Bernard A. Mitchell Hospital » Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine » Numerous outpatient locations throughout the Chicago area Teaching Programs » Pritzker School of Medicine » Master’s and doctoral degree programs » Postdoctoral programs Research » Medical and basic science units Among our many honors and acknowledgments: 12 Nobel laureates; ranked 10th of all U.S. medical schools; one of only 41 National Cancer
The University of Chicago Medicine is partnering to bring specialty adult and pediatric care closer to patients throughout Chicago and its communities.
Institute–designated comprehensive cancer centers; ranked third in nation for National Institutes of Health grant support per researcher. University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences Executive Leadership Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Dean of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine, and executive vice president for Medical
When the lives of
and courage while battling their illnesses,
two young Indiana
are leading healthy and active lives.
women — one a
Affairs for the University of Chicago
student, the other
Sharon O’Keefe, president of the
a teacher — were
University of Chicago Medical Center Jeffrey Glassroth, MD, dean for clinical affairs, University of Chicago Medicine T. Conrad Gilliam, PhD, dean for basic science, Biological Sciences Division
interrupted by lifethreatening illnesses of the digestive system, they sought help, and found hope, at the University of Chicago Medicine.
Holly J. Humphrey, MD, dean for medical
Like Taylor and Abbie, many of you travel a distance to receive state-of-the-art treatment at our medical campus in Hyde Park. With the upcoming opening of our Centers for Advanced Care in Orland Park and in the South Loop, as well as our affiliations with hospitals in
education, Pritzker School of Medicine
Taylor Murphy, on the cover, faced a
New Lenox, Naperville, Elmhurst and
IMAGINE IS PUBLISHED THREE TIMES
diagnosis of rectal cancer just before
Evergreen Park, the University of Chicago
MEDICINE & BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES.
starting her junior year at Purdue
Medicine is bringing specialty adult
Editor: Anna Madrzyk
University. A few summers earlier,
and pediatric care closer to patients
Assistant Editor: Gretchen Rubin
fifth-grade teacher Abbie Perkovich
throughout Chicago and its communities.
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
had learned that surgery to remove
And just last month, we announced
her colon was the only option left
that UChicago Medicine and the Ingalls
to treat her ulcerative colitis.
Health System are pursuing the creation
A YEAR BY THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
Design: TOKY Branding + Design Contributing writers Thea Grendahl Christou, John Easton, Sarah Fell, Cynthia Greenwood, Kevin Jiang, Heather Linder, Stephen Phillips, Tiffani Washington and Matt Wood Contributing photographers David Christopher, Kathleen Harrison, Greg Ishii, Robert Kozloff, Jean Lachat, Joel Wintermantle and Nancy Wong
Our multidisciplinary team of experts designed care plans tailored not just to the diseases but also to the young women’s
of a combined integrated health delivery system. Learn more about all of these exciting developments on pages 2 and 3.
ages and quality of life. Today, both
We look forward to providing care for you
women, who showed remarkable grace
and your family.
ADDRESS The University of Chicago Medicine 5841 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago, IL 60637 The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital 5721 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago, IL 60637 Telephone 1-773-702-1000 Appointments 1-888-824-0200 Follow the University of Chicago Medicine
SHARON O’KEEFE President of the University of Chicago Medical Center
on Twitter at twitter.com/UChicagoMed or visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/ UChicagoMed. You can read more about our news and research at uchospitals.edu/news and at sciencelife.uchospitals.edu. This publication does not provide medical advice or treatment suggestions. If you have medical problems or concerns, contact a physician, who will determine your treatment. Do not delay seeking medical advice because of something you read here. For urgent needs, call 911 right away. Read Imagine online at uchospitals.edu/imagine.
KENNETH S. POLONSKY, MD Dean of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine, and executive vice president for Medical Affairs for the University of Chicago
AT THE FOREFRONT OF WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S CARE PREGNANCY & CHILDBIRTH
ADVANCED HEART CARE
New Center to Deliver a Personalized Birth Experience
Pediatric Cardiac Cath Lab Minimizes Radiation Exposure
Our new birth center — opening in 2016 — will offer a personalized birth experience in a beautiful and intimate setting. The state-of-the-art private suites will be located within the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, just steps from our Margaret M. and George A. Stephen Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “We are excited to offer additional high-quality obstetric services for expectant and new mothers and their babies in the new birth center,” said Kenneth Nunes, MD, medical director,
labor and delivery. “Our patients will soon have access to our new midwife practice and a number of new natural birthing options, which so many moms are looking for in their birthing experience.” The University of Chicago Medicine will be the only hospital in the Chicago area with a birth center embedded inside a children’s hospital.
To make an appointment with a UChicago Medicine obstetrician, call 1-888-824-0200.
Children who need a heart catheterization can now have the procedure with less exposure to radiation thanks to new state-of-the-art technology available at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.
We are embarking on a new era of care for children with cardiovascular diseases. Comer Children’s is now home to a leading-edge cardiac catheterization, or “cath,” lab, giving patients access to advanced minimally invasive techniques for diagnosing and treating congenital cardiovascular anomalies.
Having my baby at the University of Chicago Medicine was a wonderful experience. My medical team worked with me to achieve my birthing expectations. AMY MEYER | R I G H T | Obstetrician and
gynecologist Maryam Siddiqui, MD, with Chicago resident Amy Meyer and her son, Macsen.
AT THE FOREFRONT
At the University of Chicago Medicine, we offer the full spectrum of general and specialty obstetric and gynecologic care. Our team includes leading experts in maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology, reproductive endocrinology, family planning and more.
Exposure to multiple X-rays, CT scans and heart catheterizations puts a pediatric patient at risk not only for radiation burns, but also for long-term radiationexposure cancers. The new cath lab features the latest generation of advanced cardiovascular technology, including Toshiba’s Infinix™
| A B O V E | Daniel H. Gruenstein,
MD, director of the pediatric cardiac catheterization lab
Elite Bi-plane cardiovascular X-ray system. This imaging technology makes it possible to focus on a small region of a child’s body, reducing radiation exposure to even the tiniest patients. Real-time feedback via a unique radiation dosagetracking feature also helps optimize patient safety. “We can see how much radiation we’re giving as we’re giving it, and we are able to make adjustments in how we’re doing the case to reduce the risk to children,” said Daniel H. Gruenstein, MD, chief of pediatric cardiology. Several high-tech, HD flatpanel monitors perform double duty, giving physicians instant access to recent scans and angiograms, while allowing young patients to watch their favorite movies during procedures. Gruenstein, who joined Comer Children’s earlier this year, has been involved in the preclinical and clinical trials of multiple minimally invasive cardiac devices. He has trained several hundred physicians in advanced cardiac techniques.
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THE FOREFRONT OF MEDICINE AND
Children’s specialty care in the South, West and Southwest suburbs Affiliations with Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) and Edward-Elmhurst Health will bring Comer Children’s specialists and advanced therapies for newborns, children and adolescents to these facilities.
The University of Chicago Medicine is expanding access to advanced adult and pediatric care across Chicagoland through our new affiliations, locations and partnerships.
COMER CHILDREN’S AT EDWARD-ELMHURST HEALTH NAPERVILLE AND ELMHURST
COMER CHILDREN’S AT LITTLE COMPANY OF MARY EVERGREEN PARK
» » » » » »
Cardiology Gastroenterology Neonatology Neurology Psychiatry Surgery
For more information on our locations, visit uchospitals.edu.
Coming in 2016: Allergy and asthma, cancer and blood diseases, dermatology, endocrinology, orthopaedics and urology.
» » » » » » » »
Cancer and blood diseases Cardiology Gastroenterology Neurology Pulmonology Rheumatology Sleep medicine Sports medicine
Comer Children’s experts in infectious diseases and nephrology are available for consultation.
To learn more or make an appointment:
1-844-826-5437 To learn more or make an appointment:
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New locations in the city and the Southwest suburbs New outpatient facilities in Chicago’s South Loop and in Orland Park will meet the growing health care demands of these areas and serve as gateways to the full array of University of Chicago Medicine specialists on our Hyde Park campus.
Opening Fall 2016 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICINE CENTER FOR ADVANCED CARE AT SOUTH LOOP
Southgate Market 1101 S. Canal Street » » » » » »
Cardiology Orthopaedics Primary care Sports medicine Surgical specialties Women’s health
Opening Early 2017 University of Chicago Medicine’s largest off-site location
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICINE CENTER FOR ADVANCED CARE AT ORLAND PARK
143rd Street and LaGrange Road » » » » » » »
Cardiology Gastroenterology Oncology Pediatrics Radiation oncology Surgical specialties Women’s health
“We listened to our patients who wanted our state-of-the-art care closer to where they live, work and shop.” SHARON O’KEEFE
President, University of Chicago Medical Center
Potential affiliation with Ingalls Health System will offer unparalleled health care The University of Chicago Medicine and Ingalls Health System are pursuing creation of a combined integrated health delivery system to serve patients in the South and Southwest suburbs. The two institutions signed a Letter of Intent in November. When the transaction is finalized, Ingalls will join UChicago Medicine’s health network that includes the main medical campus in Hyde Park; numerous outpatient facilities, including the planned Centers for Advanced Care in Orland Park and in the South Loop; and the University of Chicago Medicine Care Network of physicians. “We’re pleased that our patients will have access to the expertise of one of the best academic medical centers in the country,” said Ingalls President and CEO Kurt Johnson.
specialties, plus Ingalls Cancer Care, Ingalls Advanced Orthopedic Institute, Ingalls Heart Care Center, Ingalls Home Care & Hospice, and three comprehensive outpatient Family Care Centers. In the next several months, UChicago Medicine and Ingalls will engage in exclusive negotiations, carry out due diligence and begin planning the terms of this potential transaction. A formal closing date is expected in late spring/early summer of 2016. Any affiliation would be subject to a definitive agreement and the necessary regulatory approvals.
“This partnership between UChicago Medicine and Ingalls underscores our commitment to improving health and access to quality care in our communities. Our collective patients and communities will benefit from the complementary services and greater options.” KENNETH S. POLONSKY, MD
Executive vice president for Medical Affairs for the University of Chicago
Ingalls Health System has a 473-bed hospital in Harvey, Illinois, with 450 physicians in 30 medical and surgical
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Taylor Murphy’s plans for the summer after her sophomore year in college were a lot like those of her classmates. Camping out at the Indianapolis 500. Looking for an internship. Taking a summer school course. But after just a few weeks, the Purdue University student had to drop her chemistry class and suspend her internship. The 19-year-old faced a startling diagnosis: rectal cancer.
“From the beginning, my mindset was to stay calm and keep a clear mind,” recalled Murphy, who says she has always been a positive person. “I felt I was going to be fine.” Her physician in Northwest Indiana referred her to Konstantin Umanskiy, MD, a colorectal surgeon at the University of Chicago Medicine. “Dr. Umanskiy said he would take care of me and do everything he could to get the cancer out of my body,” Murphy said. “My family asked if I wanted to get a second opinion, and I said, ‘Absolutely not. This is the hospital for me.’” Umanskiy assembled a team of experts across several medical specialties — gastroenterology, genetics, oncology, radiation therapy, surgery and gynecologic oncology. The physicians worked together to plan, coordinate and implement Murphy’s multifaceted care plan. Because colorectal cancer is uncommon in younger patients, the team recommended genetic testing. The tests identified Lynch syndrome caused by a rare genetic mutation that significantly increases the chance of developing colorectal cancer at a young age.
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“The Lynch syndrome was an important finding,” said gastroenterologist Sonia Kupfer, MD, who specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with hereditary gastrointestinal cancer syndromes. “This genetic abnormality predisposes her not only to colorectal cancer, but to other cancers as well. The information helped us design the most effective strategy for treatment and prevention.” Umanskiy added, “We tailor our care approach to each individual patient. We aim not only to cure the cancer but also to preserve the patient’s quality of life.” Murphy’s treatment took place in several stages over two years. Gastrointestinal oncologist Blase Polite, MD, and radiation oncologist Stanley Liauw, MD, collaborated on the initial phase, which included chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumor. Before Murphy began radiation therapy, gynecologic oncologist Meaghan Tenney, MD, performed laparoscopic surgery to move Murphy’s ovaries out of the radiation field into her upper abdomen to help preserve her ovarian function.
Our Colorectal Cancer Team CANCER RISK
Sonia Kupfer, MD GASTROENTEROLOGY
Eugene Chang, MD Andres Gelrud, MD, MMSc Karen E. Kim, MD Joel Pekow, MD David T. Rubin, MD Uzma D. Siddiqui, MD Irving Waxman, MD Leslie Wallene Yang, MD MEDICAL ONCOLOGY
Blase Polite, MD Daniel Catenacci, MD Mark F. Kozloff, MD Hedy Lee Kindler, MD Manish R. Sharma, MD RADIATION ONCOLOGY
Stanley Liauw, MD Ralph R. Weichselbaum, MD SURGERY
I rolled with the waves, and I didn’t let my surgery or my ostomy hold me back. TAYLOR MURPHY
Umanskiy then partnered with plastic surgeon David H. Song, MD, to accomplish the next course of treatment — two surgical procedures performed in tandem. First, Umanskiy used laparoscopic and robotic techniques to remove the colon and rectum, including the cancerous mass and affected lymph nodes. In addition, he created an intestinal opening, called an ileostomy, in Murphy’s abdominal wall to allow waste to pass out of the small intestine into an external pouch. The next step, reconstructive surgery, is usually performed as an open, invasive procedure. Song devised a plan to complete the reconstruction with minimally invasive robotic tools. His inventive solution was the first of its kind performed in the United States.
Although this complex, minimally invasive surgery required a total of 14 incisions, each opening measured only a quarter to a half inch wide. “The scars are very minimal,” Murphy said. “I have bigger scars on my knees from tripping and falling when I was a kid.”
“My family asked if I wanted to get a second opinion, and I said, ‘Absolutely not. This is the hospital for me.’”
Neil H. Hyman, MD Roger D. Hurst, MD Mustafa Hussain, MD J. Michael Millis, MD Mitchell C. Posner, MD Kevin Roggin, MD Konstantin Umanskiy, MD Lisa Marie Cannon, MD
Despite time away for treatment and recovery, Murphy kept up with her courses and graduated with her class in May 2015. She recently moved to California to begin a fellowship in environmental sustainability at a nonprofit organization. When she is not working, Murphy loves being active outdoors. Camping in Yosemite. Hiking and kayaking with friends. Scuba diving and surfing in the ocean. “I rolled with the waves,” she said. “And I didn’t let my surgery or my ostomy hold me back.”
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AROUND THE WORLD WITH A HEALTHY HEART Emergency room physician Mark Brauner, DO, had planned the trip of a lifetime. He, his wife, and their two daughters would depart at the end of July for a yearlong voyage around the world. The itinerary included Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America. But on June 5, Brauner, of Eugene, Oregon, suffered a heart attack. He underwent a balloon angioplasty, and cardiologists inserted a stent to keep the problematic artery open.
| A B O V E | Mark Brauner; his wife, Samantha;
and their daughters, Raisa (left) and Sophia, last summer at Le Sept Quinze near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Brauner recovered so quickly from robotic heart surgery, his family was able to leave on schedule for their dream vacation.
Yet a follow-up angiogram in early July revealed that the stent was 90 percent clogged.
Husam H. Balkhy, MD
The would-be globe-trotter, 49, needed a bypass graft, a procedure that can require a three-month recovery. Brauner began researching minimally invasive options. He hunted for an expert in robotic heart surgery who could do the case endoscopically, leaving small, fast-healing incisions. Of the physicians he found, most had performed the surgery on the left anterior descending artery in front of the heart. Brauner’s case was trickier, involving the circumflex artery that branches off the left main artery and curves around the back. Husam H. Balkhy, MD, director of robotic and minimally invasive cardiac surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine, emerged as his top choice. The only heart surgeon in the country routinely doing this kind of procedure, Balkhy had devised his own protocol for such cases. He accesses the heart through small ports between ribs on the left side of the chest, then partially deflates the left lung for better visualization and operates on the beating heart using a miniature stapling device. Brauner left a message on Balkhy’s voicemail. The surgeon called back within 20 minutes
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and outlined the procedure. “He answered all my questions, and all of his answers made sense,” Brauner said. Brauner flew to Chicago four days later, on July 11. Balkhy performed the three-hour surgery on July 13, grafting the patient’s left internal mammary artery to the blocked artery. “The case went perfectly,” Balkhy said. Three days later, Brauner flew back to Oregon and finished packing. His family departed on schedule for their world tour. The morning after a visit to the Eiffel Tower, Brauner’s wife, Samantha, emailed Balkhy to say her husband was “feeling strong, with no weird heart flutters.” Since that first stop, they have visited the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Scotland, France again, Spain, Morocco, Italy and Greece. Their adventure continues.
W H A T’S I T L I K E T O G E T A
“B”SAFETY RATING? WE WOULDN’T KNOW. Eight straight “A’s.” That’s what the University of Chicago Medicine has earned in hospital safety scores from The Leapfrog Group, a leading industry watchdog organization. In fact, we’ve never earned anything less than their highest rating since they started evaluating hospitals – a distinction shared by less than 6% of all hospitals nationwide. It’s an important recognition, and one that we’ve worked hard to achieve, but for us there’s only one “A” that really counts: our next one. To learn more, call 1-888-824-0200 or visit uchospitals.edu. AT
T H E
F O R E F R O N T
M E D I C I N E®
For an animal that’s 100 times the size of a human, elephants have remarkably low rates of cancer — much, much less than would be expected for an animal with so many active and dividing cells. Scientists noted this phenomenon, dubbed Pete’s Paradox, decades ago, but have been unable to answer why until now. Two recent studies, independently published, point to the solution: Elephants have 20 copies of the well-known TP53 tumor suppressor gene. This makes their cells more sensitive to DNA damage and quicker to commit cellular suicide. Vincent Lynch, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics, led one of the studies, which shed light on the functional and evolutionary reason why elephants so rarely get cancer. Lynch and his team studied TP53 in elephants and over 60 other species, including whales, birds, fish, humans, and even extinct mammoths and mastodons.
AT THE FOREFRONT
The University of Chicago Medicine is ranked #25 in Gastroenterology and GI Surgery. We are also nationally ranked in Cancer, Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Nephrology.
Imagine that! OBESITY PREDICTOR
Girls who are more impulsive or less able to plan ahead at age 10 tend to gain more weight through age 16, partly due to binge eating. University of Chicago researchers studied nearly 2,500 girls between ages 10 and 16 to see how behavior and personality traits might be linked to eating habits and weight. “Impulsive children may be less able to resist cues to eat, such as seeing food commercials and being around food,” said study author Andrea Goldschmidt, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience. Identifying relevant traits early in life could prevent kids from gaining too much weight later on, she said. Countermeasures include keeping fruits and vegetables readily available for snacks and limiting the presence of sugary, low-nutrient foods. The study, the first of its type in this age group, was published online Sept. 21 in the journal Pediatrics.
READ MORE AT
RELIEVING RISKS FOR KIDNEY PATIENTS
Patients treated for chronic diabetic kidney disease are at risk for cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death due to elevated potassium in their blood — a common side effect of drugs essential to treatment of the condition. University of Chicago Medicine doctors found that the investigational drug patiromer reduced blood-potassium levels to normal and kept them under control for one year, the length of the study. The liquid medication contains beads the size of a dust particle that attach themselves to potassium ions in the lower colon. The potassium-packed beads are then excreted. “This is a significant advance, affecting the almost 1 million people in the United States with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease,” said George Bakris, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Comprehensive Hypertension Center at UChicago Medicine. The study was published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.
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CANCER NINJA CONQUERS QUESTIONS
Andrew Howard, MD, has turned a newfound love of drawing into a way to educate his patients. “I was concerned that many patients did not seem to understand their disease,” said the radiation oncologist at UChicago Medicine. He created a comic called Cancer Ninja to explain the basic biology and step-by-step development of cancer, from diagnosis to treatment. The online series (www.cancer.ninja) tells the story of Jane, a patient recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The drawings are simple and clean, mostly black and white, with just enough text to explain the scientific concepts. “I want people to see there’s a logical chain of events in just about every cancer patient,” he said. “I’m just hoping this helps them.”
Ask the Expert
HOW TO BUILD YOUR CHILD’S BRAINPOWER
DANA L. SUSKIND, MD In her new book, “Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain,” pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist Dana Suskind, MD, explains why talking to your baby or child is so important. Suskind, a cochlear implant surgeon, is the founder and co-director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. WHY DID YOU WRITE THE BOOK?
The brain reaches 85 percent of its adult size by age 3. And it all starts with words. I want parents to understand how crucial language is to their child’s developing brain and future success in life. Children aren’t born smart; they’re made smart by parents talking with them. WHY 30 MILLION WORDS?
A world-famous study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley in 1995 found that some children heard 30 million fewer words by their fourth birthdays than others. The researchers also found significant differences in the quality of language used. In third grade, the children who heard more words and richer language had bigger vocabularies, were stronger readers and got higher test scores. So the kids who started out ahead, stayed ahead.
WHAT CAN I DO TO CREATE A RICH EARLY LANGUAGE ENVIRONMENT AT HOME?
Dana Suskind, MD
Follow the Three Ts: “Tune In, Talk More and Take Turns.” Start by tuning in to what you think your child is communicating. The more tuned in you are, the more your child learns. I HAVE A BUSY LIFE. HOW CAN I “TALK MORE” TO MY CHILD?
When you are dressing, feeding or bathing your child, talk about what you are doing as you are doing it. Story time is another great opportunity. Imagine your child’s brain as a piggy bank. Every word you say is another penny in the bank. The more you talk, the richer your child’s brain grows. The more you put in now, the richer your child will be later. HOW DO I “TAKE TURNS”?
Babies communicate with coos, gurgles, cries, facial expressions and eye contact. A toddler uses made-up and partial words. A slightly older child speaks with words and in short sentences. The most important thing to remember is to tune in and respond, modeling appropriate language.
Comer Team Gives Children a Fresh Start
“Thirty Million Words” (Dutton 2015) OR VISIT
During its first year as Fresh Start’s
Chicago home base, Comer Children’s
conducted three surgery weekends
and other volunteers led by pediatric plastic and
The University of Chicago Medicine
READ THE BOOK
serving 21 young patients and providing more than $415,500 in donated medical care. Fresh Start hopes to boost these
Comer Children’s Hospital has joined
reconstructive surgeon Russell R. Reid,
numbers in the
forces with the Fresh Start Caring
MD, PhD, donate their time and talents
coming years, offering
For Kids Foundation to offer free
to give these children the gift of self-
reconstructive surgeries to kids
esteem, acceptance and improved
impacted by congenital anomalies,
quality of life.
trauma or abuse. A team of more than REID
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Dr. Rubin asked me the right questions. And I always felt that he heard me and cared about me. ABBIE PERKOVICH
THIS TEACHER TAUGHT HER DOCTORS After a struggle with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) left her without a colon, Abbie Perkovich maintained her positive attitude and regained her strength. Today, Perkovich, 36, runs 5K races, attends kickboxing class and plays tennis. But just a few years ago, the fifth-grade teacher from Dyer, Indiana, could barely climb a flight of stairs. In her early 20s Perkovich was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a type of IBD that causes inflammation in the lining of the colon and rectum. Her symptoms — bleeding, abdominal pain and urgency to use the restroom — led her to University of Chicago Medicine gastroenterologist David T. Rubin, MD, now co-director of the Digestive Diseases Center.
A LESSON IN COURAGE “Dr. Rubin helped me at a time when I was not really under my parents’ care, but not yet an adult,” Perkovich said. “He asked me the right questions. And I always felt that he heard me and cared about me.” Medication kept Perkovich’s symptoms in remission for several years. A bad flare-up in 2006 led Rubin to recommend a new treatment plan. Again, the therapy provided temporary relief, but in 2010 Perkovich’s symptoms returned with increased severity.
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A colonoscopy showed high levels of inflammation in Perkovich’s entire colon and rectum. Rubin told her that surgery offered the best chance for success. Although usually a last resort, surgery often is an effective treatment for severe ulcerative colitis because it removes the diseased colon. For Perkovich, that would mean no more GI bleeding, steroids, toxic medications or “gut-wrenching, knee-buckling pain.” Colorectal surgeon Konstantin Umanskiy, MD, removed Perkovich’s colon and
AT THE FOREFRONT
AS ONE OF ONLY A FEW CENTERS IN THE COUNTRY TESTING NEW IBD TREATMENTS,
the University of Chicago Medicine can offer clinical trial therapies — the most advanced treatments available — at the most appropriate time in each patient’s care.
constructed a J-pouch, an internal reservoir that would allow her to eliminate waste normally. He performed these surgeries in three stages, allowing Perkovich time to heal between procedures. In each case, Umanskiy used minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to reduce pain and scarring. Perkovich’s recovery was slow but steady. With the support of her husband, John, she regained her strength and returned to the classroom. She loves teaching and says that her students inspire her every day. Together, they have completed the Presidential Youth Fitness Challenge each year since her surgeries. Perkovich is back to being her “sporty” self. Though there were some complications along the way, she says she feels better than ever and her health is great.
“There were many times I felt weak, scared, and yes … a bit sad,” Perkovich recalled. “Now what I feel is thankful: thankful for life, thankful for the advances in medicine and thankful that the pain is gone.”
Making a Difference Every Day The University of Chicago Medicine has an ongoing program to recognize employees who make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families. From small acts of kindness to lifechanging care, these stories speak for themselves and inspire us all.
safe flight When nursing support associate Pamela Rogers walked into Edith Jones’ hospital room to check on the elderly patient, she found Edith’s daughter, Charlotte, in tears. “Charlotte needed to transition her mother to a rehabilitation facility in Nashville but was worried about doing it alone,” Rogers said. “She asked me to come along.” Although Rogers had just met the family, she agreed on the spot. “I was a little nervous, but they were really sweet and nice,” she said, “and I knew I could help make the mom comfortable and calm during the trip.”
Thanks to a Southwest Airlines medical transportation grant program, plane tickets were provided to the travelers. Two days later, on her day off, Rogers accompanied the mother and daughter on an early flight from Chicago to Nashville. Rogers returned home that evening. “Pam alleviated a lot of stress and worries for me and my mom,” Charlotte said. “She was a godsend.” Read more Making a Difference Every Day stories on our Facebook page Facebook.com/UChicagoMed.
AT THE FOREFRONT
The University of Chicago Medicine was recently named a National Pancreas Foundation Center. UChicago Medicine is one of only 30 facilities in the country — and the only one in Illinois — to receive the prestigious designation from the National Pancreas Foundation. NPF created the designation to help patients find high-quality, multidisciplinary care for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. uchospitals.edu/pancreatic-diseases
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AT THE FOREFRONT OF OUR COMMUNITY Kids’ Care on the Go The new University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital Mobile Medical Unit — a state-of-the-art doctor’s office on wheels — is now on the road, thanks to a grant from the Children’s Health Fund, made possible by the Morgan Stanley Foundation. The mobile unit will serve thousands of children across Chicago’s South Side. The 40-foot electric-blue vehicle is equipped with the most advanced clinical equipment and resources available in a mobile health setting. The unit enables Comer Children’s staff to visit more schools and offer a broader range of services, including primary care, mental health services, acute care, chronic illness management, social services and health education.
“With this new mobile medical clinic, we’ll continue providing a critical safety net for families who often experience a myriad of challenges navigating a complex, fragmented health care system,” said Icy Cade-Bell, MD, medical director of the Mobile Medical Unit. The new Mobile Medical Unit is also supported by a grant from The Hearst Foundations. It replaces an aging vehicle that served South Side schools for more than a decade. In 2014, the mobile unit team provided care at 28 Chicago public schools, resulting in more than 1,400 medical encounters.
And They’re Off!
To Your Health The University of Chicago Medicine contributed $316 million last year to improve the health of the communities served by the medical center. UChicago Medicine offers many programs and services to address the pressing health needs of adults and children on the South Side and the broader Chicago area. We also partner with community organizations, health care providers and advocates to link more patients to high-quality primary and specialty care close to their homes.
Read more in our 2014 community benefit report, “Connected to the Community,” by visiting uchospitals.edu/community-benefit.
The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s RBC Race for the Kids raised more than $300,000 to support lifesaving pediatric research. Nearly 2,000 adults and children participated in this year’s 5K Run/Walk, Kids’ Mile and Kids’ Dash in October.
| A B O V E | Children sprint to the finish
line in the 200-yard Kids’ Dash, a favorite activity at the annual Comer Children’s RBC Race for the Kids. | R I G H T | At Access Grand Boulevard
Health and Specialty Center, Comer Children’s pediatric neurologist Kenneth Silver, MD, provides specialty care rarely available in a community setting.
12 » THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICINE IMAGINE MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 0 1 6
FAMILY INVESTS IN CANCER IMMUNOLOGY RESEARCH
Remembering a husband, father and grandfather Decades after Don Ullman battled cancer in his nasal cavity, the disease recurred. “He was given three months to live, told to go home and write his will,” recalled his wife, Marilyn.
discoveries that could expand the pool of patients who benefit from immunotherapies. The Ullmans are particularly enthused about the potential of immunotherapy to offer a gentler way to treat cancer. The therapy Don received afforded him precious time, but it was arduous and eventually caused blindness. “Our family has seen how devastating the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation can be,” Suzanne said. “Immunotherapy offers a path to improved quality of life for cancer patients.” “The University is on the cusp of something really exciting with its work in immunotherapy,” Marilyn added. “I’ve never been able to think that way about cancer before.” “For us, this is a horse race and at the finish line is a cure,” Justin said. “We’re betting on the University of Chicago Medicine to get us there.”
The couple, from Peoria, Illinois, turned to physicians at the University of Chicago Medicine for another opinion. “Where others didn’t have a plan for saving his life, UChicago Medicine did,” said his son, Justin. Don’s medical team — radiation oncologist Daniel J. Haraf, MD, surgeon Elizabeth Blair, MD, and oncologist Victoria M. Villaflor, MD — designed a care plan that included intensive radiation to the tumor along with chemotherapy. The tailored treatment gave Don, who passed away in 2013, four more years — time to welcome five grandchildren into the world. The experience left a deep impression on the Ullmans. “We decided, ‘Let’s try to make a difference as a family,’” Marilyn said. Earlier this year, Marilyn; daughter Suzanne Ullman Griffin and her husband, Joe Griffin; and Justin and his wife, Diane Ullman, committed a generous gift to support groundbreaking research at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. The gift will establish the Ullman Scholarship in Cancer Immunology and the Ullman Fund in Cancer Immunology. Immunotherapy recruits the immune system to fend off cancer as it would a virus. Hailed by Science magazine in 2013 as the “breakthrough of the year,” it could be a game changer for cancer treatment. Immunotherapies have helped some patients with advanced cancers that did not respond to other treatments. Under the guidance of oncologist Thomas F. Gajewski, MD, PhD, UChicago Medicine has been a driving force behind this progress. Gajewski has made foundational contributions to understanding immune function and cancer. These include
The University is on the cusp of something really exciting with its work in immunotherapy. I’ve never been able to think that way about cancer before. MARILYN ULLMAN
| A B O V E | Marilyn Ullman, center, with her family. Tailored
cancer treatment at the University of Chicago Medicine extended her late husband Don’s life long enough for him to welcome five grandchildren into the world.
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South Side resident Karen Auguester received care for an abdominal aortic aneurysm after it was discovered during a Dare to C.A.R.E. screening at UChicago Medicine.
The University of Chicago Medicine provides free vascular disease screenings for at-risk patients on Saturdays at our Hyde Park campus. Offered through a partnership with the Heart Health Foundation’s Dare to C.A.R.E. program, the screenings test for four common vascular diseases: Carotid artery disease, Abdominal aortic aneurysms, Renal artery stenosis and Extremity artery disease. YOU ARE ELIGIBLE IF YOU ARE:
» Age 60 or older » Age 50 or older with certain risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes or family history » Age 40 or older with diabetes
The screening is painless and noninvasive.
FREE VASCULAR DISEASE
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Published on Dec 4, 2015
Imagine magazine is published three times a year by the University of Chicago Medicine. The publication is designed to keep consumers update...