No memory is too small. Helping rural and Indigenous communities find their way through the gathering darkness of dementia
In Duluth, at the University of Minnesota, the Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team is focused on our rural and tribal communities where, for unknown reasons, memory loss is growing at higher rates than in our urban areas.
They’re working to tackle dementia, which slowly dims the light of too many of our loved ones. To do this, they engage communities in participatory research where “…the University researchers, the academics, don’t drive the research agenda, it’s driven by the communities themselves….”
Rural Delivery: How the University recruits small town doctors
Cassidy Peterson just raised the bar when it comes to hands-on learning experiences.
The University of Minnesota medical student, who spent her first two years at the Medical School’s Duluth Campus, was in on the delivery of 77, count ‘em, 77 babies.
And the Velva, ND, native did it in just nine months shadowing two family medicine physicians at Lakewood Health System in the small town of Staples.
This clinic has a Ladder: And it reaches far beyond an exam room
Aisha Mohamed dreamed of a career in medicine as far back as she can remember.
But there wasn’t a doctor in her family to show her the way. Nor was there one in her tight-knit, North Minneapolis Somali community.
Then, at 17, she joined The Ladder, a mentorship program offered by University of Minnesota Physicians Broadway Family Medicine Clinic.
Connection: The power of primary care
There are two Harold Palms: One before
his lung transplant. One after.
Harold before was a tough-minded
welder who told it like it is and didn’t
Harold after still speaks the truth, but
does it with a smile and a joke or two.
And he’s learned that he needs people,
especially the young doctor who was
with him every step of his ordeal.
Drivers of Discovery: These are the people who make the whole story go
This is the story of the Medical Discovery Team on Optical Imaging and Brain Science. It’s about the
people and culture driven to not just unlock the secrets of our most complicated organ, but, more
importantly, discover what we can do when things go wrong.
Says Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School: “The true innovators think
of patients. They don’t come here to fill beakers. They come to help somebody with disease.”
Chuck’s Story: The promise and possibilities of Deep Brain Stimulation
Moments before brain surgery, Chuck Holt whispered to his wife: “There’s still time to make a break
More than a year later, the debilitating weakness in his right arm and leg from Parkinson’s Disease
is, for the most part, held at bay.
And Chuck is an unabashed cheerleader for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).
A novel approach to childhood obesity
Losing 50 pounds made a world of difference for an engaging teenager named Jack. He can bike. He can
swim. He can even leave his wheelchair in the dust.
Best of all, Jack’s fingers are nimble enough to play with his beloved Legos.
A simple, but powerful new approach guides the University of Minnesota’s Center for Pediatric
Obesity Medicine: What Jack and patients like him battle isn’t a character flaw, as conventional
wisdom would have us believe. It’s a disease.
Making a true lifesaver available to as many people as possible
Our homegrown Super Heroes now have a Super Truck. And that brings hope to every Minnesotan who may
be faced with a real-life killer – sudden cardiac arrest.
Says Dr. Jason Bartos, who, along with Dr. Demetri Yannopoulos, leads this Herculean effort from the
University of Minnesota Medical School:
“There’s very few things in the world of medicine that compare to knowing that you potentially just
saved a life.”
Building Healthier Brains: How a unique team hopes to narrow the opportunity gap and even prevent
There’s a promising new weapon in the fight against Minnesota’s stubborn and, in these pandemic
days, widening opportunity gap. In fact, this novel approach has the potential to go even further,
helping us with diseases rooted in our very early years.
Introducing an ambitious new effort: The University of Minnesota Masonic Institute for the
Developing Brain. It’s a team that not only includes experts
from different—and all too often siloed—disciplines, but just as importantly, community leaders who
will help direct and deliver the work to where it’s needed most.
Chad's Story: It's not just about surviving COVID-19, it's about recovering from it.
Chad Glirbas most likely contracted COVID-19 doing the job that he’s dreamed of since childhood:
The 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Park force administered lifesaving CPR to someone who later
Seven months later, Chad is one of an alarming number of patients who, no
matter how hard they work at it, can’t seem to get back to full strength.
Preparing Minnesota for the “Silver Tsunami”: Can we live healthier longer?
It’s called the Silver Tsunami, an aging
and often fragile population that
threatens to swamp our health care
system. By 2030, 1 in 5 Minnesotans
will be 65 years or older.
Two researchers from the University of
Minnesota Medical School rise to meet
this daunting challenge.
Life-altering pain: the power of humility in treating a very humbling disease
During high school in Chicago, Dr. Clarence Shannon had a life changing opportunity - the invitation
to attend a math and science summer program for minority students on the East Coast. This experience
expanded his horizons on what his own potential was.
Today he is making a difference, not just for patients, but as the medical director of M Health
Fairview Clinic for Comprehensive Pain Management, and by training the next generation of students
Using science, not willpower, to conquer a real life – and death – brain disease
Addiction needs no introduction. We all know somebody who struggles with a beguiling lifelong
attraction to the very substance that is their undoing.
Introducing, in a word, hope: The University of Minnesota’s Medical Discovery Team on Addiction.
It’s a passionate group of researchers from different disciplines armed with newfound knowledge
about the brain’s central role in addiction and the technology to push that understanding even
Healthcare may be hurting, but here comes a whole new generation of healers
When Kriti Prasad was just six, she told the babysitter she wanted to be a “shot girl,” just like
her physician mom.
Now, after experiences like COVID-19 and the inequities it exposed, the second year University of
Minnesota Medical School student aims higher.
Natalie’s story revisited: Help and hope at a time when we ALL need it most
Natalie Narvaez simply wanted to help other people like her.
And so, the University of Minnesota sophomore opened up about her long struggle with depression and
her participation in Dr. Katie Cullen’s promising research using mindful breathing and
neurostimulation as alternatives to existing therapies
Sue’s Story: Partnering with the best and brightest to fight diabetes
At just 12, Sue Rockers got “terrifying” news. She had Type 1 diabetes.
The little girl who dreamed of being a teacher raised her sights: Making sure this dangerous disease
would not stop her from running, skiing, swimming or anything else.
There was only one problem: This super active Minneapolis wife, mom and school nurse got so good at
managing her disease that it was hard to find a doctor who knew more.
Bevan’s Story: A front row seat on a devastating pandemic – and the people fighting it
Dr. Bevan Yueh wants to make one thing clear: He’s no hero. Just a member of a team alarmed by an
approaching pandemic. Just a member of a team hustling to open Bethesda as an all COVID-19 hospital.
Just a member of a team who wound up being one of its first patients.
“I think part of it is a sense of guilt,” says Dr. Yueh. “Here I was, a physician, a healer who’s
supposed to be taking care of people.”
Andrew’s story: A second chance where once there was none.
Andrew Lund was just 26 when his heart suddenly stopped beating at a family gathering. Paramedics,
taking over for a Good Samaritan on the scene, tried restarting it with electric shock
(defibrillation). Once, twice – seven times in all.
There was one last hope, a trip to M Health Fairview and a doctor with expertise in resuscitation
medicine and a technology that’s a real game-changer for cardiac arrest patients.
Natalie’s Story: Help and hope for those who haven’t found what they’re looking for yet
Since middle school, Natalie Narvaez has struggled with depression, which she describes as a feeling
of “dread.” Over the years, she’s seen five therapists. She’s also tried medication, but it only
made her feel worse.
Understandably, the freshman was all in when researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical
School asked her to participate in a study exploring a possible new treatment: Brain stimulation
paired with mindful breathing.
A resource for Minnesota: responding to a pandemic
Minnesota is a state full of incredible resources: our rich farmland, beautiful lakes and forests,
sites sacred to our indigenous peoples, culture of biotechnical innovation, and people with a strong
work ethic and desire to help others. One of the state’s resources is the University of Minnesota.
Where fear becomes hope: How a cancer diagnosis gave Tori a larger sense of purpose
Tori Jaffray thought the thickening around her waist was simply the common but dreaded “menopause
midsection.” She upped her work-outs, but the problem only grew until one night at dinner there was
hardly room for food.
A trip to urgent care led to a diagnosis that, more than a year later, still brings tears to this
Orono woman’s eyes.