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New sculptures blossom on campuses

As the spring air fills with fragrant lilacs and honeysuckle, like clockwork, new works of art dot the grounds of The University of Toledo.

Ready to share a secret, blooms adorn a bench wrapped by a twining vine and heart-shaped leaves near the north entrance of UT Medical Center. A figure leaps skyward toward a sphere on the west side of Savage Arena. And north of Libbey Hall, a silver flower sparkles as it pays tribute to an acclaimed American artist.

Jim Gallucci's “Listening Whisper Morning Glory Bench” beckons near the north entrance of UT Medical Center.

Jim Gallucci’s “Listening Whisper Morning Glory Bench” beckons near the north entrance of UT Medical Center.

Jim Gallucci’s “Listening Whisper Morning Glory Bench,” Mike Sohikian’s “Reaching for the Moon” and Douglas Gruizenga’s “Georgia on My Mind” are three of the new works featured in the 11th annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.

Gallucci, and artist in Greensboro, N.C., said his benches are whimsical, playful pieces that invite the public to sit and talk. “Good art challenges us, can make us feel righteous, moves us, soothes us, and can bring us peace,” he said.

Mike Sohikian's “Reaching for the Moon” is located on the west side of Savage Arena.

Mike Sohikian’s “Reaching for the Moon” is located on the west side of Savage Arena.

A retired ironworker, Sohikian has a reputation for taking salvaged steel to new heights. The Genoa, Ohio, artist assembles and reworks industrial materials into riveting creations.

Paintings inspired Gruizenga of Interlochen, Mich. “I am impressed with Georgia O’Keeffe’s floral paintings as well as her lust for life,” he said. “This sculpture is a tribute to her.”

The trio are among more than 50 who submitted proposals for consideration to the Midwest Sculpture Initiative. The UT Campus Beautification Committee reviewed the entries and selected pieces that recently were installed.

“It’s an honor to have the chance to be part of this annual exhibition, which brings exciting pieces of art to the University,” said Dr. Steve LeBlanc, executive associate dean of fiscal affairs in the College of Engineering and chair of the Campus Beautification Committee. “I love this time of year when all the new pieces arrive.”

More than 100 sculptures have rotated through the display at the University since the exhibit began, and 11 have become part of UT’s art collection thanks to the generosity of campus benefactors, colleges and departments, according to LeBlanc.

North of Libbey Hall, “Georgia on My Mind” by Douglas Gruizenga honors artist Georgia O'Keeffe.

North of Libbey Hall, “Georgia on My Mind” by Douglas Gruizenga honors artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

Other new works on campus this year:

• “Metropolis” is a 250-pound steel geometric piece featuring an eye-catching blue orb. Forged by the Nordin Brothers, the sculpture sits atop the hill west of University Hall.

• Todd Kime’s “The Joneses” offers some splashes of color in the center of Centennial Mall.

• “Ashes III,” Sam Soet’s intricate slice of ash wood, is located between University Hall and the Student Union.

“Ashes III” by Sam Soet sits between University Hall and the Student Union.

“Ashes III” by Sam Soet sits between University Hall and the Student Union.

• The Nordin Brothers weigh in again with “Time Series Calendra,” a hot-rolled steel work located on the west side of the Health and Human Services Building.

In addition, three sculptures from last year’s exhibit remain: Virginia Kistler’s 500-pound piece of Extira and steel, “Ad Infinitum,” appears to rotate between Nitschke and Palmer halls; Ric Leichliter’s steel red buds,“Promise to Flower,” sprout on the east side of the Health and Human Services Building; and Tom Rudd’s 9-foot, 1,000-pound “Whitefish” still swims south of Carlson Library near the Ottawa River.

Artists receive stipends for the sculptures, which will be on display for the next year.

LeBlanc said gifts from donors make the annual exhibition possible.

“Those who enjoy the sculptures are asked to consider a donation to the Campus Beautification Committee through the UT Foundation,” he said.

Go to https://give2ut.utoledo.edu.

Expert focuses on treating skin cancer with prevention during awareness month

While many people remember to protect themselves from sunburn when it’s sunny outside, University of Toledo Health physicians recommend taking daily precautions to prevent developing skin cancer because harmful rays from the sun can penetrate cloud cover and cause skin damage.

One in five people will develop skin cancer, making it the most common cancer in the United States with nearly six million cases treated each year. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month, and is a good time to review how to protect yourself from the sun.

skincancerawarenessDr. Prabir Chaudhuri, professor and surgical director of the University’s Eleanor N. Cancer Center, recommends avoiding the sun during its peak hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., if possible. If exposure is unavoidable, take these precautions:

• Wear lightweight, long-sleeve shirts, hats and sunglasses;

• Liberally apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 15 SPF every day and reapply often, especially when sweating or swimming; and

• Do not assume a “base tan” protects you from sunburn or UV damage.

“Using a tanning bed in an effort to avoid sunburn and skin damage is a myth. Tanning beds use intense UVA rays to darken skin, but UVB rays from the sun are what cause sunburns,” Chaudhuri said. “Both are dangerous, and we know that tanning, whether indoors or out, causes cumulative DNA damage to the skin, which can result in skin cancer.”

Melanoma is most common among older adults and senior citizens, but Chaudhuri said people of all ages can develop these malignant tumors.

“People with dysplastic nevi, a family history of skin cancer, extreme sun exposure or who have medical conditions that suppress the immune system need to be particularly vigilant in protecting themselves against melanoma,” Chaudhuri said. “Children are especially at risk because they have their whole lives to accumulate skin damage due to sun exposure.”

Dysplastic nevi are benign moles that can appear on any part of the body. They range in size and can be light pink to very dark brown in color. Dysplastic nevi are usually genetic and start to appear in late childhood and may increase in number with age. As many as one in 14 individuals have at least one of these atypical moles.

One of Chaudhuri’s patients said he monitors his skin carefully for changes because dysplastic nevi run in his family.

“I have a lot of moles, and I’m always looking for changes in their color and shape,” Thomas Fischer said. “I’ve had two melanoma removed. It makes me very anxious because I am likely to get it again, and I know it can progress. It’s important to keep up with it.”

Regular skin self-exams are important in identifying potential skin cancers. All areas of skin should be checked, not just areas that see regular sun exposure. Melanomas have been found on the scalp, groin areas and bottoms of the feet. The appearance of any skin irregularities or changes in existing moles should be examined by a trained physician in an effort to find and treat melanoma in its earliest stages.

“I visit Dr. Chaudhuri every six months now due to my risk of recurrence,” Fischer said. “After spending years at the lake, skiing and getting tan, I realize there’s a tradeoff. All that sun catches up to you eventually.”

Chaudhuri said a checkup takes just a few minutes and problem spots can be identified and removed quickly.

“If caught early, melanoma typically responds well to treatment, but the best treatment for any disease is always prevention,” he said.

UT grad student travels to Guatemala for vaccination research before graduation [video]

“This has been my first official full day in Guatemala,” said Jessica Schulte in a cell phone selfie video while resting on the front steps of a medical clinic in a remote village of Central America.

The master of public health student, who will graduate May 27 from The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, recently journeyed 3,000 miles to Petén for a research project to earn her global health certificate.

Jessica Schulte held a child she met during a weeklong trip to conduct research at an OB/GYN clinic in Petén, Guatemala.

Jessica Schulte held a child she met during a weeklong trip to conduct research at an OB/GYN clinic in Petén, Guatemala.

The 24-year-old set up shop for about a week in Petén at an OB/GYN clinic founded by Toledo doctors and UT alumni Anne and Dr. Randy Ruch.

Randy, an associate professor of biochemistry and cancer biology, is Schulte’s faculty advisor at UT.

“They asked if I wanted to go down to Guatemala and actually gather data for my project instead of just reading other studies,” Schulte said.

“We’ve brought many types of students, from undergraduate students to medical students to physician assistant students and physical therapy students,” Randy said.

“I’m sure we’ve seen at least 20,000 patients over the years,” said Anne Ruch, a gynecologist who first visited Petén during a mission trip nearly 20 years ago. “We saw these people living in a garbage dump in the middle of the city and it was so overwhelming to me. The women will often come four or five hours to get to the clinic in a morning. They’ll leave their house at three or four o’clock in the morning.”

Schulte, an epidemiology major who studies the distribution of disease in large groups, surveyed mothers to learn firsthand the barriers to vaccinations for women and children living in poverty in Third-World countries.

Jessica Schulte interviewed a patient, left, with the help of her translator in Petén, Guatemala. The master of public health student conducted research at an OB/GYN clinic during a recent trip.

Jessica Schulte interviewed a patient, left, with the help of her translator in Petén, Guatemala. The master of public health student conducted research at an OB/GYN clinic during a recent trip.

“Before they went to the doctor to get a pap smear or other exam, I was at a table interviewing them,” Schulte said.

Schulte has participated in several medical mission trips as a UT college student.

“The University of Toledo is very diverse,” Schulte said. “Seeing the diversity on campus has opened my eyes into the rest of the world. We’re in this bubble of Toledo, Ohio, and the United States, but what is happening outside of the United States, especially in Third-World countries?”

Every year UT awards more than $100,000 in travel grants to students who study abroad, whether it be for a semester in major cities or a few weeks in remote villages like Petén.

“Meeting everyone has been wonderful,” Schulte narrated in her cell phone video from the clinic steps. “The people are so willing to take part in my survey. They line up before we even get to the clinic. They wait hours if there are tons of people, and they don’t complain.”

“I hope not only that students see what the rest of the world looks like, and they understand that being an American has tremendous privilege and therefore they need to give back,” Randy said.

“Every person that comes on a trip, I say, ‘You know why I brought you here … because I’m counting on you guys to change the world,’” Anne said.

“I have this passion for global health,” Schulte said. “I have this passion to bring back my knowledge to the underserved in the Toledo area. It’s a passion I’m going to have for the rest of my life.”

The College of Medicine and Life Sciences commencement ceremony will be held Friday, May 27, at 2 p.m. at the Stranahan Theater.

After graduation, Schulte plans to go back to school in UT’s physician assistant graduate program to earn a master of science in biomedical sciences.

Think Bink: Alumnus to release series of animated shorts

You know Nemo and Dory and Woody and Buzz, Simba and Nala and Shrek and Donkey. But are you ready to meet Bink?

An adorable seafaring creature with yellow fur, blue spots that match an upright comb, and big brown eyes, Bink will be coming soon to a screen near you, courtesy of Eric Miller Animation Studios.

Bink’s first test is about to begin.

Bink’s first test is about to begin.

“We needed an animated short to show potential clients, so I wanted to create a main character that’s cute and likable,” Eric Miller (Univ Coll ’05) said during a call from his Los Angeles home. “But animation can get really expensive, and since I was funding this on my own, I was trying to find ways to keep costs low.”

He found inspiration in the Minions’ shorts that feature the yellow hooligans on a white background.

“I thought a similar style was a good idea; I could use a simple background and it’ll be character-driven and comedy-driven, and that’s where the initial idea for Bink started,” Miller said.

Bink logoWith former fellow DreamWorks Animation co-worker Charlie Petrek, Miller began shaping his small, sociable star.

“We started throwing around ideas. We came up with a creature that’s in a lab being tested, and each episode will be a different test,” Miller explained. “Because we’re trying to keep costs low, each episode is only 30 seconds. And this allowed us to spend more of the budget on making higher-quality characters and higher-quality renders.”

His sharp focus on art and cartoons began when he was growing up in Canton, Ohio.

Eric Miller attended the 2016 Producers Guild Awards.

Eric Miller attended the 2016 Producers Guild Awards.

“I was inspired most by Disney, whether the company or the person. Originally, I had a few different things I really liked and was passionate about, animation or art being one of them,” Miller recalled. “I also found I really had a passion for business. I think it was learning about Walt Disney’s story and how he started his own company and brought the two together, the art world and the business world, and realized I could make a business doing animation and that’s where my dream came from.”

And Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

So the disciplined teen — he earned a black belt in kung fu at age 11 — started to look for a college to make it happen.

“I went to The University of Toledo and met Peter Patchen, and he told me about the cyber arts program and part of that was 3-D animation, something I was really interested in,” Miller said. “And I also really liked the school, so I decided to go to Toledo.”

At UT, Miller created two animated shorts: “Chessmate” in 2001 and “Mediocrity” in 2005.

Eric Miller, right, and Jeff Shiffman, co-owner of Boom Box Post, work on sound effects for Bink.

Eric Miller, right, and Jeff Shiffman, co-owner of Boom Box Post, work on sound effects for Bink.

“Eric was a creative and talented young artist who had a passion for storytelling through animation,” said Patchen, chair of the Department of Digital Arts at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., and former UT associate professor of art from 1993 to 2006. “He was very demanding of himself and researched his projects independently and well beyond class assignments. He was also generous with what he learned and often helped other students.”

With a little assistance from a high school acquaintance who offered a place to crash in Los Angeles, Miller headed West in July 2005. Three months later, he moved to Sherman Oaks, where he shared an apartment with two UT graduates: John Kundly (Eng ’03) and Ben Hatch (Bus ’05).

Bink strikes a martial arts defensive pose.

Bink strikes a martial arts defensive pose.

Miller worked at a slew of places — Apple Store, Walgreen’s, B1 Media. Then he took a position at a temp agency that had a reputation for helping wannabes find work in entertainment. That led to a placement at DreamWorks Studios as a facilities production assistant, a job he later landed.

“I did interview for Steven Spielberg’s [production assistant] position for ‘Indiana Jones IV.’ The position was only a temporary one, so one of the questions they asked in the interview was, ‘If you get this job, what do you want to do when it ends?’ They try to help the PAs get to where they want to go, and I told them I really want to get into animation. And they smiled and said, ‘We know some people in animation.’

“So while I didn’t get the PA position for Spielberg, I was promoted to lead facilities PA. And, more importantly, when I applied for a position on ‘Monsters vs. Aliens,’ Spielberg’s office called the DreamWorks Animation producers, who originally said they were looking for someone with more experience, and then they wanted to meet with me. This shows how important your network is in Hollywood.”

He joined the studio in 2007. Miller was central office coordinator for “Monsters vs Aliens,” animation coordinator on “Kung Fu Panda 2,” cross-site coordinator for “Madagascar 3,” and modeling and surfacing production supervisor for “Home.”

Eric Miller Animation Studios logoBut that vision of his own company still beckoned.

“July 3, 2014, was my last day at DreamWorks, and July 4 was my first day of independence,” he said and laughed.

His first client? Toys R Us. “We did visual effects for more than 40 commercials for them.”

Before long, Bink was calling.

The first short is expected to debut online in May.

“When you think of DreamWorks and Pixar, they have huge rooms full of processors called render farms. Rendering is a term used to describe the process where computers calculate what each pixel will look like based on the lighting calculations and reflections of different elements, and how they all come together to form a frame of animation. When these frames are played together is when you get animation. That takes a lot of computing power,” Miller said.

“So as we’re finishing up lighting, we have to render these images. We obviously don’t have the computing power like Pixar and DreamWorks, so it takes us a lot longer to render because normally we’re running it on one or two computers. I was talking to my lighter, and he was saying some shots were taking about 25 minutes per frame. So when you multiply that by however many frames, the time it takes can definitely add up very quickly.”

Another exciting arrival: Miller and his wife, Karen, are expecting their second child this month. Their son, Kelton, 2, will have a sister soon.

“It’s kind of funny how it’s working out that Bink and the baby will be here around the same time,” he said and laughed.

Don’t miss Bink: Sign up to receive updates at milleranimation.com/bink.

United Way funds Reach Out and Read in Lucas, Wood counties

United Way of Greater Toledo once again has awarded funding for Reach Out and Read in Lucas County and has added funding for program enhancement and expansion in Wood County.

Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio, coordinated by The University of Toledo Department of Pediatrics, gives young children from birth to age 5 a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

UT Pediatric Resident Dr. Joseph Giancarlo participated in Reach Out and Read by providing a new book to Rocket Pediatrics patient Jasper Vaez and his mother, Abigail.

UT Pediatric Resident Dr. Joseph Giancarlo participated in Reach Out and Read by providing a new book to Rocket Pediatrics patient Jasper Vaez and his mother, Abigail.

“United Way funding allows primary care physicians and staff to pair a valuable tool — a developmentally appropriate book — with the message to parents that creating a language-rich home environment is a crucial step to ensure ready-for-school kids,” said Dr. Valarie Stricklen, UT associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of Rocket Pediatrics.

With new funding for Wood County, Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio will add more partner sites and expand its community reach, said Lori LeGendre, program director of Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio.

“Medical providers teaching parents about the importance of literacy in daily routines is an important step to not only develop kids who are ready to learn, but who will also grow up to be better advocates for their own health,” LeGendre said.

There are currently 25 participating medical offices in northwest Ohio, including the UT Health Rocket Pediatrics sites. The local program distributes more than 26,000 new books each year.

Founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit organization that partners with more than 5,800 sites around the country and distributes 6.8 million books each year.

For more information about the local initiative, visit facebook.com/RORNWO or contact LeGendre at lori.legendre@utoledo.edu or 419.383.4007.

UTMC honors longtime volunteer, thanks others who help

The University of Toledo Medical Center celebrated its volunteers with a luncheon recently at the Radisson Hotel on Health Science Campus during National Volunteer Week.

Patty MacAllister, support services coordinator, center left, presented the first Frances Clinton Service Award to Clinton’s sisters, Paulette Smietana, left, and Mary Ann Nappens, and niece Paige.

Patty MacAllister, support services coordinator, center left, presented the first Frances Clinton Service Award to Clinton’s sisters, Paulette Smietana, left, and Mary Ann Nappens, and niece Paige.

UTMC has about 200 volunteers, who average 3,000 hours of combined service each month and assist 116 departments.

To honor longtime volunteer Frances Clinton, who passed away this year, UTMC established the Frances Clinton Service Award. Clinton’s family received the first Frances Clinton Service Award at the luncheon.

Going forward, the award will be presented to the UTMC volunteer with the most service hours — more than 500 — for the year. Clinton started volunteering at UTMC in 1993 and logged a total of 18,000 service hours.

Patty MacAllister, support services coordinator, left, handed out certificates to, from left, Dr. Don Godfrey, UT professor emeritus of neurology, Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites Auxiliary, and Don Lemle, who were recognized at the UTMC Volunteer Luncheon for completing more than 500 service hours in 2015.

Patty MacAllister, support services coordinator, left, handed out certificates to, from left, Dr. Don Godfrey, UT professor emeritus of neurology, Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites Auxiliary, and Don Lemle, who were recognized at the UTMC Volunteer Luncheon for completing more than 500 service hours in 2015.

“Frances volunteered in several different departments over the years and was known for her beautiful smile that could light up a room,” said Patty MacAllister, support services coordinator in the Service Excellence Department. “She was greatly appreciated and greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Volunteers who completed more than 500 service hours in 2015 also were recognized at the event: Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites Auxiliary; Dr. Don Godfrey, UT professor emeritus of neurology; Yonggil Jang; Vinay Kotturi; Don Lemle; Tawik Obri; Amanjyot Sidhu; and Gheith Yousif.

Matt Schroeder, chief of staff to UT President Sharon L. Gaber, spoke at the event and expressed his gratitude toward UTMC’s volunteers for their contributions to the hospital.

For more information about UTMC Volunteer Services, contact MacAllister at patricia.mac2@utoledo.edu or 419.383.6336.

UT Health cardiologists give pioneering heart exam to gorilla at Toledo Zoo

The largest of all primates at the Toledo Zoo turned out to be the perfect patient, only hairier.

“Working with a gorilla was a scary and exciting experience,” said Dr. Samer Khouri, UT Health cardiologist and director of cardiac imaging. “We were in a controlled environment, but Kwisha is a 470-pound, muscular creature. He is so powerful that his hand has the ability to crush all the bones in my hand with one squeeze.”

Amy Lather, an ultrasound technician at UT Medical Center, conducted an ultrasound on Kwisha the gorilla at the Toledo Zoo as Dr. Qaiser Shafiq, a cardiology fellow in the University training program, center, watched.  

Amy Lather, an ultrasound technician at UT Medical Center, conducted an ultrasound on Kwisha the gorilla at the Toledo Zoo as Dr. Qaiser Shafiq, a cardiology fellow in the University training program, center, watched.  

Several cardiologists, anesthesiologist Dr. Andrew Casabianca, and ultrasound technician Amy Lather from The University of Toledo Medical Center recently volunteered their human health-care expertise for the 27-year-old male western lowland gorilla.

“Heart disease is a global problem facing great apes,” Dr. Kirsten Thomas, Toledo Zoo associate veterinarian, said. “The UTMC team was brought in to provide a new and unique measurement of cardiac health in great apes.”

“We take pride in the high-quality care we provide our animals here at the Toledo Zoo,” Jeff Sailer, Toledo Zoo executive director, said. “This collaboration with UTMC offered an additional level of imaging and cardiac expertise helping us to provide the best possible care for Kwisha.”

Under the oversight of zoo veterinarians, the UT team conducted a comprehensive heart exam while Kwisha was under anesthesia. The specialists gave the gorilla a clean bill of health with no immediate issues that need to be addressed.

Kwisha in 2013 in this photo courtesy of Andi Norman/Toledo Zoo

Kwisha in 2013 in this photo courtesy of Andi Norman/Toledo Zoo

“Kwisha’s pictures look good,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “We were happy to help. This also was a terrific opportunity for us to learn more from a highly related, yet nonhuman primate about cardiac performance.”

“A gorilla’s heart is almost the same as a human heart — only bigger,” Khouri said. “We followed the same principles, but this checkup was anything but routine. What’s amazing to me is how similar gorillas are to us physically.”

The silverback gorilla’s screening included an echocardiogram and a strain test, which is believed to have been the first strain analysis ever done on an ape.

“It’s a more sensitive and more accurate test,” Khouri said. “The process takes a detailed look at the contraction of heart muscle. We can detect any problem in the heart before it’s apparent in a regular echo.”

“To the best of our knowledge, the strain test has not previously been performed in great apes, and is a novel approach to measuring cardiac function in these animals,” Thomas said. “The collective efforts of the UTMC cardiac team and Toledo Zoo veterinary staff has provided us the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of great ape research.”

Khouri plans to publish the new data soon and hopes to expand the work to include more apes to advance knowledge about heart function.

“This is an important first step for research to compare a gorilla to human heart contraction and function,” Khouri said. “Doing this special analysis makes us proud. Taking care of this kind of animal shows that every life on the planet deserves respect and highlights how similar we are to all creatures on earth.”

Scholarship created to honor 39-year-old UTMC doctor dying from cancer

One year shy of finishing his surgical residency at The University of Toledo Medical Center, Dr. Cyrus Chan is facing death with courage at his home in hospice care.

“I feel the end is approaching,” said Chan, a California native who is battling stage IV colon cancer. “I keep a positive attitude, but I know the outcome. My mom likes to feel there is a glimmer of hope. I am more realistic.”

Chan

Chan

“We are hoping there is a miracle out there,” said his mother, Maria Chan, in the living room of the doctor’s suburban Holland home, where a hospital bed has been placed next to the couch.

“I am trying to live each day as it comes and make the best of it,” Chan said. “The table has completely turned. I have absolutely no control. I am beginning to feel the grip that cancer has on me. It is something I have accepted.”

Chan’s transformation from life-saving doctor to terminal patient has touched his fellow surgeons with the unpredictability of life.

“He is a brilliant surgeon who has helped heal so many patients, and he is extremely kind to medical students,” said Dr. Tahir Jamil, chief surgical resident at UTMC. “Seeing such a close friend and such a good human being have such a terrible condition has hit home for all of us. We’re devastated.”

Chan began his general surgery residency at UT in 2009.

Dr. Cyrus Chan, center, at his home with his parents, Maria Chan, right, who lives in San Francisco, and Channy Chan, who lives in China.

Dr. Cyrus Chan, center, at his home with his parents, Maria Chan, right, who lives in San Francisco, and Channy Chan, who lives in China.

A year and a half ago, Chan felt a pain on his left side. He thought maybe he pulled a muscle while skiing. However, when the pain persisted along with sudden weight loss and blood in his stool, he knew something was wrong. A colonoscopy uncovered malignant tumors. He was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 37.

Surgery to remove the cancer further revealed it had spread to the liver. Intensive chemotherapy and radiation did not keep it at bay for long. On Feb. 25, 2016, surgeons found hundreds of tumors all over Chan’s abdominal wall and small bowel. He said the largest was three centimeters and encased his small bowel.

“I have been honored and privileged to work with Cyrus,” Dr. Thomas Schwann, UTMC interim chair and professor of surgery, said. “Cyrus is not a ‘Hollywood’ sort of a surgeon. He is not loud and boisterous. He is quietly effective.”

Jamil and fellow resident Dr. Steve Stanek came up with a way to ensure Chan’s legacy lives on.

While Chan is still alive, his friends and colleagues have created an endowed scholarship for medical students and an endowed award for residents that will be presented annually through The University of Toledo Foundation in Chan’s name. The money will be given to people with the same gifts as Chan.

“He is not only a compassionate doctor with his patients. Cyrus has won several awards for teaching,” Jamil said. “The money will be for students and residents committed to surgery and to taking the time to educate others about College of Medicine.”

As of April 8, 237 people donated a total of $28,871 to the GoFundMe account for the Cyrus Chan Legacy Scholarship. The UT Foundation also has collected $38,495 from 35 private donors all over the world, including Trinity College in Ireland, where Cyrus attended medical school.

“I have rarely seen a groundswell of support like this,” said Howard Newman, associate vice president for development on Health Science Campus with The University of Toledo Foundation. “This is a tragic situation, and people have found a way to light a candle in the darkness. They’re going to make a difference to the future of residents and medical students at our College of Medicine.”

“He has touched the lives of so many people. It’s amazing that so many people are giving back,” Jamil said. “The smile on his face is priceless.”

UT also plans to give Chan an honorary degree.

“If he had not become sick, he would’ve graduated in June,” Mary Burda, UT residency education coordinator, said. “Our hearts are broken.”

“I feel honored,” Chan said. “I cannot put into words how much I love them and all they have done for me. It makes me feel special to know that everything I have done for the University and contributed to the residency program has left a mark.”

As he struggles with daily aches and pain, Chan finds the strength to remain optimistic.

Chinese characters cross the top of the twin-sized comforter on the hospital bed in his living room. They mean “luck, love, fortune.”

He hopes others learn from his difficult journey.

“Be happy with what you have and enjoy life as much as you can,” Chan said. “Don’t take anything for granted. Love your friends and family. Tell them you love them now and often.”

Local program aids cancer patients

Constantly working to better the lives of patients, The University of Toledo’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center is known for making a difference.

The Get Well Award is a distinction given to health-care centers offering impactful services to their patients by the northwest Ohio regional chapter of the American Cancer Society. This honor was bestowed to the Toledo Road to Recovery program, a service provided by the society giving cancer patients rides to and from their doctor’s appointments when they are unable to drive or obtain rides.

Road to RecoveryThe initiative was started in the mid-1970s by a group of volunteers in central Massachusetts. After being adopted by the American Cancer Society, it was renamed Road to Recovery in 1982. Within a year, it had provided transportation for 1,640 patients.

When the program was introduced in northwest Ohio, The University of Toledo’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center was chosen as a pilot for Lucas County because of the existing collaboration between the center and the society. From January to July 2015, a trial period was launched, during which time 165 rides were provided to patients. However, the program has since blossomed: It now works with all Lucas County health centers and hospitals and provided 540 rides in 2015.

american-cancer-society-logo“Transportation is one of the biggest barriers to treatment for many patients, and having this program is truly life-changing for many,” said Katie Chisholm, an oncology social worker at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, who coordinates program referrals and rides.

“For someone to donate time out of their own lives to help others is breath-taking, and that is what these volunteers do. There are not many transportation services available in the areas that meet our patient’s needs, which can make my job very hard in trying to help them.”

Volunteers are always needed to drive patients. To become a volunteer, an individual must be between the ages of 18 and 85, have a valid driver’s license, a properly working and insured vehicle, and must pass a background check, insurance verification, driver’s license verification and motor vehicle records check. Those interested should contact the American Cancer Society at 800.227.2345 or click here. All volunteers must complete a training session either online or at the society’s office in Perrysburg.

“One of the things I hear most is the wonderful bonds and relationships patients build with their drivers. Sometimes patients are set up with the same driver for all appointments if possible,” Chisholm said.

For more information, contact Marybeth Torsell, health promotions coordinator with the American Cancer Society East Central Division, at 888.227.6446 or marybeth.torsell@cancer.org.

UT hosts heroin overdose simulation to help fight drug epidemic

Lying passed out on the floor with a needle stuck in his arm, “Jasper” is no dummy.

It is a human simulator posing as a man who overdosed on heroin to teach medical students at The University of Toledo how to save a drug addict’s life.

Toledo Fire and Rescue Department paramedic students administered Narcan to the simulated heroin overdose patient inside the staged apartment.

Toledo Fire and Rescue Department paramedic students administered Narcan to the simulated heroin overdose patient inside the staged apartment.

In front of an audience, students training to be doctors, nurses and emergency responders were put to the test with a heroin overdose simulation in UT’s Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center on Health Science Campus.

The real-time emergency situation — from the staged apartment to the simulated hospital room — was broadcast to a crowd of recovering heroin addicts, Toledo police and fire chiefs, UT faculty and staff, and community partners to increase education about Ohio’s heroin epidemic.

“We wanted everyone to experience the high-intensity process, emotions and medical treatment of heroin overdose starting inside a home,” Tia Hornish, UT clinical simulation and education research associate, said. “By watching the situation unfold, we hope they feel a connection to what is happening to people of all ages and walks of life in our community. As health-care providers, we need to be able to understand that the heroin epidemic is not discriminating against anyone and provide resources to help addicts.”

Third-year medical student Nathan Marcinkowski led the team in a state-of-the-art medical simulation suite, which served as the ER for the heroin overdose exercise.

Third-year medical student Nathan Marcinkowski led the team in a state-of-the-art medical simulation suite, which served as the ER for the heroin overdose exercise.

EMT students got experience administering the antidote drug Narcan, which is now available at pharmacies over the counter, and transporting the patient to the simulated emergency room.

“Narcan is only temporary,” Dr. Paul Rega, assistant professor in the UT Department of Emergency Medicine, said. “It does not cure.”

Since Narcan — also known as naloxone — wears off before the overdose, medical students then took over and ran through all of the life-threatening complications that come with a drug overdose.

Students training to be doctors, nurses and physician's assistants worked together to save the human simulator suffering from complications that resulted from a heroin overdose.

Students training to be doctors, nurses and physician’s assistants worked together to save the human simulator suffering from complications that resulted from a heroin overdose.

“This is an area where you have a controlled setting with a high-fidelity simulator that can mimic a lot of conditions,” Rega said. “The students practice and when the real situation arises, they are not shocked by it. They can address it in a proper fashion.”

Third-year medical student Nathan Marcinkowski was the team leader.

“Normally, students don’t get to experience these types of situations until their residencies,” Marcinkowski said. “It’s great training for us and also a great experience for the community to be here. I know there is a lot of debate about Narcan, but I think it’s really good that people are interested in learning about this.”

This time, Jasper survived.

The simulation was a shock for Matt Bell, who sat watching in the audience.

“Five dollars’ worth of heroin almost killed me,” Bell, who overdosed in fall 2014, said. “Narcan saved my life.”

Bell is co-founder of Team Recovery, a local organization of recovering heroin addicts who are working to help other addicts get sober. Team Recovery holds family support group meetings once a week. Representatives also share their stories in school classrooms from sixth grade through college to spread prevention awareness.

“I graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA, but dropped out of UT after pain pills from a baseball injury led me ultimately to heroin addiction,” Bell said. “There is a way out. This simulation may be scary to see, but people need to understand the severity and prevalence of what is happening inside so many homes in our area.”