COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Camp Independence keeps youth moving forward Spina bifida can make it hard
for kids and young adults to lead normal lives. Not only do they face a number of physical prob- lems, but they can also struggle with psychological ones. Grayson Holmbeck, PhD, is helping to stop their social and developmental difficulties in their tracks. Holmbeck, the director of
clinical psychology at Loyola, has been interested in helping ado- lescents with the disorder since his days as a student psychol- ogy intern at Children’s Memo- rial Hospital. He now leads the psychological research at Camp Independence, a summer camp for children and young adults with spina bifida. At the camp, activities ranging
from hockey to arts and crafts are designed to help the youth and young adults build confidence and make friends, as well as work on skills of living independently.
HEALTH SCIENCES The camp was originally part
of a program run by the Normal, Illinois, Easter Seals, but five years ago, Camp Independence secured funding from the Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation of the Kiwanis Illinois-Eastern Iowa District. As a result, the camp was able to move to the Volo, Illinois, YMCA camp. The facility is now used exclusively by spina bifida patients. Holmbeck says that having its own site has greatly improved the program’s quality. Two years ago, the SPRF
awarded Camp Independence a $10,000 grant to help start a fund to construct a second camp building. Given the camp’s recent
successes, Holmbeck has high hopes for the future. “We hope to expand the program to include more kids and also to dissemi- nate the program to other camps around the country,” he said.
Clinical trials fight cancer with patients’ own T cells A new cancer research program
at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medi- cine is developing cutting-edge therapies to combat metatastic melanoma. A clinical trial, the only one of its kind in the Midwest, is under way at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. The trial is being led by Joseph
The Immunotherapeutics Program at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center is directed by Michael I. Nishimura, PhD, principal investigator of a new five-year, $16.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.
Clark, MD, and Michael I. Nishimura, PhD, head of the Immunotherapeu- tics program. Nishimura heads a team of eight to ten scientists. In the trial, researchers will remove and genetically modify patients’ own T cells while the patients undergo high-dose chemotherapy. The modified cells will then be replaced in the body to attack tumors. Melanoma is the sixth-most-com-
mon cancer in Americans, and inci- dence is rising dramatically. About 1 in 50 people will be diagnosed with melanoma. Surgery is only effective if the cancer is caught early.
What are some of your priorities as dean? • I want to make our medical students triple-tal- ents. I want them to display empathy, excellence, and efficiency as physicians. It’s important that our research and graduate programs continue to grow in scope and in collaboration. I also want to ensure that we have an appropriately diverse faculty, staff, and student body to create a diverse work force for our community and our world.
What challenges does Stritch face in the year ahead? • We need to increase our scholarship commitments so that we can make available Stritch’s world-class medical education to de- serving individuals, regardless of their economic
background. We also want to increase our re- search capacity, as we have started in earnest with our new research building which will open in 2015.
Why Loyola? What do you think sets Stritch apart? • Loyola’s got a wonderful blend of potential and capability, and is uniquely poised to impact patient care both here and around the globe. We talk the talk and we walk the walk. We will make a difference!
What would you say to people considering the medical field as a career option? • To me, there’s no more fulfilling field than being a phy- sician who is engaged in research and education.
It is an honor and a privilege and an unbeliev- ably rewarding vocation.
When did you know you wanted to be a physi- cian? • This became clear for me in high school.
Not that you probably have much, but what do you do in your spare time? • I am a voracious reader—I like nonfiction—and I spend time with family and friends. I also enjoy exercise.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far? • It’s a career pinnacle and an honor for me to lead the Stritch School of Medicine as the dean.
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