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2.9.17 – Luncheon Notes and Photos

SPOKES Notes written by Roger Morgenstern

Last week’s speaker has returned to his native state and provided great insight to the important work being done here in Grand Rapids by Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and how it fits nicely into one of Rotary’s Focus Areas: Fighting Disease.

Dr. Norman J. Beauchamp, M.D., MHS, has been dean of the MSU College since October 2016. A native of St. John’s, north of Lansing, he received his bachelor’s degree from MSU, a master’s of health science from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and his medical degree from MSU, including internships at Grand Rapids’ Blodgett Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital.

Dr. Beauchamp called the MSU school “a community partnership because it’s not a medical school alone.” There is much work to do, with some startling worldwide statistics he provided:

  • There is a prevalence of clinical depression among 1 in 5 people. Too often, he said, it goes under diagnosed and under treated. For example, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it takes 12 months for patients to see a psychiatrist.
  • Six children die, every minute, due to hunger. “That’s one every 10 seconds,” he said. “Hunger is not an incurable disease…We know how to treat hunger, yet it continues, unabated.”
  • In 2012, 13 million people died due to unhealthy work conditions, he said. Put in Michigan terms, this is equivalent to a population equal to Grand Rapids, Flint, and Lansing combined…being lost every 33 days.
  • If left unchecked, by 2022, 41 percent of a middle-class family’s take-home pay will be spent on medical costs.

Pointing to the banner we display weekly on Rotary’s Focus Areas, Dr. Beauchamp said
“I see a perfect alignment as to why I’m here with you and why the medical school is here.”

Some of those improvements start right in hospitals, he said, explaining “100,000 lives are lost a year due to medical errors. We need to do better.”

These improvements are best addressed through an “innovation cycle,” Dr. Beauchamp said. This cycle combines discovery, teaching and clinical application. He said things learned through clinical application can then be put toward future teaching and discovery. “If you continue to use the cycle everything is possible.”

This innovation cycle has helped in the treatment of stroke victims, he said, allowing patients to be helped 6 to 12 hours after a stroke, instead of the previously accepted norm of 3 hours. These medical advancements are crucial because stroke is the second most common cause of death in the world, resulting in 5.5 million deaths annually. In the U.S., there are an estimated 795,000 strokes annually, a major source of disability among Americans.

Another advancement has addressed the mortality rate of melanoma, the most serious, and fatal, form of skin cancer. Research conducted here in Grand Rapids in the area of signaling pathways, to understand the rapid spread of the disease, has helped reduce the spread of melanoma by more than 90 percent, Dr. Beauchamp said.

“In the last six to seven years there has been amazing clinical work here in this community,” he said.

The $85 million new building being completed downtown at Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue is an exciting addition to MSU’s presence in the city, he said. It will be a research center focused on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, woman’s health and cancer.

The work done in the new MSU center will be in collaboration with existing medical facilities here in Grand Rapids, including the VanAndel Institute. Since leaving Grand Rapids in 1991 to launch his medical career, he said “Grand Rapids has been transformed” and he is excited about the future.

News and Notes

  • President-Elect Renwick Brutus, presiding again last week, reminded members that tickets, and sponsorships, are still available for the March 22 Service Self dinner honoring Rick DeVos. Call the Rotary office for more information. “You don’t want to miss this event…you have no reason to miss this event,” he joked.
  • President-Elect Renwick pointed out that Rotary International’s World Peace Conference is being hosted by the Ann Arbor Rotary Club March 31-April 1 and said “the roster of speakers is incredible.”
  • James Eliassen reported on several volunteer events underway where more volunteers are needed! Check out the details on the Rotary website.
  • The Service Above Selfie Contest is underway! The winning non-profit receives $5,000. Learn more at . Winners will be announced at the March 22 dinner.
  • Our membership drive continues, with 52 new members needed by the June 30 end of the Rotary year. Progress was reported on our RI Foundation $20,000 goal, with $5,552 raised.
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