The Red Flags Committee, a team of volunteers committed to advancing the educational mission of Rein in Sarcoma, decided it was important to celebrate those who have helped forward our mission to educate doctors about sarcoma. The first award was given out at the Fall Fundraiser and it was obvious to all of us who should be the first recipient.
Dr. Katie Dusenbery was a dedicated charter Board member. Over the years, she conceived of and acted as “Dean of the Sarcoma Mini-Medical School”, hosted Donor Dinners, and co-chaired our first Fall Fundraiser last year. In 2009, she conceived of what was to become RIS’s most impactful educational program, the RIS Sarcoma Scholars.
Dr. Dusenbery had an idea to create a scholarship as a way to educate highly talented, motivated University of Minnesota medical students about sarcoma cancers and have them to educate their classmates. In 2009, the first Sarcoma Scholar was chosen. Since that time there have been 32 scholars, the program has expanded to the Mayo Clinic as well. This year we have four scholars from the University and two from Mayo. Dr. Okuno at Mayo supervises the scholars there. Dr. Dusenbery created a sarcoma scholar “boot camp” that she and Dr. Okuno run jointly. It is a wonderful program that starts their scholar year with a super infusion of knowledge.
The Red Flags Committee and Dr. Dusenbery have had many big ideas over the years and the scholars have been instrumental in bringing them to life. Scholars have completed research projects, hosted sarcoma lectures at the U of M Minneapolis, U of M Duluth, and Mayo Medical School, and helped develop new ways to educate medical professionals about sarcoma warning signs, including engaging with Health Partners in 2017 to develop best practice alerts through the EPIC/EMR system. Dr. Dusenbery’s passion for education is evident by the number of medical students who continue their involvement with RIS beyond their scholar year. The impact of these efforts will undoubtedly save lives in the years to come.
For all these accomplishments and many more we feel very privileged to award the first Excellence in Education Award to Dr. Kathryn Dusenbery. In addition to the award Jan and Tim Maudlin who generously sponsor the Sarcoma Scholar Program have decided to give an extra $5,000 to the program in Dr. Dusenbery’s honor. Dr. Dusenbery, we know how much you have meant to so many sarcoma patients and we are thrilled to acknowledge this service.