RIS Sarcoma Scholars

2014-2015 RIS Sarcoma ScholarsRein in Sarcoma began the sarcoma scholars in the in the 2009-2010 Academic year with one scholar. The number and quality of the applications increased the second year and we awarded two scholarships. In 2013 the interview committee indicated that they had three candidates that they couldn’t choose between and the board granted three scholarships. To date we have had twenty scholars both at the University of Minnesota and at the Mayo Clinic Medical School. Five scholarships are now awarded annually.

The Foundation will be awarding five cholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year thanks to a generous donation by Jan and Tim Maudlin. The program is managed for RIS by Board emeritus member Katheryn Dusenbery, MD, Head, Department of Therapeutic Radiology-Radiation Oncology, and University of Minnesota.

The previous scholars have all pursued further work in cancer related fields. The scholars are involved in the following educational opportunities:

  • They attend the regular Thursday morning meetings of the University of MN Sarcoma Team.
  • Arrange and publicize a lunch lectures or dinner on Sarcoma for second year medical students at the University of Minnesota Medical School, the University Of  Minnesota Duluth Medial School and the Mayo Clinic Medical School.
  • Help Dr. Dusenbery put on the “Mini-Medical School” on Sarcoma.
  • They are given a chance to participate in research with U of M Sarcoma Researchers.
  • Act as hosts for RIS Donor Dinners and the annual RIS Fall Fund Raiser.
  • They help with some RIS projects such as donor dinners and gatherings in order to meet and interact with Sarcoma Patients and Survivors.
  • They are invited to submit other ways to educate the medical community and the public about sarcoma. They work with the Red Flags of Sarcoma Committee of RIS to implement these projects.

As an example scholars conceived and produced our video “From never heard of it, to We Caught it early”. The Video is on You-Tube and has been shown by other sarcoma organizations around the country.

In recent years Sarcoma Scholars worked with the Red Flags Committee and Dr. Jon Halberg to produce a Hippocrates Café Production using Sarcoma Stories from our patients, survivors and families. They worked with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics on some educational initiatives to Doctors around the state who refer to Children’s. They hope to add an extra lunch lecture for other pre-health and professional students. Scholars have also worked to conduct surveys of both the public and medical professionals about their knowledge of sarcoma cancers. These surveys have been used with hundred of medical professionals and over 1,500 people attenuating the Minnesota State Fair. These activities are in addition to the core activities listed above..

Sarcomas are often misdiagnosed leading to the need for increased and more rigorous treatment and an increased mortality rate. One of the factors in this misdiagnosis is the lack of familiarity of the signs and symptoms of sarcoma by many doctors. Rein in Sarcoma is working hard to address this. In conjunction with the University of MN, Mayo and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, we have produced brochures and cards about the signs and symptoms of sarcoma.

The sarcoma scholars have been a cornerstone of our educational efforts. The scholars work to educate the other students and the public during their “scholarship year”. Perhaps more importantly they carry the information about sarcoma down through the years as they practice medicine to fellow doctors and to patients presenting with symptoms. When we invest in a scholar, this investment will bring benefits to patients for years to come.