Past Events - 2017

Welcome to the 2017 UMR CONNECTS past events page. All presentations on this page have already taken place. Some of them have been recorded and made available via YouTube. You may browse through the recorded UMR CONNECTS presentations on the UMR CONNECTS YouTube Channel, or if there is a "Watch this presentation now" link below, you may click it to view the coinciding presentation, directly. You can view the list of upcoming presentations here.

JANUARY 2017 - Health Care Today

January 3 - No Event

Happy New Year!

January 10- Autism; the Cause and Effect on the Individual and Family

Event rescheduled due to inclement weather

January 17 - Improving Patient and Provider Experience Through Investigation: A Collaboration Between University of MN Rochester and Mayo Clinic

Presenters: UMR students Alecia Alto, Mikayla Schmidt and Vivian Ma

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is an independent non-profit organization committed to improving health and healthcare worldwide. The University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) IHI Chapter was established in 2009, the same year students populated UMR’s campus. Students aim to improve the patient and employee experience by executing IHI's model for improvement: Play - Do - Study – Act. Recently, students have completed three diverse projects: 1) Determine the relationship between patient time spent in the clinic and overall satisfaction and this relationship’s conjunction with provider type 2) Detail the prescription refill process and identify possible inefficiencies 3) Develop implementations to encourage the culture of employee health and measure the effectiveness of these methods.

January 24 - Contributions of the Rochester Epidemiology Project to Medicine and Public Health

The Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) is a group of hospitals and clinics in MN and WI, including Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center, who have linked their records for medical research. Because patients receiving care at the participating clinics and hospitals have said yes to medical research, the REP is able to answer questions that cannot be answered anywhere else. This little known resource born in Olmsted County celebrated 50 years in 2016! To celebrate, the REP is spreading the word including a visit to UMR Connects to share the history and to highlight some of the important medical questions that have been answered using the REP resources

January 31 - UMR Health CORE: An Endeavor to Diversify Minnesota's Health Care Workforce

UMR Health CORE Students: Samantha Krep, Samira Hassan, Maura Lynch, Paola Gomez Tapia, Kiersten Lee, Manokao Yang

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities acknowledges that members of racial and ethnic minority groups have inadequate access to a primary care physician. Consequently, minority children are less likely than their White counterparts to have a consistent source of health care. The University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) Health CORE Learning Community is designed to open the door of opportunity for Pell eligible, first-generation and/or racially diverse youth to complete an undergraduate program in the Health Sciences and to pursue a career as a healthcare professional. This UMR Connects is designed to showcase the first student cohort of the CORE Program and to illustrate the unique programming aimed at supporting these UMR students.


February 7- Script Your Family’s Future: Why You Need an Estate Plan

Don Charlson, Edward Jones

Is your family prepared to carry on your legacy? Join Financial Advisor, Don Charlson for an informative presentation on estate planning and the necessary steps to insuring your family’s future.

February 14 - The Strength of Kindness: Boldly Challenging its Stigmas

Danielle Teal, On-air radio host for 106.9 KROC

In 2012, Danielle made a New Year’s resolution to commit an act of kindness every single day of the year. It is the only resolution she’s never broken. This enlightening experience has turned into a five year sociological impactful movement. Danielle finds volunteering and altruism to be one of the most fulfilling important contributions to society, as such, she founded the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) group locally. The Strength of Kindness: Boldly Challenging its Stigmas will confront every day stigmas related to kindness and what we can do as a society to change that.

February 21 - Autism; the Cause and Effect on the Individual and Family

Brad Trahan

Autism is an extremely complex diagnosis that does not have a known cause, thus no cure. Today, 1/68 individuals born will be diagnosed with autism; the fastest disability our nation faces today. Brad will share with us the daily demands and pressures of having a child with autism; how it affects the individual, the family, the extended family and society.

February 28 - Discovering Passion in Health Science

Karl Freese, Priya Posani, Elizabeth Richards, Brian Nguyen, Mackenzie Rahnenfuehrer and Laura Magee

Karl Freese: Cycling Through Emotions to Reestablish Stability Priya Posani: Passion Amidst Adversity: The Foundation for Healthcare InnovatiCoLab Presentation (it is about 15 min. long) Mackenzie Rahnenfuehrer and Laura Magee: Generation Tech (CoLab group collaborating with the Public Library). Elizabeth Richards: Muéveme: A Journey into the Unknown to Understand the Familiar Brian Nguyen: Derealization and Catharsis: A Journey of Self-Discovery

MARCH 2017 - Medicine & Science

March 7 - Minimally Invasive Thermal Ablation of Primary and Metastatic Tumors Involving The Spine

Dr. Jay Morris, Mayo Clinic Division of Neuroradiology

March 14 - Stem Cell Research: A Look Back and A Glimpse Forward

William Hoffman, Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology, University of Minnesota

Hoffman will discuss what stem cells are, the diseases that cell therapies and regenerative medicine can treat, and highlights in stem cell research. Highlights include James Thomson’s isolation of human embryonic stem cells in 1998 and Shinya Yamanaka’s and Thomson’s discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from adult tissues in 2007. Adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and iPS cells currently in cell therapy clinical trials will be reviewed. Hoffman will explore the ethical debate surrounding the use of human embryonic stem cells in research, human cloning, and “designer” children. Finally, he will talk about the direct-to-consumer stem cell industry in the U.S. and “stem cell tourism” around the world.

Click here to view the presentation.

March 21 - Text Neck

Nicholas Pratt, D.C., B.A.

Learn about the risks and damages of prolonged usage of cellphones, tablets, and other wireless devices. Students are especially at risk for experiencing symptoms of text neck. Symptoms can include neck pain, headaches, migraines, and vision issues.

Dr. Pratt discusses how to combat the epidemic facing this generation of tech users.

Click here to view presentation

March 27 - Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants: Providers Helping to Heal the U.S. Healthcare System

Dr. Randy Heman & Clover Schultz-Tiedeken, Physician Assistant

Health care in the United States is in a constant state of change. As part of that change, people entering the health care system now and in the future will encounter and be cared for by a variety of non-physician licensed providers. These providers include nurses, pharmacist, therapist and others. The focus of today’s discussion will be on Advance Practice Clinicians (APC”S) or Physician Assistants (PA-C) and Advance Practice Nurses (APRN). We will discuss their role in health care, their scope of practice and the obstacles they face. In light of the growing and anticipated national physician shortage, these providers will be a growing part of the future of health care.

Click here to view presentation

April - Ethics & Society

April 4 - Folklore as Expression of Ethics: African and European Examples

Dr. Joseph L. Mbele, St. Olaf University

Using African proverbs and folktales as well as European folklore, such as the Finnish epic, Kalevala, this talk presents folklore as a vehicle for ethical and moral education.

Joseph L. Mbele is a Tanzanian professor in the English Department, St. Olaf College. He previously taught at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. He specializes in world literature in English and Folklore. He has published scholarly papers and books such as Matengo Folktales and Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences.

April 11 - That's Not Funny

Dr. Brian Mondy, UMR Faculty

Some of the most creative comedy explores issues, such as race or sexual relationships, that make many people uncomfortable. “That’s not funny” is a common response to humor that is regarded as immoral or offensive, but can it be justified? Whether it can be justified seems to depend on the relationship of two issues: (1) what it is that makes something immoral; and (2) what it is that makes something funny. Philosophers and academics have paid a lot of attention to the first issue, but less attention to the second issue. In this talk I address some of the more plausible views of what makes something funny, what makes something immoral, and how the two might be related. Exploring the relationship not only sheds light on when it is appropriate to say “That’s not funny,” but also helps to illuminate issues about the subjectivity or objectivity of values. Join me for a serious and humorous discussion of humor and ethics (if that’s possible).

April 18 - What is nature worth? What economics can teach us about conservation in Minnesota?

Dr. Bonnie Keeler, University of MN, Twin Cities

The value of nature includes everything from the food we eat, to the water we drink, to our sense of place and belonging. Putting an economic value on the services nature provides can elevate these values in decision-making and change the way we approach conservation. Keeler will discuss how economists are mainstreaming nature's values into decisions here in Minnesota and around the world, and potential challenges or pitfalls of this approach.

Click here to view presentation

April 25 - Refugees, Immigrants, and Ethnic Minorities: A Tale of Three Countries

University of MN students: Merit Floerke, Robb Larson, Fawsia Omar, Anqi Wang

Germany and Turkey have taken in thousands of refugees from war-torn countries in the past couple of years. Their capacity to integrate this massive influx of peoples, the “European Migrant Crisis,” has been an economic strain and political football in both countries, complicated by the specter of terrorism and, in Turkey’s case, an increasing shift toward an autocratic form of governance. UM students share their study abroad experiences with immigrant and ethnic communities in Turkey and Germany. They also compare and contrast the response of the United States to the refugee crisis.

Click here to view presentation

May - Spring into Summer

May 2 - Building Bridges: A New Website for Health Resources for Olmsted County

UMR students: Casandra Jefrey, Jenna Kramer, Mia Minkkinen, Julia Woodward, and Anthony Young

This project is a mobile website for health resources in the Olmsted county area. Our goal is to have an easy to navigate site for English and Spanish speakers. We will bring together community organizations that will provide crucial community input. For

now the website will be in English and Spanish, but in the future we expect to provide support for other languages.

Click here to view presentation

May 9 - Gardening for Bees and Butterflies

Heather Holm, Author and Landscape Designer

Learn about the life cycles of bees and butterflies including where and when they nest, forage and seek shelter and food in our landscapes. Learn about pollination and which native plants are specifically pollinated by bees or butterflies. The top native plant species for different habitats will also be highlighted for both bees and butterflies including butterfly host plants.

May 16 - Farming today: Where our Food Comes From

Amanda Carlson

Consumers want to know how their food is raised. Minnesota farmers are committed to providing sustainable, safe, healthy food choices. They work to continuously improve production methods, techniques, and technologies. Amanda will share her family's passion for providing safe and healthy food.

Click here to view presentation

May 23 - Historic Preservation: You Don't Know What You've got til it's Gone

Kevin Lund and John Kruesle

In honor of National Heritage Preservation Month, local Rochester historians John Kruesel and Kevin A. Lund will give their unique perspective on the history of Rochester, MN and its importance in shaping the future direction as our community evolves. This fun, informative, and freewheeling session is intended to raise awareness as to the economic and community benefits of meaningful historic preservation by highlighting a handful of not only significant lost opportunities but also future projects that pay respectful homage to our past.

Click Here to view presentation

May 30 - Discovering Summer Fun in Rochester

Rochester Downtown Alliance, Rochester Civic Music, Rochesterfest

Summer is just around the corner! Rochester has so much to offer for people of all ages especially during the summer months. We will have representatives from Rochester Downtown Alliance, Rochesterfest, and Rochester Civic Music here to highlight activities planned throughout the summer in Rochester


June 6 - Rochester Chorale Arts Ensemble Community Sing

Join Choral Arts Ensemble on Peace Plaza for an evening of singing together. Backed by a small combo, we'll engage in "group karaoke" of classic Broadway and pop hits of the 70's and 80's.

June 13 - Swing Inc. from Winona, MN plays the classics from the Swing Era 

Swing Inc. Jazz has been performing around the SE MN region for nearly 20 years. They're currently in their 7th year performing swing, ballads and Latin dance selections at Signatures Restaurant in Winona where they're featured every Friday evening. The quintet is made up of some of the best jazz players in the region and they're sure to delight with their interpretations of classic tunes from the great American songbook.

June 20 - Why Poetry?

Southeastern Minnesota Poets will present a program called Why Poetry? in which six regional Minnesota poets will disclose their reasons for choosing poetry as a means of expression, how they approach their writing, and share some of their original work. Featured poets include Kit Rohrbach, Tim Brennan, Susan McMillan, Steven Vogel, Pamela Sinicrope, and Jane Callahan. The program will conclude with a demonstration of how individual poets view the same things in very different ways.

June 27 - Root River Jam

Root River will perform and lead a discussion on Original music that brings together many styles and genres such as bluegrass, jazz, folk and classical music. Come out and enjoy a relaxing night on the Peace Plaza


July 11 - Thrill of the Grill

Chef Jeff Windt, Catering by Design

Join Executive Chef Jeff Windt for a grilling demonstration to include: Elote (Mexican street food). Honey Balsamic Marinated Turkey London Broil. Pina Colada Ice Cream with Grilled Pineapple, Rum Sauce & Toasted Coconut.Jeff graduated from the Culinary School of Washington D.C. in 1987. He has over 30+ years experience cooking in private country clubs, upscale casual restaurants, and catering. Jeff is the owner and Executive Chef of Catering By Design. Whether it is for corporate, weddings, or private in home events, he proudly serves only hand-crafted, scratch made culinary items.

July 18 – Caring Canines: Animal Assisted Therapy

Jessica Smidt, Co-Owner Think Positive Pets

Pet therapy is a growing trend in healthcare. Dogs and other animals are able to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders. Jessica will share her experience in training dogs for these services.Jessica is the coordinator of the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at Mayo Clinic. She is very passionate about the human-animal bond and ensuring that pets and humans live and work happily together. While working on her specialty in behavior she attended the Karen Pryor Academy for professional dog training and behavior. She also co-owns Think Positive Pets and has her hobby/business where she offers puppy socialization classes, manner classes, home consults to help families archive whatever their dog training goals are.

July 25 – The Sun, the Moon, and You: The 2017 Great American Eclipse

Randy Hemann & Jerome Taubel 

It has been 99 years since the last solar eclipse crossed North America from coast-to-coast. This August 21st, millions of US citizen will be able to see the moon completely block our sun during the day, a phenomenon known to equally frighten and enthrall people throughout the ages. Jerome Taubel and Randy Hemann, both long time members of the Rochester Astronomy Club will examine the lore of solar eclipses, how the two brightest objects in the heavens produce the most unusual darkness humans will ever experience - and why you won't want to miss it!


August 1 - Chinese Culture in Rochester 

Come and learn about Chinese culture and traditions from members of the Rochester Chinese School. They will introduce attendees to Taiji, traditional Chinese instruments: Erhu (Chinese violin) & Guzheng(Chinese zither), Chinese folk songs and dance .Rochester Chinese School, as a non-profit organization, has been servicing the Rochester community for more than 19 years. It provides various level classes to anyone who wants to learn Chinese language, drawing/painting, calligraphy, musical instrument, and Chinese dance, etc. Rochester Chinese School is located on the campus of Rochester Community & Technical College. All are welcome to join the school to learn Chinese language and culture!

August 8 - The Art of Fermentation at the Root Cellar

Keep those stomach bugs happy! You’ll be amazed at how easy it can be to keep your gut microbiome healthy! Urban homesteading experts Diane Lutzke and Sarah Phelan will walk you through all you need to know about the health benefits of fermented foods like sour kraut and kombucha and how to make them at home. The Root Cellar...Owner Sarah Phelan has curated a retail shop of all your favorite do-it-yourself urban homesteading gifts and supplies including gardening, fermenting and canning items.

ADVANCED REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – please email Anne Kowal, to reserve your place

August 15 - American Cowboy Songs

Join entertainer Todd Anderson for famous Cowboy and Western songs from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Todd will give historical introductions and perform memorable songs made famous by Marty Robbins, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Tennessee Ernie Ford and many more American Anthems about our beautiful homeland.

August 22 – The Spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and our American National Park Legacy

Adam Lindquist, Impersonator

Teddy Roosevelt is arguably our most colorful President. There are not many who can put on their resume: Author, Cowboy, Naturalist, Statesman, Soldier, Governor, Vice- President, Policeman, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, President, Father and Bull Moose! From an Asthmatic childhood, to the loss of his wife and mother on the same day, to his ascension to the Presidency, you will learn about the conservationist President in first person and the 230 million acre legacy of National wild areas he left for all of us to enjoy. Journey back in time and enjoy stories of our national park system through the eyes of President Roosevelt. 

SEPTEMBER - Everyday Heroes

September 5 – NO EVENT

September 12 - Family Caregivers: America’s Unrecognized, Undervalued Heroines and Heroes

Harriet Hodgson, Author

Author Harriet Hodgson will present on the important task of caring for a loved one at home. What’s really involved? And what does it mean for your family and future? Tens of millions of Americans have had these questions and more as they prepare for this unsettling yet necessary task. Caregiving has both rewards and challenges.Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years and is the author of thousands of Internet/print articles, and 35 books. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support. She is a contributing writer for The Caregiver Space website, Open to Hope Foundation website, and The Grief Toolbox website. Harriet has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows and dozens of television stations. 

September 19 - Will Power – The Story of How Brighter Tomorrows Helps Families Fighting Childhood Cancer

Tom & Liz Canan

Having a child diagnosed with cancer is not only shattering but isolating as well. Liz’s passion was to find a way so that no other family would have to travel the pediatric cancer journey alone. In 2007, she and three other Moms founded Brighter Tomorrows, a non-profit whose mission is to provide emotional, spiritual, and educational support by listening to, understanding, and supporting families touched by childhood cancer.Tom & Liz Canan have resided in Rochester for over 29 years. Tom is a Senior Attorney in County Attorney’s Office and Liz is an Administrator at Mayo Clinic. They have one daughter Katherine, who is a Senior at University of Kansas. Their son Will passed away in October 2012 at the age of 14. He valiantly endured brain cancer for 8.5 years.

September 26 - Cambodian Refugees Living in America

Kim Sin

Kim Sin will share the untold story of Cambodian refugees living in America. Kim is living the "American Dream". He came to the US penniless as a refugee at the age of 6 years old after a successful escape from the Khmer Rouge with his family as a toddler. By way of the Philippines, they relocated to Rochester, MN and were sponsored by a church organization.This presentation will give our community a better understanding of what is it like to live in a new country, with little knowledge of the American culture. OCTOBER – Journeys

October 3 - Seth's Journey from Surviving to Thriving

Julie Bayles

Julie Bayles shares her story of a mother's journey through the process of getting a diagnosis for a rare disease, the unknowns of experimental medicine, and the calling to use that suffering for the greater good.Her faith inspires her to help others, be an advocate and raise awareness for causes that have impacted her family including: The Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Heart Project, Operation Christmas Child, My Team Triumph, Youth For Christ, Marleighs Ministry & Make-A-Wish.

October 10 - Exploding Dots! A Journey from Numbers to Arithmetic to Algebra and Beyond

Jered Bright, Mathematics Senior Student Based Faculty, UMTYMP Rochester Liaison

In celebration of Global Math Week, participants will visualize numbers as dots, understand bases and place value within this system, and connect the method to arithmetic, algebra, calculus and even advanced mathematics. The session is designed to be interactive. Be prepared to engage in math-related conversations! Students of any mathematics background and K-12 educators are particularly encouraged to attend. 

October 17 - “The Leaf Artist”

Doug McGill

"The Leaf Artist" tells a different story about dementia—not the familiar one of fear and loss but instead of continually expanding awareness and a deepening creativity, sensitivity, intimacy and love. My 94-year-old mother, Jean McGill, has suffered progressive dementia for 20 years and yet continues to take delight in the world around her, and to create and share her joy with others each day. Her story proves that, especially when surrounded by understanding family and friends, a person with dementia can teach us life’s greatest lessons and guide us to our own deepest wisdom and love.

Doug McGill is a meditation teacher and writer based in Rochester, Minnesota. A former journalist, he worked as a reporter at The New York Times in New York City and as a bureau chief for Bloomberg News in Tokyo, London and Hong Kong. He returned to live in Rochester in 2000 to support his mother whose dementia was then just beginning to set in. In 2006, he published a book about immigrants living in Southeast Minnesota called "Here: A Global Citizens Journey." In 2004, he started a weekly meditation group that later became the Rochester Meditation Center, which now offers regular practice sessions, dharma talks, visiting speakers, and yoga and meditation classes. 

October 24 - Resources to Help You be the Best Caregiver You can be

Annie Avery, Senior LinkAge Line Specialist

Are you one of the estimated 679,000 Minnesotans caring for a parent, family member or older friend? Are you juggling the competing demands of your life and caregiving? Caregiving can be an amazing but challenging experience. There are resources to help by providing services, education and support.

October 31 - NO EVENT