Leslie Lascheid, CEO Published 12:44 p.m. ET Oct. 16, 2019
On Monday, October 7, 2019, Gregg Semenza, MD, Ph.D., Director of Vascular Research at the Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and American Cancer Society Research Professor, received a call he will never forget.
Shortly before 4 a.m., the Nobel Committee called Semenza to inform him that hed won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), the protein complex that turns off and on our genes in response to low oxygen levels.
Leslie Lascheid(Photo: rolandscarpa[photography])
Specifically, the role HIF-1 plays in cancer metastasis (spreading), metabolism, stem cell maintenance, immune evasion and chemotherapy resistance.
Awarded jointly to Semenza; William G. Kaelin Jr., Harvard University; and Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, University of Oxford in England, at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; his finding has far-reaching implications for cancer treatment, coronary artery disease, blood disorders, diabetes, eye diseases and other conditions.
As the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Semenzas relationship opened a window of opportunity for the clinic since C. Michael Armstrong, who funds Semenzas position serves on our executive board as treasurer. As a result of the connection, we were able to bring Semenza to tour the clinic and update our medical committee and volunteer physicians on his research inFebruary 2018.
Dr. Semenza has visited Naples as part of the Neighborhood Health Clinics ongoing efforts to provide the 250 physicians who volunteer at our campus access to the latest research, technological advances and practices available.
With Armstrong on the Board, our ability to bring such leaders to Naples has expanded. In fact, he arranged for Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon and United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to tour and host a private physician seminar in 2014.
The importance of these visits is multifaceted. First, the information these leaders share not only benefits the uninsured workers our 385 medical/dental volunteers provide during 11,000 patient visits annually, but enhances the care they offer in their private practices and hospital service across the area.
Its also a meaningful way for the clinic to say thank you to the professionals who so generously donate their time and expertise providing more than 27,095 medical and dental procedures annually.
Educational opportunities like these also provide another avenue for the clinic to fully engage our board members, as well as show our supporters that our charity is a good steward of the resources entrusted to us. Finally, its another way the clinic contributes to the overall wellbeing of Naples.
When my parents Dr. Bill and Nancy Lascheid started the Neighborhood Health Clinic in 1999, they couldnt have imagined that we would provide more than 107,000 patient visits in the years that followed.
They did see that we would continue to expand to meet the growing needs of the areas uninsured workers, which now exceeds 50,000 women and men.
So, as we congratulate clinic-friend Dr. Semenza on his accomplishments, we also honor all the medical researchers working diligently to ensure nonprofits like the Neighborhood Health Clinic truly do provide our communities both hope and healing.
For more information, including volunteer opportunities, please visit http://www.NeighborhoodHealthClinic.org, or call 239.261.6600.
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