2014 Alumni of the Year recognized during reunion weekend

News Archive September 08, 2014

2014 Alumni of the Year recognized during reunion weekend

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine welcomed more than 200 alumni and guests back to campus September 5-7 for the 2014 Stritch Reunion Weekend.  The program included receptions, dinners, mass, campus tours, bioethics grand rounds and other networking opportunities.

The Stritch Reunion Celebration and Awards Dinner on September 6 was held at The Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook. Outstanding alumni were recognized for excellence in early career achievement, community service, education, research and service to patients.

Michael A. Gisondi, MD ’99Michael A. Gisondi, MD '99, Chicago, was honored for his exceptional early career achievements. Gisondi is the residency program director and associate professor in the department of Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He was a co-investigator on an NCI-funded study to improve palliative and end-of-life care services to cancer patients in the emergency department. He is a sought-after lecturer and is associate editor for the textbook Emergency Medicine. He recently was awarded the National Faculty Teaching Award of the American College of Emergency Physicians.


Barbara Spaniak, MD ’84Barbara Spaniak, MD '84, Northfield, Ill., was named Loyola Stritch alumna of the year for excellence in community service. Since 1990, Spaniak has been organizing medical teams to provide care in rural Guatemala. Her passion has led to creation of a not-for-profit organization, Latin American Medical Providers, that has brought thousands of medical professionals to Guatemala for nearly 25 years. Spaniak served as chief of Obstetric Anesthesia at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., until she retired.



Gregory Gruener, MD ’79Gregory Gruener, MD '79, Elmhurst, Ill., received the award for excellence in education. Gruener is senior associate dean at Loyola Stritch where he oversees the medical student education program. In addition to his excellence in medical education, Gruener is a skilled clinician and researcher. He is associate chair of the Department of Neurology at Stritch and an expert in neurophysiology. He has received a master’s of business administration degree from University of Chicago and will soon complete a master’s in health profession education degree from the University of Illinois.  



Thomas J. Layden, MD ’69Thomas J. Layden, MD '69, Burr Ridge, Ill., was recognized for excellence in researching hepatitis C and named Alumnus of the Year for Research. His groundbreaking studies have provided critical information about the virus life cycle and the mechanism of antiviral therapy. Layden’s research has been supported by both the NIH and VA and he has been published in more than 150 scholarly journals. After serving as the head of medicine creating the infrastructure for clinical research at University of Illinois at Chicago, Layden returned to Loyola where he created the Clinical Research Office.



William J. Keenan MD '64William J. Keenan MD '64, St. Louis, is a pioneer in the field of neonatal resuscitation. For his dedication in caring for the smallest and most vulnerable patients, Keenan was awarded the  alumnus of the year award for excellence in service to patients. Keenan helped to create the Neonatal Resuscitation Program that is used by the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association. This program has trained nearly 2.2 million health care providers to properly resuscitate newborns. He is a professor at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and has served as director of the neonatal intensive care unit at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center for 29 years. Keenan continues to travel, bringing care to children in rural hospitals in the U.S. and around the world. Recently he was elected executive director of the International Pediatric Association.

For photos from this weekend and the awards dinner, click their respective links.

The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.
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