Announcement of Vacancies on the Board of Directors of Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc.

Contact: Tom Hayes 612-873-3337

A process is now under way to review and recommend candidates to fill up to four three-year terms on the Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc. (HHS) Board of Directors, beginning in January 2018. HHS, doing business as Hennepin County Medical Center, is a public corporation operated as a subsidiary of Hennepin County. Its purpose is to engage in the organization and delivery of health care and related services to the general public, including the indigent, and to conduct related programs of education and research.

Potential candidates will be considered by the Executive and Governance Committee of the HHS Board of Directors, whose recommendations will be considered by the full HHS Board. That Board will recommend a slate of candidates for these positions that will be forwarded to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners for its consideration and vote to either approve or reject the slate.

The statute creating HHS provides that members of the board shall possess a high degree of experience and knowledge in relevant fields and possess a high degree of interest in the corporation and support for its mission. Members shall be appointed based in part on the objective of ensuring that the corporation includes diverse and beneficial perspectives and experience including, but not limited to, those of medical or other health professionals, urban, cultural and ethnic perspectives of the population served by the corporation, business management, law, finance, health sector employees, public health, serving the uninsured, health professional training, and the patient or consumer perspective.

Interested persons should send a letter and their resume to the Executive and Governance Committee, c/o Craig Caldwell-Krizan, S6, Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., 701 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55415-1676, to be received no later than Friday, October 6, 2017.

More information about the corporation can be found at


Posted in HCMC News

Family, friends of 9-time Ironman Triathlete hold fundraiser to support brain injury research at HCMC


Ironman Triathlete Charlene Barron

Family and friends of the late Charlene Barron – a dedicated runner, biker and swimmer – are sponsoring Charlene’s Dog Run on September 10, 2017 to support brain injury research at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Barron ran 20 Twin Cities and 8 Boston Marathons, among her more than 40 marathon races.  The year the bomb went off in Boston she was only 100 yards from the finish at the time of the explosion; her time was 4:08. She also completed 9 Ironman Triathlons, including the World Championship Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii at age 60, and skied 30 American Birkebeiners in Hayward, WI.

On the morning of Aug 17, 2016, Charlene was riding with her friend and training partner Sarah Goullaud. “It was a beautiful sunny morning and the biking conditions were exceptional,” said Goullaud. “We started our bike ride at 8:30am heading south into the wind. We planned on riding 20-25 miles. Charlene was in front of me until we got to the intersection where I went in front of her. We turned right onto a lovely road. The only thing unusual was that she usually rode in front of me – but I knew she would catch up with me soon.”

“The next thing I heard was metal on the pavement. When I looked back Charlene was not moving, in the middle of the road, unresponsive, feet still clipped into her pedals. As I went running towards her yelling, my first concern was that a car would come along and hit her.”

Barron was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury, shoulder fracture, four rib fractures, a lung contusion, pelvic, sacrum and spine fractures.  She was taken straight from the stabilization room to the operating room where she underwent immediate surgery to relieve pressure and bleeding on both sides of her brain. This was the first of what would ultimately be five neurosurgical operations to try and restore neurologic function. Despite best efforts, she ultimately died from complications related to her brain injury.

Barron’s friends and family have chosen to honor her memory and relentless spirit by holding a fundraiser to support brain injury prevention. “She was one of the strongest women I knew, both emotionally and physically,” said her husband, Dr. Steve Barron. When their son Adam died in 2006, “she held our family together and she inspired all of us by her energy and resilience throughout her life.”
“Because Charlene loved her dogs, and they were her constant running companions for many years, we decided to hold a dog run at Baker Park,” he explained.

Charlene’s Dog Run will occur on Sunday, September 10, 2017 with registration at 8:00 and a 9:00 AM start time.  Registration and more information is at

The fundraiser will support research investigating whether neck strengthening can contribute to decreased incidence, severity and duration of concussion symptoms in 1500 youth athletes recruited at seven Minneapolis/St Paul area schools. The research is being conducted by Dr. Uzma Samadani and colleagues from Hennepin County Medical Center’s Brain Injury Research Lab.

“We are honored to be the benefactor of this fundraiser inspired by the memory of such a tremendous role model,” said Dr. Samadani. “We hope that our work will reflect favorably on her legacy.  She clearly was a woman who understood the risk/benefit of sports and we hope that our research will lead to improved understanding of how to decrease the risk of brain injury associated with sports benefiting future generations of athletes.”

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Posted in HCMC News

ECMO provides life support when heart, lungs aren’t working


HCMC’s ECMO program was recently recognized by ELSO

Oxygen is essential to life, and we can thank the heart and lungs for perfecting its delivery throughout our bodies. But what happens when conditions make these organs both unable to perform their job and not respond to standard life-saving measures in the Intensive Care Unit? That’s when ECMO — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – can help. ECMO is another advanced treatment available at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) to help patients recover from critical illness and in some cases, injury.

“When other life support methods have not worked, ECMO can help sustain patients with acute respiratory or cardiac failure,” explains Dr. Matthew Prekker, pulmonary/critical care and emergency physician at HCMC. “It essentially bypasses the lungs and or the heart to provide oxygenated blood to the tissues via a pump and special membrane outside the body.”

The ECMO process can also be used to stabilize patients in cardiac arrest by returning the oxygenated blood directly into the arteries leading to the heart and brain.

“Near-drowning, chest trauma, smoke inhalation and even cardiac arrest patients may benefit from this evolving, life-saving intervention,” says Dr. Prekker.

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ECMO patients are monitored continuously 

Patients receiving ECMO life support are cared for in the Surgical ICU under the direction of cardiovascular surgeons and critical care physicians.

Patients are monitored continuously by specially trained ICU nurses who collaborate with certified perfusionists and respiratory therapists.

HCMC’s ECMO team cares for patients from hospitals throughout the region, and often accompanies patients during transport to ensure the seamless delivery of care.

“ECMO has received a lot of attention from prehospital and hospital clinicians looking for a novel way to rescue and support a patient when traditional things we do aren’t working, it is developing into a game changer in select patients.”

HCMC has been designated as on the Pathway to Excellence in Life Support by achieving the Silver Level for its Extracorporeal Life Support Program by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). This recognizes its efforts to provide bedside cardio-respiratory support to critically-ill patients utilizing ECMO.

For more information about ECMO as an alternative strategy for life support for adult and pediatric patients, go to

Hennepin County Medical Center is a nationally recognized Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center with the largest emergency department in Minnesota. It is operated by Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a subsidiary corporation of Hennepin County. The comprehensive academic medical center and public teaching hospital and clinic system includes a 484-bed acute care hospital, primary care and specialty clinics located in Minneapolis and surrounding suburban communities, as well as home care and hospice services.

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Hennepin Stroke Center at Hennepin County Medical Center Awarded Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers

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Hennepin Stroke Center at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.

With this certification, HCMC joins an elite group of health care organizations focused on highly-specialized stroke care. To be eligible, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.  Continue reading

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Latest robotic technology now offered at Hennepin County Medical Center

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is now offering surgical procedures using the latest technology available with the da Vinci Xi HD Surgical System. The advanced, four-arm robotic system allows surgeons to perform complex, minimally invasive procedures that often result in smaller incisions and reduced blood loss, enhanced recovery times, a lower rate of complications and less time spent in the hospital.


Kendall Feia, MD (center) and Ian Schwartz, MD (left) demonstrate the da Vinci Xi Surgical System for the surgery team.

“We may not be the first to offer da Vinci but that means we have the most innovative technology available literally at our fingertips,” explains urologist Kendall Feia, MD, who has performed hundreds of procedures using the da Vinci system and is one of the surgeons leading its implementation at the Level I Trauma Center.

The da Vinci Xi Surgery System integrates robotic technology to virtually extend the surgeon’s eyes and hands. While seated at a console in the operating room just a few feet away from the patient, the surgeon views a 3-D high-definition image of the surgical area and the intuitive system mimics the surgeon’s hand movements in real time while he or she operates. The surgeon is in complete control throughout the procedure.

“The precision offered by this technology enhances the surgical experience of my patients and ultimately gets them back to their daily activities as soon as possible,” said Dr. Feia. “That’s the most rewarding feature of da Vinci.”

In addition to general surgery cases for upper and lower GI concerns, surgical specialties most frequently using da Vinci include OB/GYN (for hysterectomy, endometriosis), urology (prostatectomy and nephrectomy), and thoracic surgery (lung cases).

More than 10,000 surgeries are performed annually at HCMC. While more than one-third of the surgical patients are considered “major” in severity of illness, HCMC surgeons also provide a full range of elective surgical care and have expertise in the latest minimally invasive techniques, including the da Vinci XI HD Surgical System. For more information, go to

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Eye tracking detects high pressure inside the skull

Contact: Christine Hill 612.873.5719

Doctors Can Detect Pressure Increases Inside the Skull By Tracking Eye Movements During Watching of Music Videos

Dr. Uzma Samadani

Eye movement tracking while watching a music video for 220 seconds can reveal whether there is increased pressure inside the skull.  The technology works by measuring the function of the nerves that rotate the eyeball.  “Doctors have known for more than 3000 years that high pressure inside the skull impairs the function of these delicate nerves, and that the first to be affected is usually the nerve that rotates the eye laterally” said neurosurgeon Dr. Uzma Samadani, the lead study investigator.

Participants in the National Space and Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) funded study were 23 patients in the neurosurgical intensive care unit who were awake but had brain problems such as bleeding, trauma, stroke or tumors requiring intracranial pressure monitoring with a drainage catheter.  On 55 occasions the patients watched music videos and Disney film clips while an eye tracking camera measured vertical and horizontal eye movements for 220 seconds.   There was a correlation between increased intracranial pressure and decreased function

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During a recent visit NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD (who received his medical training at HCMC), was given a demonstration of the eye-tracking technology.

 of the nerves moving the eye as detected with eye tracking.  Decreased lateral eye movements showed the strongest correlation with elevated intracranial pressure, consistent with what has long been known about nerve function.  Individual patients had normal tracking at lower pressures and decreased eye movement at higher pressures regardless of whether the high or low pressure occurred first.

Dr. Samadani, who is the Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for Brain Injury Research at Hennepin County Medical Center as well as an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, noted that concussion and elevated intracranial pressure impact many of the same eye tracking metrics, suggesting that similar pathways may be impaired.

Study results were presented at a joint NASA/NSBRI research group meeting and are now published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.  The company Oculogica Inc has licensed exclusive world-wide rights for commercialization of the technology, for which a patent was issued earlier this month.

NSBRI funded the eye tracking research as a grant to the company Oculogica Inc through the SMARTCAP program which supports commercialization of technologies that will have utility both in space and on earth.  Eye tracking for detection of elevated intracranial pressure could potentially benefit 7 million Americans with hydrocephalus as well as have utility for concussion and other types of brain injury.  One potential indication for eye tracking would be identification of concussed subjects at high risk for second impact syndrome, which is thought to occur after, and further contribute to high intracranial pressure, which can be fatal.

NSBRI has a program investigating technologies for non-invasive monitoring of intracranial pressure which can potentially be elevated during space travel.  Astronauts who experience reduced gravity for prolonged periods of time are at risk for developing headaches and visual problems.  It is thought that without gravity, there is increased pooling of blood in the brain and elevated pressures inside the skull and eye structures.  This risk for elevated intracranial pressure impacts NASA’s plan for prolonged space travel.  Untreated elevated intracranial pressure can lead to cognitive difficulty and vision problems including blindness.  On earth, doctors currently drill holes into the skull to place monitors to measure this pressure in patients with trauma, bleeding in the brain, or certain tumors.  In space, such a measurement is not feasible, necessitating non-invasive measurement.

Dr. Samadani is a founder of the company Oculogica Inc., which is currently applying for FDA clearance for the eye tracking technology, called EyeBox.  She disclosed that she, New York University, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Hennepin County Medical Center all had equity interests in the company.

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Crisis Residence Open House scheduled for May 25

Crisis Residence

On Thursday, May 25, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) celebrates the opening of its Crisis Residence located at 3633 Chicago Ave. South in Minneapolis.

The Crisis Residence is the newest addition to the psychiatry continuum of care and will provide short-term intensive treatment for individuals as an alternative to hospitalization or as a transition after hospitalization.

An Open House will take place from 2-6 p.m. on May 25 and will include an opportunity to tour the facility, meet the HCMC providers and staff, and engage with community partners.

Crisis Residence Open House
Thursday, May 25
2-6 p.m. | Open House
4:30 p.m. | Program and Ribbon Cutting
3633 Chicago Ave South, Minneapolis, 55404

Street parking is available along Chicago Ave. To view the full invitation or learn more about the Crisis Residence, visit

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