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Time to Reflect

Brian Carnell

The academic calendar for health sciences reflects activity year-round. However, until the Tuesday after Labor Day, we enjoy the relative calm of a campus without the additional 48,000 Twin Cities students pursuing knowledge.
 
In honor of that calm before the activity of Official Fall, I’d like to urge all of you to enjoy a reflective pause this month as the academic year of 2019-2020 promises to be filled with significant activity for all of us in Clinical Affairs and for the University.
 
While you’re taking a pause, consider a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. Why would I be promoting a trip to the fair, beyond the clear attraction of food on a stick?
 
Our State Fair was the first and may be the only in the nation where actual clinical research activity takes place. It all began a decade ago when Medical School faculty member Logan Spector, PhD, realized that nearly two million people come to the fair each year, and that fairgoers represent a wide cross-section of the state.
 
It took a year for Logan to work his way through University approval processes for something that had never been tried before, but he persisted and within five years, he succeeded in opening the new Driven to Discover Building on the fairgrounds.
 
As we approach the fifth year in the building, fair activity has resulted in 38 peer-reviewed publications with an additional 4 manuscripts in review, and 9 student dissertations and theses. And this year’s fair will feature 33 health sciences studies plus an additional 22 studies from non-health sciences schools. This year the College of Science & Engineering, Liberal Arts, and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences have the most activity beyond the health sciences.
 
Check out these results as well:

  • In 2018, the Driven to Discover Building had more than 60,000 visitors in the 12 days of the State Fair.
  • More than 21,000 subjects were enrolled in 57 studies at an average cost per enrollee of $9.57.
  • Overall, 100% of PIs reported being very satisfied or satisfied with the experience.
    • When do we ever see that statistic?

The largest health sciences presence at the fair this year is by the Masonic Cancer Center on Goldy vs. Cancer Day, Friday, Aug. 23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with screenings, educational offerings, and research projects taking over the entire Driven research building. Here’s where you can find the Driven to Discover Building 
 
This is an excellent example of Clinical Affairs in action – across disciplines and engaged in community to promote health and wellbeing.

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