The 21st Show

ENCORE: Why There Are So Few Black Men In Medicine; Family of Stem Cell Donor Connects With Recipient 20 Years Later; Forecasting Volcanic Eruptions


Dr. Don Arnold, Chief of Surgery at Herrin Hospital Benjy Jeffords/WSIU

Last year, fewer than 4% of incoming medical students in Illinois were black men. Today: what’s behind that number, and what should be done about it. Plus, decades ago, a cutting edge stem cell treatment from umbilical cord blood saved one Illinois woman's life. And earlier this year, she met her donor and his parents for the first time. And, we talk to a University of Illinois geology professor about her work, on how to better forecast volcanic eruptions

Black Men In Medicine

Last year, fewer than 4% of incoming medical students here in Illinois were black men. That number can be surprising on the surface, but it could also have more serious health implications for all African-American men. 

And the path to medicine comes with many obstacles. Some students don’t get the support they need beforehand and even if they do, going to med school is incredibly expensive.

Stephanie Whiteside reported on this for Illinois Newsroom. And Dr. Don Arnold is Chief of Surgery at Herrin Hospital, just outside of Carbondale. 

They both spoke with Brian Moline this past spring.

Family of Stem Cell Donor Connects With Recipient 20 Years Later

In 1994, Dania Davey and her husband made an important decision. Although she didn’t quite realize how important it was at the time, that decision would save a young woman’s life hundreds of miles away. 

That woman is Holly Becker, who was 24 when she received a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Holly’s oncologist at Loyola Medicine in Maywood, Illinois decided to try a cutting edge treatment at the time in the 90s: a stem cell transplant from donated umbilical cord blood. 

That cord blood came from Dania’s son Patrick. It was donated and frozen the day he was born in New York.

Holly is now cancer free. And she met the Davey’s earlier this year in Illinois. It’s thought to be one of the first times a stem cell donor from umbilical cord blood has met the recipient. 

Dania Davey now lives in New York. Holly Becker is in the Chicago suburbs, along with her oncologist, Dr. Patrick Stiff from Loyola University Medical Center.  

The three of them spoke with Brian Moline earlier this year.

Forecasting Volcanic Eruptions

When it comes to forecasting severe weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes, accuracy is key. Knowing what to expect and when to expect it can mean the difference between life and death. 

Now, researchers at the University of Illinois are part of a new study looking at ways we can better forecast volcanic eruptions. They’ve been studying one which happened in Alaska back in 2008, which traditional forecasting models missed. 

Researchers are now using new computer models to paint a more accurate picture about if and when we can expect volcanic eruptions. 

Trish Gregg is a geology professor at the University of Illinois. She spoke with Brian Moline back in September. 

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