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February 09, 2012 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-02-09

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MSU and Hillel: a vital

Inspired for good

He didn't know it at the time, but David

Kaufman's path to practicing medicine began


when he met Laryssa, the woman who would

In August 2011, MSU Hillel was one of two campus

Hillel organizations to receive the Indispensable

Campus Partner Award at the Hillel Professional Staff

become his wife.

Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. There are more than

500 Hillel Foundations internationally.

Kaufman, professor and founding chairperson of

Michigan State University's Department of

The award recognized MSU Hillel for its strategic

Neurology and Ophthalmology, started out

alliances with Michigan State University. MSU Hillel

pursuing sports journalism at the University of

Wisconsin (UW), where the couple met. He


David Kaufman, professor and chairperson, Department of
Neurology and Ophthalmology

earned a bachelor's degree in zoology and

history from UW in 1973 and a DO from the

connects with the campus community in a variety of

ways—from offering programming for Jewish and

non-Jewish students to organizing Alternative Spring

Break trips in various parts of the United States and

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

"Sparrow is a very fertile area for clinical research

in 1978.

Israel. Hillel also has a voting position on the

and education for the Colleges of Osteopathic

Associated Students of MSU student governing body

"My wife preceded me in medical school," he says.

Medicine, Human Medicine, and Nursing," says

through its Jewish Student Union (JSU).

"It changed my life's path, watching her. It's funny

Kaufman. "Our partnership allows faculty to

how people inspire you. I don't think my wife

assist with clinical care of people in the

knows how much she's influenced me."

community and provides outstanding

educational opportunities to our students."

Kaufman came to Michigan State in 1984 as an

That ability to help patients remains a source of


inspiration for Kaufman, whose own research

interest in me that I had in it," he says.

As the college continued to expand, Kaufman

was selected in 2000 to chair the then new

Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology,

the relationships built with the university," says MSU

Hillel Director Cindy Hughey. "We're very connected

with MSU. We're special and unique because of that

assistant professor in the College of Osteopathic

"I was quite fortunate that MSU had the same

"Our dynamic Hillel is successful in part because of


uses the eye as a simplified model of what

MSU Hillel

happens in the brain to determine the

establishes its

effectiveness of medical interventions for

distinctive position

conditions that include multiple sclerosis, stroke,

by working with

and cancer.

various campus

administrative and

"Medicine provides people with extraordinary

the first clinical department created at MSU since

opportunities," says Kaufman. "I can't imagine a

1975 to be jointly administered by the Colleges of

better way to live your life."

Osteopathic and Human Medicine. Since then,

academic units.

For example, MSU

Hillel recently

Ask Big Questions fellows promote
their Laugh in Peace comedy show last
November. MSU Hillel partners with
MSU's Office for Inclusion and
Intercultural Initiatives on the Ask Big
Questions initiative.

the department has experienced significant

Kaufman and his wife, Laryssa, a physician in

worked with MSU's

growth, deploying faculty researchers around

MSU's Department of Internal Medicine and

Culinary Services to

the world, receiving major funding from the

Department of Physiology, have passed on their

introduce a new

National Institutes of Health, and specializing in

passion for medicine to their children. Sarah, 24,

kosher meal service

multiple disciplines of neurology.

currently is enrolled in a dual MD/PhD degree

program to accommodate those with special dietary

program at Washington University in St. Louis,

An expanding partnership between MSU and

needs. MSU's kosher meal service program was

and Matthew, 26, is an administrative fellow at

Sparrow Health Systems offers more ways for

developed in partnership with Hughey, Rabbi Jason

the Detroit Medical Center.

Miller of Kosher Michigan, and Chuck Radd, principal

Kaufman and fellow faculty and students to

owner of Woody's Oasis restaurant in East Lansing.

reach patients in mid-Michigan.

Additionally, MSU Hillel is working closely with MSU's

Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives on Ask


Qrc- givates

on the r dar of interriF:tionai


Big Questions, a national initiative that helps diverse

international internships. And it also helps

Ron Cichy, who notes that 77 of the school's

groups of students explore the deep questions at the

participants "unpack" their experiences and translate

approximately 850 students participated in study

heart of life that many share. Through this program,

them in a way that resonates with potential

abroad programs across all seven continents during


summer 2010.

students of diverse backgrounds are finding

commonality through their conversations. Hughey

initially brought the initiative to Paulette Granberry

"Unpacking Your Study Abroad Experience: How to

"MSU is committed to providing international learning

Russell, senior adviser to the president for diversity

Sell Your Study Abroad Experience to Employers and

experiences for our students," Cichy says. "Study

and director of the Office for Inclusion and

Graduate Schools"—a joint offering of the Office of

abroad complements the international segments that

Intercultural Initiatives.

Study Abroad and Career Services Network—provides

we teach in our courses on campus."

students with the information and skills needed to

effectively communicate their international

experiences in their résumé and application cover

letters and during job interviews.

The School of Hospitality Business has found study

abroad to be critical to student success, says Director

About 3,500 of the nearly 48,000 students enrolled at

One of the top 25 majors declared by freshmen in

MSU are Jewish, and Hughey says MSU Hillel helps

MSU's fall 2011 class, hospitality business helps

that segment feel welcome while also reaching out

prepare students by integrating a global perspective

to non-Jewish students through organizations such

throughout the curriculum and promoting flexibility

as the JSU and other vital campus partnerships. 9

regarding job relocation, he says.

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