Patients and Families Helping to Advance Care

Throughout its 175-year history, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has taken great pride in faculty discoveries that have transformed the lives of patients and their families.

As varied as these research breakthroughs have been, however, something they all have in common is that they didn’t happen overnight, but were the product of many years of incremental discoveries made by researchers, often from around the world.

The recent development of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines illustrates this reality, despite perceptions to the contrary.

The vaccines appear to have been discovered in a matter of months, when in fact they are the culmination of years of research on previous coronaviruses—SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012—conducted by teams of international scientists.

Another thing that all major medical advances have in common is their immediate, positive impact on patients and their families.

This is why physician-scientists in the Jacobs School partner everyday with patients and families who are motivated to advance standards of care for a particular disease or condition.

These individuals help to support and inform research that is crucial in moving studies forward, especially when there are gaps in external funding or insufficient awareness about the need to improve treatments or find a cure.

On the following pages, you will meet patients and families who are partnering with Jacobs School faculty and who feel tremendous gratitude for the care they are currently receiving.

This form of collaboration is a crucial component of academic medicine and a foundation for many of its most notable achievements.

—S.A. Unger, editor

  • Bryce and His Family Look to “Dr. Jack”
    Bryce Stone’s struggles with sight began when he was just a preschooler. Familiar with the signs of vision loss because of a blind family member, Susan and Daniel Stone wanted to get the best diagnosis, treatment and support possible for their young son.
  • “He Is Our Main Source of Hope”
    Like most young married couples, Callum and Nikki McKeefery describe the months and days leading up to the birth of their son, Hudson, as exciting, hopeful and filled with anticipation.
  • A Team Approach to Mental Health
    One of the many take-away lessons of the last year and a half is the pressing need for our country to have a comprehensive, well-coordinated mental health infrastructure in place to help individuals and families in crises.
  • Expertise and Generosity
    Penny Pennington can often be found sitting at her computer in the evenings, poring over scientific papers and reading emails from multiple sclerosis (MS) researchers while her two Vizsla dogs, Bogart and Mitchell, vie for her attention.
  • Expertise That Helps You Survive
    When Val Bias learned that the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences had partnered with Western New York BloodCare to establish the Rosemary “Penny” Holmberg Hemostasis and Thrombosis Clinical Fellowship in memory of his former nurse, his response was, “She deserves it.”