IMPACT PROGRAM: Mayo Clinic Health System and UW-Eau Claire are launching a new program to encourage creative solutions to critical health care questions.

The Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies, or IMPACT, Program will invite teams of two to four undergraduate students to submit hypotheses to address a specific question. A prize of $1,000 per student will be awarded to the winning team at the 2019 IMPACT Symposium in Eau Claire in March.

While new to Eau Claire, the IMPACT Program has engaged more than 700 students in Minnesota since its launch in 2014 at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. The program builds upon a master collaborative research agreement announced by Mayo Clinic Health System and UW-Eau Claire in 2017.

Teams participating in the 2019 IMPACT Program will address the question: “What is the underlying cause of hypoplastic left heart syndrome?” Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare and complex congenital health defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped.

“The IMPACT Program offers an incredible opportunity for students at UW-Eau Claire and across the Midwest to participate in the research process with Mayo scientists and physicians,” says Mike Carney, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at UW-Eau Claire. “Our students can explore a complex clinical issue and gain a better understanding of how fundamental research in health can have a direct impact on patient outcomes.”

For more information about the IMPACT Program, visit uwec.edu/impact-program.

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NURSING MOMS NETWORK: Mayo Clinic Health System is offering the Nursing Moms Network for mothers to ask questions and work through struggles with a certified lactation consultant, as well as network and make friends with other mothers.

The group will meet from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays, beginning Nov. 21, at Mayo Clinic Health System, 1221 Whipple St., in the lower-level courtyard conference room 2.

Mothers should bring their baby and personal pump or parts to use the hospital-grade pump. The Nursing Moms Network is a drop-in group, so mothers can feel free to come and stay as they are able.

Call 715-838-6767 for more information. Participating in the group is free. Mothers do not need to be a Mayo Clinic Health System patient to attend.

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LOVE LIGHTS: The annual Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Love Lights Christmas Celebration will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in the chapel of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2661 Highway I, Chippewa Falls.

Trees located throughout the hospital’s healing garden will shine brightly with lights during the holiday season as a reminder of a special loved one.

The cost is $5 per light, but larger donations are welcome. Participants can choose a white light in memory of a deceased loved one, a red or green light in honor of the living or a blue light to honor military personnel.

The names of those honored and remembered will be published in a special ad in the Chippewa Herald in December. All names submitted by Tuesday, Nov. 25, will be published unless indicated otherwise. However, lights can still be purchased until Christmas.

To purchase a light, send a $5 minimum donation per light to Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2661 Highway I, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729, or pick up a form at the hospital’s information desk, in the gift shop or at the volunteer services office. You can also download the form at StJoesChipFalls.org/LoveLights.

For more information, contact HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Volunteer Services at 715-717-7439.

From staff reports