Surviving and Thriving

This issue of Continuum marks the beginning of the magazine’s 20th year. In May 1991, the first edition of this magazine appeared, complete with a cover story about genetics research at the U.  What the editors and writers back then knew (and it’s no less true today) is that the University of Utah is at the forefront of medicine—in terms of both research and training of medical professionals. That first issue highlights the U’s considerable and impressive work in medical research, but there are other important things happening in the health sciences that perhaps don’t get quite as much attention. And so it seems fitting that, as Continuum nears two decades of publishing, our cover story looks at the other side of the medical coin—providing a training ground for students. And that endeavor has become more important than ever, given the much publicized “physician shortage” faced by most regions in the U.S.

Medical training in this country requires students to run a gauntlet of labs, classes, patient care, studying, and the shedding of much sweat and tears, if not blood. Yet despite these trials, scores of students apply to the U’s School of Medicine every year. Make no mistake, these students—whether accepted at the U or elsewhere—are qualified and intelligent individuals, and by all accounts, know what they’re getting into. In our cover story, Amy Albo introduces two such students, offering readers a glimpse into the lives of exhausted yet exhilarated young doctors. Forget what you’ve seen on Grey’s Anatomy; this is the real deal. Despite all the hurdles these two doctors must clear in the early stages of their careers, both are passionate about helping patients, and that’s what matters most.

Continuum isn’t the only campus entity commemorating a significant event this year. Red Butte Garden marks its 25th anniversary, and to help celebrate the occasion, Linda Marion explores the history of the garden, along with recent renovations and future plans. This time of year, Utahns and visitors flock to Red Butte Garden for its popular outdoor summer concerts. But Red Butte is also respected for its conservation efforts and educational offerings—for children and adults alike—as well as (of course) for its extensive collections of flowers and plants. A visit to this urban oasis is highly recommended.

Kelley Lindberg introduces the U’s new Brazilian Studies Program. The South American nation boasts the world’s eighth-largest economy, and despite the global recession, appears to be continuing to thrive. Without question, Brazil’s trajectory will take it to the top of the worldwide ladder in the coming decades. To help understand this rising South American powerhouse, the U launched the Brazilian Studies Program in 2009, and it’s attracting students who yearn to know more about a country that may well dominate headlines in the near future. The Brazilian Studies Program—and numerous other new programs and areas of study across campus—is a good example of the kind of interdisciplinary, forward thinking that happens at the U.

Also in this issue we feature profiles of Bill Farley, a longtime faculty member in the College of Social Work and a humanitarian known for his work with the elderly; and U of U sports medicine grads Robert “Chip” Schaefer and Frank Vitti, both of whom help keep the Los Angeles Lakers at the top of their game. Plus, Paul Ketzle conducts an intriguing Q&A with English professor and writer Lance Olsen, who continues to make his mark in the world of experimental fiction.

As always, I encourage readers to drop us a line about these or any other stories in Continuum by e-mailing me here.

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