2023 Sanibel Symposium Keynote Speakers
Keynote: Bill Schutt
Topic Abstract – What Goes In: The Strange History of Blood Transfusions
In an entertaining and informative look at the history of transfusions, American Museum of Natural History zoologist Bill Schutt tells an incredible tale. It begins with our early beliefs about blood and the cardiovascular system, as Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans hypothesized, often wrongly, about the workings of the circulatory system. Well into the 19th century, medical treatments frequently involved attempts at regulating the four humor, whose balance within the body was thought to be vital to human health and wellbeing. Therapeutic bleeding was widespread, while other treatments involved the transfusion of animal blood and a list of bizarre fluids (milk was popular) into patients for equally bizarre reasons. From the earliest experiments transfusing blood between animals to the first human-to-human transfusions (and their tragic outcomes), Schutt explores the history of this procedure and enthusiastically uncovers the myths, misconceptions, and mayhem, as well as the breakthroughs surrounding this important medical procedure.
Born in New York City and raised in Long Island, Zoologist Bill Schutt is an Emeritus Professor of Biology at LIU-Post, a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History, and the author of several popular fiction and science books, including Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, and Pump: A Natural History of the Heart. Schutt has written for The New York Times and Natural History magazine. His research has also been featured in The Economist, National Geographic, Discover, and many others. He lectures frequently at venues including The American Museum of Natural History, The Royal Ontario Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, Chicago Field Museum, Cornell and Yale Universities, and the 2022 Sanibel Symposium. Bill Schutt will have a book signing in the LivaNova booth during the conference.
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Keynote: Sherye Green
Topic Abstract – Tenacious: Lessons Learned from a WWII Survivor
Tenacity, the determination to keep on keeping on, is a critical component to success in life. Regardless of our station in life, each of us needs to develop emotional tools that will equip us not only to survive but thrive amid life’s most challenging moments. The story of World War II survivor, Mildred Schindler Janzen, is a remarkable testimony of how tenacity enabled her to transform tragedy into triumph and will inspire you to do the same.
Author, singer, and speaker Sherye Green has long been intrigued by the power of words to shape people’s lives, and her writings reflect her journey of faith and explore the heart’s inner landscape. A former Miss Mississippi, Sherye has enjoyed two careers—in business and education. Sherye is the author of a devotional collection, Tending the Garden of My Heart: Reflections on Cultivating a Life of Faith, and an inspirational novel, Abandon Not My Soul. Privileged to work with World War II survivor Mildred Schindler Janzen, Sherye co-authored her award-winning memoir, Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin: One Woman’s Remarkable Escape from Nazi Germany. Sherye has had over 170 articles, poems, and short stories published in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers. Sherye and her husband are the parents of a son and daughter and grandparents of five grandsons, residing in Mississippi.
Audience Presenter: Mildred Janzen
Topic Abstract – Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin, Mildred Schindler Janzen’s Memoir
Her memoir, “Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin: One Woman’s Remarkable Escape from Nazi Germany” was published in November 2020 by Sunbury Press. The book has won many awards, including Janzen being personally awarded the National Medal of Honor by The Daughters of the American Revolution i(DAR) n September of 2021, the highest and most prestigious award given by the DAR to US-born citizens who have shown extraordinary qualities of leadership, patriotism, trustworthiness and service. A second medal, Women in American History, was awarded to Janzen from DAR in June 2022.
Born in Kansas to German parents, Fritz and Anna Schindler, Mildred returned to Germany as an infant with her parents after they were called back to take over the family farm in Radach. Their normal farm family life came to an abrupt halt when WWII came knocking at their door, setting in motion a chain of events that would drive them from their home, separate them from each other, and test their survival as refugees in their own land. After the miraculous survival of her American birth certificate, Mildred remained thankful for opportunities afforded her including work in a hospital diet kitchen, attendance in high school where she learned English along with required subjects, and employment at Lorraine State Bank. During her high school years, she met and married farmer, Leon Janzen, and had four children: Karen, Kenton, Susan, and Galen. Mildred and Leon retired in 2005 and were married 66 years; sadly, Leon passed away in 2019. Mildred is an active senior, enjoying activities at her long-time church—First Baptist Church in nearby Lorraine—and also gardening, exercising, and thanking community friends with home-baked goods. Her book’s award accolades include:
- 2020 Sunbury Press SUNNY Award
- 2021 MS Library Association Non-fiction Author Award
- 2021 Mildred Schindler Janzen – National DAR Medal of Honor Award
- 2021 American Book Fest – Best Book Award Finalist: Autobiographies & Memoirs
- 2021 Sunbury Press SUNNY Award
- 2022 Illumination Book Award Silver Medal: Biography/Memoir-Inspiration
- 2022 International Book Award: Autobiography/memoir
- 2022 Mildred Schindler Janzen – National DAR Women in American History Medal
Friday, May 12, 2023
Keynote: Jesse Torrence
Topic Abstract – The Alchemy Life: Finding Love from Loss and Purpose from Pain
Our jobs are demanding, misunderstood, and often thankless. We save lives but also lose people (and parts of ourselves) along the way. To cope we numb, distract ourselves, contract, defend, lower expectations, and stop believing or living fully. Without realizing it, we may even forget why we do this work. Leadership & Life Coach and heart transplant recipient Jesse Torrence will remind us why this work matters and why you matter. He’ll show us how to reignite our purpose and passion and find meaning, hope, love, and even joy, in the face of death. He’ll point to simple, powerful ways to turn pain into purpose, clarify and hold our attention on what matters, find lasting fulfillment, and become the author of our life, not just an actor in it.
Jesse Torrence is an Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant who helps mission-driven leaders and their teams become more integrated, resilient, productive, and fulfilled in their professional and personal lives. Leveraging the best of what we know from psychology, neuroscience, human potential, organizational behavior theory, and ancient wisdom traditions, Jesse empowers leaders and their teams with new habits that increase self-awareness and confidence, build self-management and communication skills, and inspire purposeful, efficient action. Prior to becoming a coach, Jesse spent more than 15 years launching, leading, and advising social, economic, and environmental impact organizations in the US and abroad. Born and raised in Oklahoma and Ohio, Jesse earned BAs in Economics and International Relations from Stanford, an MPA in International Development from Harvard, and his professional coaching certification from the Co-Active Training Institute. He lives with his wife and two kids in the Chicago area where he enjoys family time outside, Salsa dancing in the kitchen, philosophy, yoga, poetry, sci-fi, and piano. He is the grateful recipient of a heart transplant.
Topic Abstract – Intraoperative Immunoadsorption – Facilitating Antibody-Incompatible Heart Transplantation in Children
Despite the number of pediatric cardiothoracic transplants undertaken per year staying relatively constant, in the UK the active transplant waiting list has risen by approximately 45% compared to in a year, and this number has risen by 220% over the last decade. Current data suggests that waiting times for non-urgent pediatric hearts are well over 12 months, with even urgently listed patients required to wait at least three months. For younger children, those with an O blood group, or with anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibody sensitization, this wait can be significantly longer with poorer waiting-list outcomes. For the past eight years, the Perfusion team at Great Ormond Street Hospital has attempted to address the issue of donor-recipient antibody incompatibility using the novel method of intraoperative immunoadsorption and has undertaken the maximization of organ usage, minimization of waiting times, and providing potential treatment options to children most urgently requiring a donor’s heart, during the transplant procedure itself. This talk will document the ex vivo development of the technique, firstly for ABO-incompatible heart transplantation and then more recently for HLA-incompatible heart transplantation, and the impact that this technique has had on patient selection and waiting-list outcomes.
Richard Issitt gained his Doctorate in cardiopulmonary bypass-related neurological injury from the University of Southampton and is currently a Postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow and Senior Pediatric Perfusionist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH). Richard has served as the Lead of Communications and Engagement for the Digital Research Environment (DRE) for GOSH DRIVE, Great Ormond Street’s Digital Research, Informatics, and Virtual Environments Unit, and is also an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at the Centre for Heart Failure, Transplantation, and Extracorporeal Support, part of University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science. He has presented at international conferences around the globe and has authored more than 60 research papers with approximately 300 citations. Dr. Issitt is the only dedicated pediatric perfusionist in the UK with a Doctorate and has taken the GOSH perfusion department from no publications 10 years ago to over 30, establishing GOSH as the most active perfusion research department in the UK. Richard’s research is funded by a British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship, and he is one of three perfusionists to win the Society of Perfusionist’s research award twice and was the youngest perfusionist ever to be granted a Fellowship to the College of Clinical Perfusionists in 2008. Richard’s research goal is to develop a bioinformatician-perfusionist role in the future to better understand how real-time intraoperative changes can influence long-term outcomes in children with cardiovascular diseases.