Creighton Inaugurates Endowed Faculty Chairs

Creighton Inaugurates Endowed Faculty Chairs

By Cindy Murphy McMahon, BA’74

Two Creighton faculty members were recently installed as inaugural holders of endowed faculty chairs.

The first is an artist whose work has been exhibited throughout the world and can be found in the private collections of primatologist Jane Goodall and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Rachel Mindrup, MFA, assistant professor of drawing and painting, was installed as the Richard L. Deming, MD, Endowed Chair of Medical Humanities in early June. Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, presented Mindrup with the ceremonial medallion for Creighton’s 43rd endowed chair.

“An endowed chair is a tremendous gift to a university,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “This chair reflects the experience and passion of its benefactor, who understands the value of connecting with patients on a meaningful level.”

Embedding an artist with medical faculty reflects the vision of School of Medicine alumnus Richard Deming, MD’80, an oncologist and medical director of the MercyOne Cancer Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Deming believes that to engage patients and build trust, physicians need a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be human.

“In the School of Medicine, we don’t just want to graduate skilled technicians. We want a physician who’s also going to be thoughtful and care for each patient as an individual person,” Mindrup said. “Medical students will be drawing and observing, and asking themselves if they trust their eyes, or if they are always going to go with only what’s on the patient’s chart."

Her own focus is on portraiture in contemporary art as it relates to medicine. A self-described “storyteller through painting, drawing and printmaking,” she received her BFA from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and continued her studies at the Art Academy of Los Angeles. She later earned an MFA from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Her client list includes Kiewit Corporation, Boys Town, Boys Town National Research Hospital and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

The inaugural holder of the Dr. James P. Laumond Endowed Chair in Medicine is David Wisinger, MD, professor of medicine and assistant dean of faculty affairs at the Creighton University Health Sciences – Phoenix Campus.

Wisinger is widely recognized for bringing excellence and innovation to Arizona’s health care sector through patient care, education, research and community service. Wisinger became Creighton’s 44th endowed chair holder and the first on the Phoenix campus, also in June.

James P. Laumond, MD’64, a graduate of the School of Medicine, endowed the faculty chair to help ensure that future physicians treat not just the medical condition, but the whole person.  

“An endowed chair benefits students in perpetuity,” Fr. Hendrickson said at the event. “This chair is a fitting reflection of the values and patient-focused practice of Dr. Laumond.”

Laumond said he hopes his gift will promote humanism in Creighton-educated physicians, preparing them to connect with patients on a meaningful level. He knows that the humanistic bond between doctor and patient lies at the heart of good medicine.

“Making a patient feel comfortable and loved, letting them know you’re on their side, and they’re going to get the best possible care from you — that’s humanism in medicine,” Laumond said.

Wisinger said that Laumond has, in both his professional and personal life, demonstrated the importance of meeting the needs of people on a deeper level.

“I hope to say that I have done and will continue to do the same. At the core of humans are some primal needs … the need to be secure, the need to give and receive love, and the desire to know they matter. To fulfill these needs is our essential role in life.”

Wisinger received his bachelor’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology and a medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Valleywise Health, formerly Maricopa Medical Center, in Phoenix, and has been treating patients for more than 35 years.