Monday, March 23, 2009

Suzanne Stensaas








When I think of Suzanne Stensaas, I picture her with a brain bucket.

Every Friday around lunchtime during the years I worked at the University of Utah, the staff, residents and medical students in the Neurology Department of which I was a part would gather up their lunches and head to brain cutting--literally--where various interesting brains from (yes) dead patients would be sliced for viewing and scientific research.

Suzanne was the neuroanatomist in the department. Brains were her thing. Neurologists thought nothing of doing this over lunch.

Parkinsons brains. Alzheimers brains. Brains with bleeds. Normal brains. Abby Normal brains.

Suzanne was well known as an enthusiastic, larger than life character, extremely proficient in her field.

Suzanne Stensaas.

In 1986, a few years after I knew her, Suzanne gave up scientific research for teaching, and in 1990, she left the University of Utah, where she had been since 1969, and headed to New York City to teach at Cornell. She served on the medical college faculty at Cornell University until 1999, when she returned to the University of Utah to direct the neuroscience block in what was then the new curriculum of the medical school. She has remained in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah Medical Center since.

Suzanne was instrumental in the creation of the Slice-of-Life project, a multimedia medical education and information sharing project spearheaded at the University of Utah, and for over twenty years travelled the globe giving Slice-of-Life workshops to multimedia developers and medical science educators. She is also on the board of directors of the Health Assets Education Library (HEAL).

Over the years she has published numerous articles in medical journals on neuroanatomy, neuropathology, medical education and multimedia, and is well known and respected internationally as an authority, educator and speaker on the same. She has made an enormous contribution to the University of Utah health care system and neurological education, as well as the use of multimedia in the health care sciences.

Me, I always think of her at lunch. On Fridays.

3 comments:

Carrie Roberts said...

I've never had the pleasure of actually seeing a brain...how amazing for you!!! Congrats to Suzanne Stensaas for all your research, we are all better off because you do what you do.

Premedical University said...

Wow....You can observe and saw actual slicing of the brain.Your just pretty luck.
I was amaze on your article but I like the idea.

RiKMeistr said...

Nothing like detruncating the brain of a cadaver to bring you to your senses. With 'cutting' clarity, you have proven yourself once again to be the master of the 'biographical sketch'. Now I'm curious if Ms Stensaas was instrumental in the development of the neuro-medical imaging system, the 'brain slicer',an application based on a new data structure, the Scalable Hyper-Space File (SHSF)?? SHSF is a generalized data structure that can represent a hyperspace of any dimension; ergo, 3 dimensional orbital imaging that can be effectively and accurately demonstrated even on low-bandwidth desktop computers...great for use in classroom instruction.