Physicians Hall Front

Trail-blazing Astronauts to Highlight Annual Healthcare Dinner

Retired NASA astronauts Capt. Scott Kelly and Colonel Eileen Collins will serve as keynote speakers at the event and provide thoughts on their experiences working on the threshold of innovations that allowed them to make history in spaceflight.

“We’re honored to have these two pioneers of discovery and courage join us for an evening to celebrate and support the ongoing efforts of Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin as a leader and innovator in healthcare,” said Dr. John R. Raymond, Sr., president and CEO of MCW.

The Healthcare Dinner – titled “Explore the Power of Curiosity, Discovery and Hope” – will serve as a fundraiser to benefit cutting edge research and exceptional patient care. The event will host key partners, donors, community, corporate and government leaders, as well as friends of Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, celebrating their contributions to the institution’s mission impact as southeastern Wisconsin’s only academic health system.

Both Capt. Kelly and Colonel Collins blazed new trails during their respective careers in the U.S. space program.

Colonel Collins became the first female to pilot a U.S. spacecraft with the Discovery shuttle flight in 1995. She was also the first female commander on the 1999 Columbia shuttle flight. NASA also chose her to command the 2005 “Return to Flight” mission, which was the first manned space flight following the loss of space shuttle Columbia in 2003.

During the “Return to Flight” mission, Colonel Collins became the first astronaut to implement a complete 360-degree pitch maneuver with the Space Shuttle. The move was necessary in order for astronauts aboard the International Space Station to take pictures of the Shuttle’s underside to ensure there was no damage that would present risks upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

Capt. Kelly spent a year in space with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko on the International Space Station from March 2015 to March 2016. He is author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Endurance,” which chronicles his year in space. He is a veteran of four space flights and commanded the International Space Station on three different expeditions.

Earlier this year, NASA reported medical results from the Astronaut Twin Study, which measured the physical differences caused by living in space for a year versus a baseline on Earth. Capt. Kelly’s twin brother Mark Kelly, also an astronaut, participated in the study, the results of which showed changes in Kelly’s gene expression and chromosomes relative to before his spaceflight.

Both Capt. Kelly and Colonel Collins will share stories and anecdotes about their experiences that allowed them to work in careers that depended on creative thinking to implement innovative solutions.

“Embracing innovation and finding new and better ways to treat patients is at the heart of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s mission,” Dr. Raymond said. “The commitment to discovery and innovation demonstrated by Capt. Kelly and Colonel Collins throughout their careers is an inspiration to anyone seeking to expand beyond traditional boundaries to find new answers to ongoing challenges.”

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