Parker welcomed Dr. Dinee Simpson, assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Organ Transplantation at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and founding director of the Northwestern Medicine African American Transplant Access Program—an initiative of the Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive Transplant Center—as she returned to the school for a full day of academic enrichment in her role as the 13th Annual Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence.
Dr. Simpson began her day with Upper School students in science teacher Kara Schupp’s Advanced Topics in Biology course before meeting the 7th grade in the Sheridan Family Café and the 8th grade in the Harris Center. During these meetings, she shared three cases, based on real-life examples, and asked students to become an actual panel that decides if the patient should receive a transplant. By walking the students through this process, providing real anecdotes on the panel’s process and revealing the patients’ actual outcomes, Dr. Simpson truly drove home the nature of her job and let the students experience the trials and tribulations her work encompasses.
Following a lunch with faculty and staff members, Dr. Simpson sat down for a special one-on-one interview with Parker Weekly journalist Tess Wayland ’22. Aside from hearing about Dr, Simpson’s career in general, Wayland inquired about specifics on her subject’s views of Parker and some larger societal factors that affect transplants. Dr. Simpson ended her day at Parker by meeting with the combined 1st and 2nd grades in the Heller Auditorium. She and Lower School teachers thought asking these young students to decide the fate of a hypothetical transplant patient may have been a bit advanced, so she tailored a speech specifically for their developmental level. Asking questions like, “How many years do you think a doctor goes to school?” and using examples like comparing transplant surgeons to plumbers who had to make sure all the pipes work properly, Dr. Simpson connected with these young students and provided a foundational explanation of who she is and why her job is so important.
Parker is very fortunate and grateful to the Pritzker family for providing these enriching educational experiences with thought leaders from around the nation. Whether it was with our youngest minds or advanced biology students, Dr. Simpson used her charismatic personality and a deep wealth of knowledge to connect with the community and continue this esteemed program.
The Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence program was created by a gift to Parker in honor of engineer, industrialist and philanthropist Robert A. Pritzker ’44. This program aims to expand science education opportunities at Parker and foster an ongoing dialogue among students and teachers about current issues in science. Previous speakers include Dr. Leon M. Lederman, Dr. Paul Sereno, Dr. Russell Mittermeier and Christina Mittermeier, Dr. Edward “Rocky” Kolb, Dr. Ka Yee Lee, Dr. Don Hillebrand, Dr. Matthew Tirrell, Dr. Elizabeth Gerber, Dr. Sian Beilock, Dr. Wendy Freedman, Dr. Rick Stevens and Dr. Eve Van Cauter.