from Grand Valley Lanthorn by Ysabela Golden
Every year, Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies hosts a series of lectures called the Wheelhouse Talks, where community leaders share life lessons from their personal and professional experiences. Though the Wheelhouse Talks have had to go virtual alongside the rest of the Hauenstein’s fall schedule, they’ve still been a success thus far for the Presidential Studies Center’s Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy.
The Wheelhouse Talk hosted on Friday, Oct. 9 was a discussion led by Dr. Eva Feldman, a faculty member at the University of Michigan’s Department of Neurology.
“One of the first questions we are tasked to answer when applying to the Cook Leadership Academy is what leaders in society inspired us most,” said Erin Reasoner, a fifth year undergraduate student at Grand Valley and second year Fellow candidate at the Leadership Academy. “On my application, I wrote about Dr. Eva Feldman, my first lead investigator. I was continually struck by her level of individual attention and genuine compassion afforded to every member of the team — including her undergraduate interns.”
A physician scientist, Feldman currently sits as the director of the University of Michigan’s Pranger ALS Clinic, an ALS Center of Excellence, which strives to maximize quality of life for patients with the condition more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it in 1939.
“A physician scientist is someone who sees patients, which I do all day every Tuesday, and then also runs a laboratory of scientists who are asking translational questions with the goal to develop new therapies for the diseases that I see as a clinician,” said Feldman.
Much of the progress Feldman and her team has made in treating the diseases they study has been made through stem cell research, a field that was not available in Michigan when she started her career.