Vincent Runco Jr., M.D. Visiting Scholar Program

In 1961, Vincent Runco Jr., M.D. and Richard Booth, M.D. established the region’s first cardiac center at St. Joseph’s Hospital. For 31 years, until his retirement in 1992, Dr. Runco helped educate more than 2,700 medical students and more than 1,000 residents. Together with Dr. Booth, he co-founded the Creighton Cardiac Center.

The two cardiologists set as a cornerstone of the program the education of area physicians on advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, and one of them traveled each week to outlying communities to conduct seminars. They established the Cardiology Fellowship Training Program; over the years, 121 cardiologists completed the program.

Dr. Runco served as chief of Cardiology and as medical director of Creighton’s Cardiac Fellowship Training and Outreach programs, St. Joseph Hospital Coronary Care Unit, the Nebraska-South Dakota Regional Physician Coronary Care Training Program, and the Nebraska Regional Program on Coronary Care Training and Support.

Thomas Timothy Smith, M.D. Lecture

Thomas Timothy (T.T.) Smith, M.D. attended Creighton University as an undergraduate and received his medical degree from the School of Medicine in 1933. He completed a residency in otolaryngology and received a master’s degree in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. Following military service, he returned to Omaha in 1946 to practice in otolaryngology. He served on the School of Medicine faculty and was named department chair in 1950, a position he held until 1974.

Dr. Smith’s special interests were nasal allergies and head and neck cancer. He was a master endoscopist with a talent for foreign body removal. He dedicated himself to the education of students, residents and practicing physicians and was responsible for the introduction of ear microsurgery in Omaha in the 1950s.

Dr. Smith assumed a leadership role in the initial planning of the Boys Town Institute for Communication Disorders in Children, known today the Boys Town National Research Hospital.

Frank J. Menolascino, M.D. Memorial Lecture

Frank Menolascino, M.D. was a native Omahan who received international acclaim for improvements in the comprehensive, humane care of persons with mental retardation. He championed social normalization and concurrent medical-psychiatric evaluation of those with under-recognized and underserved neuropsychiatric syndromes.

As a research psychiatrist at Nebraska Psychiatric Institute, Dr. Menolascino established the first in-patient program in the country for mental retardation and started the first national research project devoted to in-patient and out-patient care of this underserved population. In the late 1960s, with Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger, Dr. Menolascino established the Principles of Normalization in North America, and the two acquired funding for the Eastern Nebraska Community Office of Retardation (ENCOR), a pioneering, community-based program and a model of service, research and training.

Dr. Menolascino’s seminal book in 1970, Psychiatric Approaches to Mental Retardation, was instrumental in explaining mental illness aspects of mental retardation. His additional 20 books increased knowledge of psychiatric causes and treatment needs of persons with mental retardation. He was a contributor to the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation and the National Institute of Mental Health and received national and international awards for his work.

James F. Sullivan, M.D. Lecture

Dr. James F. Sullivan was one of the most respected and beloved teachers at Creighton. His concern for his patients and students and his drive, perceptive wit, intelligence and special gift for bedside teaching were well known to all of us. Because of this, his students and colleagues established this Visiting Professorship in his honor.

James Sullivan was born in 1924 in Peoria, Illinois, received his B.S. degree at Eureka College in 1949 and his M.D. at St. Louis University in 1951. All of his postgraduate training was at the St. Louis University Hospitals. He became an Instructor of Medicine at St. Louis University in 1955, and later an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine from 1959-l961. He came to Creighton in 1961 as an Associate Professor of Medicine, Head of the Gastroenterology Section, and Assistant Chairman of the Department of Medicine. He became Professor of Medicine in 1964, Chief of Medicine at the VA in 1966 and Acting Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Creighton from 1969-1972. He held membership in many professional societies, received numerous awards and was the author of approximately 160 published articles. These tell only part of the story of James F. Sullivan. His limp was due to a war injury in the Battle of the Bulge, and all who knew him remember the ever-present pipe and the ever-lasting search for matches.

James left us abruptly on May 16, 1980 but he is remembered especially with this Visiting Professorship honoring those who also cherish the best in our heritage of medicine and are skilled bedside clinicians and teachers.

Distinguished Lecture Series:

The School of Medicine offers six Distinguished Lectures each year.  Speakers are selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Distinguished status of lecturer-nationally or internationally recognized in their field.
  2. Recognized for research and publications.
  3. Identified as an effective speaker.
  4. Can speak on a contemporary issue of interest in basic or clinical science, and offer a learning opportunity for residents and students.

Medical School faculty are asked to nominate speakers for the series.  Nominees are reviewed and selected by the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee.