Iowa City Noon Rotary

Posted by Shawn Reineke on Mar 03, 2017
The following have been nominated for Rotary membership, please express any concerns by March 17, 2017
Azeez Butali –Research scientist at the UI College of Dentistry
Classification: Education: Dentistry
Sponsor: Deb Kacmarynski.
Greg Crosby –VP and General Manager of ImOn Communications for our local market
Classification:  Cable & Internet Services: Administration
Sponsor: Usha Balakrishnan
President Usha, 2002 graduate of Leadership Iowa, introduced Kay Neumann-Thomas, Vice President- Programs of Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation (ABI) Foundation.
Leadership Iowa ( is a premier issues-awareness program promoting leadership within the state. We educate, challenge and inspire our participants to bring out their inherent quality to “point the way.” The ultimate goal is to instill passion in our current and emerging leaders while fostering a high level of civic engagement.

Since its inception in 1982, Leadership Iowa has graduated over 1000 leaders from both the private and public sector. This diverse group of alumni represents every geographical region of the state and virtually all walks of life. 40 individuals are selected each year, traveling each month to a different Iowa community to discuss different topics. Currently the organization is in Iowa City to study healthcare and while here, participants volunteered with the Hope Lodge, The Ronald McDonald House and Oaknoll Retirement Community.
The Leadership Iowa Class participants (listed at the end of this newsletter) introduced themselves by name, organizational affiliation, and hometown or city of residency in Iowa. And, each of them mentioned whether they are Rotarians. Several of them acknowledged themselves as “Rotarians-to-be” and we hope they join Rotary in their hometowns!
President Usha asked all Leadership Iowa graduates in the room to rise up and be acknowledged. Past DGs Jacque Andrew and Jill Olsen are also Leadership Iowa graduates from 1989 and 1993 respectively. President Usha is thankful to generous sponsorship of today’s event by Rotarians Curt Heideman (US Bank), John Ockenfels, Jill Olsen, and Jacque Andrew.
President Usha invited RAG4Clubfoot Co-Chairs John Ockenfels and Jill Olsen to share their enthusiastic work with a mighty visionary humanitarian initiative which has roots in Iowa.
RAG4Clubfoot ( is a Rotarian Action Group whose primary focus is to train doctors around the world to practice the non-surgical, non-invasive Ponseti Method to treat Clubfoot. RAG4Clubfoot arose locally as a partnership with the Ponseti International Association and was formally approved in 2015 by Rotary International. Jill explained that the vision is to train 4000 doctors in the next 10 years. It is doable and reachable. The training will ensure that every child with Clubfoot is treated properly with the Ponseti Method. Jill provided a quote to guide our actions, “The sacredness of the now, what we do today WILL make a difference.” Jill then introduced Herb Wilson (RAG4Clubfoot Founder) as a living saint--to which Herb had the best quip ever which left the entire audience roaring in laughter: “For a second opinion on my sainthood, please check with my wife Janice!!”
Rtn. Herb Wilson expressed his deep-seated conviction that the world needs more Rotarians! (Yes, Herb, we do indeed!). Herb described Rotary as the greatest organization he has had the privilege of working for. He recalls the incredible challenge of Rotary helping to eradicate polio (at a time in 1985 when there were 350,000 annual cases of polio). Together, we Rotarians have been working since then to conquer this disease—and we are in fact “this close”! (You can read more at
Approximately 200,000 infants are born each year with Clubfoot. The Ponseti Method makes it possible for Rotarians to take action to do something about eliminating Clubfoot disabilities. Herb expressed the opportunity for RAG4Clubfoot and Rotary to engage with younger leaders while also creating greater awareness and advocacy for the Ponseti Method. Herb urged that, like in Denmark where insurance companies do not reimburse physicians for performing surgery for Clubfoot, insurers in other parts of the world, including the United States, should also recognize the non-surgical Ponseti Method as the preferred option for Clubfoot treatment since it cures the patient and allows them to lead normal lives. Whereas, once surgery is used to treat Clubfoot, the patient is faced with the prospects of repeat surgeries throughout their life with no relief in sight. Some patients have unfortunately had so much pain in their legs after a number of surgeries that they have eventually opted for amputations instead. So, the non-surgical cure rendered by the Ponseti Method—which has been recognized as the Gold Standard by the professional society of orthopedic surgeons—ought to be the only option available to patients!
President Usha thanked Herb for his remarks and for his inspiration to the next generation of Rotarians!
She then remarked that there was one big supporter of the Ponseti Method who was unable to be with us today who is being missed very much: Rtn. John Buchanan (who is away in Florida). It is for Rtn. Buchanan that today’s program is being specifically videotaped!
President Usha then urged all the Leadership Iowa Class participants as younger, emerging leaders to make a commitment to become active and creative in helping advance humanitarian projects such as RAG4Clubfoot that have been crafted and supported diligently by so many of Iowa’s physicians and philanthropists. Our next generations need to show respect for current and past leaders’ contributions by ensuring that such visionary undertakings continue to be implemented effectively to achieve their intended longer term impacts on behalf of vulnerable and disadvantaged populations around our globe. Project longevity needs a wide variety of resources and support—please help in whatever way you are able to!
President Usha then introduced the next speaker, Rtn. Tom Cook.
Rtn. Tom Cook, Director of Global Operations for Ponseti International Association delivered a powerpoint presentation on RAG4Clubfoot, including highlights of how the Leadership Iowa Class can specifically help in advancing Iowa’s Gift to the World! Action steps are available for ALL Rotarians in our club to get involved. Clubfoot affects 1 in every 750 live births. Clubfoot occurs in both feet half of the time. It is twice as common in males vs females. 200,000 -1 million go untreated each year. In developing countries, where walking is the only form of transportation, your opportunities are severely limited and there is extreme social stigma if you suffer from Clubfoot deformities. Any surgery to correct Clubfoot leads to problems later in life: by 20 years old, 81% have arthritis in feet & ankles, by 30 yrs old, quality of life is similar to having Parkinson’s Disease. Treating Clubfoot with surgery is a costly waste of medical resources as well. Whereas, the non-surgical Ponseti Method (formulated by the late Dr. Ignacio Ponseti who practiced the Method for over 60 years as an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics) involves a series of casts applied to the feet to straighten out the turned-in feet. This treatment gradually lets nature grow a straight foot, somewhat akin to straightening teeth with orthodontic treatment. With early detection, the Ponseti Method can start as early as when an infant is a week old. It starts with a plaster cast, with weekly stretching and recasting for approximately 8 weeks. There are several advantages of the Ponseti technique. The first being the ease of administering the treatment anywhere with a trained doctor and plaster. The method is non-invasive. No X-rays, No surgeries. The 2nd part of treatment requires the participation of parents and guardians since the young children have to wear special shoes (braces). Sleep shoes (much like retainers are used for teeth after orthodontic braces are removed) are needed to keep feet from falling inward all over again. But, the children need to wear these “sleepy-shoes” only for their first 3-4 years. A Cedar Rapids based nonprofit, Clubfoot Solutions, is making high-quality and affordable braces available for such purpose and use in developing countries.
What will it take to eliminate Clubfoot?
  1. 4000 well-trained doctors in the Ponseti Method. Takes hands-on training in which our Club Rotarian, Dr. Jose Morcuende, and orthopedic surgeon at UIHC, is a leader! 
  2. High quality affordable braces, developed in Iowa. 30,000 braces have been produced in Cedar Rapids.
  3. Financial and other support for transportation, lodging, and boarding for families to bring the infants to a clinic where the Ponseti Method is being practiced properly; awareness that Clubfoot is treatable; health literacy campaigns to reduce social stigma. It is also important to consider compensation for low-income families who incur loss of pay when they have to take time off to bring their infants to the clinic or incur costs to pay for the braces and other related expenses of assuring good care of other children in the household when parents are away at the clinic which might not be in the same city or village.
Visit to determine the actions needed and how you can get involved…
  1. Sign up as a supporter of this initiative!
  2. Help recruit Rotarians around the world to band together
  3. Support training of healthcare professionals to apply the Ponseti Method
  4. Assist families and caregivers with logistical support, including transportation, housing, food and other needs. Cost of plaster can be prohibitive for care.
  1. Assist families with the provision of braces to complete Ponseti treatment.
  2. Assist with public awareness to reduce the stigma.
  3. Promote early referral to appropriate treatment centers.
  4. Advocate with governments and health officials.
RAG4ClubFoot, has developed a special fundraising program “Iowa Rotary’s Gift to the World!” Multiple Rotary Districts are involved, with a goal of raising $20 per Rotarian. This will generate hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rtn. John Buchanan and his wife Ellen have pledged to match all donations dollar for dollar upto $125,000! We have already received $15,000--so, with the match, we’re at $30,000, and would appreciate all the support that we can get from Rotary Clubs around Iowa.  Visiting Rotarians among the Leadership Iowa Class were particularly asked to talk to their clubs about this opportunity to support a great initiative with Iowa roots that all of us Iowans can feel good and proud about!!
After thanking all the speakers, President Usha asked the RAG4Clubfoot Board Members and Rotarians among the Leadership Iowa Class to join her at the podium and join in reciting Rotary’s Four-Way Test.
Here is an announcement that could not be included today due to time limitations: Rtn. Jerry Forrester invites all Rotarians to join in a celebration for the Excellence Awards received by Mercy Hospital-Iowa City, in partnership with Steindler Orthopedic Clinic:
Monday, March 6
8:00 a.m.– Mercy Iowa City’s First Floor Atrium, 500 East Market Street, Iowa City
5:30 p.m. – Steindler Orthopedic Clinic, 2751 Northgate Drive, Iowa City
Free Parking and Refreshments
Singing:  Bob Crane led singing of America the Beautiful and Smile Song with Jim Conard accompanying on the piano.
Please forward any newsworthy items and/or photos to Casey Kidwell to include in the weekly slide decks emailed to members prior to each meeting and shown just before Rotary meetings at the Club. You can send information to: or to: The pre-meeting PowerPoint is a great way to reach fellow Rotarians who may not be at the weekly meeting. 
For questions related to Club administration, please contact us at
It is our policy to have all members silence their cell phones before the meeting and refrain from answering their cell phones during the meeting out of respect to the speaker and fellow members.
Visiting Rotarians: Pam Ehly, Phil Petersen-Iowa City AM; Tomeka Petersen, West Liberty; Jacque Andrew (PDG) Jefferson; Jill Olsen (PDG), Marion East-Cedar Rapids; Wyndell Campbell, Oskaloosa; Pat Deignan, Cedar Rapids; Jeremy Kauten, Waterloo.
Guests of Rotarians: Joan Cook (Tom Cook); Greg Crosby (Usha Balakrishnan); Joel Bartlett (Tom Cilek); Laura Stephensen (Kelley Drowne); Jay Horton (Carlton Jackson); Jorja Ludeking (Christina Kimerle); Ben Snyder (Eric Weiler).
President Usha’s guests hosted by our Club, thanks to generous sponsorship of Rotarians Curt Heideman (US Bank), John Ockenfels, Jill Olsen, and Jacque Andrew:
Leadership Iowa Program Staff
Kay Neumann-Thomas, Amanda Nuzum, Jessi Steward
2016-17 Leadership Iowa Program Co-Chairs
Melissa Reader, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance in Waterloo
John Osako, Informatics, Cedar Rapids
2016-17 Leadership Iowa Class participants in attendance at Rotary meeting:
Tim Albrecht, Albrecht Public Relations, LLC W. Des Moines / W. Des Moines
Jim Atty, Waverly Health Center Waverly / Waverly, Rotarian
Jenn Bleil, Van Meter, Inc. North Liberty / Cedar Rapids
Wyndell Campbell, State Farm Insurance Oskaloosa / Oskaloosa, Rotarian
Matthew Converse, Converse Conditioned Air, INC Ames / Ames, Rotarian
Chris Deal, MODUS Engineering Jefferson / Des Moines
Patrick Deignan, Bankers Trust Company Cedar Rapids / Cedar Rapids, Rotarian
Sarah Dvorak, Kreg Tool Maxwell / Huxley
Paul Erickson, Central Iowa Power Cooperative Humboldt / Cedar Rapids
Tina Hoffman, Iowa Economic Development Authority Urbandale / Des Moines
Adam Kaduce, R&R Realty Group Urbandale / W. Des Moines
Nathan Katzer, Eagle’s Catch, LLLP Cumming / Des Moines
Jeremy Kauten, The VGM Group Dike / Waterloo, Rotarian
Kim King, Alliant Energy Cedar Rapids / Cedar Rapids
Jenelle Kreiling, Clinton Regional Development Corp. Clinton / Clinton
Justin Marchant, Upper Iowa University Shell Rock / Fayette
Ryan Marti, Rockwell Colllins Marion / Cedar Rapids
Casey Mills, Mills-Shellhammer-Puetz Sioux City / Sioux City
Carrie Naig, Pella Corporation Pella / Pella
Brindha Narasimhamoorthy, Kemin Industries West Des Moines / Des Moines
Abbie Olson, Hy-Vee Norwalk / West Des Moines
Stacey Pellett, John Deere Public Affairs Worldwide Atlantic / Johnston
Brett Peterson, NCP, Inc. West Des Moines / Des Moines, Rotarian
Maggie Reyes, Pottawattamie County Attorney's Office Pacific Junction / Council Bluffs
Kathleen Riessen, Measured Intentions Urbandale / Urbandale
Brian Sauer, Saturday Mfg. Des Moines / Des Moines
Paula Schmitt, SSAB Iowa Inc. Donahue / Muscatine
Tory Schrock, Mahaska Health Partnership Oskaloosa / Oskaloosa
Travis Sheets, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company W. Des Moines / West Des Moines
Leighton Smith, BerganKDV North Liberty / Cedar Rapids
Alyssa Smola-Johnston, Iowa Corn Growers Association Urbandale / Johnston
Troy Van Beek, Ideal Energy Inc. Fairfield / Fairfield
Eric Walhof, Northwest Bank Sioux Center / Sioux Center
Jhonna Wallerich, Hillphoenix Fairfield / Keosauqua
Susie Weinacht, City of Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids / Cedar Rapids, Rotarian
Program: Tom Cilek; Attendance: Nancy Droll.
Greeter Schedule:
March 9: Jerry Fleagle, Trisha Smith; March 16: Mike Walsh, Katharine Marshall, Patty Roberts; March 23: Aaron Schaefer, Travis Brockett, Deb Kacmarynski; March 30: Paul Pressler, Sara Sedlacek, Jim Scott