At Cincinnati medical center, alumni team up to save lives
Story by DANIELLE KAMP ’15
Saving lives is an everyday occurrence for Timothy Pritts ’91 and Kris Ford ’07, who
first crossed paths at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC). Timothy,
assistant professor of surgery, and Kris, a third-year resident in the Department
of Emergency Medicine, often work as part of a trauma team together, providing care
for patients in critical conditions.
Timothy and Kris first established their IWU connection through sharing stories about
biology professors Robert Hippensteele and Bruce Criley (emeritus). “Kris figured
out I was an IWU grad after I baited him with a series of obscure references to Criley’s
developmental biology class and Hippensteele’s physiology finals,” said Timothy. “Kris
is obviously a bit more caught up on the campus than I am, and I had fun hearing about
all of the great changes at Illinois Wesleyan.” Ford is about to start his final year
of residential training to become an emergency medicine physician.
As trauma surgeon, Timothy leads the team of physicians and nurses from the emergency
department, surgical intensive care unit and operating room in the treatment of each
patient. Since UCMC has the only adult level I trauma center in the region, his team
receives a large number of patients every evening.
Timothy is also an instructor for a training center at UCMC that helps train Air Force
personnel on how to transport critically injured service members. There are only two
other training sites of this kind in the United States.
The training center instructs doctors and nurses on how to work under the stressful,
confined and high altitude conditions they will face in transport planes through training
exercises in a simulation center. Timothy is currently working on multiple research
projects for the program, including studying the effects of freezing red blood cells
for extensive transport trips. By learning how microparticles form in stored red blood
cells, doctors may be able to prevent inflammation and further injuries in patients.
“I get to play many roles in my job,” said Timothy. “I care for patients who are injured
and critically ill; perform research on how to improve care for the injured; and educate
physicians, residents and students.” Along with teaching and supervising Kris, Timothy
has also worked with Brent Mardsden ’00 and has interviewed many IWU grads for surgery
residency positions. Timothy enjoys trading stories with fellow alums and also greatly
appreciates the classes, professors and overall learning experience he received at
“Each time I work on a problem, whether in the OR, trauma bay, ICU or lab, I think
about Criley and Hippensteele,” said Timothy. “I continue to value my IWU education
To visit the IWU Biology Department home page, click here.