Mosquito Forecasts

Here’s a quirky chapter from my early professional life. I worked for Multidata, a small company then based in Minnesota, before, during and after medical school. Our main products and services dealt with pollen—the stuff that causes allergies. More on that perhaps in future posts.

In the early 1990s, we sought to diversify and landed on mosquito forecasts. Go ahead and chuckle, but there was actually a decent market for the product.

Our first media appearance was in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, June 30th, 1995—right before the Independence Day holiday. This led to a lot more media, both that weekend and in the years that followed.

So here’s a tribute to Dennis Gebhard, Multidata’s founder, and his business partner, Bill Erickson, for urging imaginations to run wild. Those were truly magical years! ✸

Beginner’s Luck

I’ve written a lot of stuff over the years — journal articles, book chapters, opinion pieces — but I don’t think that I’ll ever top my first publication.

Our family had just moved to Brainerd, Minn., and I had the good fortune of taking Berteil Mahoney’s 8th grade composition class. She submitted one of my pieces to the Minnesota Star & Tribune (as it was called then) and it appeared in the paper’s “Neighbors” section on May 26th, 1984.

Mrs. Mahoney ignited what has become a lifelong love for writing. But, more importantly, she demonstrated the early importance of a good editor! ✸

Time Machine — Clinic Grand Opening

Two years ago today, North Memorial Health opened its Mental Health & Addiction Center. Previously, it didn’t have an outpatient clinic for medication management and psychotherapy, or to receive patients following hospital discharge.

Kelly Macken-Marble and I served as the project’s executive sponsors. In truth, John Sutherland, Jackie Dean, David Oliver and Marrion Muia did all of the work. And, boy, was it a lot of work! The project involved everything from architectural drawings to clinical workflows—literally thousands of hours, decisions and details.

KSTP’s Ken Barlow, who has bravely and very publicly shared his brush with bipolar disorder, was the master of ceremony. A good time was had by all.

Middle Left: John Sutherland and Jackie Dean cutting the ribbon. Middle Right: Ken Barlow. Bottom Left: Ken Barlow; David Frenz; and Brian Johns, M.D.