HELLO, my name is Russell Luepker

Hometown: I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago in a community called Roseland, where Barack Obama was later a community organizer.

When did you join UMRA? Two years ago.

What was your very first job? I worked as a stock boy for Alliance Leather Novelties on the west side of Chicago. My duties were many.

What was your occupation when you retired from FT work? I was Mayo Professor of Public Health. I was teaching two classes in clinical research and leading NIH studies. I also served on and chaired local, national, and international professional committees.

What inspired you to combine medicine and public health? My father died suddenly at age 51 due to hypertension. As I completed my training in cardiology, I decided to focus on hypertension at the population level. This combined medicine and epidemiology.

Describe a pivotal time or person who influenced the course of your career. I spent a year during medical school as an NIH research fellow in Sweden with Professor Edvard Varnauskas, head of cardiology at Göteborgs universitet. He taught me the scientific method. I was also fortunate to have Paul Yu, at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Richard Warbasse at Johns Hopkins, and Eugene Braunwald at Harvard as mentors.

If you could learn a new skill, what would you like it to be? Or, if you were an Olympic athlete, what would you like your sport to be? I would like to speak a foreign language better. Basketball, a team sport.

Do you have a favorite place on the U of M campus? I like my office at WBOB [West Bank Office Building].

What is a fun fact about you we might not know? I have chartered sailboats around the world with friends from Tonga, Tahiti, New Zealand, Seychelles, Turkey, and many other places.

What is something you currently enjoy doing with your time? We now have our 17-year-old grandson living with us. Raising teens again.



The election of UMRA officers and new board members for 2024–25 will be conducted via an online poll from May 13 to 19, with the results to be announced at our annual meeting on May 21. Look for the ballot in your email inbox on May 13. Diane Young has been nominated to be president-elect.