About the School of Medicine

Vision & Goals

Our Founders: Nathan J. Stark, Homer C. Wadsworth and E. Grey Dimond, M.D.
Our Founders: Nathan J. Stark, Homer C. Wadsworth and E. Grey Dimond, M.D.
UMKC School of Medicine Strategic Plan


The mission of the UMKC School of Medicine is to provide and foster excellence, innovation, and scholarship in education, research and medical care.


The vision of the UMKC School of Medicine is to be a leader in academic medicine through innovative programs and vibrant community partnerships.

Introduction and Background

The UMKC School of Medicine opened in 1971 as the result of over a decade of community efforts to establish a medical school in Kansas City, Missouri. Both the history and the current mission and operations of the UMKC School of Medicine are deeply rooted in the community at the local, state, national and international levels. As part of a growing academic health sciences campus in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri, the School advances the health of the community through education of physicians and other health care professionals, through research and application of new knowledge to health conditions that affect our community, through direct service in the community, and through economic development. In the nearly four decades that the School has been in existence, all of the four mission areas—education, research, service, and economic development—have grown and matured along with the Hospital Hill campus where the School is located. The University of Missouri-Kansas City is a public, urban-serving, research and doctoral university; both it and the School of Medicine are poised to make an even greater contribution to “Advancing the Health of Our Community” in the decades to come.

School of Medicine Education Programs: The UMKC School of Medicine was founded on an innovative medical education system based on: early and continuous clinical experiences, humanities woven throughout the curriculum, small group learning communities centered around a physician “docent,” continuous assessment of student progress, and an emphasis on application of the basic sciences in clinical medicine. The combined degree program allows the school to accept the majority of its students directly out of high school and to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes of these students longitudinally over six years with a goal of instilling the highest standards of medical professionalism, clinical competency, humanism, and altruism during a highly formative period of their lives. The community-based setting has freed the school of fiscal and administrative concerns over the management of hospitals and practice plans. Time has proven the value of the innovative concepts and format of the original design of the medical school outlined in the original Academic Plan1. The history and the first thirty-five years of education outcomes were recently published2.

In addition to the baccalaureate/MD program, the School also admits three other categories of students seeking the MD degree: students who already have a baccalaureate degree and complete the last four years of the program as “MD-only” students; students who have a DDS degree and complete a combined MD/Oral Surgery residency program; and a limited number of transfer students who have completed their first two years of medical school at an accredited program. Over the past decade, all programs leading to the MD degree combined have resulted in approximately 90 graduates per year. Residency choices of students span the specialties and subspecialties, with approximately 40% initially entering the primary care fields of internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and medicine/pediatrics. In addition, 45% of graduates remain in the state of Missouri and the counties surrounding the two largest metropolitan areas of Kansas City and St. Louis. The school will continue its strong commitment to increasing the number of graduates of the medical school who serve the healthcare needs of Missouri.

Beginning in 2008, the school accepted its first students into graduate degree programs. The Masters of Science in Anesthesiology leading to a career as anesthesiologist assistants opened in 2008, and the Masters of Science in Bioinformatics opened in Fall 2009. The MS in Bioinformatics, with tracks in computation, genomics and clinical research, is a joint program with the School of Computing and Engineering and the School of Biological Sciences. Masters degree programs, especially in allied health are, another means to meet pressing local and regional healthcare needs.

The School of Medicine is the institutional sponsor for over 40 residency and fellowship programs accredited by the Accrediting Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGMD) conducted at affiliated hospitals. Today, there are nearly 500 residents and fellows in these programs at six affiliated hospitals. Graduates from these programs are a major source of physicians in Kansas City and the surrounding regions.

In 2008, the School of Medicine became accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) for the first time to offer continuing medical education (CME) programs. Previously, the School relied on affiliated hospital CME departments to provide educational credits for continuing education activities held for faculty and by faculty. In looking at the future directions of required competencies and life-long learning needed for patient care and maintenance of licensure and certifications, it was decided that the School should develop these programs as part of its longitudinal medical education activities. Additionally, these programs provide infrastructure for faculty development programs in scholarship in clinical practice, education and research.

School of Medicine Research Programs: The early efforts of the school were directed toward growth and building of medical education programs on the base of strong clinical affiliations. Over the past decade, scholarly research has become a major goal in order to discover and apply new knowledge to improve human health, to develop and maintain a community of scholars in support of a robust learning environment, and to provide economic development in the region. Concurrently, there has been increasing emphasis on research within the university as a whole and the region. The School of Medicine now has 22 endowed chairs and professorships, more than any other academic division in the University of Missouri System, and the research funding has increased exponentially. The current total extramural funding in grants and contracts in the School has increased four-fold over the past decade and is now $23 million annually. Total federal funding represents approximately half of the total. Research efforts are focused toward impact on community health conditions, especially in areas that link to areas of clinical strength. These efforts are designed to build and utilize large databases that go beyond “translational” research in general, and to have impact on the health of our community in particular. Health impact may be either at the individual level—i.e. “personalized medicine”—or at the population level. Additionally, it may be directed at either prevention or diagnosis and treatment of disease.

School of Medicine Community Engagement: The UMKC School of Medicine is an essential community partner in advancing health through education and training of physicians and other healthcare providers, through research and application of new knowledge to address health issues, through direct provision of care (including volunteer work and service learning), and through economic development and stability in the urban core. Much has changed in the nearly 40 years since the School’s founding, but the values that relate to a commitment to serve the community have not.

The community has called for an overall strategic plan from UMKC3, including in the life and health sciences. The School of Medicine is ready to deepen this partnership with the community to advance the health of our community. The following strategic plan outlines the specific goals and objectives of the School for 2010-2015. These goals and objectives are designed to align with the overall strategic plans of the University of Missouri System and the University of Missouri-Kansas City


  1. Dimond EG. The Academic Plan for the School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Last updated in 2009. http://www.med.umkc.edu/organization/default.html
  2. Drees B, Arnold L, Jonas H. The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine: Thirty-five years of experience with a non-traditional approach to medical education. Academic Medicine, 2007. 82:361-369
  3. Time to Get It Right: A strategy for higher education in Kansas City. Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, 2005.

Summary of Goals and Strategic Objectives

Goal 1: The UMKC School of Medicine will foster and support a vibrant health science learning community on its Hospital Hill Campus for students, residents, faculty, staff, and community partners. The learning environment will consist of an outstanding academic program and experiences, comprehensive scholar support and a campus culture and environment that promotes student, resident, faculty and staff engagement and community participation.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Recruit a highly qualified and diverse faculty, staff, resident and student body.
  2. Foster a climate for scholar success leading to enhanced retention of faculty, staff, residents and students.
  3. Prepare graduates to enter careers of their choice, including academics, disciplines of high need, and underserved communities in Missouri.
  4. Enhance interdisciplinary learning and community engagement opportunities.

Goal 2: The School of Medicine will lead in innovative medical education programs, including education programs for medical students, graduate students, residents, faculty, and community physicians.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Implement interdisciplinary, competency-based education programs across the continuum of medical education (students, residents, faculty, and community physicians), including emerging areas (e.g. practice assessment, patient safety, and quality of care).
  2. Enhance performance assessment of learners.
  3. Implement faculty development programs to enhance teaching and assessment skills and promote a culture of scholarship in education.

Goal 3: The School of Medicine will develop strong research and scholarly programs that improve the health of our community with an emphasis in applied translational research to Prevent Disease, Personalize Medicine and improve Population Health.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Promote growth of research and scholarly activity in targeted areas with an emphasis on Preventive, Personalized and Population Health Research.
  2. Promote a culture of research scholarship among our faculty.
  3. Promote research participation among learners.
  4. Promote scholarship in clinical practice and community engagement.