All posts by Kelly Edwards

Noted mental health expert to present 2019 Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health

Altha Stewart, M.D.

Mental health expert Altha J. Stewart, M.D., president of the American Psychiatric Association, will be the keynote speaker for the Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health on Feb. 22 at the School of Medicine.

Stewart has spent decades as chief executive officer and executive director of large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. She currently serves at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as associate professor and chief of social and community psychiatry. She is also director of the school’s Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth.

Before going to the University of Tennessee, Stewart was the executive director of a federally funded system of care program in Memphis  for children with serious emotional disorders and their families.

An experienced health care administrator and nationally recognized expert in public sector and minority issues in mental health care, Stewart also worked as executive director of the National Leadership Council on African-American Behavioral Health.

The annual Shannon Lectureship takes place each February to create awareness about health disparities. It has welcomed such distinguished national speakers as former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, as well as noted local leaders in minority health.

Med school faculty lead local summit on lung cancer

School of Medicine faculty members led a local summit on advanced non-small cell lung cancer, discussing novel treatments for patients with lung cancer on Dec. 11.

The State of the Science Summit brought together academic and community-based physicians and health care professionals across disciplines from clinical and surgical oncology to hematology.

Janakiraman Subramanian, M.D., M.P.H, assistant professor of medicine and director of thoracic oncology at Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute chaired the event. Additional faculty members J. Russell Davis, M.D., cinical assistant professor of surgery; Vinay Gupta, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine; Timothy Saettele, M.D., assistant professor of medicine; and internal medicine fellow Brandon Weckbaugh, M.D., made up a panel of expert presenters.

The panel discussed topics such as advances in robotic thoracic lung cancer surgery, bronchoscopies and biopsies, immunotherapy, targeted therapies and emerging biomarkers in NSCLC.

The State of the Science Summit series is sponsored by OncLive, a digital resource for practicing oncologists.

School of Medicine welcomes new staff

Rachel McCommon, Allan Davis

The School of Medicine has recently welcomed two new staff members in the offices of Diversity and Inclusion, and Admissions.

Rachel McCommon is coordinator of diversity and strategic initiatives. She will focus on multicultural affairs to support student and resident success and strategic planning to support faculty and staff working with a diverse student population.

Allan Davis serves as coordinator of diversity programs and recruitment. He will coordinate the school’s high school pipeline programs, Summer Scholars and the Saturday Academy.

McCommon joins the School of Medicine with more than 10 years of experience addressing areas of multicultural programing, student success, recruitment and community outreach. Her efforts have also focused on issues that impact access to higher education for underrepresented K-12 students and supporting current college students.

McCommon graduated from Emporia State University with a degree in rehabilitation service education and a minor in leadership. She received her master’s degree in higher education administration from UMKC and previously worked in the university’s undergraduate admissions office as the multicultural recruiter. She also taught college prep and life-after-college classes at Alta Vista Charter High School in Kansas City.

She has been particularly involved in issues that impact the success of women and Latinx students. McCommon actively participates in Cuerpo de Areito, a Puerto Rican folkloric dance group to support and educate others on Puerto Rican culture and traditions.

McCommon said she is excited to add to the culture and environment of the School of Medicine and values the importance of supporting students with an open-door policy. She can be reached at 235-6251 or at mccommonr@umkc.edu.

Davis joins the School of Medicine with experience as a recruiter and instructor. A graduate of Brigham Young University with degrees in American studies and theater history, he also received a Ph.D. in theater and performance study from the University of Maryland with a research focus on whiteness in the United States.

He served as a course instructor for eight years at BYU, American University in Washington, D.C., and at Maryland, and has served as a recruiter for undergraduate and graduate programs. He also managed a living-learning community at the University of Maryland. After moving to Kansas City, Davis worked at the Office of Academic Affairs at the UMKC School of Pharmacy before joining the School of Medicine.

Dedicated to cultivating a diverse student body, Davis will lead the School of Medicine’s pipeline programs to provide enriching experiences for the next generation of medical professionals. He can be reached at 235-5434 or davisall@umkc.edu.

American Heart Association honors Dr. John Spertus with Distinguished Scientist Award

John Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and Daniel J. Lauer, M.D., Endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Disease Research, was honored with the American Heart Association’s 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award.

John Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and Daniel J. Lauer, M.D., Endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Disease Research, received the American Heart Association’s 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award on Nov. 11 at the AHA Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

The award recognizes prominent scientists and clinicians who have made significant and sustained contributions to advancing the understanding, management and treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

As clinical director of outcomes research at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Spertus developed technology that guides physicians and patients in medical-decision making by using models to measure and predict the risk factors of various procedures. Many experts cite two tools he created — the Seattle Angina Questionnaire and the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire — as the gold standards for measuring symptoms, function and quality of life in treating coronary artery disease and heart failure. Both have been translated into more than 95 languages.

“I am humbled by the honor to be recognized by the AHA for our work to improve the patient-centeredness of care,” Spertus said. “While traditionally the basic sciences are prioritized, to see the work of our community to improve care and outcomes is a terrific validation of the collective efforts of my entire team and colleagues.”

Spertus is the founder of two outcomes research organizations. The Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Consortium and CV Outcomes is a non-profit corporation dedicated to advancing health care quality and outcomes research in cardiovascular disease. The Health Outcomes Sciences is an information technology company that implements precision medicine in clinical care.

He is currently leading a regional effort with BioNexus KC and the Frontiers CTSA to bring local hospitals together in collaboration to improve the value of health care in Kansas City.

This is Spertus’ third major award from the AHA. He previously received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and the Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Distinguished Achievement Award in 2013.

Sekhon selected to post with AMWA student organization

Sekhon, SubhijtSubhjit Sekhon, a fifth-year medical student, has been appointed to serve on the National Committee for the American Medical Women’s Association’s Medical Student Division.

Serving as the recruitment chair for the medical student division, Subhjit will work with regional directors to identify schools that currently don’t have an AMWA student chapter, establish new chapters of the organization and work on updating recruitment materials for the student group.

AMWA is the oldest multispecialty organization dedicated to supporting women in medicine and women’s health.

Sekhon was chosen for the post from a pool of applicants from across the country. She has been a member of the UMKC chapter of the medical women’s organization for three years and has served as co-treasurer and co-community service chair.

She also serves as an ambassador of the Centennial Congress for the Medical Women’s International Association. An offshoot of AMWA, the organization represents women doctors from all six continents.

 

 

 

Student research office announces 12 Sarah Morrison awards

Top row: Yicheng Bao, Shannon Demehri, Abygail Dulle, Ankit Kadakia. Middle row: Cynthia Liu, Andrew Peterson, Amber (Lelia) Sarvestani, Som Singh. Bottom row: Kevin Varghese, Firas Al-Badarin, Kathryn Kyler, Ali O. Malik

The School of Medicine Student Research Program has awarded 12 Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards for the Fall 2018 cycle. Recipients included nine medical students and three graduate students.

Sarah Morrison awards of up to $2,500 are presented to School of Medicine students each year in April and October. The awards help students become involved in and learn about a wide variety of research activities based on their interests. The research may be in the basic sciences or in clinical medicine.

Students may develop their own hypothesis and work plan or work on an established research project with their mentor. Winners of the awards are expected to present the results of the research at a School of Medicine student research event such as the UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit) or a similar venue as recommended by Research Administration.

More than 100 students have received Sarah Morrison awards since 2013 with an estimated $155,000 of financial support provided from the program to conduct research projects at the School of Medicine.

The next application deadline for students interested in receiving a Sarah Morrison research award is March 1 for the April award. Applicants are reviewed by a committee of faculty judges and processed through the Office of Research Administration.

For complete application information, visit the student research website.

Fall 2018 Sarah Morrison Research Awards
(Recipient / Faculty Mentor / Project title)
  • Yicheng Bao, MS 4 / Betty Drees, M.D., Professor, Dean Emerita / Prevalence and Risk Factors of Depression Among Patients with Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Shannon Demehri, MS 6 / John Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Westport Anesthesia/Missouri Endowed Chair for Research / Regulation of Src Family Kinases in the Rat Brain by Adenosine
  • Abygail Dulle, MS 5/ Paula Monaghan-Nichols, Ph.D., Professor, Associate Dean for Research Administration / Prenatal Glucocorticoid Exposure for Preterm Birth: Investigating The Role Of Glucocorticoid Receptor Phosphorylation In The Development Of Neuropathology
  • Ankit Kadakia, MS 4 / Paula Monaghan-Nichols, Ph.D., Professor, Associate Dean for Research Administration / Role of Synthetic Glucocorticoid Exposure in Ocular Development and Pathology
  • Cynthia Liu, MS 4/ Gary Sutkin, M.D., Professor and Associate Dean of Women’s Health, Victor and Caroline Schutte Chair in Women’s Health / The Prevalence and Effects of Ambiguous Language on Communication Errors in the Operating Room
  • Andrew Peterson, MS 5 / Xiangping Chu, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences / Modulation of Heteromeric Acid-Sensing Ion 1 a/3 Channels by Zinc
  • Amber (Lelia) Sarvestani, MS 6 / Geetha Raghuveer, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Pediatrics / Long Term Outcomes and Survival Following Repair of Truncus Arteriosus With and Without Interrupted Aortic Arch Utilizing Linkage of the Pediatric Cardiac Care Consortium with the National Death Index and Organ Procurement Transplantation Network Datasets
  • Som Singh, MS 2 / Li Zhang, M.D., Professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics / The Effect of GM26870 Gene Expression on Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicity
  • Kevin Varghese, MS 2 / Alain Cuna, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics / Effectiveness and safety of repeat use of postnatal steroids for bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Firas Al-Badarin, grad student / Tim Bateman, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Radiology / Cardiovascular Outcomes of Patients with Normal Positron Emission Tomography and Single Photon Computed Tomography Myocardial Perfusion Imaging
  • Kathryn Kyler, grad student / Kim Smolderen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics / Variation in medication dosing and guideline adherence by weight status for commonly prescribed medications during pediatric asthma hospitalizations
  • Ali O. Malik, grad student / Paul Chan, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine / Association between hospital reimbursement models and rates of normal elective coronary angiograms

Sutkin receives NIH grant to develop technology for safer surgeries

Gary Sutkin, M.D., has received a $600,000 research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop technology that will make surgeries safer.

Gary Sutkin, M.D., director of the UMKC School of Medicine’s Surgical Innovations Laboratory, has received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop simulation technology that can be used to prevent surgical errors.

With magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a 3-D printer, Sutkin plans to create a high-fidelity pelvic simulator and use motion analysis to identify surgical errors involved in Midurethral Sling surgery.

Sutkin, professor of surgery, serves as associate dean for women’s health and is Victor and Caroline Shutte Endowed Chair in Women’s Health at the School of Medicine. He chose this particular surgery for his research because it is common in older women and includes a high-risk step. During the procedure, the surgeon must blindly guide a sharp, pointed steel trocar past vital structures, including the bladder, bowel, and major blood vessels.

Performed to improve quality of life, the procedure also has the potential for catastrophic outcomes.

The project will use MRI to create a virtual model of a human pelvis of a patient with reproducible stress urinary incontinence. From that, a 3-D model will be printed, assembled and tested for fidelity to human tissue.

A group of five seasoned surgeon who are experts in Midurethral Surgery and five surgeons who are novices in the procedure will perform the surgery on the model. Motion analysis will collect kinematic data of shoulder, elbow, and wrist motions. The information will be combined into a 3-D model to analyze movements that lead to the most common errors: perforation of the bladder or bowel, and injury to the external iliac veins.

Sutkin’s groundbreaking research has the potential to have a major impact on the prevention of surgical errors by minimizing patient distress and health care costs. Once successful, Sutkin said he plans to incorporate the technology into the School of Medicine’s surgical residency program and apply the approach to reducing errors in other surgeries.

Two students selected for Children’s Mercy neurology research award

Shrushti Mehta, Andrew Williams

Shrushti Mehta and Andrew Williams, fourth-year students at the School of Medicine, have been selected to receive an award from the Children’s Mercy Hospital Philanthropy Fund to support research interests in neurology.

Recipients of the Neurology Research and Scholar Award work on research projects with Jennifer Bickel, M.D., and her research team in the Headache Research Group in the Division of Neurology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. An associate professor of pediatrics, Bickel serves as director of the Comprehensive Headache Clinic at Children’s Mercy.

Students work closely with the research group to design, implement and present research findings in the area of pediatric headache assessment and management. They also attend the American Academy of Neurology annual conference where they can network with other professionals in the field, attend presentations and poster displays and other pertinent educational opportunities.

Research projects focus on headache treatment but also vary based on current studies being conducted at any given time within the group.

The research fellowship award is available to qualified fourth, fifth or sixth-year B.A./M.D. students or second, third or fourth-year M.D. students at the School of Medicine. Students must commit to at least 80 total research hours throughout a 12-month period. A medical school research elective with the Children’s Mercy Hospital Department of Neurology is highly encouraged.

Bao contributes to published articles relating Type 1 diabetes to autoimmune disease

Third-year medical student Yicheng Bao has co-authored two recent journal articles related to research on a link between Type 1 diabetes and autoimmune disease.

He was the first author of an article published in the September issue of Wiley Journal of Diabetes, “High prevalence of comorbid autoimmune diseases in adults with type 1 diabetes from the HealthFacts database.” He also is a co-author of an article published in October on the American Diabetes Association web site, “Diabetes Care, titled, Late-Onset T1DM and Older Age Predict Risk of Additional Autoimmune Disease.”

Bao began his research during a summer medical student research program at Washington University in St. Louis. The program was sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Bao continued working on the study when he returned to school at UMKC for the fall semester.

The study showing that adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of developing additional autoimmune conditions has been reported in a number of health care and diabetes-related media outlets.

In Memoriam: Shui Qing Ye

Ye, Shui Qing

Remembering Shui Qing Ye
(1954-2018)

School of Medicine faculty member and renowned researcher Shui Qing Ye, M.D., Ph.D., died on Oct. 24 following a prolonged illness.

A professor in the Department of Pediatrics, and professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Ye served as the William R. Brown / Missouri Endowed chair in Medical Genetics and Molecular Medicine. He also served as director of the Division of Experimental and Translational Genetics and Core of Omic Research at Children’s Mercy.

He is survived by wife and research collaborator, Li Qin Zhang, an associate professor at the UMKC School of Medicine, and daughter, YuMin Ye.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Mary Anne Jackson, interim dean at the UMKC School of Medicine and his colleague at Children’s Mercy. “He was a dedicated faculty member and excellent researcher, but above all that, he was one of the kindest people I have known.”

An expert in genomic and translational bioinformatics, Ye had a strong track record of using new-age tools to gather and explore Big Data. He was a highly active researcher, partnering with local and worldwide scientists to pinpoint new diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for human diseases.

“He was a fellow University of Chicago graduate, co-author, co-teacher and briefly, I had the privilege of having him as the chair of the department where I hold a courtesy appointment in the UMKC School of Medicine — I already miss him terribly,” said Gerald J. Wyckoff, interim chair of the Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, UMKC School of Pharmacy. “He was a rare individual with a true appreciation not only for the results of science, but for the process of science. He enriched a lot of lives; mine included.”

A principal investigator or co-investigator for many National Institutes of Health-funded research studies, Ye served on grant review panels for the NIH-National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the U.S. Department of Defense and the American Heart Association.

He authored two highly acclaimed books on bioinformatics and Big Data:Bioinformatics — A Practical Approach, published in 2007, and “Big Data Analysis for Bioinformatics and Biomedical Discoveries,” published in 2016.

Before joining UMKC faculty in 2010, Ye served as director of the Gene Expression Profiling Core at the Center of Translational Respiratory Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also served as director of the Molecular Resource Core at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Ye earned his medical degree from Wuhan University School of Medicine at Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in lipid metabolism at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, and received his Ph.D. in molecular mechanisms of disease from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Visitation will be from 2 to 3 p.m. and a memorial service from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Mt. Moriah, Newcomer and Freeman Funeral Home, 10507 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO 64131.