All posts by Kelly Edwards

School of Medicine appoints new William T. and Marjorie Sirridge Professor in Medical Humanities

Brian Carter, M.D.

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced that Brian Carter, M.D., will serve as the next William T. and Marjorie Sirridge Professor in Medical Humanities.

Carter joined the School of Medicine and Children’s Mercy Hospital in 2012 as a Professor of Pediatrics and Bioethics. He serves as co-director of the Children’s Mercy Bioethics Center’s Pediatric Bioethics Certificate Course and practices at Children’s Mercy Hospital as a neonatologist.

An internationally-recognized expert in medical bioethics and neonatal palliative care, Dr. Carter is the recipient of numerous NIH grants. He has published extensively in the areas of neonatology, neonatal intensive care, palliative care, and bioethics. Carter is the author of three textbooks on neonatal intensive and palliative care.

Carter is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his postgraduate training at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

He is board certified in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine. Carter served as an active duty U.S. Army Medical Corps officer from 1983 though 1996 and is a decorated Gulf War veteran.

The William T. and Marjorie Sirridge Professorship in Medical Humanities was endowed in 2008 though the generosity of Drs. William and Marjorie Sirridge, two of the UMKC School of Medicine’s Founding Docents.

SOM announces new Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Nate Thomas

School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., is pleased to announce that E. Nathan Thomas, previously the chief diversity officer for the University of Kansas, has joined the School of Medicine as the new Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.

A highly successful educator, administrator and entrepreneur, Thomas served as vice provost for diversity and equity at Kansas since July 2014. Before that, he was the first campus diversity director at the University of South Florida Polytechnic, and was founder and a consultant with Invictus Human Capital Management in Florida.

At Kansas, Thomas provided leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion for 21 non-academic and academic units. He expanded the program from a campus-wide to a system-wide model that encompasses four of the university’s campuses, including the medical school. He was responsible for implementing a Diversity Leadership Council work group to execute system-wide diversity efforts and developed work groups to coordinate diversity education and training for all new faculty, staff, and students.

His office at Kansas also partnered with the Office of Faculty Development to fund and implement the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), Resources for Inclusive Teaching, and the Diversity Scholars Program

While at South Florida for nine years, Thomas developed the first campus diversity office. His efforts included a mentoring program to enhance the retention of a diverse student body, a diversity advisory group of faculty, staff, students and community members, and a successful multi-university grant proposal designed to increase the number of women and minorities in technology disciplines.

Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in community/clinical psychology from Norfolk State University. He completed his Ph.D. in ecological-community psychology at Michigan State University.

Thomas began his new role at the UMKC School of Medicine on December 18.

“We are excited to have someone with Nate’s broad range of experience and talent to lead our efforts in diversity and inclusion,” Kanter said. “Please join me in welcoming him to the UMKC School of Medicine.”

Three from SOM take part in mid-year commencement

Apurva Bhatt, Claire Smith, Deborah Montgomery

Three students from the School of Medicine received their degrees and participated in the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 16 at Swinney Recreation Center.

Apurva Bhatt and Claire Smith received their Doctor of Medicine degrees, and Deborah Montgomery received her Master of Science in Bioinformatics degree.

The combined mid-year ceremony honored graduates from the Conservatory of Music and Dance, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, School of Biological Sciences, School of Computing and Engineering, School of Education, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and the School of Graduate Studies.

The School of Medicine’s spring graduation ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. on May 21, at the Kauffman Center.

Surgical Innovations Lab puts patient safety at the forefront

Gary Sutkin, M.D., has established the School of Medicine’s Surgical Innovations Laboratory.

At the UMKC School of Medicine’s Surgical Innovations Laboratory, Gary Sutkin, M.D., professor of surgery and associate dean for women’s health, is taking a different approach to research.

As director of the lab, Sutkin, who also serves as the Victor and Caroline Shutte Endowed Chair in Women’s Health, has gathered an interdisciplinary team to look at ways to make surgical procedures safer for patients.

Inside the “Surgilab” — his third-floor “think tank” —  one can find a pair of large bean bag chairs sitting in a corner on a colorful rug. A portion of one wall is filled with large-screen video monitors. A rectangular conference table in front of the wall is surrounded by different colored chairs. This is all by design, Sutkin explains.

“It’s all about creativity,” he said. “The chairs being different colors represent different ideas that people bring forth. It wasn’t just convenience. The people we work with come from different backgrounds.”

Gary Sutkin, M.D., leads an interdisciplinary team that is exploring ways to make surgical procedures safer for patients.

Biomedical engineers, mechanical engineers, and even a theater instructor, gather to discuss surgical procedures and how the operating room team of nurses and technicians can more effectively work together. They do this through studying practitioners’ movements and non-verbal communications.

“We’re one big community here, trying to make surgery safer for patients,” Sutkin said. “We’re trying to make it safer by cutting down on errors and improving communication. The operating room is such a fast-paced, high-risk environment. You have all these people from different backgrounds trying to work together, all with the same goal to have an effective, safe surgery. But they have to communicate well to do that.”

Physicians learn to do better by talking about the mistakes that take place during surgical procedures. One of Sutkin’s projects involves interviewing a number of surgeons to get their perspectives on surgical errors and how to prevent them. It’s a topic that he says surgeons think about often and are quite open to talking about with colleagues.

“I’ve told my mistake stories over and over,” Sutkin said. “It’s only by putting them out in the open and talking about them that we can learn from them and fix our ways.”

The work of the Surgilab is supported by a grant from the University of Missouri Review Board and funding from Sutkin’s endowed chair appointment.

With his research assistant, Fizza Mahmud, and a cohort of interdisciplinary colleagues, Sutkin and company are also exploring the process involved in Midurethral Sling Surgery. The procedure is a minimally invasive approach to treating a common urinary problem of incontinence in women. But it also involves surgical risks.

During a work session, Sutkin grabs a handful of playdoh and begins to form a shape to help describe to the non-medical members of his team the female anatomy and how the surgical instruments are used during the procedure.

“Human error is a part of any high-risk industry,” Sutkin said. “Whether it’s aviation, the railway industry, or surgery, it’s going to happen. You’re never going to get it down to zero, but you’re always trying to make it lower and lower.”

Baghdikian selected as Vice Chancellor’s Honor Recipient

Caroline Baghdikian

Sixth-year medical student Caroline Baghdikian has been selected as a UMKC Vice Chancellor’s Honor Recipient for the 2017 fall semester.

The vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management takes nominations for the honor from each academic unit to recognize graduating students who have excelled in academic achievement, leadership and service to UMKC and the community.

Baghdikian was nominated by School of Medicine Education Team Coordinator Brent McCoy.

Robynn Shines, a student in the School of Nursing and Health Studies working in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics’  community health lab, is also among the recipients.

Recipients are invited to attend an annual awards breakfast to celebrate their achievements. This year’s breakfast will take place on Dec. 15 at the Student Union.

Research office announces eight Sarah Morrison Award recipients

October 2017 Sarah Morrison student research award recipients:
Jonah Graves, Jonathan Jalali, Kelly Kapp, Landon Rohowetz, Subhjit Sekhon, Mehr Zahra Shah, Yevgeniy Khariton and Krishna Patel.

The School of Medicine Student Research Program has announced six medical students and two students from the biomedical and health informatics program as recipients of the Fall 2017 Sarah Morrison Student Research Award.

The awards support student research efforts and help fund presentations at conferences and scientific meetings.

Medical students who received the awards are Jonah Graves, fifth-year; Jonathan Jalali, third-year; Kelly Kapp, sixth-year; Landon Rohowetz, fourth-year; Subhjit Sekhon, fifth-year; and Mehr Zahra Shah, fourth-year. Two recipients, Yevgeniy Khartion and Krishna Patel, are graduate students in the school’s Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

Sarah Morrison awards of up to $2,500 are presented each year in October and April. More than 100 students have received an estimated $104,669 in financial support from the program to conduct research projects at the School of Medicine.

Students interested in the Sarah Morrison awards are encouraged to apply prior to the April 1 and Oct. 1 deadlines each year. 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 2017 Sarah Morrison Research Awards
(Recipients, Project titles, Mentors)
  • Jonah Graves, MS 5, Mechanism for FGF23 induced mechanical alternans in mouse hearts, Mike Wacker
  • Jonathan Jalali, MS 3, Retinal blood vessel morphometry as a biomarker for progression of diabetic retinopathy to diabetic macular edema and neovascular complications, Peter Koulen
  • Kelly Kapp, MS 6, Glycocalyx Production by Viridans Streptococci Causing Endocarditis: Assessment of the Tryptophan Assay as a Marker to Predict Disease, Lawrence Dall
  • Landon Rohowetz, MS 4, The role of innate immune system signaling pathways in age-related macular degeneration pathogenesis, Peter Koulen
  • Subhjit Sekhon, MS 5, Identification of Gene Expression, Ferdaus Hassan
  • Mehr Zahra Shah, MS 4, The role of estrogen hormone signaling pathways in glaucoma pathogenesis, Peter Koulen
  • Yevgeniy Khartion, DBHI, Patterns of Intravenous Fluid and Diuretic Co-Administration in Acute De-Compensated Heart Failure: Insights from the Health Facts Registry, John Spertus
  • Krishna Patel, DBHI, Imaging findings associated with potential survival benefit with early revascularization in patients undergoing stress myocardial perfusion imaging using Positron emission Tomography for suspected coronary ischemia, Timothy Bateman

SOM announces interim chair of psychiatry

Dr. Stephen Jarvis

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced that Stephen Jarvis, M.D., will serve as interim academic chair of the UMKC Department of Psychiatry.

Jarvis received his medical degree from University of Missouri-Columbia, and completed residency and fellowship training from the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As a UMKC faculty member, Jarvis has held multiple administrative positions at Truman Medical Centers and at the former Western Missouri Mental Health Center. He serves as the associate chief medical officer and clinical department chair for Psychiatry at Truman Medical Centers.

Jarvis assumed his new role on November 20, 2017.

He replaces Nash Boutros, M.D., who served as chair of the UMKC Department of Psychiatry and  medical director for the Center for Behavioral Medicine from 2014 to 2017. Boutros, a professor of psychiatry, holds tenure in the department of Biomedical and Health Informatics. Boutros will remain at UMKC to continue his research program.

Gummi, Nizamuddin take Kansas City Free Eye Clinic to national stage

Ravali Gummi spoke about the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic during the opening session of the 2017 Clinton Global Initiative University.

Volunteers with the student-operated Kansas City Free Eye Clinic (KCFEC) are working to extend free eye care to the city’s refugee community. The plan took a national stage in October when Ravali Gummi, a sixth-year medical student at UMKC, pitched the idea to more than 1,200 college students from across the globe and national leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Ravali Gummi, middle, and Imran Nizamuddin, right, met with Dr. Vivek Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, at the Clinton Global Initiative University.

The annual meeting is an event of the Clinton Foundation that brings together young visionaries from across the globe to discuss and explore global challenges.

Gummi serves as student clinic director of the KCFEC. Imran Nizamuddin, a fifth-year medical student, is the organization’s communications director. Both were invited to attend this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University in Boston based on a Commitment to Action plan submitted on behalf of the KCFEC.

In addition to being selected to attend the national meeting, their action plan, “A Vision for Our Refugees: The Efforts of a Free Eye Clinic,” was one of just five chosen for presentation on the main stage during the meeting’s opening session.

After making her presentation (that begins at 37:35 of the video), Gummi had the honor of shaking hands with former President Bill Clinton.

“The opportunity to speak on stage prompted many conversations through the rest of the weekend, as students approached us to ask more about our free eye clinic or to share their own efforts,” Gummi said.

In her presentation, Gummi explained how the KCFEC has treated more than 3,100 patients and distributed more than 1,000 pairs of free eye glasses since its inception eight years ago. Five years ago, the clinic moved to a location densely populated with homeless shelters to target local underserved populations.

“This year, we are seeking to reach the increasing number of refugees entering the Kansas City area and enhance their access to eye health care,” Gummi said.

During the Clinton Global Initiative University program, Gummi and Nizamuddin networked with other students, met with national leaders and learned about the diverse array of global challenges facing the world.

In 2009, KCFEC began in part as a commitment from Clinton Global Initiative University with a grant from the foundation. About 30 volunteers, including UMKC medical and physician assistant students, and Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences students, actively participate in the KCFEC.

In addition to the initiative to expand eye care to the refugee community, Gummi said the clinic is working toward starting a new mobile eye clinic to better serve patients for whom transportation is a barrier.

School of Medicine announces new chair of Biomedical and Health Informatics

Shui Qing Ye, M.D., Ph.D.

School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., has announced the appointment of Shui Qing Ye, M.D., Ph.D. as chair of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics. The appointment will take effect January 1, 2018.

A professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine, Ye will continue to occupy the William R. Brown / Missouri Endowed Chair in Medical Genetics and Molecular Medicine.

As department chair, he will work closely with faculty, staff, and students to help position the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics as a catalyst of innovation and creativity. Ye is an expert in genomics and translational bioinformatics, which will help foster important collaborations with other units throughout the university and with School of Medicine clinical partners. He has a strong track record of using new-age tools to gather and explore Big Data, and of partnering with researchers locally and worldwide in an effort to pinpoint new diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for human diseases.

Ye is the author of two highly acclaimed books on bioinformatics and Big Data in addition to extensive research experience. He served previously as director of the Gene Expression Profiling Core at the Center of Translational Respiratory Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Additionally, he served at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine as director of the Molecular Resource Core.

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.

New research fellowship explores pediatric headache treatment

Dane Stephens, Subhjit Sekhon

Two students at the UMKC School of Medicine have received a new award from the Children’s Mercy Hospital Philanthropy Fund to support research interests in neurology.

Dane Stephens, a fourth-year student, and Subhjit Sekhon, a fifth-year student, are the first recipients of the Neurology Research and Scholar Award. The award is given to students who will work on research projects with the Headache Research Group in the Division of Neurology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

Award recipients will work closely with the research group to design, implement and present research findings in the area of pediatric headache assessment and management. Research fellows also attend the American Academy of Neurology annual conference. There they will network with other professionals in the field, and attend presentations and poster displays, as well as other pertinent educational opportunities.

Research projects, while focused on headache treatment, 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 UMKC 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.

Jennifer Bickel, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the headache section at Children’s Mercy, will serve as faculty mentor for the research projects.

The Headache Research Group is comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners and additional allied health professionals. Bickel leads the interdisciplinary team in its commitment to improving education, advocacy and research regarding headache care in children.

Stephens and Sekhon are part of a fast growing number of students actively taking part in research activities. Below is a list of some School of Medicine students who have recently been selected for summer and yearlong research fellowships and been invited to present their research at regional and national meetings.

Year-long Fellowships:
Grant Randall, NIH Medical Research Scholars Program
Sultan Khan, TL1 Predoctoral Clinical Research Training Program, Washington University
Carlee Oakley, TL1 Clinical Research Training Program, University of Kansas Medical Center
Dane Stephens, Subhjit Sekhon, Neurology Research and Scholar Award, Headache Research Group in the Division of Neurology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City

Summer Fellowships:
Akash Jani, George Washington University Summer Research Internship, Dept. of Emergency Medicine
Vishnu Harikumar, Pediatric Oncology Education Program, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Priyesha Bijlani, Washington University Pediatric Student Research Program
Elizabeth George, Unite for Sight Summer Program in India
Ashwath Kumar, Health Policy Fellowship Initiative (American Academy of Ophthalmology, Washington, D.C.
Ben Bernard*, NIDDK Medical Student Research Training Program in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolic Disorders (*had to decline due to another research opportunity in Israel)
Chizitam Ibezim*, NIH Summer Internship Program (*had to decline due to other obligations)

Selected to present research at regional or national meetings:
Sarah Alshami, International Facial Nerve Symposium, Los Angeles, CA, August 2017
Noor Alshami, American Academy of Pediatrics, Chicago, IL, September 2017
Morgan Warren, Central Association of OB/GYN, Scottsdale, AZ, October 2017
Sumita Sharma, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Denver, CO, October 2017
Suzan Lisenby, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Denver, CO, October 2017
Siri Ancha, World Congress of Gastroenterology, Orlando, FL, October 2017
Ravali Gummi and Imran Nizamuddin, Clinton Global Initiative, Boston, MA, October 2017
Chizitam Ibezim, AHA Scientific Sessions, Anaheim, CA, November 2017
Amber (Leila) Sarvastani, AHA Scientific Sessions, Anaheim, CA, November 2017
Hunter Faris, AMA, Honolulu, HI, November 2017
Vaishnavi Vaidyanathan, Child Neurology Society Annual Meeting, Kansas City, MO, October 2017