All posts by Kelly Edwards

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

AAMC journal recognizes Dr. Louise Arnold

Louise Arnold, Ph.D.

Retirement hasn’t stopped Louise Arnold, Ph.D., from being a major proponent for medical education and research. The School of Medicine’s former associate dean recently joined the list of master reviewers for the Association of American Medical Colleges’ journal, Academic Medicine.

A long-time volunteer peer reviewer for the journal, Arnold has received the publication’s annual Excellence in Reviewing Award three times. The journal’s editor in chief, David Sklar, said that Arnold’s consistently superior reviews have demonstrated her commitment to the peer-review process.

Because of her excellent performance, Arnold has earned the title of “Master Reviewer,” which recognizes the best of the best in Academic Medicine’s reviewer pool, Sklar said.

Arnold will receive special recognition as a master reviewer at the Academic Medicine’s annual MedEdPORTAL Reviewer Reception, as well as in the January issue of the journal and on the journal’s “For Reviewers” web page.

The journal’s editors also offer Master Reviewers the opportunity to become more involved in the review process. As a master reviewer, Arnold will have the opportunity to meet and consult with other master reviewers on needed changes to the review process, participate in peer-review webinars, and serve as a peer review mentor.

Arnold served on the School of Medicine faculty from 1971 through 2012. As director of the Office of Medical Education and Research, she championed on a national stage the school’s docent system and the large role it played as a learning community within the six-year program. She served as founding chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Combined Baccalaureate-MD Programs. The group now represents more than 100 medical schools across the country.

Fifteen selected to join UMKC chapter of AOA honor society

The UMKC School of Medicine’s Missouri Delta chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society recently announced its newest members. The society selected 15 sixth-year students who will be inducted into the society next May.

Students selected for induction are Gaurav Anand, Tiffany Bland, Dorothy Daniel, Michael Keirsey, Brooks Kimmis, Margaret Kirwin, Nidhi Reddy, Shiva Reddy, Alexandra Reinbold, Elina Sagaydak, David Sanborn, Sumita Sharma, Ryan Sieli, Meghna Singh, and Christopher Tomassian.

Selection to the organization is considered an honor recognizing one’s dedication to the profession and art of healing. It is based on character and values such as honesty, honorable conduct, morality, virtue, unselfishness, ethical ideals, dedication to serving others and leadership. Membership also recognizes excellence in academic scholarship.

In May, the School of Medicine AOA chapter also welcomes fifth-year students, alumni, residents and faculty inductees who are announced in the spring. One or two sixth-year students will be selected next spring to join the 2018 class of inductees.

UMKC researchers to present late-breaking studies at cardiovascular symposium

Research studies by UMKC School of Medicine faculty researchers at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute have been selected for presentation at the world’s largest educational meeting for interventional cardiovascular medicine.

The researchers are the first or senior authors of 10 original studies and contributing authors of nine other studies selected for presentation at the 2017 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics symposium in Denver, running October 30 through November 2.

The presentations includes two major studies selected as Late-Breaking Clinical Trials. Only 12 research breakthroughs highlighting the most innovative treatments for heart disease are selected for the late-breaking presentations.

“It is rare for any institution to have even one late-breaking trial presentation at a major cardiology meeting,” said David Cohen, M.D., professor of medicine and MAHI director of cardiovascular research. “Having two of the 12 come from the Mid America Heart Institute is an incredible honor and a testimony to both the Mid America Heart Institute Clinical Scholars program and the international reputation that our research program has come to enjoy.”

Suzanne Baron, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, is the lead author of a study that describes the long-term quality of life outcomes of nearly 2,000 patients enrolled in a landmark multi-center trial. The research compared everolimus-eluting stents and bypass surgery for the treatment of left main coronary artery disease. Cohen is the lead author of the second study that evaluates the cost effectiveness of transcatheter aortic valve replacement compared with surgical aortic valve replacement in intermediate risk patients.

Four of the MAHI studies to be presented at this year’s meeting are the direct result of a groundbreaking OPEN-Chronic Total Occlusions (CTO) registry. The registry is led by Aaron Grantham, M.D., associate professor of medicine, with assistants from  Adam Salisbury, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, and the support of the MAHI Outcomes Research group. The studies define the success, safety, health benefits and cost effectiveness of novel techniques to open blocked coronary arteries that are considered untreatable through minimally invasive techniques.

UMKC physician assistant student taking part in health policy fellowship

Kyle McLafferty, a second-year physician assistant student, met with Congressional leaders during a three-day workshop in Washington, D.C.

Kyle McLafferty kept one eye on his classwork and another on the legislative process during the latest legislative session in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The second-year physician assistant student at the UMKC School of Medicine realized an interest in politics and health care policy during his undergrad days at the University of Missouri. His brother, Sean, a political science major at MU at the same time, was a major driving force in Kyle’s developing interest.

Now, he was following the process as it took place with the potential to affect his future.

“I really got interested in physician assistant legislation during this past legislative session in Jefferson City,” McLafferty said. “There were a few bills in the legislature that we talked about in class. We were tracking those bills and it was interesting watching the legislative process and how it relates to my future career.”

Students taking part in the Physician Assistant Education Association Student Health Policy Fellowship program spent three days in Washington, D.C.

In September, McLafferty got a first-hand view of the process on a national level when he visited Washington, D.C., as a member of this year’s Physician Assistant Education Association Student Health Policy Fellowship. The yearlong program provides fellows the opportunity to learn more about health policy and advocacy in promoting the physician assistant profession.

Fifteen members of the Physician Assistant Education Association were selected from programs across the country. The fellowship began with a three-day workshop and visit to the nation’s capital.

Fellows spent one day learning about legislative policy, bills and issues being discussed in Congress, and how to best state their case as advocates for the physician assistant profession. The next day, McLafferty met with three of Missouri’s congressional representatives: Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, and Representative Emanuel Cleaver. They discussed issues ranging from diversity to physician assistant education and education funding.

“We’ve learned in school about how the legislative process works, but you don’t really learn the politics of it, the hurdles that come up, the part that party politics plays,” McLafferty said. “Being there and experiencing it in real life helped me to better understand the intricacies of how things get done and how our government works.”

Fellows will spend the next month developing projects to promote the role of physician assistants in their own communities. McLafferty said the fellowship experience has already given him a better understanding of how he can make a positive impact on the profession.

“I feel more empowered to affect change in the future after just being in Washington, D.C., and getting to talk about things that I’m passionate about to an audience that has the power to do something about it,” he said.

SOM students place second, third in Missouri ACP research competition

Fifth-year medical student Hunter Faris won second place in the student research competition at the 2017 meeting of the Missouri Chapter of American College of Physicians.
Ravali Gummi, sixth-year medical student, placed third in the Missouri-ACP student research competition.

Hunter Faris, MS 5, and Ravali Gummi, MS 6, received two of the top student research awards from the Missouri Chapter of the American College of Physicians. The UMKC students earned the honor during the association’s 2017 meetings at Osage Beach, Missouri.

Faris received the second-place award for his poster on “Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors Inhibit Src Family Tyrosine Kinase Phosphorylation in the rat striatum.”

Gummi placed third in the competition with her poster on “Intracellular calcium channel expression in autoimmune encephalomyelitis.”

Hunter and Gummi were among five students and 15 residents who made presentations at the annual meeting. The Missouri ACP competition drew 20 student posters and 80 posters from residents and fellows of medical schools throughout the state.

 

 

Alumni join SOM faculty as newest docents

Monica Katamura, M.D.

It had been four years since Monica Lau Katamura, M.D., ’13, last stepped inside the UMKC School of Medicine. So when the school’s newest docent returned in August, she wasted little time in heading to the fourth-floor Gold 1 docent unit.

“One of the first things I did was go back to my old office and take a walk down memory lane,” Katamura said. “It was surreal coming back to the place that had trained me.”

Katamura completed her residency in medicine pediatrics at Tulane University in New Orleans last spring. Now, as the School of Medicine’s Blue 8 docent, she has a new office located on the fifth floor.

As a docent, Katamura said she fees a responsibility to take what she learned as a resident, combined with her time as a student at UMKC, to help the next generation of physicians.

“I want to come back and apply some of what I learned to assess the needs among my individual group of students and make a framework of how to best mentor them, guide them and nurture them through their years three through six,” she said.

Katamura served as chief resident during her final year at Tulane, where she gained administrative experience that she hopes to incorporate into her new role as a docent. She was active in numerous volunteer activities throughout her residency, serving both locally and abroad. She collaborated with pediatrics residency staff and co-residents on the clinical learning environment committee to improve clinical and academic learning environments and provided resident leadership as chair of the medicine-pediatrics ambulatory committee.

Ultimately, Katamura said, she returned to the School of Medicine largely because of the docent program and to be a part of the mentorship that docents provide students.

“Somebody told me that alumni are the most enthusiastic docents,” Katamura said. “I am very enthusiastic about coming back.”

She isn’t alone. Two more recent additions to the School of Medicine’s docent teams are alumni.

Richard Harlow, M.D.

Richard Harlow, M.D., ’82, began his role as Green 1 docent this past November.

He was a founder and one of the original owners of HIMS, one of the first and largest hospitalist groups in the Kansas City metro area. After 20 years as a hospitalist, he was ready to return to his roots.

“I have always had medical students with me during my entire time in private practice and have always loved to teach,” Harlow said. “I really feel that the UMKC School of Medicine does a singularly excellent job of preparing students to be doctors on day one and I had always wanted to return one day to give back to what I so enjoyed. I really love working with the students and residents.”

After completing an internal medicine residency at the UMKC School of Medicine and Truman Medical Centers, Harlow entered private practice in Belton, Missouri. He also served as president of the medical staff at Research Belton Hospital and as chairman of the Department of Medicine at St. Joseph Hospital.

David John, M.D.

David John, M.D., ’77, returned to Kansas City last spring and joined the School of Medicine faculty as docent for Katamura’s old student unit, Gold 1. A board-certified rheumatologist for more than 30 years, John previously practiced at Queen’s Medical Center and at  Spark Matsunaga V.A. Medical Center in Honolulu.

He said when the growing demands of electronic medical records began encroaching on his teaching time, he decided to step down from his hospital work and eventually decided to leave his private practice.

“Leaving was the hardest decision I believe I’ve ever made,” John said.

In January, John stepped down as Chair of  Pu’ulu Lapa’au, the Hawaii’s Physican’s Health Committee, to return to UMKC.

“It’s been a very good decision,” he said.

While in Hawaii, John served as chair of the Life Foundation, an organization that continues the fight against HIV/AIDS, and participated as a board member of Friends of Youth Outreach, attacking the problem of child homelessness.

He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine and his rheumatology fellowship at the University of Michigan. He joined the teaching faculty at the University of Hawaii in the department of medicine in 1984. There, he served on many committees and received the school’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

 

 

Dr. Gardner appointed Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education

Dr. Sara Gardner

School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., announced that Sara Gardner, M.D., associate professor and director of the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program, has been appointed assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education.

Dr. Gardner will work directly with the associate dean for Graduate Medical Education in interacting with the school’s Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and non-ACGME programs, residents and fellows. She will be responsible for quality improvement of graduate programs and providing faculty development opportunities to enhance the educational experience for residents and fellows.

She brings important qualifications to this new role, with leadership experience in Graduate Medical Education, teaching and mentoring. Dr. Gardner has experience in the ACGME review process, having served as residency program director since 2009, and as associate program director in 2007 and 2008. She also serves as a member of the Graduate Medical Education Committee.

She has chaired the School of Medicine’s Council on Evaluation, served as a Years’ 1 and 2 Docent, and has been a member of many School of Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics residency committees.

A 2002 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine, Dr. Gardner completed her residency and served as chief resident in internal medicine and pediatrics at UMKC.

Please join Dean Kanter in congratulating Dr. Gardner and welcoming her to this important new role at the School of Medicine.