All posts by Kelly Edwards

Med students receive Women’s Council Graduate Assistance awards

Five medical students have been selected as recipients of the 2019 UMKC Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund awards.

The students, Noor Alshami, Donya Jahandar, Elizabeth Onishchenko, Krishna Patel and Subhjit Sekhon, were selected from a pool of applicants from throughout the university. They will be formally recognized during a  reception by the Women’s Council at the Grand Street Cafe on March 7.

The awards are given to UMKC women students in post-baccalaureate approved programs. They are used to assist students in completing requirements for graduation and first professional degrees, facilitate studies beyond the classroom, and to enrich and encourage educational experiences.

Alshami received an award with a designation of outstanding merit. Her award will support her research efforts with Children’s Mercy Heart Center Research. She was recommended for the award by Geetha Raghuveer, M.D., M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.C., associate professor of pediatrics, and Mike Wacker, Ph.D., associate teaching professor, associate dean of academic affairs..

Jahandar’s award will provide aid for travel as she conducts surgical research. Jared Keeler, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and docent, and Kristen Wright, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor of biomedical sciences, are faculty who recommended her for the award.

Onishchenko received the award to help prepare for upcoming USMLE Step 2 CK and CS exams. Faculty members Darla McCarthy, Ph.D., associate teaching professor, assistant dean curriculum, and Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P., B.C.P.S., chair of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine, assistant dean  of graduate studies, recommended her.

Patel also received an award with outstanding merit to support travel to national cardiology meetings to present research. John Spertus, M.D., professor biomedical and health informatics, and Timothy Bateman, M.D., professor of medicine, are faculty members who recommended her for the award.

Sekhon received an award for her research proposal to study maternal-fetal reactions to acute emotional stress in prenatal depressed mothers and correlations with fetal ultrasound measures. Prakash Chandra, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, and Brenda Rogers, MD, FAAP, FACP, associate dean of student affairs, recommended her for the award.

 

 

 

School of Medicine researcher receives NIH award for study of sepsis

Fu, Mingui
Mingui Fu, Ph.D.

The National Institutes of Health recently awarded School of Medicine researcher Mingui Fu, Ph.D.,  associate professor of biomedical sciences, a $465,000 grant to conduct a study of sepsis-induced systemic inflammation.

Fu said that when completed, his research could significantly advance scientists’ understanding of the regulatory mechanisms surrounding septic pathogenesis and identify a new therapeutic target to treat the devastating condition.

A potentially life-threatening illness, sepsis is a major health concern. It strikes nearly 700,000 people in the United States each year with a 30 percent mortality rate. A major contributor to mortality is sepsis-induced systemic inflammation followed by multi-organ injury.

Sepsis appears when infectious bacteria or other organisms enter the blood stream and cause an inflammatory immune response. There is currently no specific treatment available for sepsis.

Fu’s study will look at the essential role of a particular protein known as myeloid MCPIP1 in sepsis-induced systemic inflammation and death. It will also explore whether MCPIP1 may be a target for pharmacological therapy to improve the outcome of sepsis.

Charlie Inboriboon, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine, will serves as a co-investigator on the study, which will also include the research efforts of School of Medicine students.

Student Affairs welcomes new Education Team Coordinators

Krisana West, Nick Dean

The School of Medicine recently welcomed two new Education Team Coordinators to the Office of Student Affairs staff.

Krisana West will serve as the New ETC for the Gold Unit and Nick Dean has joined the staff as ETC for the Purple Unit and the allied health students.

West joins the School of Medicine after 15 years at the University of Central Missouri as an advisor for teach education students. She and her husband, John, who also works near Hospital Hill are relocating from Warrensburg to Kansas City with two Siberian huskies and a rat terrier.

West said she looks forward to working with students, faculty and staff at the School of Medicine, exploring Kansas City’s many cultural activities and trying new restaurants.

In addition to working with medical students on the Purple Unit, Dean will also advise students in the Master of Science Anesthesia, Master of Science Bioinformatics, Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant and the Master of Science Health Professions Education programs. He has worked in higher education for the past five years as an academic coach and academic counselor at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, before that. He received a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Arkansas and a bachelor’s in history from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. He will be entering a Master of Library Science program at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, this winter.

A lover of documentaries, food, especially Thai and Chinese, and travel, Dean said his favorite place to visit has been Montreal, Canada. He hopes to make Quito, Ecuador, his next international trip. He moved to Kansas City with his husband, Thomas, and a cat.

Staff Council plans Harvesters service project

The UMKC Staff Council Outreach Committee will sponsor a “Family Friendly” Harvesters Service Project from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Volunteers ages 10 and older are needed to assist with sorting and repacking donated food items. Each volunteer is asked to bring one donated food item.

Volunteers must sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090B4BA9AC2DAB9-harvesters1 by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Harvesters’ mission is to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow. Harvesters provides food and related household products to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes and others. We also offer education programs to increase community awareness of hunger and teach about good nutrition.

For more information on this service project, or future projects, please contact: Sandra at staffcouncil@umkc.edu.

School of Medicine recognizes mid-year graduates

Mid-year M.D. gradautes John Logan, Margaret Finn and DJ Kemp.

The School of Medicine recognized graduate candidates from M.D., Master of Science, and Graduate Certificate degree programs who participated in the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 15 at Swinney Recreation Center.

Students receiving their M.D. degrees were Margaret Finn, DJ Kemp and John Logan. Abdulraham Al-Sulimai received a Master of Health Professional Education degree.

Four students graduated from the school’s Master of Science in Bioinformatics program in December. They are Firas Al Badarin, Poghni Peri-Okonny, Seemeen Hassan, and Gustavo Vilchez. Two students, Yahia Mohammed and Nicole Wood, also completed the school’s graduate certificate program in clinical research.

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

The School of Medicine’s spring graduation ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. on May 20, 2019, at the Kauffman Center.

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.

She will speak on “Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities: Implications for Children’s Mental Health and Well-being.”

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.