B.A. / M.D. Program

Current Student Profiles


Elina Sagaydak
Elina Sagaydak
Program of Study: B.A./M.D.
Hometown: Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Class of 2018
Specialty Interest: Pediatrics
Why did you choose to attend the B.A./M.D. program at UMKC?

I had always known I wanted to be a physician, so I was immediately drawn to the program when I learned that students interact with patients as early on as the third week of school. I quickly realized it was a unique advantage to be able to have more hands-on exposure to patient care than most other traditional schools. Becoming a physician already takes years of training, so I also liked that I would save two years in the process and be able to achieve my goals earlier on in my career. Looking back on my decision, I think the student panel on my interview day really “sealed the deal” for me when they talked about their own experiences and goals. That’s when I knew this was where I wanted to be. 

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I really enjoy that we emphasize a team approach for learning at UMKC. After the white coat ceremony in year 3, we work in our docent groups for our weekly continuity clinic as well as the yearly docent internal medicine rotation (DoRo) in years 4-6. Our teams all become very close, and we get to participate in fun activities and outings when we’re not in the hospital. One of the best aspects is that we all learn from each other through performing rounds and participating in teaching sessions. The junior partner/senior partner experience has also been a very unique role that allows for mentoring within our teams.

Student organizations involved with/honors and awards:
  • Orientation Leader
  • Residential Life Resident Assistant
  • School of Medicine Student Ambassador
  • Clinical Practice of Medicine Course Small Group Facilitator
  • Sojourner Health Clinic
  • Colleges Against Cancer
  • Pediatric Interest Group
  • American Medical Association
  • Year 3 Dean’s Scholarship
  • Years 1-2 Russell and Fannie Flake Scholarship


Chidera Okafor
Chidera Okafor
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Class of 2021
Specialty Interest: OB/GYN, Dermatology
Why did you choose to attend the B.A./M.D. program at UMKC?

For me, UMKC distinguished itself from other programs because of its unique emphasis on early clinical training, which offers me the opportunity to immerse myself in the hospital setting—engaging and interacting with patients and different physicians from year one. Additionally, the shorter duration (6 years) was an attractive proposition as it allows me the benefit of starting and establishing a career earlier in my life. UMKC has graduated so many successful and accomplished physicians, and it is a gratifying privilege to even be given the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me. I aspire to be a part of the future of medicine, and I truly believe that UMKC School of Medicine provides me with the platform to do so.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

Thus far, the community of diverse individuals at UMKC has easily created a lasting impact on my life. Seeing acquaintances quickly turn into lifelong friends and colleagues, who encourage me to stay driven and focused, has humbly shaped the way I view the world. At the core, we all share the same passion and desire to help and heal people and, through that, we inspire each other and create this warm, welcoming environment to learn, grow, and strengthen one another.

Student organizations involved with/honors and awards:
  • Vice President of the Year One Class of 2021
  • Student Ambassador
  • Historian and Member of SNMA
  • Member of African Student Cultural Organization


Bobby Johnson
Bobby Johnson
Program of Study: B.A./M.D.
Hometown: Camdenton, Missouri
Class of 2020
Specialty Interest: Trauma/Neurosurgery, Emergency Medicine
Why did you choose to attend the B.A./M.D. program at UMKC?

At the end of my junior year in high school, I read a statistic from the World Health Organization that 54.5 million people die globally every year—that’s 104 people every minute. I knew that my time could not be wasted; people’s lives now depended on it. As a result, my sole interest was in the six-year program when I first visited UMKC. After my visit, however, I no longer wanted to be a student at UMKC simply because of the medical program; I wanted to be a student at UMKC because every human interaction I had while on campus brought me face-to-face with the underlying philosophy of this university: true student success. UMKC staff and faculty truly want their students to be successful, not only as students, but also as people—people who are able and equipped to do and be their best. When I left campus after my visit, UMKC was more of a home than an institution. 

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

This is a difficult question to answer, because it’s hard to know exactly where to even begin: the basketball games, the random events (like Meet the Greeks and Union Fest), intramurals, the Docent Program, random Kansas City adventures…the list goes on and on. UMKC and the B.A./M.D. program have provided me with so many opportunities to just experience life—to fail, grow, succeed, cry, laugh, explore; I just get lost in the beauty of it all. I guess it all boils down to the people. Everything I’ve experienced or have been a part of has been all the sweeter because of the people I get to share each moment with. So rarely are such caring, funny, mischievous, bold, daring, intelligent, and loving people ever found, and so enthralling and enriching it is to be around them.

Student organizations involved with/honors and awards:
  • UMKC Campus Ambassador, Leadership Team
  • UMKC School of Medicine Ambassador
  • Years 1-3 Weekly Bible Study
  • Dramatic Health Education Program
  • Emergency Medical Interest Group
  • Internal Medicine Interest Group
  • Student Interest Group for Neurosurgery
  • American Medical Association
  • Richard T. Garcia Memorial Awardee


BJ Osterberger
BJ Osterberger
Hometown: Harrison, AK
Class of 2019
Specialty Interest: Radiology or Cardiology
Why did you choose to attend medical school at UMKC?

I chose UMKC SOM for its curriculum which is specifically designed for aspiring high school students wanting to practice medicine. After discovering that I would be learning from physicians and interacting with patients the second week of school I knew that UMKC was where I wanted to go.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I put on my ironed white coat, and pin my nametag on that says “Bj Osterberger, Medical Student”.  It may be 8:00 in the morning, but I’m excited and ready to start docent.  Unlike a traditional college freshman, I get to use the material covered in the classroom and apply it in a real world clinical setting which makes learning a much more exciting and fruitful experience.

Student Organizations involved with/Honors and Awards
  • American Medical Association
  • Internal Affairs Officer for GlobeMed
  • DAR Citizenship Award
  • Election results pending for position of class president