B.A. / M.D. Program

Current Student Profiles


Madison Iskierka
Madison Iskierka
Hometown: Blaine, Minnesota
Class of 2022
Specialty Interest: Neurology, Surgery
Why did you choose to attend the B.A./M.D. program at UMKC?

One of the reasons I chose to attend the BA/MD program at UMKC is because of the opportunities it provided for clinical exposure and patient interaction beginning the first year. This was something that was important to me because I knew that I wanted to get involved with patient interaction right away, and UMKC really emphasized the importance of this. I was also drawn to the fact that this program was designed to support camaraderie and a sense of “togetherness” among classmates. UMKC encourages an environment based on students helping one another and working together to succeed in medical school.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

My most enjoyable experience at UMKC has been the time I have spent with patients and doctors in the hospital and clinical setting. Immediately out of high school, we were already going into patient rooms and practicing our interviewing skills. Looking back at the first few interviews I did as a first year, I realize just how much I have grown and learned which is extremely rewarding. Outside of medicine, UMKC has offered so much exposure to other cultures which is something that has helped me to be a better medical student as well as a better person overall. The great diversity of this program has allowed me to become friends with people from so many different backgrounds and  has given me a new appreciation for their cultures.

Student organizations involved with/honors and awards:

Peer Mentor, Student Ambassador, Executive Board Member of Period KC organization, Member of Association of Women Surgeons interest group, Dramatic Health Education Program



Kevin Varghese
Kevin Varghese
Hometown: Overland Park, KS
Class of 2023
College/University Attended: Cardiology or Ophthalmology
Why did you choose to attend the B.A./M.D. program at UMKC?

Growing up, my parents inspired me to serve those around me. I knew at the end of high school that I want to be a doctor, as medicine is the best combination of science, humanity, and leadership. I then considered what my future would be like at a traditional 4-year undergraduate university. While there are many ‘pre-med’ students, most do not end up becoming doctors. I chose to come to UMKC because I valued the assurance: if I work hard and follow the path ahead of me, then I will become a physician. Instead of worrying about vying for limited seats, I may now focus on being the best medical student I can.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

The first physician I shadowed is a graduate of UMKC, so I knew coming in that the community is very strong. While I love the patient experience from the very first year, I believe that one of UMKC’s greatest strengths is the close-knit community. Medical school is hard, but having good friends going through the same struggles helps you to band together. I have met remarkable people in my class. But it doesn’t stop there: the faculty are invested in student success and are interesting individuals. The upper year students are also very helpful, answering questions about forthcoming classes and giving advice. There is no need for competition at UMKC, especially when everyone is focused on collaboration.

Student organizations involved with/honors and awards:
  • Angela Barnett Award for Humanism
  • Sarah Morrison Research Award
  • Sojourner Clinic External Affairs Webmaster
  • Biochemistry Supplemental Instructor
  • Camp Cardiac Faculty Recruitment Director
  • School of Medicine Student Ambassador


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