Patel lands speaking spot, promotes social media mentoring at radiology convention

Amy Patel, M.D. ’11, addressed the radiologists’ convention in Chicago.

Social media can play a crucial role in mentoring and sponsoring young radiologists, Amy Patel, M.D. ’11, recently told the 2018 convention of  the Radiological Society of North America.

Patel was one of only five radiologists worldwide chosen to make a 5-minute “Fast 5 Session” presentation at the radiologists’ Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago. The convention, billed as the largest meeting of radiologists in the world, this year drew 60,000 people.

Patel is medical director of women’s imaging at Liberty Hospital and a clinical assistant professor at the UMKC School of Medicine. She told the gathering that Twitter and other social media made it possible to connect medical students, residents and fellows to practicing physicians. The hashtags #RADxx (for female radiologists) and #RADxy (for male radiologists) make it easier to connect on Twitter, she said, and as a result she is now mentoring or sponsoring many radiology trainees across the country who have sought her out.

“Social media has the opportunity to become the great equalizer,” Patel said.

The Fast 5 Session presented five radiologists each addressing a non-clinical topic. Competition for the speaking spots was heavy, and Patel said it was an honor to be chosen.

The full 2018 Fast 5 Session can be viewed here. Patel is the last of the five speakers and is introduced at the 22:50 mark. Her presentation begins at 23:45.

 

Dean Jackson helps address reappearance of polio-like disease

Cases of acute flaccid myelitis, which mainly affects children and can cause lasting paralysis, continue to be reported this fall across the U.S. When two possible cases of the polio-like disease were reported in Kansas City, people looking for answers turned to Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. ’78, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City.

Jackson, Mary Anne
Mary Anne Jackson, M.D.

Jackson, of course, is also the interim dean of the UMKC School of Medicine, so she didn’t need a recurrence of the disease to keep her busy. But she took the news in stride, offering parents reassurance and colleagues expert advice.

The disease is extremely rare, Jackson said, with one-in-a-million odds of contracting it. So parents shouldn’t be alarmed, she said, even though reports of the disease, often referred to as AFM, have been occurring in two-year cycles since 2014.

Jackson said AFM, which appears to develop after a viral illness, could have several possible causes. Enterovirus D68 has been getting attention as a possibility, because respiratory problems from EV-D68 were widespread in 2014 when 120 cases of AFM were reported. But that virus didn’t spike in fall 2016 or this year, and other possible causes are being studied, too.

The number of AFM cases dropped to 22 in 2015 and spiked again, to 149, in 2016. The pattern continued with just 38 cases in 2017 but 90 confirmed so far this year by the Centers for Disease Control, and more than 160 other cases still being investigated.

Jackson said symptoms are easy to recognize because AFM attacks regions of the spinal cord known as grey matter. “If your child develops profound weakness, especially involving limbs, make sure to see your physician,” she said.

Jackson also recently prepared an update on the disease for physicians. Besides acute limb weakness, Jackson said, a review of AFM reports also found signs of cranial nerve involvement, such as facial weakness, in more than one-fourth of cases. She said that examining cerebrospinal fluid and doing an MRI of the brain and spine were key to diagnosing AFM, and that all cases should be reported to the CDC.

As for prevention, she said, nothing has been identified beyond the usual emphasis on hand washing and covering coughs to disrupt any viral illness that could be related. Though most AFM patients survive, weakness and paralysis can persist. Jackson said nerve transfer surgery – at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Washington University in St. Louis and Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia – showed some promise in cases of isolated limb disease. One Wash U patient, an 8-year-old boy whose legs were paralyzed in 2016, recently started walking again after the nerve transfer surgery.

Besides keeping good track of cases the rest of this fall, Jackson said, “We will have to stay tuned to see how effective new research is in uncovering the etiology of this disease.”

Michael Weaver’s health equity efforts, school’s diversity achievements recognized

Dr. Michael Weaver, M.D. ’77, has been recognized by the Black Health Care Coalition of Kansas City for his efforts to narrow the equity gap in health care for African Americans.

Dr. Michael Weaver

At Saint Luke’s Health System, Weaver is vice president for clinical diversity and chairman of the Healthcare Equity Council. At the UMKC School of Medicine, he is a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, chair of the Minority Faculty Recruitment and Retention Committee and a longtime member of the school’s Diversity Council.

“There’s a mantra among leaders in health care equity and diversity: To have quality, you must have equity,” Weaver said. “That means looking at factors such as mortality, morbidity and readmission rates across patient populations, and striving for consistent outcomes.”

He said it was gratifying that Saint Luke’s for several years has had a Healthcare Equity Council to promote top-quality patient care regardless of demographics such as race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, language or socioeconomic status. The council also addresses issues related to population health, social health determinants, health literacy and LGBTQ issues.

Weaver’s equity work includes a grant he secured from the Healthcare Foundation of Kansas City to provide training at the School of Medicine and Truman Medical Centers and throughout the Saint Luke’s system to recognize unconscious bias.

“I think everyone needs to recognize and speak up about how unconscious bias and the social determinants of health can influence the creation of health care and health disparities,” he said.

The Black Health Care Coalition strives to eliminate health disparities through advocacy, access to care and health promotion activities. Its award to Weaver, a School of Medicine alumnus and faculty member, was one of several recent recognitions for the school regarding diversity and inclusion:

— The national magazine INSIGHT Into Diversity recently announced that it was honoring the school with a 2018 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.

— The School of Medicine, along with the School of Pharmacy and the School of Dentistry, received a five-year, $3.2 million federal grant for efforts to recruit students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and improve their academic success rates in health care fields.

— The school’s associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Nate Thomas, was among the administrators praised in Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal’s first State of the University address for helping bring true excellence to UMKC. Thomas plays a critical role in implementing programs to support students and help them stay in school, overcome obstacles and succeed.

— Three leaders of the UMKC chapter of the Student National Medical Association also have taken national or regional leadership positions in the association, which supports medical students from underserved populations.

First alumna dean making her presence felt

Dean Jackson greeted new students and their parents and siblings on move-in day.

A full schedule is nothing new for Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. ’78. Between seeing pediatric patients at Children’s Mercy, teaching at the UMKC School of Medicine and serving on national boards including the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Red Book Committee on Infectious Diseases and the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, Jackson has always set a fast pace.

Now, as the first graduate of the school to serve as its dean, she may seem even busier. She took over as interim dean July 1 and quickly became a familiar face to hundreds of students. New students were greeted by her on move-in day and again at their inDOCtrination ceremony, and she welcomed third-year students to the more-clinical phase of their education at their White Coat Ceremony. She also will be meeting regularly with various student groups throughout the year.

Dean Jackson showed UMKC’s new president, C. Mauli Agrawal, around the School of Medicine and the UMKC Health Sciences District.

Dean Jackson also showed C. Mauli Agrawal, UMKC’s new chancellor, the School of Medicine and its surroundings when he toured the UMKC Health Sciences District. And she has held town hall style meetings to get to know faculty and staff and hear their concerns.

She also is making a point of reaching out to her fellow alumni. She gathered with alumni in the St. Louis area in August and has a Sept. 25 visit to Chicago scheduled. Events in Kansas City and Springfield also are in the works. If you live in another area and would like her to visit, please get in touch with Fred Schlichting at schlichtingf@umkc.edu.

Volunteer work gives sixth-year student great satisfaction and earns him the first Amit J. Patel Extra Mile Scholarship

Amit J. Patel, M.D.’05, congratulates sixth-year medical student Luke He, the first recipient of a scholarship Patel financed to recognize students committed to helping others through volunteering.

Luke He, heading into his sixth year at the UMKC School of Medicine, says he does volunteer work “because I’m motivated by the impact it has made, not for my own recognition.”

But now He has been recognized for that work, and in a big way, as the first recipient of the Amit J. Patel Extra Mile Scholarship.

Patel, a 2005 School of Medicine graduate and docent for the Green 8 unit, started a scholarship aimed at students who volunteer for many reasons: because he knows of the great commitment students make; because “serving others, particularly those in need, is our greatest duty”; and because “it’s important for the students to know that alumni are proud of them and want them to succeed.”

For He, service to others has always been a top value in his family. He has lived that by volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Gold Key International Honour Society, Camp Cardiac and Harvesters.

“Before I was born, my parents immigrated here from China seeking better opportunities for their future kids,” said He, whose brother, James He, is also a UMKC School of Medicine student. “My parents are highly educated and had great jobs in China, yet they chose to leave all of their friends and family for their own future family. They’ve made huge sacrifices in their lives so I could have the opportunity to get a great education and a productive career.”

He is co-president of the School of Medicine’s Class of 2019 and previously received a Missouri State Medical Association Scholarship, which has helped him get on his way to a great career. And he said the Extra Mile Scholarship will be a great help, too.

“This is a significant amount of money and has a huge impact on my financial situation,” said He, whose wife, Breanna, is a recent UMKC School of Education graduate just starting to teach second grade. “I have held a part-time job every year in medical school, and I plan to continue working the same amount of hours. But the scholarship means I will be able to take out less in loans this year, though I am anticipating more expenses with residency applications and traveling for interviews.”

He also plans to keep up his volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“It’s an organization in which you are matched with an elementary or high school student who may qualify based on the family’s financial situation, or a variety of other challenges that they may face,” He said. “Together, my ‘little’ and I cook, fish, hike, go to sporting events and much more.”

Rather than a burden, He said, volunteering should be something one enjoys – and he definitely enjoys hanging out with his “little brother.”

“I usually try to assist him in school and recently helped him get a job. We are doing more and more career planning as he gets through high school,” He said. “My biggest goal is to have him explore different career fields and start taking the right steps toward his future.”

He, who is interested in emergency medicine, also said he was inspired by his benefactor and impressed that Patel, in mid-career, “is so passionate about investing in students that he is awarding this huge scholarship.”

For his part, Patel said He was “more than deserving.”

“I truly believe that being a physician is an honorable profession if approached with a selfless attitude,” Patel said. “I wanted to give back to my school, but moreso the students directly because I was a student here not too long ago. I feel really happy to see our students succeed.”

School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award Goes to Wes Stricker

Wes Stricker, M.D. ’79, has been selected as the 2018 UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award recipient.

William E. “Wes” Stricker, M.D. ’79, founded and manages Allergy & Asthma Consultants, which has been treating patients in central Missouri for more than 35 years. Additionally, he is the sole shareholder of Ozark Allergy Laboratory and Clinical Research of the Ozarks.

Stricker’s other passion is aviation. He owns Ozark Management, an aviation management company he has used to support academic and athletic departments at Mizzou, charitable missions for Veterans’ Airlift Command and the Special Olympics.

Stricker’s strong allegiance for the U.S. military comes from having served on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Harry S. Truman Commissioning Committee and with the Greenland Expedition Society, an organization dedicated to the discovery and recovery of a flight of WWII fighters lost on the Greenland cap. An active member of the community, Stricker serves on the board of trustees for The Julliard School; as a board member for “The MASTERS,” an emergency relief fund for families of fallen Missouri State Troopers; and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Because of his contribution to health care and serving Missourians, the UMKC Alumni Association will present Stricker with the 2018 School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award.

Stricker recently discussed his career and community service with UMKC:

Where does your passion for medicine come from?

The passion came from watching my father’s caring approach to his patients and observing the respect he earned from an entire community for his efforts. Our parents instilled the desire to succeed academically in all four of their sons, each of whom earned an M.D. including two from UMKC. Mom was valedictorian of her high school class at age 16, earning a college degree from Washington University before the age of 20 at a time when very few women obtained higher educations.

Have you always wanted to be a doctor? What attracted you to UMKC’s six-year med-school program?

I was always torn between becoming a physician, pilot or musician, but determined early in life the best option to remain engaged in all three was to pursue a career in medicine. I played keyboards for the Mizzou studio jazz band while an undergrad along with some gigs as a paid performer in jazz clubs around the city, and also enjoyed part time jobs flying aircraft on weekends during medical school.
I joined the six-year med program at the Year-2 level after spending two years in undergraduate study at Mizzou. The energetic leadership of Dean Richardson Noback and Provost for the Health Sciences, E. Grey Dimond, the hands-on approach with early integration of clinical rotations and the new facilities on Hospital Hill collectively attracted me to the program and away from the traditional—and longer—4 + 4 year programs.

You’ve been treating patients in rural Missouri for more than 35 years. Why are you dedicated to bringing care to rural communities? And why are you an allergist?

I grew up in a rural community (St. James, Missouri), and UMKC’s original mission was to accept students from rural communities in the hope they would return to practice. So I accepted their challenge to return home, as it never made sense to practice in a large city with an allergist on every corner when one could be the only allergist within a hundred miles in every direction.

I suffered from an allergic disease as a child, so becoming an allergist was the best way to “get even” and ease the suffering of my allergic patients. My mentor was T. Reed Maxson, an allergist in rural (at the time) Warrensburg, where I took one of my first clinical electives from UMKC.

Mid-Missouri ranks among the top 10 states in the USA for the highest levels of pollen and mold, exposure which contributes to the development and progression of allergic disease. Farmland, pasture and the “100-acre woods” produce a lot more pollen and mold than the concrete and buildings found in urban areas.

UMKC’s Gold Humanism chapter recognized nationally

Graduating chapter members and adviser Carol Stanford, M.D. ’79, proudly displayed their award banner at graduation.

The School of Medicine’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society was one of three nationwide to win this year’s Distinguished Chapter Award.

The med school chapters at Vanderbilt and Georgetown also were recognized. The awards recognize advancement in patient-centered care, sustaining a humanistic learning environment and demonstrating leadership.

The UMKC chapter has been led for several years by Dr. Carol Stanford, who earned her M.D. at UMKC.

The School of Medicine’s 15-year-old chapter has been a leader in the national society, particularly advancing ideas for National Patient Solidarity Week. The week, in February each year, is filled with activities that encourage stronger bonds between patients and their physicians, nurses and other care givers. Those activities include making Valentine’s Day cards for patients at Truman Medical Center and distributing them along with roses, and Tell Me More, a program that encourages learning more about patients so they are known as individuals beyond their medical conditions.

Interim Dean Appointed at School of Medicine

Mary Anne Jackson, MD
Mary Anne Jackson, MD

Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., has been appointed interim dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Her appointment will begin July 1.

Jackson is a 1978 alum of UMKC’s innovative six-year degree program and has been a faculty member since 1984. She is a professor of pediatrics with a specialization in infectious diseases, holding a clinical appointment with Children’s Mercy, one of the school’s partners in the UMKC Health Sciences District.

Jackson is internationally respected for her impressive record of scholarly achievement. She serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Red Book Committee on Infectious Diseases, a publication that provides guidance on the diagnosis, treatment, manifestations and epidemiology of more than 200 childhood conditions. She is a journal reviewer for American Journal of Infection Control, Journal of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal and JAMA Pediatrics, among many other research publications.

Jackson has won numerous awards for her mentorship including the Children’s Mercy Department of Pediatrics Excellence in Mentoring award in 2015, and Golden Apple Mentoring Awards in 2012 for mentoring fellows and 2013 for residents. In 2012, she received a Take Wing Award, presented annually at the School of Medicine to one who has demonstrated excellence in his or her chosen field and exceeded the expectations of peers in the practice of medicine, academic medicine or research.

In 2017, Jackson was selected to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee. She also serves on the American Heart Association’s Committee on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young as well as numerous additional national, regional and local committees.

Steven L. Kanter, M.D., who served as dean since 2014, is leaving UMKC this summer for an international leadership opportunity in academic health in Washington, D.C. He will be president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Association of Academic Health Centers and the Association of Academic Health Centers International.

School of Medicine inducts new members to AOA honor society

The School of Medicine welcomed its 2018 class of Alpha Omega Alpha members during a banquet on May 3.

The School of Medicine chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society has added 21 new students and three residents/fellows to its roster. The new AOA members were inducted during a reception on May 3 at Diastole.

Two sixth-year senior students recently selected for membership are Sean Bonanni and Mitchell Solano. Fifth-year junior students Miracle Amayo, Taylor Carter, Jonah Graves and Imran Nizamuddin, were also recently elected.

Senior students who were elected in the Fall of 2017 for induction include: Gaurav Anand, Tiffany Bland, Dorothy Daniel, Michael Kiersey, Brooks Kimmis, Margaret Kirwin, Nidhi Reddy, Shiva Reddy, Alexandra Reinbold, Elina Sagaydak, David Sanborn, Sumita Sharma, Ryan Sieli, Meghna Singh, Christopher Tomassian.

Hanna Alemayehu, M.D., pediatric surgeon at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Samantha Heretes, M.D., chief ophthalmology resident, and Shuba Roy, M.D., internal medicine resident, were also elected to the AOA in April.

Selection to AOA membership 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.

Steve Miller, M.D. ’83, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Express Scripts, Inc., gave the annual AOA lecture on May 4 at the School of Medicine. Miller spoke on “A new vision for health care,” describing the business and changes that are needed in the pharmaceutical industry.

This year’s AOA student officers include Danielle Cunningham, Sanju Eswaran, Carlee Oakley and Vishal Thumar. Fohn Foxworth, Pharm.D., professor of medicine and associate dean, and David Wooldridge, M.D. ’94, internal medicine residency program director, serve as faculty officers.