As they prepare to begin the next stage of training, 20 physician assistant students at the UMKC School of Medicine participated in the program’s fourth White Coat Ceremony on April 14. It took place at the UMKC Student Union.
Students receive their white coats as they begin their fifth semester of the seven-semester program. The ceremony signifies their transition from the classroom to the clinical phase of training.
Beverly Graves, M.D., clinical assistant professor, who served as the program’s first medical director, and Kathie Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., program director, led the presentation of the white coats.
The day before the White Coat ceremony, students from all three years of PA program heard remarks from Gail Curtis, president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Curtis visited the School of Medicine while in Kansas City to take part in a Kansas Academy of Physician Assistants meeting.
She told the UMKC students that this is a good time to be joining the physician assistant profession.
“We have so many great opportunities right now for our profession,” Curtis said. “You’re very lucky to be getting into the profession at the time you going into it.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the physician assistant profession. It is ranked third on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of 2018 Best Jobs.
“One thing that I think is good about where we are right now is that we’ve accomplished a lot in those first 50 years,” Curtis said. “We’ve gone from one program in North Carolina to having almost 235 PA programs, and more are coming every day.”
She also applauded the UMKC program that welcomed its inaugural class in January of 2014.
“You’re still a baby program,” Curtis said. “But I hear you have a 100-percent pass rate on your board exams. So, you’re also a great program.”
The School of Medicine currently has about 60 students enrolled in the physician assistant program. Its first two graduating classes have produced 34 physician assistants.
Yicheng Bao, a third-year medical student at the UMKC School of Medicine, conducted a research study that shows adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of developing additional autoimmune conditions.
Bao received an Endocrine Society Outstanding Abstract Award for his work. He was then invited to give an oral presentation of his results at the March annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago. This was a special and rare opportunity, as most selected abstracts are designated for poster presentations.
Much of Bao’s research took place during his summer medical student research program at Washington University in St. Louis. The program was sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Bao continued working on the study when he returned to school at UMKC.
Following his presentation in Chicago, Bao’s results have been reported in a number of health-care and diabetes-related media outlets.
“I came to work on this particular project because of my interest in diabetes and its complications,” Bao said. “Diabetes is a growing public health concern, and it is very debilitating for patients. It has multifaceted complications that confound their care, and this area in particular requires more research.”
His study found that people with type 1 diabetes can develop multiple autoimmune diseases. And, those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult run a greater risk of developing them.
Bao’s study collected patient data on 29 autoimmune conditions. He found that the overwhelming majority of additional conditions developed in adults after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
These results of could lead health-care providers to give closer attention to symptoms of autoimmune diseases in diabetes patients diagnosed with the disease as an adult.
Bao said he developed skills from the experience that have lead him to continue his research efforts. He now intends to pursue a career in academic medicine and research.
“I learned to ask scientific questions that have significant clinical implications, and to answer these questions with biostatistics and data analysis,” he said. “Using these skills, I am working on several other studies about diabetes and its complications that will be submitted for publication soon.”
Links to media reports of Yicheng Bao’s research study on type 1 diabetes in adults:
A new School of Medicine video looks at two important research projects addressing health disparities among African Americans. These projects are spreading the gospel of good health … at church.
The research is led by Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics, who works with area churches and pastors to bring health education and screening to African-American congregations. Attention is given to issues of HIV, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Research plays a critical role at the UMKC School of Medicine – for students, faculty, residents and fellows. Today, nearly 100 faculty are involved in research projects with some, like Berkley-Patton’s, awarded significant federal grants and national foundation funding. Medical students are encouraged to engage in research and scholarship activities, and the school supports residents and fellows looking to embrace research as part of their medical careers.
To highlight its leadership role in research, the School of Medicine is producing a research video series. The first film features Berkley-Patton and her National Institutes of Health grants: Faith Influencing Transformation and Taking it to the Pews.
The Federation of State Medical Boards and National Board of Medical Examiners have appointed Steven Go, M.D., professor of emergency medicine, to serve on a newly formed Special Purpose Examination (SPEX) oversight committee.
The committee will manage a special purpose exam for physicians who currently hold, or who have previously held, a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine in a United States or Canadian jurisdiction.
It is responsible for a wide range of exam topics, such as selecting appropriate testing methods; evaluating and approving blueprints, objectives, and test material formats; adopting test polices, and oversight of a research agenda and other uses of the exam.
The SPEX is provided for physicians seeking licensure reinstatement or reactivation, or those involved in disciplinary proceedings that determine a need for evaluation. The oversight committee is a new group that assumes the responsibilities of the governing and program committees of the Post-Licensure Assessment System.
Go’s appointment officially began in January. His new role is a continuation of his interest in medical student and physician competency assessment and credentialing issues. He is also serving on the United States Medical Licensing Examination management committee that is responsible for all USMLE step examinations. In addition, Go has also served as a board member for the National Board of Medical Examiners.
A team students from the UMKC School of Medicine showed its mettle in winning an interprofessional education reasoning competition at Creighton University on March 24 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Fourth-year students Diana Jung and Saber Khan, and third-year students Yicheng Bao and Becky Kurian teamed with Creighton pharmacy students Amy Cimperman and Caressa Trueman to present the winning case in the 2018 Regional Interdisciplinary Clinical Reasoning Competition.
Teams were comprised of a mix of medical, pharmacy and nurse practitioner students.
Each team was presented a patient case, similar to a real-life encounter. They then had two and a half hours to evaluate the chief complaint and medication list, make a working diagnosis, and order needed lab tests and treatments. Teams that advanced to the final round then presented their case to a panel of judges to defend their reasoning and gain feedback.
The UMKC team ranked first among four competing schools in team work and collaboration, concise and professional presentation, and demonstration of appropriate clinical judgement and management.
“I attribute this largely to the early exposure that we get in patient interaction and the presentations we get during our curriculum through clinic, rotations and DoRo,” Jung said. “It was fun and a great learning opportunity.”
Jung said the experience drove home the need for teamwork among health care providers in giving patient care.
“Being able to rely on our pharmacy students for their expertise, played a huge role,” she said. “And having medical students in different years of study allowed us to approach the patient case in a broader point of view.”
The UMKC Interprofessional Education program conducted its second health sciences schools IPE competition on April 7 at the School of Medicine. Four teams of students from the schools of medicine, pharmacy, and nursing and health studies took part in the two-round, case-based competition.
The team of fifth-year medical students Joseph Bennett and Luke He and nursing student Joseph Bredvold won the first-place Emeritus Chancellor Morton Award for Interprofessional Excellence. The second-place team included fourth-year medical students Saber Khan, Zach Randall and Louis Sand, and pharmacy student Ann Lee.
A team of fifth-year medical students Kent Buxton and Christian Lamb, and pharmacy student Brad Erich, tied for third place with the team of Shannon Demehri and Hunter Faris, fifth-year medical students, and nursing student Caleb Jockey.
A panel of interprofessional faculty judged the competition based on diagnosis, treatment, pharmacotherapy, teamwork, communication and decision making. Judges for the event were Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D., Maqual Graham, Pharm.D., Cydney McQueen, Pharm.D., Eileen Amari-Vaught, Ph.D., M.S.N., F.N.P.-B.C., Doug Cochran, M.D., Jim Wooten, Pharm.D., and Emily Hillman, M.D.
Stefanie Ellison, M.D., associate dean of learning initiatives, said many students helped to develop and plan the event and provided support during the competition. Those involved included medical students Jordann Dhuse, Paige Charboneau, Niraj Madhana, Isioma “Miracle” Amayo and Mesgana Yimmer, and pharmacy students Michael Scott, Ijeoma Onyema and Joseph Bredeck.
Melissa L. Rosado de Christenson, M.D., professor of radiology, has been named recipient of the American Roentgen Ray Society Gold Medal. It is the highest honor awarded for distinguished service to radiology.
The award will be presented during the ARRS 2018 Annual Meeting opening ceremonies on Sunday, April 22, in Washington, D.C.
Rosado de Christenson serves as section chief of thoracic imaging at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.
She retired from active duty in the United States Air Force as a colonel in 2001 after more than 25 years of military service. She is a graduate of the charter class of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, where she received her MD degree and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Continued >>>
Sixth-year medical student Rahul Maheshwari and fourth-year medical student Diana Jung have been selected to take part in national initiatives with the American College of Physicians.
Maheshwari has been chosen to participate in a four-week ACP Health Policy Internship. Jung has been selected to the ACP’s national Council of Student Members. The appointments were announced by the ACP Missouri Chapter following its inaugural Advocacy Day at the Missouri state capital in Jefferson City in March.
At the end of April, Maheshwari will travel to Washington, D.C., where he will work directly with ACP staff. The internship provides medical students learning opportunities in health policy and advocacy.
Interns also learn about the legislative process as they assist in the research and analysis of current health and medical issues and policies. Part of Maheshwari’s role will be that of advocate, attending Congressional hearing and coalition meetings and working with government affairs staff in lobbying efforts with members of Congress. He will also be part of leading the ACP’s Leadership Day to discuss medical issues of particular interest to medical students and residents/fellows.
Jung was selected to an at-large position with Council of Student Members. The group works closely with the ACP Board of Regents and Board of Governors to review programs, products and services. It also promotes internal medicine as a career, the value of ACP membership to medical students, and aligns council activities with the ACP’s strategic plan.
ACP is a national organization of more than 150,000 internists, internal medicine subspecialists, medical students, residents and fellows. It is the largest medical-specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States.
Former UMKC School of Medicine docent and Humanities Department namesake William T. Sirridge, M.D., was a master at connecting with patients, including in their final days.
So it was fitting that this year’s medical humanities lecture endowed in Sirridge’s name was titled “How to Conduct a Good Death.” Gary Salzman, M.D., a 1980 graduate of the School of Medicine, delivered the lecture March 22.
“William Sirridge was my docent and mentor and taught me many things not published in books,” said Salzman, himself a faculty member, docent and Truman Medical Center physician since 1985.
Sharing a half dozen stories about patients at the end of their lives, Salzman told the lessons he had learned from Sirridge and how they had played out in his career. The most important lesson focused on how to connect with patients.
“As we bring more and more technology into medicine, we become less and less able to connect with patients,” said Salzman. “Connecting with patients is as important today as it was 40 years ago when I was in medical school.”
Salzman first told two stories of how, as a student, he had failed miserably in dealing with a patient’s death. In one case, he was ill prepared and “got it all wrong” telling a woman over the phone that her mother had just died at the hospital.
In the other case, he had prepared a case for presentation by examining a woman with a classic case of scleroderma, studying the medical literature on the woman’s dire condition and working up a detailed treatment plan. But he had left out the human element, and was unaware that Sirridge had already tried the recommended treatments – which all failed. Instead, Salzman learned Sirridge was helping the patient and her three daughters take the necessary steps for the woman to die peacefully at home.
“He looked over his glasses and said to me, ‘Salzman, do you know how to conduct a good death?’ ”
After those two instances, Salzman said, he dedicated himself to listening, watching and learning from Sirridge and other veteran physicians. He saw that Sirridge’s skill at connecting with patients had three parts:
Physical touch. A gentle hand on a patient’s arm could be “more powerful than morphine.”
Common interests. Finding and sharing commonalities with some humor mixed in.
Direct and honest conversation.
As Salzman practiced and applied those principals over the years with dying patients and their family members, he began to learn how to conduct a good death, and to pass his lessons on to colleagues, residents and students.
Salzman recounted his education and evolution through cases that took him from trying to do too much for dying patients, to pushing too hard for removing life support. He told of one patient who, after being taken off life support, woke up, looked at him and said, “I need a beer!”
He found equilibrium by listening deeply, respecting patient and family wishes, and then doing his best to find a balanced course of action.
In one case, a hospice patient who recently reunited with his estranged spouse desperately wanted to live and have more time. Salzman, though skeptical, went with the man’s wishes and got him out of hospice and back home with a portable breathing unit. “Eight years later, he still sings my praises as the man who saved his life,” Salzman said. “I just listened to his wishes.”
And for patients “who want you to do everything,” Salzman said, “I tell them, ‘Let’s do everything that will help you, and nothing that will hurt you.’ ” Through that lens, he said, appropriate individual plans can be worked out for each patient.
Salzman closed with a case in which a sixth-year student got to know a patient with severe pulmonary fibrosis and her daughter. They were having trouble letting go even though the patient’s essential life-support mask, not meant for long-term continuous use, was causing her more and more pain and skin deterioration. Eventually, the student was able to describe what would happen if life support was removed, and what medicines would be used so the woman could die comfortably. Eventually, they agreed to remove the mask, and the mother died in peace.
“The student told me she determined the best way to connect with this family was to sit quietly, to just be present while watching television. So she watched ‘Ellen’ with them, most afternoons for two weeks.” Salzman praised the student on her outstanding work
“I told the student that I had a story that I wanted to tell her. It is about a man she never met but influenced her education. It is a story of my docent, William T. Sirridge, and a question he asked me a long time ago: ‘Do you know how to conduct a good death?’”
The lessons Dr. Sirridge taught on connecting with patients and conducting a good death learned by Salzman are now being passed on to current students. And, according to Salzman, these students will carry on, teaching these skills to their students and continuing the legacy of Dr. Sirridge long after his death.
The UMKC Health Sciences District is the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Hospital Hill Run – one of the most storied races in Missouri history – on June 1-2, 2018.
Race weekend begins with a 5K run on Friday night – where strollers are welcome and families of all sizes are encouraged to take part. The next morning, runners hit the pavement in the 5K rerun, 7.7 mile and half marathon.
All UMKC staff, faculty, students and alumni may register at a discounted rate or serve as volunteers. Participating staff and faculty can also earn points toward their wellness incentive programs. When registering for the Friday night or Saturday morning race events, use the code SOM2018DISC for 20 percent savings.
In addition to improving your health and wellness, your participation in the Hospital Hill Run supports many local charities, including the School of Medicine’s Sojourner Health Clinic, a student-run, free safety-net clinic helping the adult homeless and medically indigent in Kansas City. And volunteers are needed at all events, from handing out race packets, to cheering on athletes, to handing out medals at the finish line.