Tag Archives: Awards / Recognitions

White Coat Ceremony marks a rite of passage

Third-year medical students celebrated on Aug. 6 after taking part in the School of Medicine’s annual White Coat Ceremony.

For third-year medical students at the UMKC School of Medicine, the White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage that marks a transition to the more intensive clinical phase of their medical school training. With that comes the responsibilities of humanism and professionalism.

“Each year, medical students throughout the United States accept these responsibilities as they receive their first white coats. Soon, you will be part of this distinctive group, and I encourage you to wear your coat with pride,” Jill Moormeier, Chair of the Department of Medicine, told this year’s class on at the 2017 White Coat Ceremony at White Recital Hall.

The ceremony unites students who spent the majority of their first two years studying on the Volker Campus with their new docent units at Hospital Hill and Saint Luke’s Hospital. It marks the start of their final four years of clinical training.

View more 2017 White Coat Ceremony Photos

Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the White Coat Ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for patients and proficiency in both the art and the science of medicine. It has been a tradition at the UMKC School of Medicine since 2003.

Sarthak Garg represented his classmates by reading the Class of 2021 Philosophy of Medicine, a compilation of the students’ thoughts about the profession of medicine.

Part of that philosophy reads, “Being a medical professional is a privilege. It is a special opportunity to help people with technical skills and express the love of humanity by constant studying and showing compassion. I can think of no better way to spend my life than that.”

The class also honored Amgad Masoud, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and both a Years 1 and 2 Docent and Years 3-through-6 Docent for the Gold 3 Unit. Masoud received the 2017 Outstanding Year 1 and 2 Docent Teaching Award. It was the third time Masoud has received the award as selected by first- and second-year students.

Then came the highlight of the event: students learning new docent team assignments and being cloaked in their new white coats.

“Today, the white coat signifies the formal relationship that exists between physicians and patients,” Moormeier said. “It also serves as a reminder of the obligation that we have to practice medicine with clinical competence and compassion.”

SOM grads are ready to take on the world

The School of Medicine celebrated the Class of 2017 during the annual graduation ceremony at the Kansas City Music Hall on May 22.

More than 140 students celebrated their degrees and graduate certificates at the School of Medicine’s 2017 commencement ceremony on May 22 at the Kansas City Music Hall – a far cry from the first class 40 years ago.

In 1977, the UMKC School of Medicine graduated its first full class of 33 six-year B.A./M.D. students. Today, the school has produced more than 3,600 highly skilled physicians who are sought after leaders on all levels, renowned experts in their medical fields, and groundbreaking scientist uncovering new methods of caring for the communities they serve.

The school continues producing health care professionals in many disciplines. In addition to a medical degree, the school offers master’s degrees for anesthesiologist assistants and physician assistants, as well as students in health professions education and bioinformatics. It also offers graduate certificates in a number of programs and an Interdisciplinary-Ph.D. program.

To celebrate this year’s graduates and highlight the diversity and extensive educational options offered students at the UMKC School of Medicine, we are sharing some of their stories.

B.A./M.D. Program

Wamkpah achieves her dream of becoming a doctor

Nneome Wamkpah says she knew by the time she was a sophomore in high school that she wanted to become a doctor.

Surrounded by a family of health care professionals, Wamkpah understood what it meant to work in the field and help others. But, she says, it was five years into the UMKC School of Medicine’s six-year program when she fully realized the gravity of her decision.

“It’s so hard to know when you’re young. You really don’t understand just how much people depend on you until you’re into it,” Wamkpah said. “I understood from my family that I could make a difference working in health care, but to truly take care of another human being, that really came to me last year. It’s a big responsibility.”

Because of her extensive clinical training at UMKC, Wamkpah says it’s a charge she feels fully prepared to accept. A May graduate, she will begin her post-graduate residency training in otolaryngology this summer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis.

She said the experience of meeting and working with patients during her first year of medical school, and the large number of clinical experiences accumulated throughout the six-year program, has given her the confidence to succeed as a physician.

“It sets us up very nicely for residency training,” Wamkpah said. “You kind of know already what to do in treating patients, how to talk to them, how to get their problems solved. A lot of schools take their time getting you to that point. We have a lot of practice in that and the curriculum really supports great patient care and working as a great clinician.”

As a child growing up in health-care oriented family, she heard her grandmother’s many accounts of life as a midwife in their native Nigeria.

“She would always tell us stories about that,” Wamkpah says.

Both of her parents earned nursing degrees at the University of Kansas and worked as nurses before branching into business and opening their own medical equipment store. Her aunt is a nurse and an uncle in Spokane, Washington, is a transplant surgeon.

So it’s no surprise that she followed a similar path.

“I had a lot of influences early on to go into the medical field,” Wamkpah says.

UMKC allowed her to do that and stay close to home in nearby Leawood, Kansas. Wamkpah smiles when she explains that she was born at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, one of the school’s primary teaching hospitals where she completed some clinical rotations.

“I wasn’t looking to stay home, but this filled all the needs of wanting to become a doctor, doing so sooner (than traditional medical schools) and it was close to home,” she says.

It also allowed to her follow another passion: teaching. Whether helping other students in the writing lab or tutoring them in biochemistry, Wamkpah says teaching is another goal she plans to pursue.

“I want to be at an academic institution,” she said. “That dynamic of teacher and student learning from one another is something that I really love. I think UMKC really supported my desires to do that by giving me so many opportunities to teach. You can impact patient care, but you can impact the next generation of doctors, too. That’s important to me.”

Masters of Health Professions Education

Staab prepared to spread her message about nutrition

Growing up in Mexico, Ara Staab developed an interest in pursuing a health-care career when she saw family members battle diabetes and other health problems.

While studying pre-med at the University at Guadalajara, Staab decided an undergraduate degree in dietetics and nutrition science would allow her to help family members and others understand the importance of better nutrition and diet.

“For me, that was more intriguing,” Staab said. “I was thinking, these things can help my family and even more people in a broad way.”

For much of the past four years, Staab has taken her message to the local community, working for the University of Missouri Extension’s Family Nutrition Education Program in Kansas City.

And this May, Staab added a master’s degree from the UMKC School of Medicine’s Health Professions Education program to her resume. The program has already expanded her ability to help others by broadening her foundation for teaching, program assessment and leadership in her field.

While earning the two-year master’s degree, Staab was promoted at MU Extension to coordinator of the nutrition program’s Kansas City Urban Region.

“Being an educator in the past, this program helped me understand curriculum development and needs assessment. Those are things I didn’t have the fundaments for with a background in dietetic science,” Staab said.

Not only did the program provide a strong understanding of curriculum development, Staab found she had a particular interest in research. Last October, she received one of the medical school’s Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards. Her study included the creation of a new nutrition curriculum for low-income and limited-resource families emphasizing the control of chronic health conditions through diet and other healthy lifestyle changes.

“We’re actually doing a research study with some medical students to analyze and evaluate whether our nutrition curriculums will have the impact that I think they will have,” she said.

As a program coordinator, Staab will apply the lessons she learned through the UMKC program to further engage the public by conducting need assessments. She will then be able to modify or create new programs to meet those needs.

“This program has greatly complemented what I’m doing at MU Extension,” Staab said.

Before joining MU Extension, Staab directed the nutrition services program in the small border town of Nogales on the Arizona-Mexico border. She met her husband there and the two eventually moved to the Kansas City area, where she found a job supervising the nutrition care department at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

Staab became interested in expanding her background in health education while working at the hospital. She believed too few people there  fully understood her role and how she could benefit other health professionals in treating patients.

At MU Extension, Staab works with a staff of more than 20 nutrition educators who share new and existing programs. The Extension partners with many of the community service programs and health clinics throughout the Kansas City metro area.

“A person’s diet has an impact on their treatment,” Staab said. “For me, advocating good nutrition to the community and the health profession is important. It’s part of my goal to teach dietetic science and nutrition and bring that to other health professionals and projects.”

Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant

Gaines looks to take physician assistant role back to rural roots

Blink at the Phillips 66 station exit on Interstate 70, about halfway between Columbia and St. Louis, and you just missed Jonesburg, Missouri.

A rural community of less than 800 people, this is where Stephen Gaines, at age 16, came home from high school and spent his free time as a volunteer firefighter. Junior fire fighter was his official title. Gofer would be a more accurate job description.

“It was go get this for me, hold this for me,” Gaines says. “I was just learning and going to training and getting experience. By the time I was 18, I had experienced a lot in the functions of the volunteer fire department and what we do from medical calls to vehicle accidents to fires.”

He learned the department provided a large part of the emergency medical care offered to Montgomery County, which only has two medical doctors, one dentist and one optometrist. A physician assistant was a foreign concept to Gaines before he was in college at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

“I had never heard of a physician assistant, let alone seen one,” Gaines says.

In May, Gaines became part of the second class of physician assistants at the UMKC School of Medicine to earn a Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant degree. This summer, Gaines will enter a post-graduate fellowship in emergency medicine for physician’s assistants at the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, where he will received specialized training directed to the acute care of emergency medicine patients.

“You know, PAs are not on TV shows,” he says. “It’s not something that’s really well known in some parts of the country.”

That’s particularly true in rural areas such as Jonesburg. Gaines says folks there may wait several days with a severe illness or injury before deciding they’re not getting any better, then may travel up to 45 miles to Columbia or St. Louis to see a doctor.

That’s part of the reason he would like to return to a rural area to practice emergency medicine.

“But not too rural,” he says. “I want to work in emergency medicine, so that means I have to go somewhere that at least has a hospital, but a smaller-sized hospital.”

Gaines says he learned about physician assistants while he was a pre-medicine student at Truman State. Unlike physicians, who spend years of training and specializing in one area of medicine, PAs may work in a number of areas of the health care field with one license. To Gaines, who got married about a year ago, that was an intriguing opportunity.

“I kind of came in knowing that I wanted to do emergency medicine as a physician assistant,” Gaines said. “But I also know that as a physician assistant, there are other opportunities. Should things change, if I have a family and I’m tired of working the night shifts and want to do more of an 8-to-5 thing in family medicine, that’s an option.”

Four schools in Missouri offer physician assistant training. Gaines said he chose the UMKC program because it was the only one housed inside a medical school.

“I knew that at UMKC, I would get an education from the same people who are teaching future physicians,” he said. “We already have that connection with hospitals that the medical students have. We rotate with the same staff physicians at the hospitals that medical students and residents do. That was really attractive.”

Now, after training at several hospitals throughout Kansas City and experiencing a wide variety of patient populations, Gaines says he’s prepared to return to his roots.

“I want to go back to the rural side of emergency medicine.”

Master of Science – Anesthesia

Hill now prepared to ‘do so many different things’

Less than a year after earning her chemistry degree with a pre-medicine focus from Austin Peay State University, Kaitlyn Hill had a good job as a laboratory technician. But working long hours in a room with chemicals brought her to a realization.

“I didn’t want to be in a lab all day,” Hill said.

In May, the former high school and college basketball player received a Master of Science in Anesthesia from the UMKC School of Medicine.

Months before receiving her degree, Hill had already received a job offer to begin a new career at as an anesthesiologist assistant. Instead of eight-hour days in a laboratory, Hill will put her medical interests and skills to work with patients in operating rooms at Kansas City’s Saint Luke’s Hospital.

“I’m going to have the opportunity to perform obstetrics cases, and pediatrics, and neurology cases,” Hill said. “They have a GI suite and MRI lab. I’ll be able to do all of that. Saint Luke’s has a variety of case and it’s great that as a graduate, I’ll be able to do so many different things. That’s one of the reasons I chose to work there.”

After graduating from Austin Peay, Hill learned of the School of Medicine’s anesthesiologist assistant program from a friend. She began going to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis a few days a week to shadow anesthesiologist James Gibbons, M.D., a strong proponent of anesthesiologist assistants.

Hill said she liked the idea of working with patients in a hospital surgery environment. Now, she is part of the eighth class of anesthesiologist assistants to earn their MSA degree through UMKC’s 27-month program. Each of her graduating classmates secured an anesthesiologist assistant’s job before completing their degree as well.

Part of that success, she said, is a result of the vast experience students receive at the UMKC School of Medicine.

“This program, from the very beginning, was very focused,” Hill said. “Right away, we were doing procedures in the simulation lab, learning to ventilate a patient. There wasn’t a lot of fluff.”

Hill said the hours of practice and repetition in the School of Medicine’s clinical training facility gave her a solid foundation for clinical rotations.

“I think the simulation lab is great,” she said. “I’ve talked to other people who don’t have the opportunities we get to learn to intubate, to start IVs and do other technical skills. They’re done on a mannequin so it is different from an actual patient, but we get to practice the skills multiple times. You have more confidence when doing them for the first time on a real patient, and your technical skills are so much better. Having played basketball in high school and college, I’m used to practicing and practicing and practicing before the game starts, so the repetition here is really good.”

Another part of the program’s lure is that students have the opportunity to travel to many areas of the country for their clinical rotations. After a month at a hospital in St. Louis earlier this year, Hill was headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for her next rotation.

“I’ve been to Myrtle Beach. I’ve been in Wisconsin, in Oklahoma,” Hill said. “We go to different hospitals and have so many different experiences. At some hospitals, we’ll get more specialty training in areas like cardiac surgery, obstetrics and pediatrics.”

All of that now has her on the path to a career she is excited about.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a great education,” Hill said. “Everything I’ve needed, I’ve had at UMKC.”

Master of Science – Bioinformatics

Quintar, a cardiology fellow, adds bioinformatics degree to his research arsenal

As a cardiologist, Mohammed Qintar, M.D., wants to get at the heart of the matter with his patients.

That, he says, means going beyond treating patients’ cardiovascular diseases and assisting them through healing. It requires connecting with them on a more personal level.

“You often have to treat their life as a whole in order to treat their heart disease,” Qintar said.

A research fellow in combined cardiovascular outcomes at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and the UMKC School of Medicine, Qintar focuses his study on the health status and outcomes of patients who suffer angina and patients undergoing angioplasty.

He is adding a new weapon to his research arsenal, graduating this May with a Master of Science in Bioinformatics from the UMKC School in Medicine.

“Cardiology is a data-driven field, and since early in my career, I have been involved in research,” Qintar said. “I believe that doing research makes you a better clinician and that you can contribute much more by being involved in research.”

Qintar began specializing in cardiovascular outcomes after completing his medical degree at Damascus Medical School in Syria and an internal medicine residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

After he joined the cardiology fellowship program at the Mid America Heart Institute, Qintar was a finalist in the 2016 Young Investigator Award competition at the American Heart Association meeting on Quality Care Outcomes Research.

“I joined the Mid America Heart Institute and UMKC for the cardiovascular outcomes research and clinical cardiology fellowship because you get the chance to work with the best in this field,” Qintar said. “Obtaining a master of science in bioinformatics provides me with the right tools to advance my career to the next level. It helps me deeply understand research.”

Qintar said the School of Medicine’s bioinformatics program has allowed him to develop the critical thinking skills in research design and methodology necessary for conducting high-level and successful medical research projects.

In particular, he is looking to devise novel strategies to implement tools that will improve the quality of care for patients suffering coronary artery diseases.

“Understanding how to critically design and answer a research question in the best way is very important,” he says. “This skill takes time and only comes when you are around top-notch researchers. If somebody is interested in research as a future career, or just to understanding medical research, this program is the right fit.”

Two from Med School receive UMKC Faculty, Staff Awards

Sandra Smith

Two people from the UMKC School of Medicine were honored with awards on April 25 during the Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony at Pierson Auditorium.

Sandra Smith, course coordinator for the School of Medicine Council on Curriculum, was  chosen as the winner of this year’s UMKC Staff Council Dedication Award. Darla McCarthy, Ph.D., associate teaching professor and assistant dean for curriculum, received the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award.

Smith joined the School of Medicine in 2012, working with the school’s Council on Curriculum.

Darla McCarthy, Ph.D.

She has served as chair of the UMKC Staff Council’s outreach committee each of the past four years. Smith says she has seen the benefits of participating on the staff council,  such as understanding the dynamics that affect university staff and the university community overall.

“Staff council committee members have the opportunity to advocate and assist with making a better work environment for all of the UMKC staff members,” Smith said. “This has helped me to appreciate and value UMKC as a staff member. To promote UMKC in the Kansas City metro area, and create service or sponsored drive opportunities for staff members to take an active part in our local community, is always rewarding.”

The award for dedication recognizes extraordinary contributions of a staff council and staff committee member to the staff council’s goals of making UMKC a workplace of choice for all staff.

The Pierson Award is given annually to outstanding teachers in the Bloch School and the Schools of Dentistry, Law and Medicine.

McCarthy joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2012 as a member of the Department of Basic Medical Sciences. She teaches human biochemistry and lectures in the Human Structure Function series and in the Physician Assistant program.

McCarthy was recently appointed associate dean and serves as a Council on Curriculum liaison to the Year 1-2 advising staff. She also directs the school’s USMLE Step 1 readiness assessment program.

School of Medicine welcomes 2017 inductees to Gold Humanism Honor Society

The UMKC School of Medicine inducted a new class of students and residents into the Gold Humanism Honor Society on Jan. 21 during a ceremony at Diastole.

The School of Medicine’s Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomed the 2017 class of inductees during its annual induction ceremony on Jan. 21 at Diastole.

It is the 14th consecutive year that the UMKC chapter has recognized students with induction into the national organization. The 18 students selected are chosen from nominations made by colleagues and faculty based on their excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Members are selected for their exemplary care of patients and their humanistic approach to clinical practice.

With funding support from the Gold Foundation, the School of Medicine established its chapter of the honor society in 2004. A Graduate Medical Education chapter was added in 2014 specifically for School of Medicine/Truman Medical Center residents.

This year’s class of inductees included 13 UMKC medical residents and fellows. Renee Cation, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, and Gary Salzman, M.D., professor of medicine and Green 6 docent, were this year’s faculty inductees. Salzman was inducted as this year’s faculty recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

Carol Stanford, M.D., is faculty sponsor for school’s chapter of the honor society. Stanford said the organization is focused on volunteerism and continues to serve as an ambassador to the School of Medicine and Truman Medical Center in providing students, residents and fellows with opportunities to serve others.

Established in 2002 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the Gold Humanism Honor Society today has more than 24,000 members nationally. It recognizes 144 undergraduate medical education and 14 graduate medical education chapters at medical schools throughout the country.

Members are viewed by their peers as role models for humanistic care within their communities. The society also provides educational events, supports research, promotes professional growth and creates networking opportunities.

UMKC School of Medicine
Gold Humanism Honor Society

2017 Inductees

Yembur Ahmad
Cody Braun
Kelsey Brown
Sanju Eswaran
Morgan Gonder
Ravali Gummi
Asdullah Helal
Max Holtmann
Ahsan Hussain
Michael Keirsey
Suzan Lisenby
Amena Mohiuddin
Nilbhi Patel
Alexandra Reinbold
David Sanborn
Meghna Singh
Claire Smith
Harris Zamir

Talal Asif, MD
Jeff Beckett, MD
Denise Cardenal, MD
Stephane Desouches, DO
Sean Doran, DO
Wilson Harrison, MD
Badar Hasan, MD
Sarah Nazeer, MD
Braden Price, DO
Jacob Rouquette, MD
Raj Shah, MD
Jenny Shen, MD
Paul Williams, DO

Dr. Renee Cation
*Dr. Gary Salzman
*(2017 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine recipient)



Vision research students receive UMKC research awards

Two students working on research projects with the School of Medicine’s Vision Research Center have received awards to support their efforts.

Ravali Gummi, a fifth-year medical student, received an award from the 2017 Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund for glaucoma research. William Dexter, a graduate student in the university’s Interdisciplinary Studies Ph.D. program, received the UMKC School of Graduate Studies Research Award.

Gummi is exploring how over time glaucoma alters properties of nerve cells and proteins in the retina. The goal is to identify new signaling mechanisms and/or molecules that become the target of novel drugs that may prevent or reverse the disease.

The women’s council fund assists students with the completion of requirements for graduate and first professional degrees, and aids in studies beyond the classroom through enriching and encouraging educational experiences. More than 1,800 UMKC students have received fellowships or aid through the fund since it was established in 1971.

Dexter is currently working on identifying novel hormone signaling pathways in nerve cells.

Graduate studies awards are designed to increase the visibility of research and economic development activities at the university. Recipients present their work at the annual Community of Scholars Symposium and Awards Ceremony that is sponsored each spring by the School of Graduate Studies.

Both students are conducting their research under the mentorship of Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of basic research at the Vision Research Center.



British Medical Association says Waldman book on pain diagnosis among best of 2016

A unique textbook by Steven Waldman, M.D. ’77, has won a British Medical Association Book Award for 2016.

The book, the third edition of Physical Diagnosis of Pain: An Atlas of Signs and Symptoms, was the winner in one of 20 award categories for the prestigious British association.

The book is described as “the only atlas available devoted to the physical diagnosis of pain.” The awards’ judges praised it as “relevant for both novices and experienced practitioners” and for its “clarity both in text and in use of illustrations and digital resources.”

Tariq M. Malik, M.D., of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, called it “the only book available on this subject” and said the high quality of its text and images meant it could “easily be used as a brief textbook of physical examination.”

Dr. Steven Waldman

Tawar J. Qadri, M.D., in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, said, “We recommend this book to any provider who commonly evaluates and treats pain problems.”

Waldman is the school’s associate dean for international programs and chairman of its Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics. He also holds a law degree and a master’s in business administration and is a prolific author. His many textbooks are consistently among the top sellers on pain management and have been translated into 24 languages.

Weidling chosen for public health scholars program

Robert Weidling

Robert Weidling, a fifth year medical student at the School of Medicine, has been selected to participate in a scholars program that prepares public health professionals to meet population health challenges at the community and national levels.

The Paul Ambrose Scholars Program helps students develop leadership and organizational skills in public heath education through activities outside the classroom.

As a member of the program, Weidling will participate in online public health assessments, the planning, implementation and evaluation of a local community health project, and a public health leadership symposium.

Scholars learn to define and recognize evidence-based public health programming, obtain resources and carry out public health intervention, use logic models for planning public health programs and serve as public health advocates.

More than 600 students from 207 academic institutions across the country have participated in the program since its inception in 2002.

The yearlong program is sponsored by the Association for Prevention Teaching Research and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The organization is a national association of medical and health professions institutions and faculty promoting prevention and population health education and research.

School of Medicine to honor degree, graduate certificate recipients

UMKC-SOM-LogoEleven students from School of Medicine programs will be honored during the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement ceremony on Dec. 17 at Swinney Recreation Center.

Students graduating with their M.D. degrees are Gabrielle Curry, Amit Roy, Mark Spaw and Joshua Williams. Five students receiving their Master of Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics are Noshaba Bakht, Tazim Dowlut-McElroy, Michael Nassif, Megha Shah, Xi Wang.

Two students, Melanie Ellsworth and Jacqueline Walker, are graduating with a Masters of Health Professions Education. Walker will also receive a graduate certificate in Health Professions Education.

Eight receive Sarah Morrison Student Research Award

Recipients of the October 2016 Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards are (top left to bottom right) Muhammed Alikhan, Hunter Faris, Luke He, Jacob Lee, Imran Nizamuddin, Carlee Oakley, Sai Vanam, and Ara Staab.

The School of Medicine’s Student Research Program has announced winners of the October 2016 Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards. Eight students received awards to support their research efforts and help fund their presentations at conferences and scientific meetings.

Seven of the recipients are B.A./M.D. students: Muhammed Alikhanm, Hunter Faris, Luke He, Jacob Lee, Imran Nizamuddin, Carlee Oakley and Sai Vanam. One recipient, Ara Staab, is a School of Medicine graduate student.

“We had many excellent proposals,” said Agostino Molteni, M.D., Ph.D., director of student research. “All of the projects selected for funding were of extremely high scientific quality.”

Sarah Morrison award recipients are reviewed by a committee of faculty judges and processed through the school’s Office of Research Administration. Awards of up to $1,500 are presented each April and October. Since 2013, 45 student research projects have received more than $61,000 of financial support from the Sarah Morrison award program.

Each School of Medicine winner at the 2016 UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit had received Sarah Morrison award recognition. Two received top awards for research posters at the annual Missouri chapter of the American College of Physicians annual meeting, and others have been invited to present their research at national and international scientific meetings.

Students interested in the Sarah Morrison Research awards are encouraged to apply prior to the April 1 and Oct. 1 deadlines each year. For complete application information, visit the Office of Research Administration’s student research website.

Award winners, abstract titles and faculty mentors

  • Muhammed Alikhanm, “Achieving blood pressure control through patient engagement in a safety-net hospital; feasibility study of a hypertension education program,” Rebecca Pauly
  • Hunter Faris, “Regulation of Src Family Protein Kinases in the Rat Striatum by Muscarinic Acetylcholine M4 Receptor,” John Wang
  • Luke He, “New Insight into Fructose and Retinopathy: Potential Adjunct Treatment with Metformin,” Yun Yan
  • Jacob Lee, “Sensitivity and Specificity of Abdominal Ultrasound in Diagnosing Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Infants: A Meta-Analysis,” Sherwin Chan
  • Imran Nizamuddin, “Pharmacological control of endocannabinoid signaling pathways as a strategy for neuroprotective therapy development,” Peter Koulen
  • Carlee Oakley, “The Effects of Trimethylamine-N-oxide on Cardiovascular Function,” Mike Wacker
  • Sai Vanam, “Effects of extended storage on cell biological properties, structure and function of cornea tissue,” Peter Koulen
  • Ara Staab, “Adapting the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet in urban African-American communities: a feasibility study,” Lakshmi Venkitachalam


SOM faculty honored as Children’s Mercy’s first Eminent Scholars

Michael Artman, M.D., seated on the left, and Tom Curran, Ph.D., FRS, seated on the right, were honored as Eminent Scholars by Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Two UMKC School of Medicine faculty members have been honored by Children’s Mercy Hospital as its first Eminent Scholars, academic medicine’s highest honor.

Michael Artman, M.D., chair of pediatrics, was named the Joyce C. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatrics. Tom Curran, Ph.D., FRS, professor of pediatrics, chief scientific officer and executive director of the Children’s Research Institute, has been named the Donald J. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Research.

Eminent scholars are endowed positions given only to medical specialists and researchers recognized internationally for contributions to improving effective treatments and lifesaving cures.

Artman joined the School of Medicine faculty and Children’s Mercy in 2010 as chairman of pediatrics and Joyce C. Hall Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics. A pediatric cardiologist with an interest in heart failure, his research has focused on excitation-contraction coupling and regulation of contractile function in the immature heart.

Curran came to Children’s Mercy and UMKC School of Medicine earlier this year. He has been recognized for many research breakthroughs, including recent efforts studying pediatric brain tumors. His work spans molecular biology, neurobiology and cancer research, and he has published nearly 300 articles, which have been cited more than 50,000 times.

Hallmark Cards founder “J.C.” Hall and his son and current chairman Donald Hall endowed the positions. Children’s Mercy honored Artman and Curran on Nov. 14.