The School of Medicine recognized graduate candidates from M.D., Master of Science, and Graduate Certificate degree programs who participated in the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 15 at Swinney Recreation Center.
Students receiving their M.D. degrees were Margaret Finn, DJ Kemp and John Logan. Abdulraham Al-Sulimai received a Master of Health Professional Education degree.
Four students graduated from the school’s Master of Science in Bioinformatics program in December. They are Firas Al Badarin, Poghni Peri-Okonny, Seemeen Hassan, and Gustavo Vilchez. Two students, Yahia Mohammed and Nicole Wood, also completed the school’s graduate certificate program in clinical research.
The combined mid-year ceremony honored graduates from the Conservatory of Music and Dance, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and the schools of Biological Sciences, Computing and Engineering, Education, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies.
The School of Medicine’s spring graduation ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. on May 20, 2019, at the Kauffman Center.
Shivani Sivasankar has been awarded a travel grant from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. She is a 2018 graduate of the School of Medicine’s master’s program in biomedical and health informatics.
The honor is a competitive award given to students who are the lead authors of research abstracts accepted for presentation at the association’s annual meeting. The association is an organization of more than 10,000 world-wide scientific and medical professionals dedicated to clinical laboratory science and its application to health care.
Sivasankar will present her research at the organization’s 2018 national meeting in Chicago on July 29. She is one of only 15 students selected from an international pool of applicants for the grant.
Her research abstract is titled “Use of National EHR Data Warehouse to Identify Inappropriate HbA1C Orders for Sickle-Cell Patients.” The project used information culled from Health Facts, a database of big data provided by Cerner in collaboration with UMKC and Truman Medical Centers.
Sivasankar plans to continue her research studies at the School of Medicine in the fall when she enters the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program with a primary discipline in bioinformatics.
The School of Medicine is accepting nominations until Aug. 1 for four faculty, staff and student awards. These will recognize achievements in diversity and health equity, mentoring, medical education research and teaching.
The Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine Awards recognize an individual or organization that has demonstrated sustained and impactful contribution to diversity, inclusion and cultural competency or health equity. The award is given to a student or student organization, and to faculty, staff, resident and/or organization/department.
Nominees should be those who have made consistent contributions to diversity, inclusion, cultural competency or health equity through one or more of the following:
o Recruiting or retaining a diverse student or faculty body;
o Fostering an inclusive environment for success of all;
o Working to promote health equity and the elimination of health disparities;
o Strengthening efforts to develop or implement cultural competency strategies that improve health-care delivery.
Nomination materials should be sent to the attention of Dr. Nate Thomas, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at email@example.com
Two Betty M. Drees, M.D., Excellence in Mentoring Awards are presented each year. The Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award is for a faculty member with the rank of professor. The Excellence in Mentoring Award goes to a faculty member who is either an associate or assistant professor.
The awards recognize the significant contributions mentors make to enhance and develop the careers of our faculty and trainees. Characteristics of successful mentoring include generosity, listening, objectivity, and constructive feedback regarding career and professional/personal development.
Nominations for the mentoring, medical education research and teaching awards should be sent to Dr. Rebecca R. Pauly, chair, selection committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners of the awards will be announced on Sept. 13th during the annual Faculty Promotion and Awards reception at 4 p.m. in Theater B.
Past award recipients:
Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine Awards Individual:
2015 Jim Stanford
2016 Fariha Shafi
2017 Briana Woods-Jaeger Organization:
2015 Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association
2016 Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association
2017 Gender Pathways
Betty M. Drees, M.D. Excellence in Mentoring Awards Lifetime Achievement Awards:
2014 Vidya Sharma
2015 John Foxworth
2016 Agostino Molteni
2017 Julie Strickland
Excellence in Mentoring Awards:
2014 Simon Kaja
2015 Vincent Barone
2016 Pamela Nicklaus
2017 Brenda Rogers
Louise E. Arnold, Ph.D., Excellence in Medical Education Research Award 2016 Louise Arnold
2017 Stefanie Ellison
Christopher Papasian, Ph.D., Excellence in Teaching Research
2017 Christopher Papasian
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.
Shui Qing Ye, M.D., Ph.D., chair and professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics, and Daniel Heruth, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, are co-authors of a paper published in Cell and Bioscience that was selected as one the journal’s outstanding papers published in 2017.
The paper, “Epigenetic regulation of Runx2 transcription and osteoblast differentiation by nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase,” was published in the May 23, 2017 edition of Cell and Bioscience. It was chosen for the 2017 Ming K Jeang Award for Excellence in Cell & Bioscience.
Ye also serves as the William R. Brown Endowed Chair in Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the School of Medicine.
In his final commencement address as UMKC School of Medicine Dean, Steven L. Kanter, M.D., applauded the Class of 2018 for its accomplishments and welcomed the graduates to the health care profession on May 21 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Kanter, who will assume the role of president and chief executive officer of the Association of Academic Health Centers and the Association of Academic Health Centers International (AAHCI) on July 1, reminded the graduates that they are now part of a rich legacy and long-standing tradition of outstanding alumni of the School of Medicine.
One of those alumni, Michael Hinni, M.D. ’88, spoke to the class as the 2018 E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award winner. A renowned surgeon and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the May Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, recounted his time at the School of Medicine how it prepared him for his current role in medicine. Specifically, to the more than 110 new physicians, he encouraged them to trust themselves and their education.
He said he was more prepared than he imagined when began his residency because of his vast training at the School of Medicine.
“And you will be, too,” Hinni said. “So, a shout out to the School of Medicine and all of your achievements and your careers.”
2018 Student Award Winners
Master of Science Anesthesia
Jennifer Nolan | Student Ambassador Award
Master of Science Bioinformatics
Carrie Kriz | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence
Krishna Patel | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence
Doctor of Medicine
Gaurav Anand | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate
Danielle Cunningham | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Medical Education; Richardson K. Noback, M.D., Founders’ Award for Clinical Excellence; Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Award for Excellence in Microbiology; Lee Langley Award
Dorothy Daniel | Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Bette Hamilton, M.D., Memorial Award for Excellence in Immunology
Sanju Eswaran | Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Lee Langley Award; Richardson K. Noback, M.D., Founders’ Award for Clinical Excellence
Ravali Gummi | Ratilal S. Shah Medical Scholarship Fund; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Honor Recipient
Ahsan Hussain | J. Michael de Ungria, M.D. Humanitarian Award
Margaret Kirwin | Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D. Award for Excellence in Pathology
Brooks Kimmis | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate
Peter Lazarz | James F. Stanford, M.D. Patient Advocate Scholarship
Eric Dean Merrill | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Award for Research
Steven Philips | UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Award Association Outstanding Senior Partner
Omar Qayum | Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence
Nidhi Reddy | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
Alexandra Reinbold | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
Salvador Rios | Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Award
David Sanborn | Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Honor Recipient
Meghna Singh | Friends of UMKC Harry S. Jonas, M.D., Award; Laura L. Backus, M.D. Award for Excellence in Pediatrics
Shikhar Tomur | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Basic Science Award
Sai Vanam | ACP Senior Student Book Award
Christopher Wester | Pat D. Do, M.D., Matching Scholarship in Orthopedics
Danielle Witt | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence
“For many medical students, usually the specialty picks the person, and not the other way around,” said Michael Hinni, M.D. ’88, the 2018 winner of the E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award.
If that’s the case, surgery made a great choice with Hinni, a pioneer in performing and then teaching innovative head and neck surgery, all while building an academic department.
“I needed to fix things, so surgery attracted me,” Hinni said.
“When I was on an otolaryngology rotation and first walked into an OR and observed a middle ear reconstruction – using a microscope, and all its precision, so cool – I was hooked!”
School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., presented the award to Hinni on May 21 in Theater A as part of the annual Take Wing Award lectureship.
After Hinni graduated from UMKC’s B.A./M.D. program, his internship in general surgery and residency in otorhinolaryngology were at Mayo in Rochester, Minnesota. After that, he was hired at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where he now is a professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery and head of the Department of Otolaryngology.
He also had a year’s fellowship in Germany studying transoral laser microsurgery — surgery that removes head and neck tumors through a patient’s mouth rather than cutting through the neck and jaw. Hinni brought the technique back in 1994 and became one of the first two U.S. surgeons to use it extensively.
“There was great resistance, because head and neck tumors had always been removed by opening people up,” Hinni said. “But I ran with it, and eventually we had a record of success.”
Hinni said the surgery offers great benefits to a patient, cutting hospital stays from 10 days or two weeks to three days, greatly reducing the difficulty of recovery and allowing patients to eat and speak by avoiding a tracheostomy and extensive reconstructive surgery.
“I’m proud to have stuck it out and helped bring a less-invasive way of treating cancer to the public,” Hinni said. “Now there are minimally invasive surgeons in most academic centers throughout the country.”
Along the way has treated some well-known patients, including U.S. Sen. John McCain and Buddy Bell, the former Major League third baseman and Kansas City Royals manager.
“Senator McCain is a great man, and I know Buddy Bell is known and loved by a lot of baseball fans,” Hinni said. “It has been an honor to care for them, and all my patients.”
Hinni also built the otolaryngology program at Mayo in Arizona, which had little research or academic offerings when he first was hired.
“Building a program from scratch has been gratifying — and humbling. You don’t build something like that without great collaboration and motivated partners, but we did it.”
He built the Arizona location’s thyroid surgery practice, and Mayo Rochester residents came for some of their thyroid surgery experience. He also trained residents from the military, first from the U.S. Air Force and then the Army and the Navy. Eventually that meant he had two residents training year-round.
In 2006 the Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery/Audiology launched an independent otolaryngology residency program with Hinni as its founding director.
“If I retired tomorrow,” Hinni said, “starting that residency is what I would be most proud of.”
Along the way, Hinni helped design the instruments needed to accomplish better, safer surgery; contributed to the published medical literature on such topics as how much tissue needs to be removed to completely clear malignancy from the throat and surrounding areas; and presented the evidence for these medical advances at local, national and international forums.
Hinni also looked forward to returning to UMKC to receive his Take Wing Award, give the annual lecture at its presentation and address the 2018 School of Medicine graduating class.
“I made the best friends of my life,” Hinni said, ticking off names from his Class of ’88. “Jimmy Hartman and Tom McGinn, John McKenzie and Marty Emert. I had the good fortune to be roommates and hallway buddies with them on 1 North at the old 5030 Cherry Street dorm. They’re just wonderful people and caring doctors all at the top of their field.”
He also credited “my great senior support partner,” Cindy Chang, M.D. ’85, “and more great faculty members than I can name.”
“I’ve been very blessed in my career at Mayo,” Hinni said. “But UMKC was my launching pad. The camaraderie and the education were phenomenal.”
UMKC medical student Carlee Oakley is one of only five students nationwide to win a TL1 Top Poster Award for her research. It was presented recently in Washington at a meeting of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science.
Patients with chronic kidney disease have an increased risk for heart disease and heart attacks, and Oakley’s research identified a possible factor in that risk. She found that the chemical TMAO, trimethylamine-N-oxide, found in higher concentrations in kidney patients, increases the force and rate of cardiac contractions.
“I used a mouse model in my first series of experiments,” Oakley said. “To see if our findings translated to the human heart, we were able to test human atrial appendage biopsy tissue. This confirmed that TMAO directly influences human cardiac function.”
The Association for Clinical and Translational Science awarded blue ribbons to 60 research projects, and 57 of them were presented and judged at the conference. Oakley and four others were judged the best and received blue ribbon awards, significant of being in the top 10 percent of entrants.
The contest is part of the Frontiers CTSA TL1 program, a research fellowship. CTSA stands for clinical and translational science awards. Oakley took a year off between her fifth and sixth years of UMKC’s B.A./M.D. program for the fellowship.
“The Frontiers TL1 training fellowship seemed like an incredible opportunity to focus on my research and to supplement my traditional medical education with formal training in clinical research methodology, biostatistics and epidemiology through the Master of Science in Clinical Research program at the University of Kansas Medical Center,” Oakley said. “My research mentor, Dr. Mike Wacker, and my docent, Dr. Jignesh Shah, were both very supportive and encouraged me to apply.”
Oakley added, “We are taught that the best physicians practice evidence-based medicine. I hope to not only practice but to also contribute to evidence-based medicine. My goal is to become a clinician-scientist. I hope research is a vital part of my future practice, though I do not foresee ever giving up the clinical aspect.”
Oakley also recently defended her TL1 thesis, completing her fellowship work with honors. She did substantial work on her research with Wacker and other members of his lab team before going into the fellowship. She said David Sanborn, who is set to graduate and start a residency at the Mayo Clinic this summer, helped her with the project along with other members of the Wacker lab. She also collaborated with Dr. Jason Stubbs, a nephrologist and researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Kidney Institute, and a team of cardiac surgeons at the KU Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Research Institute.
Oakley, who plans a career in neurology, said she was drawn to UMKC from Sioux City, Iowa, because she was impressed by the School of Medicine’s six-year program and docent system. She met Wacker during the Human Structure Function course he helps teach and joined his cardiovascular research lab shortly after.
The other top finishers receiving the poster award are from the University of Michigan, Duke University, the University of Colorado-Denver and Georgetown-Howard Universities.
Interim Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer recently recognized Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health informatics, with the University of Missouri System President’s Award on behalf of University of Missouri System President Mun Choi.
Berkley-Patton received the President’s Award for Cross Cultural Engagement. It recognizes faculty who demonstrate success in promoting cross-cultural activities or understanding through classroom or student service activities, or through direct service to global or regional efforts that relate back to the university.
“Dr. Berkley-Patton is highly regarded by the community she serves,” said Daphne Bascom, medical director and senior vice president of Community Integrated Health for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. “She has established durable collaborations and relationships with churches, community clinics and other health related agencies to support cross-cultural activities in the region. As she has grown her research program she has been intentional in providing opportunities to involve her community partners in defining the goals and outcomes for each project.”
The majority of Berkley-Patton’s research funding supports her faith-based and health community partners with staff, equipment and training to improve the community’s capacity to address health. Berkley-Patton values collaborations within the community and has been a leader in researching community-based health interventions to reduce HIV, diabetes, heart disease and mental health disparities among the African-American community.
The UM System President’s Awards are presented annually to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university. Berkley-Patton will be formally recognized by UM System President Choi during an awards celebration in June.
Two of the School of Medicine’s May graduates, Ravali Gummi and David Sanborn, have been selected as UMKC Vice Chancellor’s Honor Recipients. Staff member Jennifer Tufts, academic advisor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, also received the honor.
The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management takes nominations from each academic unit to recognize graduating students who have excelled in academic achievement, leadership and service to UMKC and the community.
Gummi was nominated by her faculty mentor, Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of basic research at the school’s Vision Research Center. Gummi gave a presentation on the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic and was invited to speak during the opening ceremony of this year’s Clinton Global Initiative.
Sanborn, who has served on the school’s Council on Evaluation and Coordinating Committee, was nominated by his docent, Fariha Shaffi, M.D. He is a member of the Gold Humanism Society and the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. Sanborn also led an independent student analysis in preparation for the school’s recent evaluation visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
Tufts is completing a Master’s of Arts degree through the School of Liberal Arts with a focus on public history and urban planning. While studying for her degree and working, she has served as president of her local community organization for the past two years. Tufts was nominated by her faculty mentor Sandra Enriquez, Ph.D., a professor of history.