Tag Archives: Awards

Sarah Morrison research award winners announced

Recipients of the April 2017 Sarah Morrison student research awards are (left to right) Jessica Kieu, Shipra Singh, Vishal Thumar, Komal Kumar, and Katherine Suman.

Five School of Medicine’s students have been selected by the Student Research Program to receive Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards. The awards  support support research efforts and help students fund their presentations at conferences and scientific meetings.

The April 2017 recipients are Jessica Kieu, fourth-year medical student, Komal Kumar, fourth-year medical student, Shipra Singh, fourth-year medical student, Katherine Suman, sixth-year medical student, and Vishal Thumar, sixth-year medical student.

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, students have received more than $61,000 in financial support from the Sarah Morrison program to support research projects at the School of Medicine.

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

  • Jessica Kieu, “Maternal-fetal reactions to acute emotional stress in prenatal depressed mothers: correlations with fetal biomagnetometry measures,” Prakash Chandra – TMC
  • Komal Kumar, “Pregnant Women with Previous Mental Health Disorders and Behavior During Ultrasound,” Prakash Chandra – TMC
  • Shipra Singh, “The Effect of NAAA Gene Expression on Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicity,” Shui Ye – CMH
  • Katherine Suman, “The role of innate immune system signaling pathways in glaucoma pathogenesis,” Peter Koulen – Vision Research Center
  • Vishal Thumar, “Visualizing the Difference between Life and Death: A Comparison of Liver Ultrasound Findings in Children with Sinusoidal Obstruction Syndrome After Bone Marrow Transplantation,” Sherwin Chan – CMH



Eight SOM students receive MSMA scholarships

Missouri State Medical Association scholarships recipients: front row, left to right: Alice Hwang, Eryn Wanyonyi, Julia Clem, Forrest Kent; back row, left to right: Jason Tucker, Nicholas Keeven, Dr. David Wooldridge, School of Medicine alumna and MSMA member, Luke He, Dr. Fred Hahn, MSMA member. Not pictured: Haley Mayenkar

Eight students from the UMKC School of Medicine were recently awarded scholarships for the 2017-18 school year from the Missouri State Medical Association.

This year’s recipients are Julia Clem, Luke He, Alice Hwang, Nicholas Keeven, Forrest Kent, Haley Mayenkar, Jason Tucker and Eryn Wanyonyi.

The organization awards the scholarships annually to fourth-year medical students who are graduates of a Missouri high school.

MSMA was formed in 1850 by Missouri physicians and serves as a voice for the medical profession, physicians and their patients. The organization includes a Medical Student Section to address issues pertaining to students studying to obtain a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree. Three UMKC students, Kartik Sreepada, Muhammed Alikhan and Timothy Chow, served as student section state officers during the 2016-17 school year.


School of Medicine presents senior, graduate awards

The School of Medicine presented senior and graduate awards to 22 graduating members of the M.D., Master of Science in Anesthesia and Master of Science Bioinformatics programs. This year’s awards recipients as chosen by the faculty members include:

Senior Awards
Doctor of Medicine

  • Himachandana Atluri | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
  • Amanda Fletcher | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Research Award; Vice-Chancellor Honors Recipient; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
  • Jasleen Ghuman | Lee Langley Award; Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Award for Excellence in Microbiology; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
  • Paul Anthony Guidos | Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education
  • Comron Hassanzadeh | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Basic Science Award; Lee Langley Award; Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence
  • Alexandra Johnson | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
  • Deborah Levy | Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Student Award
  • Abhishek Kantamneni | Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education
  • Susamita Kesh | Laura L. Backus, M.D., Award for Excellence in Pediatrics
  • Jeffrey Klott | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate; Pat. D. Do, M.D., Matching Scholarship in Orthopedics
  • Sean Mark | UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Medical Education
  • Luke Nayak | ACP Senior Student Book Award; Bette Hamilton, M.D., Memorial Award for Excellence in Immunology; Friends of UMKC Harry S. Jonas, M.D., Award
  • Payal Patel | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
  • Lauren Thai | J. Michael de Ungria, M.D., Humanitarian Award
  • Hima Veeramachaneni | Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence; Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
  • Dayne Voelker | James F. Stanford, M.D., Patient Advocate Scholarship; Vice-Chancellor Honors Recipient
  • Reid Waldman | Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Award for Excellence in Pathology
  • Nneoma Wamkpah | UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Award Association Outstanding Senior Partner
  • Kirbi Yelorda | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate

Graduate Award
Master of Science – Anesthesia

  • Kaitlyn Hill | Student Ambassador Award

Graduate Awards
Master of Science – Bioinformatics

  • Michael Nassif | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence
  • Mohammed Qintar | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence




UMKC class of 2017 inducted into AOA honor society

The Missouri Delta Chapter of the AOA medical honor society welcomed its 2017 class of students, residents, alumni and faculty on May 5.
Richard Isaacson, M.D., ’01, delivered the annual AOA Lecture.

The School of Medicine’s Missouri Delta Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society welcomed its 2017 class of inductees during an annual celebration at Diastole.

Induction to the society is an honor that recognizes one’s excellence in academic scholarship and adherence to the highest ideals of professionalism in medicine. New AOA members are selected based on their character and values such as honesty, honorable conduct, morality, virtue, unselfishness, ethical ideals, dedication to serving others and leadership.

This year’s inductees included 12 new junior and senior students, residents and fellows, alumni and faculty.

Student inductees include: Junior AOA members Danielle Cunningham, Sanju Eswaran, Carlee Oakley and Vishal Thumar; and senior members Mohammed Alam, Jeffrey Klott and Reid Waldman. Resident and fellow inductees were Mouhanna Abu Ghanimeh, M.D., Katrina Lee Weaver, M.D., and Stephane L. Desouches, D.O.

Sajid Khan, M.D., ’05, was the alumni inductee and Dev Maulik, M.D., chairman of obstetrics and gynecology and senior associate dean for women’s health, was this year’s faculty inductee.

Twelve senior inductees were also selected last fall, including: Himachandana Atluri, Kayla Briggs, Molly Carnahan, Kevin Gibas, Neil Kapil, Susamita Kesh, Deborah Levy, Sean Mark, Luke Nayak, Amina Qayum, Dayne Voelker and Zara Wadood.

Richard Isaacson, M.D., ’01, delivered the annual AOA Lecture on May 5. Isaacson serves as director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic and Weill Cornell Memory Disorders Program at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He spoke on advances in the management of Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention.

Anand presents research at national ACP meeting

Gaurav Anand presented a research poster in March at the National American College of Physicians’ Internal Medicine Meeting in San Diego.

Fifth-year medical student Gaurav Anand took part in the student research poster competition at the National American College of Physicians’ Internal Medicine Meeting. The three-day conference took place in San Diego at the end of March.

In addition to presenting his research poster, Anand attended lectures on topics ranging from radiology to ophthalmology, as well as participating in suturing and arthrocentesis workshops.

Anand called the experience both humbling and enlightening.

Anand with his poster at the National ACP student poster competition.

“Being invited to attend and present my research at this National ACP meeting was an enriching experience, not only by attending the lectures and workshops, but also from learning about the groundbreaking research happening across the country,” he said.

Anand presented his poster, Pharmacological control of oxidative stress-mediated effects on endocannabinoid signaling pathways. He conducted his research at the Vision Research Center with Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of basic research and Felix and Carmen Sabates Missouri Endowed Chair in Vision Research; and Christa Montgomery, Ph.D., research scientist at the Vision Research Center.

Anand earned a spot in the national poster competition last September when he won the student poster competition at the annual meeting of the Missouri chapter of the American College of Physicians.

After winning the Missouri competition, Anand continued his research prior to the national meeting. He said he is gathering data from the most recent experiments and had not made any major alterations to his poster or abstract.

Anand said he plans to continue his research efforts throughout medical school and his residency training.

“Research is the foundation on which new discoveries are made,” he said.

UMKC fellow receives Ob/Gyn scientific awards at national meeting

School of Medicine fellow Gustavo Vilchez, M.D., (left) with Tom Sullivan, M.D., vice chair and clerkship director of the UMKC School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Gustavo Vilchez, M.D., a maternal-fetal medicine fellow in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, received two major scientific awards from the Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Vilchez received the Central Prize Award, the association’s major scientific award, for his abstract, “The Risk of Expectant Management of Low Risk Pregnancy at Term and Optimal Timing of Delivery: A National Population-Based Study.”

He also received the Dr. Jack A. Pritchard Memorial Award for his research paper on “Racial/Ethnic Disparity in Magnesium Sulfate Adverse Effects: Sub-Group Analysis of a Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.”

The awards are given for outstanding investigative or clinical work in obstetrics and gynecology. Vilchez presented his research projects as part of the scientific program during the organization’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, in October.


Emergency medicine students win regional Sim Wars competition

The School of Medicine’s Sim Wars team (front row): Bradee Gabel, Alana Hoffman, Emily Hillman, M.D.; back row: Sean Mark, Brendan Kurtz, Alie Reinbold, Caroline Baghdiikian, Jesal Amin, Dylan Wyatt and Devan Bhatia. Not pictured is Maggie Kirwin.

Students from the UMKC School of Medicine returned from the Great Plains Regional Meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine with more than new insights into emergency medicine.

For the first time, UMKC also brought home the championship trophy from the annual Student Sim Wars competition. The event was held in Iowa City, Iowa.

“They were so well prepared,” said Emily Hillman, M.D., assistant professor, assistant program director and clerkship director for emergency medicine. “They represented the school so well. I was really happy for them.”

School of Medicine students take part in a Sim Wars competition.

The contest places four-person teams in an emergency patient scenario in which students must work together to assess a patient, intervene and manage the situation. Students work on a manikin simulator that serves as the patient, while also managing the patients’ family members, played by actors. Judges review and grade the students on their teamwork, communication and clinical decision-making skills.

Seven teams from six regional medical schools, including two from UMKC, competed in a bracketed format. The winning team of Alie Reinbold, Jesal Amin, Caroline Baghdikian, Sean Mark and Brendan Kurtz, defeated teams from the University of Iowa, Washington University and Southern Illinois University to capture the championship trophy. Maggie Kirwin, Alana Hofmann, Bradee Gabel, Dylan Wyatt and Deven Bhatia made up UMKC’s second competition team. Five more students, Joseph Bennett, Alex Willis, Timothy Chow, Kent Buxton and Danielle Graves, were part of the school’s Sim Wars teams that practiced and helped prepare the competition teams.

Students met with faculty and residents from the Department of Medicine twice a week for two months in the Youngblood Medical Skills Lab at the School of Medicine’s Clinical Training Facility to practice and train for competition using the SIMman simulator and other low-fidelity procedural models.

“They worked hard to prepare,” Hillman said. “Some of the students had been on the team for a number of years. It was very exciting to see them win.”

Students win awards in Missouri ACP poster competition

Gaurav Anand won the student poster presentation competition at a recent meeting of the Missouri chapter of the American College of Physicians.

Two students received awards for their research posters at the Missouri chapter of the American College of Physicians annual meetings at Osage Beach. The meetings took place Sept. 15-18.

Fifth-year student Gaurav Anand captured the first prize and Danielle Cunningham, also a fifth-year student, placed third in the student poster presentations.

Danielle Cunningham

Anand conducted his research at the Vision Research Center with Peter Koulen, Ph.D., Director of Basic Research and Felix and Carmen Sabates Missouri Endowed Chair in Vision Research, and Christa Montgomery, Ph.D., Research Scientist at the Vision Research Center. He titled his winning poster, Pharmacological control of oxidative stress-mediated effects on endocannabinoid signaling pathways.

“I was interested in the field of neuroscience and ophthalmology,” Anand said. “I wanted to start conducting basic science research in order to further explore my interest in these areas before attempting to conduct clinical research.”

With his first place award, Anand is now eligible to take part in the poster competition at the national ACP meeting next March in San Diego.

“Working alongside two outstanding mentors, Dr. Koulen and Dr. Montgomery, I have gained an immense amount of experience and have learned everything from performing basic science techniques to using complex imaging and data analysis programs,” Anand said. “I have also become familiar with the process of compiling data, graphs, and other information in order to create a presentable research poster. All in all, the experience I have gained will be very beneficial for the research projects I conduct in the future.”

Cunningham placed third with her poster, Neuroradiologic characteristics of astrobastoma and systemic review of the literature: 2 new cases and 125 cases reported in 59 publications.

At the meeting, five students and 13 residents from the School of Medicine presented posters. The Missouri ACP competition drew 20 student posters and 80 posters from residents of medical schools throughout the state.

Health professions, law schools team up to help older Kansas Citians with aid of national grant

UMKC LOGOUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City health professions schools — the School of Nursing and Health Studies, School of Dentistry, School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy — and the School of Law were awarded a national grant to work together to advocate for older adults at the Don Bosco Senior Center and Reconciliation Services, both located in medically underserved areas in Kansas City.

By the year 2030, the U.S. population age 65 and older is expected to double, making older adults the fastest-growing group in the nation. Yet the vast majority of curriculum for health professions students does not include specific instruction dedicated to the needs of geriatric health. Designed for UMKC advanced practice nursing and graduate medical, dental, pharmacy and law students, the project will focus on enhancing active listening and empathic understanding in preparing student teams to advocate for older adults.

The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Gordon and Betty More Foundation, awarded a two-year, $50,000 matching grant to the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. Through matching funds from the partnering schools, this $100,000 project is one of 16 out of 44 universities to be awarded.

“This creative collective breathes new life into our pedagogical approach to educating health professionals,” said Ann Cary, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

“The proposed initiative will not only help to advance interprofessional education and interprofessional collaboration through bringing together medical, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and law students, but will also address an important need, which is to increase health and law professional students’ knowledge and understanding of the health care and legal issues experienced by aged individuals,” said Steven L. Kanter, dean of the School of Medicine.

“The project is consistent with the mission of the health professions schools to promote excellence in delivering interprofessional curricular opportunities for students,” said Russ Melchert, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

“The project will improve our graduates’ ability to form relationships with other health care professionals while developing an understanding of the issues facing an aging populace,” said Marsha Pyle, dean of the School of Dentistry.

“The project design, which is to capture the lived experiences of aging and access to care, will serve a diverse elder population, the majority of who come from the lowest economic level,” said Mo Orphin, executive director of the Don Bosco Center.

“This initiative will be an important educational experience for UMKC health and law students, and will benefit our clients through the health education plans that will result from this innovative partnership,” said the Rev. Justin Mathews, executive director of Reconciliation Services.

Titled, Cultivating an Empathic Understanding of Aging: An Interprofessional Approach to Enhanced Provider-Patient Relationships as the Cornerstone of Person-Centered Care, this initiative will accomplish the following goals:

  • Establish a community of practice among health professions and law students to allow for the acquisition of new knowledge through team interaction toward excellence in patient care.
  • Improve provider-patient relationships with older adults by developing health professions and law students’ abilities to capture an individual’s story about aging and the illness experience.
  • Improve acceptance of patients of all ages by sensitizing practitioners to age-based stereotyping that interferes with provider-patient engagement.
  • Increase empathic understanding and collaboration among health professions and law students to foster their ability and willingness to participate in public service as advocates for older adults.

“UMKC and its professional schools are uniquely positioned to focus on issues relating to gerontology across disciplines,” said Ellen Suni, dean of the School of Law. “This project will promote collaboration and recognition of interdisciplinary solutions to health problems while promoting students’ inclination toward public service.”

“We are all readers and translators of the narrative of others,” said Margaret Brommelsiek, principal investigator of the grant at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. “Interprofessional education helps students foster their skills in reading and narrating. The most skilled communicators tell a story that can be understood by both the individual patient as well as those involved across the health professions.”

UMKC Vision researchers receive National Eye Institute funding for novel glaucoma therapy

Peter Koulen, Ph.D.
Peter Koulen, Ph.D.

Researchers at the UMKC School of Medicine Vision Research Center have received nearly $1 million in funding to develop a novel drug that would protect the vision of glaucoma patients.

The five-year, $970,325 project funded by the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health will support efforts led by Peter Koulen, Ph.D., professor and Felix and Carmen Sabates Missouri Endowed Chair at the Vision Research Center. Koulen is also director of basic research at the Vision Research Center.

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Once patients are diagnosed with the disease it affects them for the rest of their lives because there is no known cure for the disease. Current therapies used to manage the disease often fail over time, and, therefore, there is a great clinical need for alternative methods that more effectively and safely treat glaucoma and prevent loss of vision.

The new project addresses this urgent clinical need. Focusing on developing a new pharmacological intervention to control the degeneration of nerve cells in the retina caused by glaucoma could help many. More than 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma. That number is expected to increase to more than 6 million by 2050.

“The resulting medications will potentially be both preventative and therapeutic, while complimenting existing treatments, which lower high pressure in the eye,” Koulen said.

UMKC researchers collaborating on the study are part of a large interdisciplinary consortium of scientists with related expertise in ophthalmology, medicinal chemistry, biopharmaceutics and proteomics.

Preclinical testing of the new therapy, including drug transport and distribution studies, will determine its effectiveness in terminating or possibly preventing glaucoma-associated loss of nerve cells. The goal is to generate data to support the future clinical development and testing of the new drug and move the project to phase 1 or 2 clinical trials.

Determining how and to what extent nerve cells in the retina and visual function are protected including associated biopharmaceutical and pharmacological parameters will indicate the potential of the new drug as an effective glaucoma therapy.

The research is a collaboration with researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center under NEI grant #R01EY027005.