Tag Archives: Hospital Affiliates

Celebrating lives saved by TMC lung cancer screening

Dr. Justin Stowell, a radiology resident at Truman Medical Center, talked about the success of an early lung cancer screening program he leads.

The UMKC Health Sciences District marked Lung Cancer Awareness Month on Thursday with “Smokin’ Out Lung Cancer,” a midday event that outlined the district’s early lung cancer screening, treatment and prevention efforts, led by Truman Medical Centers.

TMC’s screening program emphasizes early detection and treatment for longtime smokers and ex-smokers. The event Thursday celebrated its patients’ and doctors’ success in committing to healthy living and saving lives. The screening program uses low-dose CT scans and is the only one in the nation to be driven by resident physicians, who are supervised by faculty from the UMKC School of Medicine.

Among the speakers at the event was Dr. Justin Stowell, the radiology resident who started the screening program and who has compiled statistics on its early success. When lung cancer is detected in its early stage, he said, cure rates of 70 to 80 percent are possible.

And besides catching lung cancer early, Stowell said TMC’s  program has had success in getting more than one-fifth of the people tested to quit smoking.

Lung cancer is responsible for 155,000 U.S. deaths a year, more than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined, which emphasizes the need for awareness events such as “Smokin’ Out Lung Cancer.” Stowell also noted that Medicare covers the early screening for many longtime smokers, and insurance companies have been adding coverage as the success of the screenings has been demonstrated.

The event, which included a barbecue lunch, was attended by some lung cancer survivors who had benefited from the screenings and subsequent treatment or surgery to remove their cancer. A video was shown that told the survival story of Thaddus Owens, who was at the luncheon.

The event also drew some smokers whose doctors had encouraged them to attend. One of them was 64-year-old Carl Kendall, who said he had tapered off in recent years but still smoked at least half a pack a day.

“I started smoking in 1968,” he said. “I have a doctor’s appointment next week, and I’m going to ask about this screening.”

Charlie Shields, TMC president and CEO, kicked off the presentations. Besides highlighting the screening program’s success, he noted that “Smokin’ Out Lung Cancer” was the first event sponsored by the UMKC Health Sciences District—a newly formed, premier academic health district made up of collaborating health care institutions on Hospital Hill.

Representatives of the School of Pharmacy presented information on smoking and lung cancer.

 “Truman Medical Centers is proud to be part of this exciting partnership,” Shields said. “The UMKC Health Sciences District is proving to do what it was intended, and that is to improve the health of the community in a variety of ways.”

The UMKC Health Sciences District is a cooperative partnership formed by 12 neighboring health care institutions on Hospital Hill: University of Missouri- Kansas City and its School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Health Studies, School of Pharmacy and School of Dentistry; Truman Medical Centers; Children’s Mercy; Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department; Missouri Department of Mental Health Center for Behavioral Medicine; Jackson County Medical Examiner; Diastole Scholars’ Center; and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City. 


UMKC alumnus, TMC involved in latest antibiotic research

Mark T. Steele, M.D. ’80.

The addition of a second antibiotic to treat cellulitis skin infections did not result in significantly better cure rates in research recently published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study was the latest from an emergency medicine research group that includes Truman Medical Centers and Mark T. Steele, M.D. ’80. Steele is associate dean for TMC Programs at the UMKC School of Medicine and chief medical officer and chief operating officer for Truman Medical Centers.

“I’ve been involved with this group for more than 20 years,” Steele said. “It has 11 sites across the country and studies infectious diseases relevant to emergency medicine. This latest study used five of those sites, including Truman.”

The study involved 500 patients who had cellulitis that was not accompanied by abscess or a wound. Half of those patients were treated with cephalexin, an antibiotic effective against streptococci that typically is used in such cases. The other half got cephalexin plus trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, an anti-staph antibiotic that more patients with skin and soft-tissue infections have been receiving “just in case” MRSA — methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus — is present.

For the entire group treated, the added antibiotic seemed to help, producing a cure rate of 76.2 percent, versus a 69 percent cure rate for those who received just cephalexin. But that difference was not considered statistically significant. In addition, when the results were narrowed to the patients who were known to have taken at least 75 percent of the recommended doses of their antibiotics, the cure rates were almost identical, 83.5 percent for those who also got the second antibiotic, and 85.5 percent those who received just cephalexin.

MRSA has been showing up as a cause of more severe, abscessed skin infections, which has led to more dual prescribing of the antibiotics. Steele said this study’s results could inform emergency physicians that for cellulitis, absent abscess or a wound, the addition of the second antibiotic wasn’t more effective.

Amy Stubbs, M.D.

Amy Stubbs, M.D., helped oversee Truman’s portion of the research. She’s an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine and director of the school’s emergency medicine residency program. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at UMKC and was chief resident.

The National Institutes of Health sponsored the study, which Steele said was particularly well constructed to meet the standards of JAMA, the world’s most widely circulated medical journal.

It was the third in a series of published studies by the emergency research group, called the EMERGEncy ID NET. One dealt with treatment of abscesses and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Another looked at infected wounds seen by emergency physicians and was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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.


UMKC, TMC and Children’s Mercy Win $930K Grant from CDC

cdc550The University of Missouri-Kansas City, Truman Medical Centers (TMC) and Children’s Mercy have won a quality-improvement grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for diagnostic laboratory testing at TMC. The three-year grant, which will use Cerner Health Facts data, is funded up to $930,000.

“The methods developed through this project will demonstrate value of both local and national medical data warehouses to inform quality improvement initiatives related to laboratory medicine,” said Mark Hoffman, primary investigator on the grant. Hoffman is chief research information officer at Children’s Mercy and is a faculty member in biomedical and health informatics and pediatrics at the UMKC School of Medicine. Kamani Lankachandra, chair of pathology at UMKC and the director of the pathology lab at TMC, is a co-investigator.

Diagnostic laboratory testing results are used in 60 to 70 percent of all clinical decisions. While laboratories have strong procedures to manage process-quality concerns within the lab, they often do not have access to reliable information related to test ordering or the use of test results to inform patient treatment.

Electronic health record data is increasingly used to populate local data warehouses, including those implemented using the National Institutes of Health-funded “informatics for integrating biology and the bedside” application, often shortened to i2b2. Some electronic health record vendors, including Cerner, manage national data warehouses populated with de-identified data from contributors that have provided data rights. Electronic health record data merged with laboratory information system data can provide diagnostic laboratories with information needed to better understand quality gaps, especially those related to test ordering and patient treatment informed by laboratory results.

TMC and their primary academic partner, UMKC, have collaborated with Cerner to implement i2b2 as a de-identified analytical data warehouse reflecting local clinical processes at TMC. And through this collaboration, UMKC has received a full copy of the Cerner Health Facts national data warehouse; few academic research centers in the world have access to this vast amount of medical data.

The de-identified data in Health Facts represents more than 600 inpatient and outpatient facilities and health care decisions for more than 47 million unique patients. Significantly, Health Facts includes more than 3 billion diagnostic laboratory results and more than 350 million medication orders.

UMKC will use the combination of i2b2 and Health Facts to prioritize up to 10 laboratory- related quality gaps, informed by insights from the practice-based evidence in Health Facts. TMC’s i2b2 data will be utilized to evaluate baseline status for candidate quality improvement projects. The prioritization phase will use Health Facts to characterize the severity of the quality gaps at TMC.

This project will provide methods that will enable TMC to develop quality improvement initiatives that are prioritized and designed using these data sources.

Reality television star speaks at Children’s Mercy

Jennifer Arnold_Dean Kanter_PRN
School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., (second from right), and Okunola Oluola, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics (third from right), joined Children’s Mercy staff members in welcoming physician and reality TV star Jennifer Arnold, M.D., to Kansas City.

Pardon the students, residents and faculty if there were a few double takes recently as they strode through the halls of Children’s Mercy Kansas City, a UMKC School of Medicine affiliate hospital. After all, it’s not every day that a highly recognizable television personality gives a Grand Rounds lecture. Even at one of the country’s top children’s hospitals.

Then, again, Jennifer Arnold, M.D., is not just one of the stars of the television series, The Little Couple, on the TLC TV network. She’s also a neonatologist and medical director of the pediatric simulation center for the largest neonatal intensive care unit in the United States. And belying her 3-foot, 2-inch physical stature, Arnold delivered a big message in conjunction with National Disability Month.

A motivational speaker in addition to her roles at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Arnold encouraged her audience to think big in order to make a difference, achieve their goals, to improve health care, and ultimately, for the sake of their patients.

Arnold’s own life has been a lesson in perseverance. Born with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder that causes skeletal anomalies and short stature, Arnold has undergone more than 30 surgeries just to stand, walk and breathe more easily.

When questioned about her ability to succeed as a physician, she disproved the naysayers by earning a medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completing residency at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

UMKC School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., came to know Arnold and saw her in action as a pediatric resident while he was vice dean at the Pittsburgh medical school. When he learned she was coming to Children’s Mercy, Kanter reached out to offer her a special welcome.

“Dr. Arnold is a great motivator, giving a voice to those who face obstacles, physically and professionally,” Kanter said.

After overcoming much adversity in her life, Arnold would face one more major obstacle. Arnold is also a cancer survivor.

“What a great opportunity for our students, residents, faculty and staff at Children’s Mercy to hear her story of perseverance,” Kanter said. “I have enjoyed watching her remarkable grace and intelligence permeate every aspect of her life as she transformed from a pediatric resident to a respected pediatrician and well-known TV personality, and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for her and her family.”

SOM graduate Mark Steele, M.D., appointed Chief Operating Officer for Truman Medical Centers

Mark Steele, M.D.
Mark Steele, M.D.

Truman Medical Centers President and Chief Executive Officer Charlie Shields has named Mark T. Steele, M.D. ’80, chief operating officer, responsible for the clinical and business operations of TMC.

Steele will continue to serve as TMC chief medical officer. He also serves as UMKC School of Medicine associate dean of TMC programs and University Physician Associates executive medical director.

“I am excited about this expansion of Dr. Steele’s role,” Shields said. “He has served as a dedicated educator and mentor to hundreds of medical students and residents. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Steele is deeply committed to the success of our medical staff, a commitment I share as chief executive officer.”

Steele said that in his new role he intends to focus initially on quality, productivity, patient safety and satisfaction, and patient throughput.

“I look forward to this new challenge in helping to lead not just the clinical operations of TMC, but also the business side of the organization,” Steele said. “TMC has a long history of serving the people of Kansas City. It has a bright path for growth and prosperity and I am thrilled to help lead us into the future.”

Steele has served on the faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine/Truman Medical Centers since his graduation from residency in 1983. He is currently a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and served as the emergency medicine residency program director and as chairman of the department from 1996 to 2000.

Steele is a nationally-recognized emergency medicine physician with many awards and more than 100 published journal articles, 50 of which are in premier emergency medicine journals. His interests have been in the areas of infectious disease, wound care, circadian rhythms, shift work, emergency medicine practice and workforce issues. Steele is a member of EMERGEncy ID NET, a national emergency department-based emerging infections sentinel network. He also served as president of the American Board of Emergency Medicine in 2010.

Among his awards, Steele received the School of Medicine’s 2000 E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing award, presented to alumni for outstanding achievements in their medical field. He has also been named as one of Ingram’s Top Doctors of Kansas City. Other honors and awards include becoming a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians in 1988, the UMKC Alumni Achievement Award in 1990, induction as a faculty member into Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society at the UMKC School of Medicine in 1992, and receiving the UMKC School of Medicine Excellence in Medical Education award in 1992.

He is a member of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, the Missouri State Medical Association, and the American Medical Association. In 2003, Steele was selected to the Board of Directors of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, where he served as President in 2010-2011. He also served the board as an item writer, chief examiner for the oral examination, chair of the Test Administration Committee, and chair of the Emergency Medicine Continuous Certification Task Force. He continues to serve as an oral examiner.

Gold Humanism members spread early Valentine’s cheer

Members of the School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and their faculty sponsor, Carol Stanford, M.D., delivered roses and Valentine's cards to patients at Truman Medical Center.
Members of the School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and their faculty sponsor, Carol Stanford, M.D., delivered roses and Valentine’s cards to patients at Truman Medical Center.

Armed with roses in a rainbow of colors, a large box of handmade cards and a stack of yellow buttons and stickers, nearly a dozen School of Medicine students took time on Friday, Feb. 13, to spread some early Valentine’s cheer to patients at Truman Medical Center and promote compassionate care.

The students are members of the School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. This was the third year in a row members of the organization have delivered roses and Valentines to patients. This year, they also handed out yellow stickers and buttons to hospital staff that proclaimed “Solidarity for Compassionate Patient Care.”

“It feels good to do something like this,” said Maria Uloko, one of the Year 6 students. “It’s kind of lonely being in the hospital. So on a holiday like Valentine’s Day, it’s fun to do this for the patients.”

Before heading to the hospital to visit the patients, Carol Stanford, M.D., the chapter’s faculty sponsor, also handed out a stack of 11-by-17 sheets of paper and markers with instructions to ask the patients a few questions about themselves. The students were to write down their responses then post the sheets somewhere nearby were hospital staff could read them and know a little more about their patients.

“Our goal is to find out more about our patients,” Stanford said.

With that, the students paired off in teams of two and began delivering the flowers and cards.

The broad smile on the face of Valerie Nevels, one of the patients, showed how much patients at Truman appreciated the gesture. “This really brightens my day,” she said.

Nevels said she is usually the one visiting someone else at the hospital and having the students stop by with their special gifts and kind words helped her feel as if she hadn’t been forgotten. Then she looked at the card she had just received and read the message: “Smile!”

“They must have known that I love to smile,” Nevels said. “This is very much appreciated. When I get home, this rose will be frozen and the card is going to be framed.”

TV documentary features SOM pediatrics faculty, patients

School of Medicine alumnus, Corey Iqbal, M.D., ’03, chief of fetal surgery, is one of the physicians highlighted in a television documentary series, Inside Pediatrics, that tells the stories of patients, their families and the health care professionals who take care of them at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

The six-part program premiered in Kansas City on KMBC-TV on Dec. 17. It is currently available to viewers online.

The series, filmed over a span of three months last summer, offers an inside look at Children’s Mercy from the hospital’s clinics, specialty units and operating rooms to the transport units. Paul Rudd, a Kansas City actor, narrates the series.

More than a dozen CMH doctors who also serve as School of Medicine faculty are featured in the program that documents 28 patients from cities across five states. Each episode lasts about 22 minutes and focuses on two to four different patients.

Published study on obese women and breastfeeding garners attention

Felix Oka, M.D.
Felix Oka, M.D.

New mothers who want to breastfeed their babies would do well to watch their weight according to a collaborative study by a group that includes Felix Oka, M.D., M.S., professor of pediatrics and assistant dean for career advising, and fellows Teresa Orth, M.D, and Shilpa Babbar, M.D.

The research conducted by a team of investigators from the School of Medicine, Children’s Mercy Kansas City and the Kansas University Medical Center showed that obesity significantly reduces the chances of a woman ever breastfeeding. Women who are obese are 16 percent less likely to be able to breastfeed than women whose weight falls within a normal range, the study reported. Orth presented results and highlights of the study at the April 26-30 annual meeting of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chicago.

Results were based on a survey of more than 66,000 mothers in the United States conducted between 2009 and 2010. Identifying obesity as a high-risk group for not breastfeeding could help clinicians to design future interventions for overweight mothers.

The student is also the focus of a recent article published in Live Science.

School of Medicine announces new Psychiatry chair

Nash Boutros, M.D.
Nash Boutros, M.D.

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced the appointment of Nash Boutros, M.D., as the academic chair of the Department of Psychiatry, effective February 24, 2014. He will also serve as Medical Director for the Center for Behavioral Medicine.

Boutros currently serves as associate chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine where he is also a professor of psychiatry and neurology and director of Psychiatric Clinical Electrophysiology and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratories.

“Dr. Boutros will be an asset to the Kansas City community,” said Betty Drees, dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. “His experience and expertise will help lead mental health care treatment at a critical time of need locally and across the state of Missouri.”

He received his medical degree from Cairo University Medical School. He did his residency in psychiatry at Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, a neurology residency and a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at the University of Illinois, and a fellowship in epileptology and behavioral neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas.

He is boarded in psychiatry, neurology, and clinical neurophysiology. He has served on the faculties of the medical schools at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Ohio State University, Yale, and Wayne State University. He is the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed journal articles, including research studies in schizophrenia and neurophysiology, and is co-author of books on neuroanatomy and electroencephalography in psychiatry.

Boutros succeeds Stuart Munro, M.D., who became chair of the School of Medicine’s new Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences in March 2013.