Tag Archives: Student Affairs

Dr. Robert Riss selected as assistant dean for career advising

The School of Medicine has announced that Robert Riss, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, will serve as the next assistant dean for career advising.

In his new role at the School of Medicine, Riss will be responsible for oversight of all career advising services.

Riss is an associate director of medical student education and director of curriculum for the highly regarded pediatric clerkship at Children’s Mercy. His leadership in revising the pediatric clerkship curriculum using a scholarly approach and innovative facilitation of technology is cited as a reason for improved performance of students taking their NBME exams.

He has served on many leadership committees at UMKC and Childrens’ Mercy and currently serves as co-chair of the Medical Student Education Special Interest Group with the Academic Pediatric Association. He is also a faculty member of the association after recently completing the organization’s Educational Scholars Program.

Riss has received many awards for teaching and leadership including UMKC’s Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award, as well as the Children’s Mercy Gold Apple Mercy Mentor Award and a faculty award for outstanding teaching support of student medical education.

He currently participates in educational research focusing on curriculum design, evaluation and implementation utilizing technology. He is an educational consultant on the NIH grant: SPeCTRE: The Sunflower Pediatric Clinical Trials Research Extension in which he is charged with designing a curriculum for primary care physicians to increase the research capacity for pediatrics in the state of Kansas.

Riss received his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed his postdoctoral training as a pediatrics resident at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.


Student Affairs welcomes new Education Team Coordinators

Krisana West, Nick Dean

The School of Medicine recently welcomed two new Education Team Coordinators to the Office of Student Affairs staff.

Krisana West will serve as the New ETC for the Gold Unit and Nick Dean has joined the staff as ETC for the Purple Unit and the allied health students.

West joins the School of Medicine after 15 years at the University of Central Missouri as an advisor for teach education students. She and her husband, John, who also works near Hospital Hill are relocating from Warrensburg to Kansas City with two Siberian huskies and a rat terrier.

West said she looks forward to working with students, faculty and staff at the School of Medicine, exploring Kansas City’s many cultural activities and trying new restaurants.

In addition to working with medical students on the Purple Unit, Dean will also advise students in the Master of Science Anesthesia, Master of Science Bioinformatics, Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant and the Master of Science Health Professions Education programs. He has worked in higher education for the past five years as an academic coach and academic counselor at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, before that. He received a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Arkansas and a bachelor’s in history from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. He will be entering a Master of Library Science program at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, this winter.

A lover of documentaries, food, especially Thai and Chinese, and travel, Dean said his favorite place to visit has been Montreal, Canada. He hopes to make Quito, Ecuador, his next international trip. He moved to Kansas City with his husband, Thomas, and a cat.

Chelladurai presenting AAMC program on professional development for student affairs

Cary Chelladurai, manager of student affairs at the School of Medicine, is working with the AAMC to present its professional Development Initiative to medical school student affairs leaders across the country.

More than 20 new medical schools have opened in the United States in the last 10 years, including a dozen in the past five years alone. And more are on the way.

As manager of the UMKC School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs, Cary Chelladurai understands some of the unique challenges student affairs leaders will face in establishing and maintaining their own departments.

Chelladurai has been working with the Association of American Medical Colleges since earlier this year, sharing its Professional Development Initiative program with other medical school student affairs associate deans, department managers and supervisors.

The AAMC is made of up of all 151 accredited medical schools in the United States and 17 in Canada. In 2016, the national organization’s Group on Student Affairs crafted the Professional Development Initiative to support its members’ student affairs offices.

After attending the AAMC’s first professional development workshop at a national meeting in 2016 and participating in subsequent webinars, Chelladurai implemented the program’s tools at the UMKC School of Medicine.

“We used them with restructuring our office,” said Chelladurai, who has served in her current position since 2012. “We’ve used them with rewriting job descriptions and, being short-staffed, deciding what duties are most important. It’s a framework and a tool that helps us figure that out so we don’t have to do it from scratch.”

Last February, the AAMC asked Chelladurai and a colleague at the University of Alabama to serve as subject matter experts on the program and present it to others at medical schools across the country. The two teamed up to present the material to about 30 student affairs leaders at the AAMC’s national conference in April.

They began offering a series of three online virtual classroom video conferences earlier this summer. The series provides interactive and collaborative discussions and personalized case studies that explore challenges that student affairs departments have faced. The first online video conference took place in July with following sessions slated for September and October.

The entire program highlights eight specific areas of focus for student affairs offices. It also provides a support network for making programs relative in a changing environment and to help student affairs professionals realize their own potential and career fulfillment.

“We’re talking to our colleagues across the country, telling them how we have personally used this program and giving them ideas about how they can use it at their own medical schools,” Chelladurai said. “It’s helpful to the new medical schools that haven’t developed their student affairs departments yet but they’re in their planning stages. They can use it to make sure they have someone covering all the areas of focus.”

It’s also beneficial to more established student affairs offices that are working to find new and better ways to serve their student populations.

“This information and the tools are free and they’re online, so even if a school can’t afford to send someone to a conference, they can benefit from these tools,” Chelladurai said. “That’s one of the good things about the virtual classroom series. They don’t have to travel. We’re teaching this to 25 of our colleagues across the country. They just need to tune in for a couple of hours three times and they’re getting the professional development instead of spending the money and time travelling to a conference.”

Collier named Red Unit education team coordinator

Nikki Collier
Nikki Collier
Nikki Collier, a former senior support assistant in the Office of Student Affairs, has been named the education team coordinator for the Red Unit.

Collier started her new role June 15. She replaced Gladys Zollar-Jones, who recently retired after a lengthy career of service at the School of Medicine.

Collier received a bachelor’s degree in fashion marketing and management from Stephens College. She worked at a property management company in Springfield, Missouri, while completing a master’s degree in mental health counseling at Missouri State University.

Collier joined UMKC as an administrative assistant in the Blue Unit in December 2014. She became senior office support assistant in the Gold Unit earlier this year.

Education team coordinators assist medical students with academic scheduling and degree requirements. They connect students with services and resources, act as student advocates and can serve as a liaison between the student and faculty members or docents.

An education team coordinator is provided to medical students in their first two years on the Volker campus. Students are assigned a new education team coordinator when they arrive at the Hospital Hill campus for Years 3-6.

Eight from School of Medicine participate in mid-year commencement

School of Medicine graduates were part of the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 19 at Swinney Recreation Center. Rana Singh, Ehren Ekhouse, Eric Roychowdhury, Ryan Stokes, Gretchen Woodfork, Chiazotam Ekekezie, Vedica Sharma received their M.D. degrees. Greyson Twist, not pictured, received his Master of Science in Bioinformatics.
School of Medicine graduates were part of the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 19 at Swinney Recreation Center. Rana Singh, Ehren Ekhouse, Eric Roychowdhury, Ryan Stokes, Gretchen Woodfork, Chiazotam Ekekezie, Vedica Sharma received their M.D. degrees. Greyson Twist, not pictured, received his Master of Science in Bioinformatics.

Eight students from the School of Medicine took part in UMKC’s mid-year commencement ceremony on Dec. 19 at Swinney Recreation Center.

Seven students received their M.D. They were Chiazotam Ekekezie, Ehren Ekhause, Eric Roychowdhury, Vedica Sharma, Rana Singh, Ryan Stokes and Gretchen Woodfork . Greyson Twist received his Master of Science Bioinformatics degree.

The University’s combined mid-year commencement ceremony honors graduates from the Conservatory of Music and Dance, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, School of Biological Sciences, School of Computing and Engineering, School of Education, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and the School of Graduate Studies.

The School of Medicine will recognize its 2015 spring graduates on May 20 at the Kansas City Music Hall.

Hospital Hill student housing a cause for celebration

Dignitaries from UMKC as well as Kansas City and Missouri gathered to celebrate on Oct. 2 the grand openining of the new student apartments on Hospital Hill.
Dignitaries from UMKC as well as Kansas City and Missouri gathered to celebrate on Oct. 2 the grand openining of the new student apartments on Hospital Hill.

As apartment buildings go, this one was always intended to be more than just a roof, a view and an in-unit washer and dryer.

High expectations surrounded the construction of the first Hospital Hill Campus student housing project by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The new structure is supposed to help draw the most talented future nurses, dentists, pharmacists and physicians to study and practice in Kansas City; stabilize an evolving neighborhood; stimulate spinoff development; promote increased student traffic between UMKC’s two campuses; and help break down a generations-old racial barrier.

State and city dignitaries, neighborhood leaders, university officials, faculty, staff and students gathered at the Hospital Hill Apartments for a grand opening celebration and delivered their verdict: Mission accomplished.

Developer Hugh Zimmer, one of the leaders of the Beacon Hill Development Corporation that built the project, summed up the group’s feelings about the realization of a long-held “dream” to restore a once-proud and stable middle-class neighborhood called Beacon Hill.

“Since the groundbreaking for this project, 12 additional new homes have been completed and 10 additional lots have been sold, and 28 additional lots will be available for sale in the next few months,” Zimmer said.

A healthy-food grocery sponsored by Truman Medical Centers and a boutique hotel are in the planning stages; and the apartments are filled with a diverse mix of bright, eager students – 60 percent of whom take all or most of their classes at the UMKC Volker Campus four miles away.

Vaishnaui Vaidyanathan, MS 3, moved into the new apartment complex in August and now serves as a resident assistant. Vaidyanathan said she appreciated the convenience of living near the medical school and hospital and for her classes and clinical rotations.

“I really like living here,” Vaidyanathan said. “Being close to my classes at the med school is really nice. I can study at the med school and if it’s late, I don’t have very far to go to get back to my room at night.”

She said she also likes the diversity of the student body in the apartments.

“I like the apartments not beacuse they’re new but because there are so many different people here,” she said. “My roommate is a pharmacy student, so there is interaction with a diverse group of students. I’ve already met so many different people.”

A procession of speakers representing a variety of stakeholders participated in a ribbon-tying ceremony, as opposed to a ribbon-cutting. UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton explained the symbolism.

“Today is all about tying things together. We’re tying city and state, campus and community, east side and west side, business and government,” Morton said. “This building is a statement about what we can accomplish when we come together.”

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander said the building is a key addition to a Hospital Hill district that is the epicenter of a growing industry vital to Kansas City’s future – health care.

“UMKC is one of the bedrocks of Kansas City. Everybody knows that,” Kander said. “This will help UMKC to attract and educate students who will work in that vital industry.”

Mayor Sly James added that the building is both “an exciting milestone for UMKC and for this entire community,” as well as an amenity that will help to attract and keep highly talented young people from around the region and country to Kansas City.

Juan Garcia, president of the UMKC Student Government Association, said completion of UMKC’s fourth student housing building represents an evolutionary change for the university’s student body.

“We have more students living on-campus or within walking distance in community rental housing, than ever before,” Garcia said.

“No longer is UMKC merely the school that recedes in your rear-view mirror after class, as you drive back to your other life. As students, we are making our home here, in great neighborhoods that are part of a great city – a city that many of us will continue to call home after graduation.”

Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, said the building is an example of “leadership in action.”

“We are seeing the fruits of leadership from a city and a state, from a university and a private sector business partnership, and from a community that cares,” Wolfe said. “The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, in particular, deserves credit for their leadership. The board insisted on market rate development agreements in order to spur additional development in the surrounding area. The result is progress in health, in economic development and in neighborhood renewal.”

Morton singled out Nikki Krawitz, the longtime vice president for finance and administration for the University of Missouri System.

“It was her leadership, determination and effort that made today possible. Thank you, Nikki,” Morton said. “I am proud to stand here with so many people who contributed to this project, and to be representing Kansas City’s university. Today we demonstrate the full meaning of that phrase. This is what it means to be Kansas City’s university.”

School of Medicine celebrates Match Day 2014

The School of Medicine Class of 2014 celebrates Match Day on March 21.
The School of Medicine Class of 2014 celebrates Match Day on March 21.
Rima Chakraborty, MS 6, (right) celebrates Match Day on March 21 with her husband, Neer Dutta, after she learned she will go to the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minn., for her internal medicine residency.
Rima Chakraborty, MS 6, (right) celebrates Match Day on March 21 with her husband, Neer Dutta, after she learned she will go to the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minn., for her internal medicine residency.

Rima Chakraborty, MS 6, wiped the tears from her eyes late Friday morning, March 21, after reading a letter from the National Resident Matching Program congratulating her on her on a successful match:

“University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minn.
Internal Medicine.”

Chakraborty then turned and embraced her husband, Neer Dutta, a student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

“We both have family in Minnesota,” Chakraborty said as Dutta stood next to her with a bouquet of flowers.

The two have been married for almost a year. Dutta said he would be working hard to land a residency position near Minneapolis when it’s his turn to go through the match process two years from now.

“I was hoping to go to the University of Minnesota,” Chakraborty said. “I wanted to go some place that I love. I opened the letter and thought, ‘It’s someplace I love.’ I’m very happy right now.”

Throughout the courtyard in front of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, 83 members of the Class of 2014 shared the joys and excitement of Match Day with friends and family.

Just less than one-third of this year’s class will be staying in state for their residency training. Of the 27 students who matched to a residency in Missouri, 16 will be going into UMKC residency programs, including three in the pediatrics residency at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

Internal medicine programs landed the largest number of UMKC students, with 22 headed to programs across the country — from Florida to Texas to California. Pediatrics and medicine-pediatrics had the next highest number of matches with 11. Overall, 36 students from the UMKC School of Medicine matched in a primary care field.

School of Medicine Dean Betty Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., congratulated the class on a successful Match Day and shared how alumni continue to tell her how well students from School perform in their residencies.

“Please go forward with great confidence,” Drees said. “You are well prepared for these programs that you have matched to and will all do exceptionally well.”

Vikram Chakravarthy, MS 6, said Match Day is a time that students have long anticipated and called it a culmination of many years of hard work. Chakravarthy and Aakash Shah, MS 6, thanked Felix Oka, M.D., assistant dean for career advising, and Connie Beachler, career counselor, for their support and help throughout the match process on behalf of the class.

“We would not be here today had it not been for these two individuals,” Shah said. “As the Class of 2014, we know that it’s your jobs, that you do year in and year out. But from the bottom of our hearts, this is what makes UMKC family. These are the people that go above and beyond their jobs to help us reach our dreams and aspirations.”

Xiao receives scholarship to attend Society of Thoracic Surgeons annual meeting

Kevin Xiao, MS 4, (third row, far left) took part in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons 50th annual national meeting in January after receiving the society's 2014 Looking Forward to the Future Scholarship.
Kevin Xiao, MS 4, (third row, far left) took part in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons 50th annual national meeting in January after receiving the society’s 2014 Looking Forward to the Future Scholarship.

Kevin Xiao, MS 4, enjoys working with his hands. As an aspiring doctor, Xia found the idea of cardiothoracic surgery equally to his liking during his second-year human structure function class and spent time doing research and shadowing Keith Allen, M.D., a vascular surgeon at Saint Luke’s Hospital.

“The first time scrubbing in on an open heart procedure was nothing short of magical,” Xiao.

Xiao took that interest a step further earlier this year when the Society of Thoracic Surgeons awarded him a “2014 Looking to the Future Scholarship” to attend its national program in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 25-28.

The conference offered selected medical students an introduction into the field with presentations from current cardiothoracic surgeons on innovations in the field, misperceptions and stereotypes surrounding cardiothoracic surgery and the various training pathways to becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon.

“I think one thing that was emphasized was to have a great attitude and work hard in every one of your clinical rotations. Cardiothoracic surgery is a field that is extremely demanding and hard working. There are very few integrated 6-year programs around the country right now and the match rate is less than 50% for those spots, so grades and Step 1 score are very important,” Xiao said.

School of Medicine announces new Assistant Dean for Years 1 and 2 Medicine

Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., ’03
Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., ’03

The School of Medicine has announced Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., M.P.H., ’03, a Kansas City pediatrician and president of the School’s Alumni Association, as the new Assistant Dean for Years 1 and 2 Medicine.

As assistant dean, Cattaneo will be responsible for promoting a cohesive and nurturing atmosphere for first and second-year students that will help them establish a solid foundation for success at the School of Medicine and their career development, while also realizing their emerging roles in the medical profession. The assistant dean works with Years 1 and 2 support staff to educate students about academic support resources available within the med school and the Volker campus.

“I am truly humbled the administration at the School of Medicine has trust in me for this position,” Cattaneo said. “With the wonderful support system that the School has assembled, my job will be to help those students become more professional, more dedicated, more educated on the fundamentals of medicine, and prepare those students to become efficient and effective upper level medical students.”

Cattaneo has been a general pediatrician with Priority Care Pediatrics since 2006. He will continue his private practice in addition to his role with the School of Medicine.

He is also a volunteer and medical director of a wellness clinic at Community LINC, a Kansas City organization that works with the community’s homeless and impoverished families.

“I am so excited to be joining the staff at the UMKC School of Medicine,” Cattaneo said. “After graduating from residency at Children’s Mercy, I knew that I wanted to do more than clinical medicine. My partners at Priority Care Pediatrics, LLC, have always been generous enough to allow me to have outside responsibilities.”

After graduating from the School of Medicine, Cattaneo completed his internship and residency training in pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. He is currently working toward completing his Master of Public Health Degree at UMKC.

He has remained active in promoting the School and has strived to keep alumni connected to the School as president of the Alumni Association since 2010.

“As a physician and an alum, I will have a different, unique perspective on being a Year 1 or 2 medical student than some other staff,” Cattaneo said.

Inaugural class of UMKC School of Medicine Physician Assistants begins courses

Members of the School of Medicine's inaugural class of the Master of Medical Science - Physician Assistant program gather for a group photograph following orientation on Jan. 10.
Members of the School of Medicine’s inaugural class of the Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant program gather for a group photograph following orientation on Jan. 10.

A group of 14 students are part of the inaugural class of the School of Medicine’s new Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant program that kicked off its first classroom activities on Tuesday, Jan 21, with lectures in anatomy and ethics.

A joint student orientation with this year’s incoming class of Master of Science in Anesthesia students on Jan. 10 covered information from the Office of Student Affairs covering financial aid and other resources. Students later broke out into individual meetings covering program specific information.

School of Medicine Dean Betty Drees, M.D., addressed the two classes during the orientation session.

“As time goes on, I think it’s critical for us to have these programs in the medical school because with the changes in the health care delivery system, more and more health care is going to be done in teams, not by individuals. And making sure that we have education programs here for the whole team to meet the workforce needs in our own state is really critically important. I think you will see in your careers that what you do will become increasingly in demand as we go to a more team-based approach to health care.”

The Physician Assistant program received provisional accreditation status from the Accreditation Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant in September. Provisional status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA standards if fully implemented as planned. Provisional accreditation does not ensure subsequent accreditation status and is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

Kathie Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., serves as program director and Beverly Graves, M.D., ’83, is the program’s medical director. Two additional faculty members joined the program in November. Holli Paulk, M.B.A., M.P.A.S., assistant teaching professor, serves as the program’s clinical coordinator and is involved in curriculum development, lectures and clinical instruction. Brad Dirks, M.Ed., P.A.-C., also an assistant teaching professor, is involved in curriculum development and didactic instruction.

The School received nearly 100 applications to be part of its first MMS-PA class and about 40 were interviewed. At least 80 percent of the class each year is expected to come from the instate application pool. The program is looking to accept up to 20 students for its second class in 2015, Ervie said.

Class lectures for the PA program will begin on Jan. 21, primarily in a third-floor classroom of the medical school and students will begin early clinical rotations and patient interactions shortly thereafter at Truman Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Hospital, the Kansas City Health Department and other area clinics.

The Anesthesiologist Assistant program began in 2008 with an inaugural class of four students. The program has since graduated 24 Anesthesiologist Assistants and will celebrate its fifth graduating class this May. It accepted 13 students into the program this year.