Tag Archives: Students

SOM grads are ready to take on the world

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

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

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

More than 140 students celebrated their degrees and graduate certificates at the School of Medicine’s 2017 commencement ceremony on May 22 at the Kansas City Music Hall – a far cry from that first class of 33 six-year graduates.

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


B.A./M.D. Program

Wamkpah achieves her dream of becoming a doctor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masters of Health Professions Education

Staab prepared to spread her message about nutrition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant

Gaines looks to take physician assistant role back to rural roots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Master of Science – Anesthesia

Hill now prepared to ‘do so many different things’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Master of Science – Bioinformatics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discount available for 2017 Hospital Hill Run registration

Racers packed the starting line for the UMKC School of Medicine 5K Run to kick off the 2016 Hospital Hill Run.

The UMKC School of Medicine is the 5K sponsor of the 2017 Hospital Hill Run – one of the most storied races in Missouri history. Originally created by SOM Founder Grey E. Dimond, the race attracts thousands to participate or volunteer in the family friendly UMKC School of Medicine 5K, as well as the 5K rerun, 10K or half marathon.

As the named sponsor of the UMKC School of Medicine 5K on Friday, June 2, at 7 p.m. – where strollers are welcome and families of all sizes are encouraged to take part – all UMKC staff, faculty, students and alumni may register at a discounted rate.

Participating UMKC staff and faculty also may earn points toward their wellness incentive programs by racing or volunteering. When registering for the Friday night or Saturday morning race events, use the code DISCUMKC for 20 percent savings.

Registration: http://www.hospitalhillrun.com/register/athlete-registration/

Volunteer information: http://www.hospitalhillrun.com/volunteer-2/volunteer/

Hospital Hill Run website: http://www.hospitalhillrun.com/

In addition to improving your health and wellness, your participation in the Hospital Hill Run supports many local charities.

There are many ways to get involved in this year’s Hospital Hill Run. Volunteers are needed for all events: to help unwrap medals; pack post-race food packets; sort, stack, and pass out t-shirts; distribute bibs; set up and staff aid stations; cheer and steer participants on course; award medals; give wet towels, food, and hydration at the finish line; and race clean up.

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.

Volunteers recognized for service at Sojourner Clinic

Student volunteers were recognized for their service at the Sojourner Clinic on May 5 during a banquet at Diastole.

The work of almost 250 student volunteers was recognized at the Sojourner Clinic’s annual year-end banquet on May 5 at Diastole.

Each Sunday since October 2004, students from the UMKC School of Medicine have volunteered the afternoon to care for the homeless and underprivileged living in the downtown area of Kansas City.

Today, the Sojourner Health Clinic continues to provide free health care for some of the city’s most vulnerable patients. Those volunteers have grown to include students from UMKC’s pharmacy, physician assistant, dental and dental hygiene programs. In the past year, students from Rockhurst College’s occupational therapy program have joined the effort.

Executive director of Sojourner, Peter Lazarz, said volunteers devoted more than 1,500 hours of service to treating patients in the past year.

The event also brings together faculty volunteers, financial supporters and community partners in celebration of the services provided to about 250 patients throughout the school year.

Several students were recognized for their individual dedication and service in the past year.

2017 Sojourner Clinic Awards
  • Top Year 1 Volunteer: Shruti Kumar
  • Top Year 2 Volunteer: Michele Yang
  • Top Year 3 Volunteer: Tong Cheng
  • Top Year 4 Volunteer: Bhavana Jasti
  • Top Year 5 Volunteer: Margaret Kirwin
  • Top Year 6 Volunteer: Eri Joyo
  • Top Physician Assistant Volunteer: Daniel Beck
  • Brook Nelson Award for Leadership: Priyesha Bijlani
  • Ellen Beck Award for Dedication: Eshwar Kishore
  • Angela Barnett Award for Humanism: Raga Kilaru
  • Dan Purdom Award for Commitment: Adithi Reddy

Research Summit winners announced

The Office of Research Administration has announced four School of Medicine winners for their poster presentations at the 2017 UMKC Health Science Research Summit on April 26, including a first-place tie.

Sixth-year medical student Kayla Briggs and fifth-year medical student Sai Vanam were each awarded first place for BA/MD students. Clair Smith, a fifth-year student, was awarded second place in the competition.

First prize for non-BA/MD student presentations was awarded to Yashashwi Pokharel, MD, MSCR.

Awards for the winners were provided in memory of former School of Medicine faculty member Loredana Brizio Molteni, MD, FACS.

School of Medicine students presented 51 posters at the event. Each presentation was judged by members of the faculty. This year’s judges were: Darla McCarthy, PhD; Jeffrey Price, PhD; Maria Cole, PhD; Kim Smolderen, PhD; Raymond Scott Duncan, PhD; Jannette Berkley-Patton, PhD; Mian Urfy, MD; Lakshmi Venkitachalam, PhD; Nilofer Qureshi, PhD; Felix Okah, MD, Peter Koulen, PhD; Bridgette Jones, MD; Karl Kador, PhD; Dan Heruth, PhD; Mary Gerkovich PhD; James Stanford, MD; Rosa Huang, PhD; and Paula Nichols, PhD.

The Office of Research Administration also acknowledge Tim Hickman, MD., MPH, for helping students prepare by conducting sessions prior to the research summit and John Foxworth, PharmD, for reviewing the student posters.

All of the student posters presented at this year’s research summit can be viewed on the Student Research website.

Health Sciences Student Research Summit
School of Medicine Winners

BA/MD Student awards
First place (tie)

Kayla Briggs, “Development of a Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery Tertiary Referral Center within the Veterans Affairs Medical System: Early Experiences.” Mentor: Farzad Alemi, MD, MS.
Sai Vanam, “Effects of Cryopreservation on Structure and Quality of Corneal Tissue.” Mentor: Peter Koulen, PhD.
Second place
Claire Smith, “The Cost and Potential Avoidability of Antibiotic-Associated Adverse Drug Reactions.” Mentor: Jennifer L. Goldman MD, MS.

Non-BA/MD Student Award
First place

Yashashwi Pokharel, MD, MSCR, “Heterogeneity in Treatment Effect in Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease: Insights from the CLEVER Trial.” Mentor: Kim Smolderen, PhD.

Summit spotlights continued growth of student research

Chizitam Ibezim, a third-year medical student, presented his poster at the 2017 UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit.

A rapidly growing number of UMKC School of Medicine students are turning an eye toward the future and taking an active role in research opportunities.

That was on display at the latest Health Sciences Student Research Summit that took place on April 26 at the UMKC Student Union. Students from the School of Medicine presented a record number of research posters.

Paula Nichols, Ph.D., associate dean for research administration at the School of Medicine, said students are becoming more aware of the importance of medical research and how clinical practice and research are intertwined. It can also greatly enhance post-graduate opportunities, she said.

Third-year medical student Akash Jani discusses his research poster with Paula Nichols, Ph.D., associate dean for research administration.

“These students are incredibly driven and motivated,” Nichols said. “To get into the more competitive residencies, you need to have completed a quality research project. I think students are looking at their future and saying, ‘I can do extremely well on the Step 1 and Step 2 Boards, but what’s going to help me step forward?’ Having a quality research project that they can discuss in their residency interviews will really help them.”

Students from the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Biological Sciences, and Computing and Engineering participated in the event . The School of Medicine had the largest representation with 42 medical students presenting 46 research posters with five additional posters from outcomes researchers participating in the school’s masters programs.

Fifth-year medical student Fedra Fallahian presented a poster on the management challenges for medical complex children with cleft lip and palate. She began taking part in basic science research during her second year of school and has already given oral presentations on other projects at conferences in Las Vegas and Boston.

This was her first poster presentation on a clinical research project.

“It’s really interesting because you learn about something in the classroom and a lot of times you think this is so rare I’m not going to see this again,” she said. “Then you see the clinical correlation and the science behind it and the way the patient presents. It’s really exciting.”

She said her research mentors have been important in her growing interest in research.

“They’ve been so supportive of me and so invested in me and my projects,” Fallahian said. “It’s because of them that I like doing research. I definitely want to continue research in my residency and I’m interested in a career in academic medicine, so I’d like to continue with this even with I’m finished with my residency.”

Chizitam Ibezim, a third-year medical student, was presenting a poster that explores a growing wave of patient dependence on narcotics used as medications while recovering from fractures. He said his research has given him a good foundation for when begins his pharmacology class this summer.

“This project looks at a lot of pharmaceutical factors and I haven’t even taken pharmacology yet,” he said. “But this has allowed me to explore that and get a firm foothold into pharmaceuticals, how they’re prescribed and how medications work.”

Nichols said she was impressed with the research projects on display.

“The quality of the projects is amazing when you look at these students and see how well they can discuss the research and talk about the background, talk about the complications and discuss their findings,” she said.

Nichols said Michael Wacker, Ph.D., and Larry Dall, M.D., assistant deans for medical student research, and Agostino Molteni, M.D., Ph.D., director of student research, have been instrumental in getting more students involved in research activities.

“They’ve done an excellent job in coordinating student research and really helping students find the right research project, the right research mentor and placing them in (research) labs,” she said.

Physician Assistant students take part in 2017 White Coat Ceremony

Members of the School of Medicine’s physician assistant program took part in the reading the PA Professional Oath during the annual White Coat Ceremony on April 15.

Eighteen students from the UMKC School of Medicine’s master’s program for Physician Assistants took the spotlight at the UMKC Student Union on April 15.

The class read aloud the Physician Assistant Professional Oath as part of the program’s White Coat Ceremony, marking a milestone in the journey toward completing  the Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant degree.

At the School of Medicine, the annual rite takes place at the beginning of the students’ fifth semester of the seven-semester program. It signifies the time of students transitioning from the classroom to the clinical phase of their training.

This was the third year of the White Coat Ceremony for the school’s PA program, which celebrated its first graduating class last May.

Following a brief welcome and introductions from program director Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., PA-C, Jim Wooten, Pharm. D., and associate professor of medicine for the departments of Basic Medical Sciences and Internal Medicine, offered brief remarks of encouragement.

Members of the PA program faculty then placed the white coats on their students’ shoulders. The white coat is considered a mantle of the medical profession and the ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care and expertise in the science of medicine.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation initiated the White Coat Ceremony to welcome students into the medical profession and set expectations for their role as health care providers by having them read their professional oath. Today, nearly 97 percent of the AAMC-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, and many osteopathic schools of medicine conduct a White Coat Ceremony. The Foundation partnered with the Physician Assistant Education Association to provide funding to establish the first White Coat Ceremonies for PA programs at the end of 2013.

APAMSA members participate in health fair for refugee community

APAMSA members took part in a one-day, free health for the refugee community on March 11.

On March 11, School of Medicine members of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association took part in a free health fair for foreign refugees. The event was open to the public and was the first health fair conducted by the UMKC students directed toward refugees.

More than 40 students assisted the Jewish Vocation Service with the program. It offered free blood glucose screenings, blood pressure checks, cholesterol/lipid panels and translator services.

“The majority of the people who came were in the refugee community programs with the JVS,” explained Sarthak Garg, a member of APAMSA.

The health fair drew more than 100 people from the community, Garg said.

Students turn interprofessional education into a competition

UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton presented prizes to the winners of the first Interprofessional Education and Collaboration Healthcare Reasoning Competition: Diana Jun, medicine; Isioma Amayo, medicine; Hanna Miller, nursing; Ashley Ragan, pharmacy; Gift Maliton, pharmacy; Asad Helal, medicine.

Interprofessional education at UMKC’s health sciences schools has spawned an interprofessional competition.

Nearly 50 students from the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy worked together as members of nine interprofessional teams putting their combined skills to the test in the first Interprofessional Education and Collaboration Healthcare Reasoning Competition.

UMKC health sciences students took part in the first IPEC Healthcare Reasoning Competition at the School of Medicine.

The daylong, case-based simulation competition took place in conjunction with the fifth-annual Interprofessional Education Faculty Symposium at the School of Medicine. It was the brainchild of a smaller group of seven students from different disciplines who formed a UMKC IPE Student Interest Group to promote interprofessional education.

“This started with the IPE interest group,” said Stefanie Ellison, M.D., IPE coordinator for the School of Medicine. “Seven or eight student were really interested in this. It was their energy that made it happen and everything fell in place.”

Members of the student interest group include Morgan Beard, Vincent Cascone, Maggie Kirwin,  Grant Randall, Alie Reinbold,  Mitchell Solano, and Robert Weidling.

Weidling said the group developed the competition after taking part in a similar event at Creighton University. The team spent the next eight months working on the structure of the competition. Ellison and Emily Hillman, M.D., assistant program director and clerkship director for emergency medicine, and faculty sponsor for the school’s Sim Wars team, provided faculty guidance.

“The most important goal of our event was to help students understand the importance of interprofessional teamwork,” Weidling said. “We wanted students to be put into a position where they were forced to augment their weaknesses with the strengths of the other interprofessional students, such as relying on pharmacy students to employ complex pharmacological treatment plans, medicine students to produce a robust differential diagnosis, and nursing students to craft care plans.”

For the competition. At least two different schools were represented on each team of five to six students. Each team was given a case with pertinent patient history and vital statistics, then given 90 minutes to prepare a treatment plan using their personal skills and other resources, such as Internet access. After 90-minute, teams gave 10-minute presentations to an interprofessional panel of judges made up of faculty from the health sciences schools. Each presentation offered the team’s treatment plan for the patient and how the team worked together to develop the plan.

The top four teams from the first round of competition were then given a new, unique case to prepare without using any outside resources.

Teams were evaluated on skills such as collaboration, demonstration of medical knowledge, ability to manage health-care decision and using their individual roles and responsibilities, and use of evidence-based medicine.

Ellison said the winning teams maximized their roles.

“Their knowledge and the skill sets of each team member allowed them to best take care of the patient,” she said. “That’s how we function every day.”

Weidling said the students enjoyed the event and that group is already planning for the next competition with hopes of creating a regional event for health sciences school throughout the midwest.

“The most common comment I heard was that all of the interprofessional team members felt valued and left with a greater appreciation of what each of our varying medical disciplines do,” Weidling said.

The top four winning teams selected by the judges were:

First Place: Isioma Amayo, medicine; Assadulah (Asad) Helal, medicine; Diana Jun, medicine; Rattanaporn (Gift) Malitong, pharmacy; Hanna Miller, nursing; Ashley (Kate) Ragan, pharmacy.

Second Place: Ma Chu, pharmacy; Jordann Dhuse, medicine; Mallory Matter, nursing; Tjeoma Onyema, pharmacy; Minh Vuong-Dac, medicine.

Third Place: Kristine Brungardt, nursing;Hayley Byers, nursing; Tom Green, medicine; Angela Kaucher, pharmacy; Alex Poppen, pharmacy.

Fourth Place: Jess Belyew, nursing; Bowers, nursing; Matt Buswell, dentistry; Emily Herndon, nursing; Amber Reinert, pharmacy.

Match Day a time for joy, celebration at UMKC School of Medicine

Jasleen Ghuman was all smiles as she shared her Match Day letter with friends on Friday.

Jasleen Ghuman opened the white envelope in her hands, took a quick peek at the single page message inside, and exploded with screams of joy.

Ten years ago, Ghuman came to the United States from India with her mother and siblings. Her dream was to become a doctor.

Her dream took a big step toward becoming reality on Match Day, Friday, March 17. That’s when she learned that she will be headed to Northwestern University in Chicago this summer to begin a residency in internal medicine after graduating from the UMKC School of Medicine in May.

“It’s my number one choice,” Ghuman said. “I got it. I’m very, very pleased and surprised. I never thought I’d go this far. You have those moments when you aim really high and then you start to question your choice. And then it happens. I’m so excited.”

She wasn’t alone.

View the 2017 UMKC School of Medicine Match Day results and photo album

Nearly 100 students in the School of Medicine’s Class of 2017 participated in this year’s National Residency Matching Program. Before receiving their Match letters from the Education Team Coordinators, they received an encouraging buildup from School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D.

“I know what you have had to do to get to this day, and how hard you have had to work,” Kanter said. “You’ve done a magnificent job. I know how great a job you’ve done because I get to see the results just a little bit before you do, and I can tell you this is the best match this school has ever had.”

Nearly 40 percent of this year’s class matched to a primary care specialty. Internal medicine had the largest number of UMKC student matches with 21, followed by pediatrics with 10, and  family medicine with six. Twenty-three students will remain in Missouri for their residencies, 13 of them in the Kansas City area, including nine who matched to UMKC residencies and three who will stay in Kansas City for pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

For Bilal Alam, the news was still sinking nearly 15 minutes after opening his envelope. At Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University had just one residency position available for an interventional radiologist.

The letter told Alam that position was his.

“I’m very humbled,” Alam said. “I can’t even describe the feeling I have right now.”

Looking on, Alam’s father, Mahmood, said, “I was praying for this and it happened.”

“I’m shocked,” Alam said. “I literally can’t believe it.”

Medical students at schools across the country were sharing in the excitement at the same moment. The NRMP embargoes the public release of its list of where students have matched until 11 a.m. Central time each year.

For students like Ghuman, it is a time of dreams coming true. Living in India, the family finances weren’t available for her to attend medical school. She earned a nursing degree instead. When the family moved to the United States, she began to support herself working at a nursing home. She later worked as a certified nursing assistant at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle before taking a chance and coming to Kansas City to attend medical school.

As a crowd around her celebrated, a friend held up Ghuman’s cell phone. Her mother was on the other end, watching by Skype back home in Seattle. Half a country apart, the two celebrated together for a few moments.

“It’s been a long exciting journey,” Ghuman said. “I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family.”

2017 UMKC School of Medicine
Match Facts

Primary care specialties:
Internal Medicine — 21
Pediatrics — 10
Family Medicine — 6
Medicine-Pediatrics — 2
Primary Medicine  — 1
Total — 39 = 40%

General surgery & subspecialties:
Obstetrics/Gynecology — 5
General Surgery — 4
Orthopedic Surgery — 3
Otolaryngology — 2
Oral Surgery —  2
Total — 16 = 16%

Metro Kansas City area matches:
UMKC — 9
Children’s Mercy — 3
Univ. of Kansas — 1
Total — 13 = 13%

Missouri matches:
Kansas City metro — 13
Washington Univ. — 6
Missouri-Columbia — 2
St. Louis Univ. — 2
Total — 23 = 23%

Other top states:
California — 7
Illinois — 7
New York — 6

Notable residency programs students matched into:
Mayo School of GME-Rochester
Stanford University
Harvard University
Brown University
Duke University
Emory University
Northwestern University

*includes categorical/advanced positions only