Tag Archives: Students

Missouri medical association awards scholarships to UMKC students

School of Medicine recipients of Missouri State Medical Association scholarships are: (front row, left to right) Rico Beuford, Austin Harris, Adele Souter, Elizabeth Robin, Paige Charboneau. (Back row) Fred Hahn, M.D., MSMA representative, Dylan Schwindt, Robert Johnson, Keaton Altom, Samuel Maples. Not pictured: Madeline Klaesner

The Missouri State Medical Association recently awarded scholarships to 10 students at the UMKC School of Medicine for the 2018-19 school year.

This year’s School of Medicine recipients are Keaton Altom, Rico Beuford, Paige Charboneau, Austin Harris, Robert Johnson, Madeline Klaesner, Samuel Maples, Elizabeth Robin,  Adele Souter and Dylan Schwindt.

Scholarship are given annually to fourth-year medical students who are graduates of a Missouri high school.

Missouri physicians formed the MSMA in 1850 to serve as a voice for the medical profession, physicians and their patients. The organization includes a Medical Student Section that addresses issues important to students of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree programs.

Hospital Hill overcomes weather for another successful run

Nearly 2,900 runners outlasted the weather on June 2 to take part in the 2018 Hospital Hill Run that was sponsored by the UMKC Health Sciences District.

From extreme heat on Friday to high winds and a menacing storm front early Saturday, the weather caused big worries just before the 2018 Hospital Hill Run, sponsored by the UMKC Health Sciences District. But after the starting horn sounded at 7:30 Saturday morning, June 2, cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s prevailed, making it a good day for the races.

Mid-90s heat caused the usual Friday evening 5K to be pushed to 7 a.m. Saturday, when the 7.7-mile and half-marathon races also were to begin. Because of lightning and a brewing storm, that start time was delayed an additional 30 minutes. But the big storm never materialized along the race routes, and all three runs started and finished in good order at Crown Center.

This was the 45th year for the race, which drew more than 2,800 entrants for its three distances, and the first year for the UMKC Health Sciences District to be the lead sponsor of the race.  Several of the dozen institutions that make up the district also provided the physicians, nurses, students and other health care professionals to staff the medical tent for runners in distress.

The cool weather helped, and just more than 30 runners ended up needing any medical help.

School of Medicine students, residents and faculty joined health care professionals from across Hospitall Hill to man the medical tent at the 2018 Hospital Hill Run.

“We had a very light day in the medical tent,” said Margaret E. “Meg” Gibson, M.D., medical director for the Hospital Hill Run and director of the UMKC Sports Medicine Fellowship. “The cool weather definitely was a big factor. However, we still had runners coming in with hyperthermia, high temperatures, and needed immediate treatment. Most presented with fatigue, muscle cramps, needing ice.”

Gibson, who has worked the race for nine years, said 50 to 100 people needing help on race day is more typical. She and her staff were ready for much worse. The medical tent was stocked with cots, ice packs, bandages and even an iced-down tub to treat the worst cases of overheating.

“We had an excellent team of volunteers that provided excellent care,” said Gibson, who practices in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Truman Medical Center Lakewood. “The medical tent would not be a success without their help. In total, we had 16 students, nine residents and fellows from TMC Lakewood and UMKC, 13 nurses from TMC and the community, and two physical therapists from TMC and one from Children’s Mercy Hospital.”

One of the residents, Cassie From, D.O., packed as much as she could into the morning. She ran the 5K before helping staff the tent.

“I have three kids at home, so I’m used to doing more than one thing at a time, fitting things in when I can,” she said Saturday right after the 5K and before any runners came to the tent needing help. “I wasn’t going to be able to do the race Friday evening because I had to work an overnight shift. But when they moved it to this morning, I had a friend sign me up yesterday. So I worked my shift, came here and ran the race, and now I can help in the tent. This also fills a community service requirement for my residency.”

The unique UMKC Health Sciences District is made up of UMKC; its Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies, and Pharmacy; Children’s Mercy Kansas City and Truman Medical Centers; the Kansas City (Mo.) Health Department; the Missouri Department of Mental Health Center for Behavioral Medicine; Jackson County Medical Examiner; Diastole Scholars’ Center; and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.

The Hospital Hill Run was started by E. Grey Dimond, M.D. He also founded the UMKC School of Medicine, which in recent years sponsored the 5K. The UMKC Health Sciences district became the lead sponsor for all the races shortly after the district was founded a year ago.

The race weekend usually draws top runners from around the country, plus many local participants, often from fitness groups. That was the case Saturday for about 15 runners from the Sunday Runday North contingent. They met, stretched, chatted and watched the sky for a while at Crown Center before heading to the starting line.

One member of the group, Matt Kaspar, said this was his first Hospital Hill, and he chose the 7.7-mile race.

“I did a half marathon two weeks ago,” he said, “but this course is more challenging, hillier.”

Perhaps helped by the weather, the division winners in all three races turned in good times.

The first to cross the finish line in the 5K race was Zach Grover, 18, of Lee’s Summit. He won the men’s division in 17:17, followed 13 seconds later by his younger brother, Dylan Grover. Jennifer Butler, 29, of Overland Park, won the women’s division in 22:13. The race had 380 entries.

Zan Johnson, 20, of Olathe, won the men’s division of the 7.7-mile run in 45:12, and Jamie Martens, 42, of Mission, Kansas, won the women’s division in 54:53. That race had 1,004 entries.

An hour and 10 minutes (and 9 seconds) after the starting horn, the half marathon winner crossed the finish line: Austin Bogina, 24, of Arma, Kansas. The women’s division winner, Elle Meyer, 32, finished in 1:21:43. The half marathon had 1,487 entries.

Full race results, along with other information, are available online.

 

Sarah Morrison research award recipients announced

Sarah Morrison Student Research Award recipient for Spring 2018: (left to right, first row) Taylor Carter, Keerthi Gondi, Rishabh Gupta, Debolina Kanjilal; (second row) Shrusti Mehta, Nikitha Potturi, Hussain Rao, Alisha Shah; (third row) Garth Sherman, Siddhant Thukral, Jeremy Provance.

The School of Medicine Student Research Program has awarded 11 Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards for the Spring 2018 cycle. Recipients included 10 medical students and one graduate student.

Sarah Morrison awards of up to $2,500 are presented each year in April and October. More than 100 students have received an estimated $104,669 in financial support from the program to conduct research projects at the School of Medicine.

The deadlines for students interested in research who wish to be considered for one of the Sarah Morrison awards are March 1 and September. 1 each year. Applicants are reviewed by a committee of faculty judges and processed through the Office of Research Administration.

For complete application information, visit the student research website.

Spring 2018 Sarah Morrison Research Award
(Recipient / Faculty Mentor / Project title)

  • Taylor Carter, MS 5 / Miranda Huffman, M.D., associate professor of community and family medicine / The Need for Diversity: Narrative Review of Learning and Social Environment of Underrepresented Minority Medical Students at an U.S. Medical School
  • Keerthi Gondi, MS 4 / Sean Gratton, M.D., assistant professor of neurology / Prevalence, Treatment, and Outcomes of Asymptomatic Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension in a Pediatric Population
  • Rishabh Gupta, MS 3 / Peter Koulen, Ph.D., professor of basic medical science, Sabates Endowed Chair in Vision Research / Disease-mediated changes in Ca2+ channels during optic neuritis
  • Debolina Kanjilal, MS 3 / Gary Sutkin, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Endowed Chair in Women’s Health / The Pursuit of Error-Free Surgery
  • Shrusti Mehta, MS 3 / Paula Nichols, Ph.D., professor and chair of basic medical science / Molecular and Cellular consequences of Necrotizing Enterocolitis on neurodevelopment
  • Nikitha Potturi, MS 5, David Mundy, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology / Fetal Structural Cardiac Disease: Maternal & Neonatal Outcomes
  • Hussain Rao, MS 3, / Peter Koulen, Ph.D., professor of basic medical science, Sabates Endowed Chair in Vision Research / Pharmacological control of oxidative stress-mediated effects on endocannabinoid signaling
  • Alisha Shah, MS 3 / Peter Koulen Ph.D., professor of basic medical science, Sabates Endowed Chair in Vision Research / The role of MAPKs in innate immune system signaling in age-related macular degeneration pathogenesis
  • Garth Sherman, MS 5 / Fariha Shafi, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine / The effectiveness of BCG after local radiation therapy for Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer
  • Siddhant Thukral, MS 4, Paul Reicherter, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine / Serum Zonulin levels as measured during a Psoriasis Flare
  • Jeremy Provance, I.Ph.D. student / Kim Smolderen, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical and health informatics / Studying Amputations in the Cerner Health Facts Database: Overlap with Peripheral Artery Disease, Diabetes, and Prognostic Outcomes

School of Medicine recognizes Class of 2018

Members of the School of Medicine Class of 2018 line up to have their names called during the Commcencement ceremony on May 21 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

In his final commencement address as UMKC School of Medicine Dean, Steven L. Kanter, M.D., applauded the Class of 2018 for its accomplishments and welcomed the graduates to the health care profession on May 21 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The School of Medicine recognized more than 150 graduates with degrees for doctor of medicine, masters in anesthesia, bioinformatics, health professions education, physician assistants, and a graduate certificate in clinical research.

Kanter, who will assume the role of president and chief executive officer of the Association of Academic Health Centers and the Association of Academic Health Centers International (AAHCI) on July 1, reminded the graduates that they are now part of a rich legacy and long-standing tradition of outstanding alumni of the School of Medicine.

One of those alumni, Michael Hinni, M.D. ’88, spoke to the class as the 2018 E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award winner. A renowned surgeon and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the May Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, recounted his time at the School of Medicine how it prepared him for his current role in medicine. Specifically, to the more than 110 new physicians, he encouraged them to trust themselves and their education.

He said he was more prepared than he imagined when began his residency  because of his vast training at the School of Medicine.

“And you will be, too,” Hinni said. “So, a shout out to the School of Medicine and all of your achievements and your careers.”

2018 Student Award Winners

Master of Science Anesthesia

Jennifer Nolan | Student Ambassador Award

Master of Science Bioinformatics

Carrie Kriz | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence

Krishna Patel | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence

Doctor of Medicine

Gaurav Anand | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate

Danielle Cunningham | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Medical Education; Richardson K. Noback, M.D., Founders’ Award for Clinical Excellence; Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Award for Excellence in Microbiology; Lee Langley Award

Dorothy Daniel | Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Bette Hamilton, M.D., Memorial Award for Excellence in Immunology

Sanju Eswaran | Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Lee Langley Award; Richardson K. Noback, M.D., Founders’ Award for Clinical Excellence

Ravali Gummi | Ratilal S. Shah Medical Scholarship Fund; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Honor Recipient

Ahsan Hussain | J. Michael de Ungria, M.D. Humanitarian Award

Margaret Kirwin | Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D. Award for Excellence in Pathology

Brooks Kimmis | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate

Peter Lazarz | James F. Stanford, M.D. Patient Advocate Scholarship

Eric Dean Merrill | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Award for Research

Steven Philips | UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Award Association Outstanding Senior Partner

Omar Qayum | Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence

Nidhi Reddy | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation

Alexandra Reinbold | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation

Salvador Rios | Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Award

David Sanborn | Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Honor Recipient

Meghna Singh | Friends of UMKC Harry S. Jonas, M.D., Award; Laura L. Backus, M.D. Award for Excellence in Pediatrics

Shikhar Tomur | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Basic Science Award

Sai Vanam | ACP Senior Student Book Award

Christopher Wester | Pat D. Do, M.D., Matching Scholarship in Orthopedics

Danielle Witt | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence

 

Sojourner Clinic honors volunteers

The awards banquet was well attended.

Hundreds of student volunteers were recognized May 8 at the annual Sojourner Clinic Banquet, which was held at the Diastole Scholars’ Center. Students put in more than 1,500 volunteer hours each year treating more than 300 patients in more than 800 patient visits at the clinic, which offers free care to the homeless in downtown Kansas City.

This year’s award winners:

Top Year 1 Volunteer – Harshita Degala
Top Year 2 Volunteers – Madhavi Murali & Alaya Bodepudi
Top Year 3 Volunteer – Koral Shah
Top Year 4 Volunteer – Komal Kumar
Top Year 5 Volunteer – Jessica Wise
Top Year 6 Volunteer – Rahul Maheshwari
Top PA Student Volunteer – Emma Windham
Top Pharmacy Student Volunteer – Katie Tuck
Brook Nelson Award for Leadership – Michele Yang
Ellen Beck Award for Dedication – Imaima Casubhoy
Angela Barnett Award for Humanism – Koral Shah
Dan Purdom Award for Commitment – Eshwar Kishore

The clinic also has a new board for 2018-2019:

Executive Directors: Danielle Terrill and Adithi Reddy
Laboratory Director: Michele Yang
Patient Assistance Program Director: Priyesha Bijlani
Lead Clinic Manager: Elle Glaser
Financial Chair: Rose Puthumana
Clinic Managers: Seenu Abraham, Jessica Wise, Vishnu Harikumar, Antonio Petralia, Tony Cheng, Shipra Singh, Elizabeth Theng, Raga Kilaru, Vijay Letchuman
Main Operations Director: Kavelin Rumalla
Lab Managers: Alaya Bodepudi, Madhavi Murali, Imaima Casubhoy
PA Reps: TBA
Webmasters: Eshwar Kishore, Mrudula Gandham
PR Reps: Sriram Paravastu, Adnan Islam
Secretary: Angela Nwankwo
Pharmacy Liaison: Riddhi M. Ishanpara
Junior Financial Chair: Shruti Kumar

More on the clinic and award winners is here.

Students, residents present abstracts at annual patient safety day event

Students, residents and fellows presented 38 posters at the School of Medicine’s annual Vijay Babu Rayudu Quality and Patient Safety Day on May 11.

Students, residents and fellows presented a record number of 35 research abstracts related to quality improvement and patient safety during the School of Medicine’s Fifth Annual Vijay Babu Rayudu Quality and Patient Safety Day on May 11.

The event also consisted of a series of workshops and talks for faculty on subjects including hospital transitions of care activities,  incorporating simulation and human factors analysis into health care training, and making educational and clinical training count twice.

Carolyn Clancy, M.D., executive in charge, Veterans Health Administration, left, was the keynote speaker for the 2018 Quality and Patient Safety Day.

Carolyn Clancy, M.D., Veterans Health Administration Executive in Charge, gave the keynote speech at noon. Clancy talked about the stride the Veterans Administration has made in providing health care for veterans and how it is a leader in health care innovations.

The afternoon sessions were reserved for oral presentations and poster presentations by students, residents and fellows.

The top two student and top two resident/fellow abstracts were selected for oral presentations. Fifth-year students Laura Meidl and Nyaluma Wagala were selected for student oral presentations. Omar Abughanimeh, M.D., and Talal Asif, M.D., gave the oral presenations by a residents/fellows.

The top poster presentation awards were given to Salvador Rios, sixth-year student, for student poster, and Punita Grover, M.D., for resident/fellow poster. Second-place winners were Cindy Jiang, fifth-year student, and Parth Patel, M.D.

Top Prize Oral Presentations
Students
Laura Meidl, MS5; Ashley Cooper, MD; Kelli Zuckerman, RN; Julia Harris, MD: Improved Influenza Vaccination Rates Among Immunosuppressed Patients in Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic
Nyaluma Wagala, MS5; Emily Boschert, MS4: Alcohol Intoxication and Orthopedic Trauma: Who Provides the Counseling?
Resident/Fellows:
Omar Abughanimeh, MD; Guy Fogg, MD; Bo Song, MD; Laith Numan, MD; Moustafa Younis, MD; Solomon Kim, MD; Ayman Qasrawi, MD; Noel Torres-Acosta, MD; Kristin Gillenwater, MD: Improving Diabetic Retinopathy Screening In Internal Medicine Clinics
Talal Asif, MD; Rehman Ukani, MD; Laith Derbas, MD; Ahmed Elkaryoni, MD; Zara Wadood, MD; Lauren Misher, PharmD; Jeane Johnson, PharmD; Julie Banderas, PharmD; David Wooldridge, MD: Reducing 30-Day Readmission Rates of COPD Exacerbations: A Comprehensive Management Approach

Poster Presentations
Students
First place: Salvador Rios, MS6, Amy Stubbs, MD; Monica Gaddis, PhD; Jason Hurt, MD: Are Women Diagnosed with ACS Under-Triaged?
Second Place:  Cindy Jiang, MS5, Niraj Madhani, MS5; Binoy Shah, MS5: The Utility Of Procalcitonin Levels in the Detection and Diagnosis of Viridans streptococci Endocarditis
Residents/Fellows
First
Place: Punita Grover, MD; Eslam Dosokey, MD; Nikita Maniar, MD; Tarana Gill, MD; Siva Taduru, MD; Ashley Tatum, MD; Ginger Jenkins, PhD; Sheena Spielberg, MD; Julie Banderas, PharmD; David Wooldridge, MD; Kristin Gillenwater, DO: Standardizing the Process of Ordering Screening Mammograms in Primary Care Clinics.
Second Place:  Parth Patel, MD; Walen Bahaj, MD; Badar Hasan, MD; Marjan Nazer, MD; Robin Imperial, MD; Ellen Troudt, MD; Ahmed Elkafrawy, MD, Julie Banderas, PharmD; David Wooldridge, MD, Kristin Gillenwater, DO: Improving Rate of Screening Mammograms Completed at TMC-HH

Research fellowship yields award-winning results for UMKC medical student Carlee Oakley

Carlee Oakley was recognized for her research project.

UMKC medical student Carlee Oakley is one of only five students nationwide to win a TL1 Top Poster Award for her research. It was presented recently in Washington at a meeting of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science.

Patients with chronic kidney disease have an increased risk for heart disease and heart attacks, and Oakley’s research identified a possible factor in that risk. She found that the chemical TMAO, trimethylamine-N-oxide, found in higher concentrations in kidney patients, increases the force and rate of cardiac contractions.

“I used a mouse model in my first series of experiments,” Oakley said. “To see if our findings translated to the human heart, we were able to test human atrial appendage biopsy tissue. This confirmed that TMAO directly influences human cardiac function.”

The Association for Clinical and Translational Science awarded blue ribbons to 60 research projects, and 57 of them were presented and judged at the conference. Oakley and four others were judged the best and received blue ribbon awards, significant of being in the top 10 percent of entrants.

The contest is part of the Frontiers CTSA TL1 program, a research fellowship. CTSA stands for clinical and translational science awards. Oakley took a year off between her fifth and sixth years of UMKC’s B.A./M.D. program for the fellowship.

“The Frontiers TL1 training fellowship seemed like an incredible opportunity to focus on my research and to supplement my traditional medical education with formal training in clinical research methodology, biostatistics and epidemiology through the Master of Science in Clinical Research program at the University of Kansas Medical Center,” Oakley said. “My research mentor, Dr. Mike Wacker, and my docent, Dr. Jignesh Shah, were both very supportive and encouraged me to apply.”

Oakley added, “We are taught that the best physicians practice evidence-based medicine. I hope to not only practice but to also contribute to evidence-based medicine. My goal is to become a clinician-scientist. I hope research is a vital part of my future practice, though I do not foresee ever giving up the clinical aspect.”

Her initial research used a mouse heart.

Oakley also recently defended her TL1 thesis, completing her fellowship work with honors. She did substantial work on her research with Wacker and other members of his lab team before going into the fellowship. She said David Sanborn, who is set to graduate and start a residency at the Mayo Clinic this summer, helped her with the project along with other members of the Wacker lab. She also collaborated with Dr. Jason Stubbs, a nephrologist and researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Kidney Institute, and a team of cardiac surgeons at the KU Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Research Institute.

Oakley, who plans a career in neurology, said she was drawn to UMKC from Sioux City, Iowa, because she was impressed by the School of Medicine’s six-year program and docent system. She met Wacker during the Human Structure Function course he helps teach and joined his cardiovascular research lab shortly after.

The other top finishers receiving the poster award are from the University of Michigan, Duke University, the University of Colorado-Denver and Georgetown-Howard Universities.

School of Medicine unveils new Student Wellness Wing

Niloofar Shahmohammadi, School of Medicine wellness program coordinator, shows off the new Wellness Wing for students.

Note to students entering the UMKC School of Medicine’s new fifth-floor Wellness Wing: Studying is off limits.

Niloofar Shahmohammadi is the school’s wellness program coordinator who brought the Wellness Wing to life. She calls the space a special area where students can step away from the rigors of schoolwork for a short while.

“This is our official wellness place where you can take a break, step away and then get back to what you need to do,” Shahmohammadi said.

The School of Medicine officially opened the space on May 9 with a grand opening event that included food and drawings for door prizes.

A massage chair sits discreetly in one corner of the room. Large bean bags on the floor along one wall allow students to stretch out and relax while soft music fills the area. Tables loaded with puzzles, coloring books and arts and crafts, sports equipment that can be checked out, and a small library of books on wellness are just some of what the area offers as an escape from the rigors of study and work.

Two computers loaded with meditation software are available. Students can also step in for a drink of tea, or to check out a Fitbit to count their steps while they’re active.

The area once housed the school’s curriculum office. Now, Shahmohammadi said, it is intentionally designed not to look or feel like any other room in the building.

“You are in the library studying all day. You are in the clinic and you’re working all day,” she said. “This is a little oasis where you can step away in the middle of your day, maybe during your lunch break, maybe in a break between classes, step in here and get rejuvenated.”

The room will be open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to provide students a place to get away after class hours. Student members of the wellness council will fill shifts manning a front desk to help those who want to check out equipment or need help with the meditation software.

Shahmohammadi applauded School of Medicine advancement director, Fred Schlichting, for obtaining support and funding from the school’s alumni association to make the area a reality. The two met about a year ago to talk about student wellness needs. That’s when she shared her ideas for a physical space at the medical school where students can escape the stresses of schoolwork.

“He said, ‘I think we can make that work,’” Shahmohammadi said. “Because he works with the alumni, he was able to allocate some alumni association funds for this project. All of a sudden, in one year, it’s here and we’re very excited.”

Med school students, staff receive vice chancellor honor

Ravali Gummi, David Sanborn, Jennifer Tufts

Two of the School of Medicine’s May graduates, Ravali Gummi and David Sanborn, have been selected as UMKC Vice Chancellor’s Honor Recipients. Staff member Jennifer Tufts, academic advisor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, also received the honor.

The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management takes nominations from each academic unit to recognize graduating students who have excelled in academic achievement, leadership and service to UMKC and the community.

Gummi was nominated by her faculty mentor, Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of basic research at the school’s Vision Research Center. Gummi gave a presentation on the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic and was invited to speak during the opening ceremony of this year’s Clinton Global Initiative.

Sanborn, who has served on the school’s Council on Evaluation and Coordinating Committee, was nominated by his docent, Fariha Shaffi, M.D. He is a member of the Gold Humanism Society and the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. Sanborn also led an independent student analysis in preparation for the school’s recent evaluation visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Tufts is completing a Master’s of Arts degree through the School of Liberal Arts with a focus on public history and urban planning. While studying for her degree and working, she has served as president of her local community organization for the past two years. Tufts was nominated by her faculty mentor Sandra Enriquez, Ph.D., a professor of history.

Vision crucial for improving U.S. health care, AOA lecturer says

Steve Miller, M.D. ’88, delivered this year’s AOA Lecture.

Improving U.S. medical care while holding down costs will require vision and innovation. Short-sighted adjustments that perpetuate longstanding ways of practicing medicine won’t bring about the changes needed.

That was the message delivered May 4 by Steve Miller, M.D. ’83, in the 2018 AOA Lecture at the UMKC School of Medicine. Miller is senior vice president and chief medical officer of Express Scripts, a large pharmacy benefits manager based in St. Louis.

Miller used St. Louis to illustrate the importance of vision — and the peril of lacking it. At the turn of the 20th century, St. Louis was the Gateway to the West and a city on the rise. It had the first U.S. skyscraper, the Wainwright Building, and in 1904 the largest World’s Fair ever. But the city was about to be eclipsed because of its decision backin the mid-1850s against building a railroad bridge over the Mississippi River, betting on river travel remaining more important than the promise of a transcontinental railroad.

St. Louis had violated an important principle, letting existing resources limit its vision. And, Miller said, “When you don’t have the right vision, others are going to do something about it.”

Today, Miller said, U.S. health care has the same problem of limited vision, spending far more than other developed countries but without better outcomes. A system designed by physicians for their own convenience has limited innovation, to the point where examining rooms look much as they did 100 years ago, and physicians see about the same number of patients as they did in the early 1900s.

Against that stagnant productivity, he said, 12,000 minute clinics have sprung up, but not with any evidence of better results or lower costs. There’s evidence that, for example, they overprescribe antibiotics and don’t produce better health care. But they are growing, he said, because their hours and convenience are what people want.

Medicine has improved greatly in other ways, Miller said, often involving his company’s area of expertise, pharmaceuticals. For example, he said, better medicines have virtually eliminated operating on peptic ulcers, once among the most common surgeries, and also have greatly reduced the number of heart bypass surgeries.

Miller said his company, Express Scripts, besides managing pharmacy benefits, is also the third largest pharmacy company in the U.S. Its automated pharmacies, he said, have improved convenience and greatly reduced errors in the dispensing of medicines. And as a large benefits manager, his company works to hold down drug prices by increasing pharmaceutical makers’ bidding for its business.

Working to hold down prices is becoming even more important, he said, because the pharmaceuticals being developed now are mainly specialty drugs, with the promise of effectively treating relatively rare illnesses.

So the possibilities are exciting, he said, but vision will be crucial to finding innovative ways to make breakthroughs affordable and accessible for everyone.