Tag Archives: Wellness

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.”

Wellness program event focuses on work-life balance


School of Medicine faculty members Rebecca Pauly, M.D., Blue 4 docent, Reem Mustafa, M.D., Blue 3 docent, Fariha Shafi, M.D., Gold 7 docent, Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of the School’s Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program, and Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., associate dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health, took part in a panel discussion on Oct. 22 at the School of Medicine on how to strike a healthy work/life balance.
School of Medicine faculty members Rebecca Pauly, M.D., Blue 4 docent, Reem Mustafa, M.D., Blue 3 docent, Fariha Shafi, M.D., Gold 7 docent, Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of the School’s Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program, and Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., associate dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health, took part in a panel discussion on Oct. 22 at the School of Medicine on how to strike a healthy work/life balance.

Striking just the right balance between work, particularly the demanding role of a health care professional, and the home and family life can be a challenge for anyone. A panel of female faculty members from the School of Medicine shared their experience on how they go about it during an after school discussion on Oct. 22 in Theater C.

The Women in Medicine event conducted by the School’s Wellness Program drew a number of female students who took part with questions for five panelists: Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., associate dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health, Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of the School’s Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program, Reem Mustafa, M.D., Blue 3 docent, Rebecca Pauly, M.D., Blue 4 docent, and Fariha Shafi, M.D., Gold 7 docent.

Pauly, who also works with the School’s faculty development programs, said her advice for maintaining a health balance includes being efficient  and living in the present moment.

“Multitasking means none of the tasks have your full attention and likely are not being completed with your best effort,” she said. “Stay focused.”

There are times in life, Pauly said, when one may need to make the decision to put aspects of their career on hold for a period of time.

“You may decide that you can work full-time while your child is age 3 months to 4 years but when he or she starts school at age 5 or 6, you want to be home in the afternoon and thus need to work part-time until the child enters middle school,” Pauly said. “During these years you may elect to only travel to one academic meeting per year, not three or four.”

Pauly also suggested that one should seek help whether from family, friends or even be willing to hire help to avoid becoming isolated and stretching oneself too thin across too many responsibilities.

“Look for time to escape and rejuvenate,” she said.

The Wellness Program offers students wellness planning and coaching sessions to help them succeed in a rigorous academic environment as well as a variety of workshops throughout the year that focus on topics from cooking to making therapeutic lifestyle changes.

For more information about the Wellness Program, contact Niloofar Shahmohammadi, program coordinator, at shahmohammadin@umkc.edu or at 235-1862.

UMKC goes Smoke-Free on Aug. 1

SmokeFreeBannerA program to clear the air across UMKC begins on Aug. 1 when the Hospital Hill and Volker campuses embark on a new smoke-free, tobacco-free policy. UMKC students, employees and vistors will no longer be allowed to smoke on University property, including parking garages.

Smoking will be prohibited inside all University buildings, but will be permitted outdoors off UMKC property. University properties include, but are not limited to:

  • All outdoor common and educational areas; inside all university owned or leased buildings
  • Campus sidewalks
  • Campus parking lots
  • Recreational areas
  • Outdoor stadiums
  • University-owned and leased vehicles (regardless of location)

The smoking ban does not apply to public rights-of-way (sidewalks/streets) within the campus boundaries, as these are governed by City of Kansas City ordinance.

The University will offer aid to smokers with a desire to quit with a smoking cessation coach and other resources.

“I understand that this change may be difficult for those of you who smoke,” UMKC  Chancellor Leo Morton said. “For employees and students who would like to stop, the university will work in conjunction with Healthy for Life, the Student Health and Wellness Center and other resources that offer cessation programs. In some cases, cessation tools and nicotine replacement therapy will be free to students and employees.”

The policy change comes as a result of a student-led initiative that indicated a significant majority of employees and students of the University value smoke and tobacco-free campuses. The policy reaffirms the University’s commitment to provide a safe and healthy physicial envoironment for its students, staff, faculty, patients and the general public.

Visit the University’s policy page to learn more about the smoke-free initiative.


Staff Council food drive set for May 19-22

The UMKC Staff Council’s Outreach Committee will be conducting a food drive for the Bishop Sullivan Center’s St. James Place from May 19 through May 22 on both the Volker and Hospital Hill campuses.

St. James Place provides basic necessities for those who are unable to do so and encourages those who are able to become more self sufficient. It also provides a community kitchen where hot meals are served five nights a week.

Participants in the food drive are asked to bring non-perishable food items such as canned and boxed items and pasta.

The School of Medicine lobby will be one drop off location on Hospital Hill. Others will be located on the first floor of the Health Sciences Building and the second floor, canteen area of the Dental School.

For additional information, contact Sandra at staffcouncil@ukmc.edu.

Healthy for Life program offers flu shots beginning Oct. 2

Untitled-1Faculty, staff and their dependents enrolled in the UM Health Care plan are eligible to receive free flu shots as part of the Healthy for Life program.

Those getting the flu shot must bring their insurance card and a completed Flu Consent Form. The shots are also available to those not enrolled in a UM Health Care plan for $15.

The shots will be available on Hospital Hill at three different times starting Oct. 9. Those times include from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 in Health Sciences Building Room 5309; 9 a.m. – noon on Oct. 10 in School of Medicine Room M5 – C05; and 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Oct. 23 in the School of Dentistry fourth floor lobby.

Shots will also be available on the Volker Campus.

The complete schedule:
Oct. 2         9 a.m. – noon            Volker Campus, Administrative Center Plaza Room
* Oct. 9    10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.     Hospital Hill Campus, Health Sciences Bld, Rm 5309
* Oct. 10    9 a.m. – noon            Hospital Hill Campus, School of Medicine, Rm M5 – CO5
Oct. 16    11 a.m. – 2 p.m.          Volker Campus, Student Union, Rm 302
Oct. 17      9 a.m. – noon            Volker Camus, Administrative Center, Gillham Park Room
* Oct. 23  10 a.m. – 1p.m.           Hospital Hill Campus, Dental School, 4th Floor Lobby

Alumnus presents Dodge Lectureship on its 35th Anniversary

Michael D. Jensen, M.D., ’79, discusses obesity and the behavior of fatty acids during the 2012 Mark Dodge Lectureship on Dec. 6 at the School of Medicine.

Students, residents, faculty and staff learned about one of the most common and talked about problems in the country today – obesity – and the science behind it during the 35th annual Dr. Mark Dodge Lectureship on Dec. 6 at the School of Medicine.

Michael D. Jensen, M.D., ’79, delivered the lecture after being introduced by Dodge’s daughter, Martha. His talk, titled “How Does Dysfunctional Adipose Tissue Cause the Metabolic Complications of Obesity?” focused on the effects of obesity and the behaviors of fatty acids.

Jensen, who was named a Mayo Distinguished Investigator in 2012, is a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is also director of the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Medicine Obesity Treatment Research Program and a professor of medicine. After graduating from the UMKC SOM, Jensen completed residencies in internal medicine at Saint Luke’s Hospital and the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and was a W. L. Stevenson Fellow in Clinical Nutrition at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.

His research includes looking at the effects of upper verses lower body fat and the effect each has on one’s health, visceral health being the most detrimental. “When things start going wrong with fat, things go wrong with all the other tissues,” he said.

Jensen shared his experiences with patients and through research to illustrate the importance of education about obesity.

“Those of us who are normal weight are carrying around roughly three months worth of groceries in our fat, and most of us can regulate that so precisely that we maintain perfect metabolic health,” he said. “But when you start gaining fat in your upper body, you may have six months to a year’s worth of groceries stored in your fat cells and these are getting out at the wrong time.”

SOM students offer free ‘15-Minute Physicals’ with Dr. Oz; show to air later this fall

Amanda Augustine, MS 3, works with Dr. Mehmet Oz during The Dr. Oz Show’s “15 Minute Physicals” event at Research Medical Center Brookside Campus on Oct. 30.

Approximately 30 School of Medicine students from years 3 to 6 joined TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz in providing free “15 Minute Physicals” on Oct. 30 at the Research Medical Center Brookside Campus.

Nearly 150 volunteers performed more than 800 physicals throughout the day. Amanda Augustine, MS 3, and Katelyn Davis, MS 4, worked together at a screening station and said they saw the need in Kansas City for this event. “It was important because a lot of the people we saw had no access to care,” Augustine said. “They were able to get the vital numbers that could be the most threatening to their health, but also some that are the easiest to change.”

Davis said her favorite part of the day was meeting a wide variety of patients and learning more about what they are going through. “I was really surprised to hear how much these simple lab tests cost without insurance,” she said. “I talked to a patient who went in for lab tests and as a result, was prescribed medication. She didn’t go back to get the tests again to check for improvements because it was too expensive.”

Augustine and Davis helped a woman who underwent a double mastectomy but had not been back to the doctor since for fear of bad news. “She was very nervous about her lab results,” Davis said. “We were so excited when she had great results on the screenings!”

When student volunteers discovered an alarming situation with a patient or had questions, supervising physicians, such as Darryl Nelson, M.D., ’86, were there to help. Nelson, chief medical officer of HCA Midwest Health System, said this event was a great way for patients, students and physicians to learn more about each other.

“We look for opportunities to engage across the community, from provider to those in need,” Nelson said. “Folks may be uneasy to see a doctor, so an event like this can be life-changing for them. This is also a great way to expose medical students to this patient population.”

Kansas City was the sixth destination for the nationwide event and the only one that will be featured on the two-time Emmy® Award-winning, nationally syndicated The Dr. Oz Show, which airs locally on KMBC Channel 9 at 4 p.m. Patients pre-registered and provided their medical history on The Dr. Oz Show website. With that information in hand, they first spent five minutes at a station where volunteer medical and nursing students screened them for public health indicators such as glucose levels, cholesterol (triglyceride, HDL, LCL and total) and BMI.

In partnership with HCA Midwest Health System, Alere, Inc., and PracticeFusion, the “15 Minute Physicals” provide results, trends and averages in real time throughout the day. The next 10 minutes of the physical included a visit to a consultation desk where patients received advice and analysis of their test results. Volunteers offered information on local health care providers for follow-up care before patients exited.

At 3 p.m., Oz presented Mayor “Sly” Sylvester James with a report card containing the results of data collected from registrants during the day. This showed that four out of 10 patients seen had high blood pressure, 72 percent were overweight or obese and 13 percent were morbidly obese. The one area where Kansas City did well was getting plenty of sleep.

Oz said medical students are an important element of the event. “We love having med students at our ‘15 Minute Physicals’ because of their dedication and enthusiasm to patient care,” he said. “It helps them understand their mission in medicine, which is why we have them as part of the med unit for The Dr. Oz Show.”

SOM, TMC schedule TB tests, flu shots for students

All School of Medicine students in years three through six are required to receive an annual TB test before working with patients at the Truman Medical Center Clinics. Though not mandatory, TMC Occupational Health is also strongly encouraging students to receive flu shots.

In an effort to meet the requirement, TMC Occupational Health and the School of Medicine have set up scheduled times for students by class year to make one stop to receive both a TB test and a flu shot.

No appointments are necessary but students should show up during the scheduled time for their class. Students unable to get the test and flu shot at their scheduled time should contact TMC Occupational Health at 816-404-2770 to schedule an individual time.

Scheduled times are:

  • Year 4 students — Tuesday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. – noon, room M4-C05. TB test results available Oct. 25, 10 a.m. – noon, room M4-C05.
  • Year 5 students — Tuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. – noon, room M4-C05. TB test results available Oct. 25, 10 a.m. – noon, room M5-C05.
  • Years 3 and 6 students — Tuesday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m. – noon, room M4-CO5. TB test results available Nov. 8, 10 a.m. – noon, room M4-C05.

Students may also contact Cassie Shaffer Johnson, Gold unit education team coordinator, at shafferjohnson@umkc.edu or at 235-1921 for more information.

Healthy for Life program to offer free flu shots

Faculty, staff and their dependents enrolled in the UM Health Care plan are eligible to receive free flu shots as part of the Healthy for Life program.

Those getting the flu shot must bring their insurance card and a completed Flu Consent Form. The shots are also available to those not enrolled in a UM Health Care plan for $15. Flu Consent Forms can be downloaded at Wellness.

The shots will be available on Hospital Hill at three different times starting Sept. 26. Those times include from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 26, and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 at the School of Medicine, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Dental School. They will also be available on the Volker Campus.

Flu Shot Schedule

  • Wednesday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Hospital Hill, Health Sciences Building, Room 4307
  • Wednesday, Oct. 3, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Volker, Student Union, Room 302
  • Tuesday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Hospital Hill, School of Dentistry, 4th floor lobby
  • Wednesday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Volker, Administrative Center, Plaza Room
  • Tuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Volker, Administrative Center, Brookside Room
  • Wednesday, Oct. 31, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Hospital Hill, School of Medicine, M3-C05

SOM, TMC participate in Best Practices for Better Care initiative

Alan Salkind, M.D., (right) professor of internal medicine, meets with his group working on the preventable hospital readmissions component of the Best Practices for Better Care initiative on June 26 at Truman Medical Center. Best Practices for Better Care is a multi-year campaign to improve patient care and quality at teaching hospitals and health systems in the United States.

The UMKC School of Medicine and Truman Medical Centers (TMC) have joined medical schools and teaching hospitals around the country in a multi-year initiative aimed to improve the quality and safety of health care. The initiative, Best Practices for Better Care, is sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), an alliance of academic medical centers, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services through their Partnership for Patients Program.

Best Practices for Better Care will help put patient safety and quality methods into widespread use at teaching hospitals and health systems in the United States, combining academic medicine, education, research and clinical care. The goal is to put the power and skills of the academic medical center behind solving some of the common patient quality and safety problems through education, research, and clinical care.

The School identified this as an important initiative and was very excited to participate,” said Jill Moormeier, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean of Graduate Medical Education, who is coordinating the efforts by the School of Medicine with TMC. “We are a really good location to do stuff like this. Our students and residents are intimately involved in the care of patients and patient outcomes.”

The initiative began in June 2011 with participating medical schools and teaching hospitals gathering data during its first year.

The campaign recently released a progress report to the participating organizations that showed most hospital systems have in place well-established systems to improve patient care in the United States. But, Moormeier said, it was also clear there is some work to be done in educating students, residents and faculty in quality improvement.

Participating institutions, according to the AAMC, have committed to teaching quality and patient safety to the next generation of doctors; ensure safer surgery through use of surgical checklists; reduce infections from central lines using proven protocols; reduce hospital readmissions for high-risk patients; and research, evaluate, and share new and improved practices.

The School of Medicine and TMC will first tackle the preventable hospital readmissions component. Alan Salkind, M.D., professor of internal medicine, will be leading this endeavor.

According to Salkind, nearly 20 percent of Medicare hospitalizations are followed by readmission within 30 days, with 75 percent of these considered preventable. Readmissions within 30 days account for $15 billion of excess Medicare spending.

“Common reasons leading to hospital readmission are inadequate explanation to the patient about how to use medications after hospital discharge, recognition of warning signs that warrant a call to the patient’s physician, and lack of a timely post-discharge physician visit, all of which are preventable by clearly conveying information to patients and confirming understanding before discharge from the hospital,” Salkind said. “Another important objective of this project is to teach students and physicians the elements of discharging a patient from the hospital with appropriate and understandable instructions for their continued care.

“We want to determine and then fix the pitfalls in our discharge process that lead to preventable readmissions to the hospital. We will share that information with other medical schools and hospitals to develop best practices that reduce hospital readmissions.”

This project is scheduled to last for about six months, but as the School and TMC gather data, it may be extended. The campaign is ongoing.

John A. Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.C., Lauer/Missouri Endowed Chair and professor of internal medicine, and Shauna Roberts, M.D., ’84, professor of internal medicine, are members of Research on Care Community (ROCC), the research division of the Best Practices for Better Care initiative, established to serve as a home for academic leaders and their teams. Through webinars, peer-to-peer learning and other resources, members of ROCC will share strategies for building institutional effectiveness and implementation research.