Alumni Reflections Through 50 Years

Arif Kamal, M.D., ’05, follows ‘marching orders to change the word’

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a lead-up to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we will spotlight some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Arif Kamal M.D. ’05,  MBA ’15, MHS ’16, who now lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Where are you working?
I now work at the American Cancer Society as the Chief Patient Officer. My team oversees all of the patient-facing support programs offered by the ACS including the Hope Lodges, patient transportation program, and patient navigation systems.

Share with us one of your fondest memories.
My fondest memory is not a specific one but all the moments growing and learning as a class of colleagues and friends. We started together at 18 years old, new to medicine and anxious to build a career as a physician. And we graduated together as confident, skilled physicians with marching orders to change the world.

What is the greatest lesson you learned during your time at the School of Medicine?
The greatest lesson I learned is from the bedside, having six years of hands-on experience with patients. It is a quote I attribute to Dr. Carol Stanford, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” She taught us to put people and their stories and lived experiences first, and the diagnosis or condition second. When you take a people-first attitude, good things happen.

What is something about you that people may not know?
Something many may not know about me is that although I serve many roles in health care, I take most pride in serving as a soccer coach to my daughter’s team. We have such an amazing time together.