All posts by Kelly Edwards

Surgical dermatologist Dr. Meena Singh to give 2020 Shannon Lecture

Meena Singh, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, will present the UMKC School of Medicine’s 2020 Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture in Minority Health on Feb. 28. A specialist in treating all types of cosmetic and medical hair loss, Singh currently serves as medical director of the KMC Hair Center in Shawnee, Kansas.

She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency training at the Mayo Clinic. She subsequently completed a surgical fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery, recognized as the most effective technique for treating common skin cancer. Singh also completed a fellowship with the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery under world-renowned surgeon Dr. Marc Avram. She has trained in all areas of hair transplantation techniques.

With a special interest in treating ethnic skin/skin of color, Singh has conducted clinical trials for laser hair stimulation. She has also studied hair transplants for both scarring and non-scarring hair loss, skin cancer in transplant patients and tissue engineering. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed dermatology journals, book chapters, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine. She recently co-authored a hair transplant textbook. Her blog articles have been published in online periodicals and she has also been featured on the cover of New York Times.

She currently serves as vice president of the Greater Kansas City chapter of the National Medical Association (NMA) and the Secretary/Treasurer of NMA Dermatology.

UMKC School of Medicine students show patients how much they care on Valentine’s Day

More than a dozen UMKC School of Medicine students displayed the humanistic side of medicine on Valentine’s Day. The students, members of the school’s Gold Humanism Honor Society, delivered more than 200 roses and hand-made Valentine’s cards to their patients at Truman Medical Center Health Sciences District during their lunch hour.

“This reinforces the idea that our patients are not just patients, they’re also human beings,” said sixth-year student Rmaah Memon.

The fifth- and sixth-year students and their Gold Humanism Honor Society faculty sponsor, Carol Stanford, M.D., have been handing out roses to their patients for Valentine’s Day as part of the organization’s Solidarity Week for Compassionate Patient Care since 2011.

A few years ago, the students began inviting their classmates to join in on the Solidarity Week campaign by getting together during the week to create hundreds of their own hand-made Valentine’s cards to pass out with the roses.

“A lot of these patients are here on Valentine’s Day all alone,” said Athira Jayan, a sixth-year student. “You’re handing them a rose, but you’re also getting a chance to just visit with them, give them some company. A lot of patients here, that’s something that they value, the ability for someone to comfort them and give them someone to talk to.”

Elsa George, another sixth-year student, said this is an opportunity for the students to show their patients that someone cares.

“Sometimes, when we come into their room and just talk to them briefly about their medical conditions, patients think we don’t really care about how they feel as a person,” George said.

Two years ago, the School of Medicine received the Gold Humanism Honor Society’s Distinguished Chapter of the Year. That honor recognized the chapter’s impact, leadership, service activities and humanistic learning environment.

The organization has nearly 180 chapters in medical schools and residency programs throughout the United States.

School of Medicine announces upcoming faculty appointments

Dr. Nayak

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced that it will welcome Nihar Nayak, M.D., as a tenured professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to lead the UMKC Perinatal Institute beginning April 1, 2020.

Nayak is currently a tenured professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Reproductive Sciences Graduate Program at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Prior to joining WSU, he was an associate professor and director of translational research in maternal fetal medicine for nine years in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University. Additionally, he served as a tenured assistant professor for nine years in a school of veterinary medicine in India and as a research faculty at the Oregon Health and Science University.

A translational researcher in the field of pregnancy and women’s health, he has received national and international recognition. His research addresses the understanding of the defects in implantation and early placental development that result in pregnancy complications, mostly manifested in later stages of pregnancy.

It is expected that his research will provide specific guidance for the development of diagnostics and targeted therapies for a range of pregnancy disorders.

Dr. Queen

In another upcoming leadership transition, Michael Artman, M.D., noted pediatric cardiologist, professor, and Joyce C. Hall Endowed Chair in Pediatrics and chair, Department of Pediatrics, has announced his retirement effective, April 2020. The School of Medicine announced that it will welcome Mary Ann Queen, M.D., as the interim Chair.

Queen currently serves as division director of pediatric hospital medicine, one of the first and largest hospitalist programs in the country. She completed her pediatrics residency and a chief resident year at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and has been a faculty member there her entire career. A professor of pediatrics, she will continue in her role as the division director and as the associate chair of Inpatient Services & Faculty Engagement for the Department of Pediatrics.

“Dr. Queen is a well-respected clinician and educator and we look forward to welcoming her as academic chair in pediatrics,” said School of Medicine Interim Dean Mary Ann Jackson, M.D.

 

 

School of Medicine teams with Nestle to create unique student experience

Brandon Trandai, Madeline Harris and Valerie Hummel were the first to participate in a new UMKC School of Medicine elective, the Infant and Toddler Nutrition Experience.

Three sixth-year medical students from the School of Medicine this past fall were the first to participate in a unique elective experience bringing together the medical school and a leading baby food manufacturer.

The Infant and Toddler Nutrition Experience is a collaboration between UMKC and Nestle Nutrition North America, which produces Gerber baby foods and formulas.

Joel Lim, M.D., and Brandon Trandai

Emily Haury, M.D., docent and chair of the School of Medicine Docent Council, is one of the faculty members overseeing the course elective. She said one goal of the program is to expose students to the corporate world of health care. It also offers a glimpse of how corporations work with the medical field to produce the best products for their customers.

“In addition to gaining clinical knowledge and studying evidence-based guidelines, the students also gained practical knowledge and resources that they can use to counsel families about nutrition as they continue their training in pediatrics,” Haury said.

Madeline Harris, Valerie Hummel and Brandon Trandai began the class with reading assignments and participating in small group discussions on basic and clinical sciences related to infant and toddler nutrition.

After completing the preliminary work, the students spent 10 days at the Nestle facilities in Michigan and the company’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Their travel took in tours of a baby food factory, a farm and a consumer testing center. They also attended sessions with marketing, human resources and regulatory staff to learn about the business side of the industry.

“It was unique and a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Trandai said. “I was able to see another facet of pediatrics. We don’t typically focus on nutrition as much as treating illnesses and disease.”

Trandai said the experience enlightened the students about the amount of research done at Gerber and the innovation taking place to promote infant and toddler nutrition.

Hummel said, “This rotation was incredibly rewarding. I would highly recommend it for any students interested in learning more about nutrition and the intricate world of the business industry surrounding nutrition.”

The elective is overseen by Haury, Darla McCarthy, Ph.D., assistant dean for curriculum, and Joel Lim, M.D., adjunct professor pediatrics, who now serves as vice president of the Medical and Scientific Regulatory Unit at Nestle Nutrition North America. Funding for the students’ travel and lodging was provided by Nestle.

Haury said the elective will be offered again during several blocks in the 2020-21 academic year, providing students unique learning opportunity that they can share at their residency interviews.

School of Medicine’s Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomes 2020 class

The School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomed the 2020 class of students and faculty during a ceremony at Diastole.

The School of Medicine’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) inducted 21 new members on January 25 during a ceremony at Diastole.

This year’s GHHS induction class includes 19 students and two faculty physicians. Each was chosen for their exemplary care of patients and their humanistic approach to clinical practice. Students and faculty make nominations each year based on the individual’s excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.

Carol Stanford, M.D., Gold 5 docent and GHHS faculty sponsor, welcomed the new members and presented each with a certificate of induction during the program.

The GHHS began in the late 1990s. It now has more than 160 medical school and residency program chapters across the United States. The program is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Berry Foundation.

Medical students:
Suma Ancha
Charlie Burke
Anna Curtis
Sarthak Garg
Jacob Gowan
Sharika Kaula
Raga Kilaru
Connor King
Rachana Kombathula
Rebecca Kruian
Saja Necibi
Jacob Perera
Rawan Rajab
Karishma Raju
Koral Shah
Elizabeth Theng
Kabir Torres
Maggie Urschler
Sarah Wells

Faculty

Paramdeep Baweja, M.D.
Jignesh Shah, M.D.

SOM researcher working to prevent age-related vision loss

Backed by a $1.16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, UMKC School of Medicine vision researcher Peter Koulen, Ph.D., is studying new chemical compounds to treat and prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and blindness among older adults. As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration.

“AMD affects a significant and increasing portion of the U.S. population, with age being a predisposing factor,” said Koulen, director of basic research at UMKC’s Vision Research Center. “This research will contribute to improving health care and the prevention of blindness.”

His project, funded by the NIH National Eye Institute, will focus on the preclinical development of novel antioxidants that have the potential to be both preventative and therapeutic in nature. The compounds could prevent the deterioration and death of retina nerve cells and supporting cells. The retina cannot regenerate these cells, therefore, their loss as a result of AMD leads to irreversible damage to one’s vision.

If successful, these new antioxidants being developed by Koulen’s research would be effective in both preventing the disease from progressing and treating already existing damage.

The research focuses on dry AMD, a form of the disease that affects the majority of patients. Effective therapies are lacking for this form of the disease, in which cells are gradually lost over time resulting in blindness.

Medications developed as a result of the study could also complement existing treatment designs for the wet form of AMD that is more aggressive and affects a smaller number of patients.

Dr. Inboriboon appointed assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education

Inboriboon, Pholaphat (Charles)The School of Medicine announced that Charles Inboriboon, M.D., associate professor and associate program director for emergency medicine, has been appointed assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education.

He will work directly with Sara Gardner, M.D., associate dean, to interact with Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and non-ACGME programs, residents and fellows. He will be responsible for quality improvement of graduate programs with a specific focus on assessment.

A member of the UMKC faculty since 2012, Inboriboon has a rich background in graduate medical education. He works clinically at both Truman Medical Center Health Sciences District and Children’s Mercy Kansas City. He has been part of the emergency medicine residency leadership team, serving as a GME ombudsman and as director of international emergency medicine programs.

Inboriboon is a Fulbright Scholar Award recipient and led several programs in Thailand during their transition to competency based medical education.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, where he completed emergency medicine residency and served as chief resident. He also completed a fellowship in international emergency medicine and earned a master’s degree in public health at the University of Rochester.

School of Medicine recognizes December grads, honors recipients

The School of Medicine recognized four December graduates at UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 14 at Swinney Recreation Center.

Students who participated in the ceremony and received their M.D. degrees were Logan Christine Hemme, Sultan Ibrahim Khan, Jude-Patrick Nnamdi Okafor and Landon James Rohowetz.

They were among 21 students anticipated to graduate in December with either a Doctor of Medicine, a master’s degree or a graduate certificate in clinical research from the School of Medicine.

Five of the December M.D. graduates were also recognized as 2019 Dean of Students Honor Recipients. Faculty and staff nominate students who have maintained high scholastic performance while actively participating in university and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom.

Those honorees and their nominating faculty or staff member include: Shelby Chesbro, nominated by Jignesh Shah, M.B.B.S./M.P.H., and Betsy Hendrick; Jordann Dhuse, nominated by Stefanie Ellison, M.D.; Zach Randall, nominated by Stefanie Ellison, M.D.; Marcella Riley, nominated by Nurry Pirani, M.D.; and Rohowetz, nominated by Peter Koulen, Ph.D., and Betsy Hendrick.

School of Medicine Students anticipated to graduate in December included:

Doctor of Medicine graduates
Timothy Brotherton, Shelby Chesbro, Jordann Dhuse, Abygail Dulle, Logan Hemme, Haley Kertz, Taylor Lind, Zachary Randall, Marcella Riley, Landon Rohowetz, Louis Sand, Keton Schroeder, Gurpreet Seehra, Brandon Trandai and Mesgana Yimer

Graduate Certificate Clinical Research
Ishaan Jakhar

Master of Science in Bioinformatics

Emily Deutch, Benjamin Matta, M.D., and Jason Wilson

Master of Health Professions Education

Christa Balanoff and Emily Hillman, M.D.

The School of Medicine’s spring graduation ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. on May 18, 2019, at the Kauffman Center.

New School of Medicine program designed to support underrepresented minority faculty

A new program launched earlier this year at the School of Medicine is helping develop and prepare underrepresented minority faculty for advancement from junior to senior faculty positions.

The URM Faculty Scholars and Fellows Program is an initiative of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It works in collaboration with the school’s offices of Professional Development and Academic Affairs, and affiliate hospitals.

“Our faculty need to know that they’re coming into a supportive environment,” said Nate Thomas, associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “This program is based on the idea of promoting diversity and supporting our underrepresented minority faculty.”

Eight faculty members who are physicians at affiliate hospitals including Truman Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Hospital, Children’s Mercy and the Kansas City Veterans Medical Center, are currently participating in the 13-month enterprise.

The program started in October. Led by members of the medical school’s Collaborative Committee for Faculty Success, it includes seven two-hour sessions. The focus is on topics such as understanding the criteria and process for faculty promotion; recognizing personal strengths, weakness, opportunities;  and establishing attainable goals and strategies for successful promotion.

Participants also receive coaching from senior faculty and administrators.

“I want to learn how to become a more effective leader and craft my personal leadership style,” said Leah Jones, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

Santosh Shenoy, M.D., a clinical associate professor of surgery at Kansas City Veteran’s Medical Center, said he also joined the program to gain a better understanding of the administrative functions of graduate medical education and other physician leadership roles.

“This may enable me to advance my career and future opportunities at UMKC,” he said.

Thomas said another goal is for faculty members who complete the program and successfully go through the promotion process to ultimately become mentors and advisors and help future faculty members.

The first class of participants is scheduled to complete the program in November 2020.

UMKC Health Professions Students and Coterie Theatre Have Important Message for Kansas City Teens

Dramatic collaboration shows the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV
A UMKC School of Medicine student stands in front of a screen.
Students from UMKC health professions schools, working with the Coterie Theatre, each take on the character of a Kansas City teen to discuss the dangers of STDs and HIV. Photos provided by Stefanie Ellison, UMKC School of Medicine

Gus Frank begins to share his story with a group of Kansas City teenagers. For about 20 minutes, he describes how this local high school basketball player discovered that he is HIV-positive and must now live with consequences.

But the story is not really his own. It is, however, the unnerving and true story of a Kansas City teen whose life has been dramatically changed forever.

Frank is actually a fourth-year medical student at the UMKC School of Medicine acting in the production, “The Dramatic STD/HIV Project.” The partnership brings together health professions students from UMKC, the University of Kansas and Coterie Theatre actors to provide Kansas City teens with the facts about sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.

“Some of the highest STD rates are among our youth and young adults ages 15 to 24. Education, knowledge and prevention are an important step in changing this risk to our youth.” – Stefanie Ellison, M.D., faculty at the UMKC School of Medicine and medical director on the project

In the roughly hour-long program — a 15- to 20-minute scripted presentation followed by an often-intense question-and-answer period — a professional actor from the Coterie pairs with a medical, pharmacy or nursing student to discuss the dangers of the diseases with audiences from eighth grade through high school.

“We’re there to inform the youth of Kansas City,” said Frank, now in his second year with the project. “We’re not doing this to tell them what they should do, but to inform them of the facts. We want them to be able to make their own informed decisions when the time comes.”

A UMKC School of Medicine student stands in front of a screen that says "The truth hurts."

Evolution and impact

Joette Pelster is executive director of the Coterie Theatre and a co-founder of the project. She started the program with the theatre’s artistic director Jeff Church, an adjunct theater instructor at UMKC, and Christine Moranetz, then a faculty member at the University of Kansas Medical Center. That was 26 years ago when the AIDS epidemic was at its height, becoming the one-time leading cause of death among Americans ages of 25 and 44.

Wanting to create an educational program with credibility, Pelster reached out to the local medical community for help. She first enlisted aid from the University of Kansas School of Nursing. The UMKC School of Medicine joined the program in 2004, followed by the UMKC School of Pharmacy in 2008 and the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies in 2015.

“We wanted to do something that would have an impact,” Pelster said. “A lecture wasn’t going to do it. This was a perfect partnership because their weakness was our strength. We brought the acting, they brought the medical content and credibility. That’s why it’s lasted so long.”

“We’re there to inform the youth of Kansas City. We want them to be able to make their own informed decisions when the time comes.” – Gus Frank, a fourth-year medical student at the UMKC School of Medicine in his second year of acting in the program

UMKC faculty members Stefanie Ellison, M.D., at the School of Medicine and Mark Sawkin, Pharm.D., at the School of Pharmacy, serve as medical directors. They provide the actors with training on such things as current trends in infection rates, symptoms, testing and treatment. They also compile and routinely update a huge binder loaded with information to prepare the actors for what might be thrown at them during the question-and-answer portion of the program. Each actor has a copy of the binder that is updated throughout the year and training updates occur at least twice a year so that troupe members have current facts to share with at- risk students.

“UMKC was very influential in our talking about STDs because the incidence rate was rising so high,” Pelster said. “They are integral to the project and training for the question-and-answer periods that are vital to the project.”

“This is still relevant 25 years later,” Ellison said. “Some of the highest STD rates are among our youth and young adults ages 15 to 24. Kansas City has an increased incidence of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. Nationally, one in five new HIV diagnoses is in patients ages 13 to 24, and 20 percent of new diagnoses are among patients from ages 14 to 19. Education, knowledge and prevention are an important step in changing this risk to our youth.”

A UMKC School of Medicine student stands in front of a screen that says "different."

The production

Since 2008, the program has averaged more than 210 presentations a year in junior highs and high schools throughout the Kansas City Metro area. Through last school year, it had been presented 4,495 times, reaching more than 194,000 Kansas City teenagers.

This year’s cast includes 14 UMKC medical students, two UMKC pharmacy students, one UMKC nursing and health studies student, two University of Kansas nursing students and 17 professional Coterie actors, one a graduate of the UMKC theatre program.

“I would share with them that this (prescription) is something you’ll have to take the rest of your life; you’re stuck with it. Just being able to embed that in their memory by telling these kids was really helpful.” – Krista Bricker, a fourth-year UMKC School of Pharmacy student who was among the cast of student actors a year ago

Every presentation pairs one male and one female of different ethnicities, helping to make the team more relatable to its audience. Each actor follows one of six different scripts to present the true story of a Kansas City teen that has contracted an STD or HIV/AIDS.

The productions require little theater other than the actors’ monologues, slides projected on a wall or screen behind them and music to help present each story. They take place in intimate settings of a single classroom of maybe 15-20 students to auditoriums filled with as many as 100 or more students. The actors say the small classroom sessions sometimes produce the most intense interactions because the students in their smaller, tight-knit setting become less inhibited during the Q&A periods.

A UMKC School of Medicine student stands in front of a screen that says "we're gonna get sick."

“It feels like we’re talking student to student,” said Madison Iskierka, also a fourth-year medical student. “It doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in a lecture listening to someone preach about whatever you’re learning. It’s very personal and I like that.”

Frank admits feeling some early awkwardness when talking about such a sensitive subject with a young audience. But that faded after a few presentations.

“It’s something that we need to make not weird,” he said. “We need to destigmatize all the sexual education about HIV and all other STDs. If we could make those things something that is easier to talk about and comes up in conversation more often, it would probably make people more aware and more willing to get tested and get treated if they do have something.”

The actors are trained to hit on a list of key points during the question and answer sessions to highlight abstinence as the only sure way to avoid contracting infections, as well as discussing risky behaviors and sources of transmitting the diseases.

“We wanted to do something that would have an impact. A lecture wasn’t going to do it. This was a perfect partnership…we brought the acting, they brought the medical content and credibility. That’s why it’s lasted so long.” – Joette Pelster, executive director of the Coterie Theatre and co-founder of the project

Krista Bricker, a fourth-year UMKC pharmacy student, was among the cast of student actors a year ago. She said she often leaned on her pharmacy background and honed in on the medications when sharing the hard reality of what is involved for patients living with these diseases.

“I would share with them that this is something you’ll have to take the rest of your life; you’re stuck with it,” she said. “Just being able to embed that in their memory by telling these kids was really helpful.”

Frank reflects on the story of the local teen he portrays. He is determined to get the details as perfect as possible during each presentation because if not, he says, “I’m messing up someone’s personal story.”

And for the young people hearing that story, Frank has one more message: “This could have been anyone. It could have been your classmate. It could have been you.”