All posts by Kelly Edwards

SOAP Notes

SOAP Notes
For October 2021

The School of Medicine Council on Curriculum has selected its new student ambassadors. Ambassadors represent the Health Sciences District and the St. Joseph campus to provide input on curriculum development and change and communicate student concerns and needs. This year’s ambassadors:
Council on Curriculum Members – Erin Galakatos, MS 5; Neal Shah, MS 5; Kevin Varghese MS 5
Year 1 Ambassadors – Cameron Quick, Brandon Park
Year 2 Ambassadors – Khyathi Thallapureddy, Bailey Whithaus
Year 3 Ambassadors – Safa Farrukh, Sameer Khan (STJ), Katie Long
Year 4 Ambassadors – Karishma Kondapalli, Erik Way
Year 5 Ambassadors – Herschel Gupta, Sidharth Ramesh
Year 6 Ambassadors – Megan Schoelch, Shubhika Jain

Josephine Nwanko, MS 4, took first place in the research category of this year’s Missouri ACP (American College of Physicians) Student Poster Competition during the organization’s annual meeting in September. She will be invited to present her winning presentation, “Increasing representation of Black women in orthopediacs starts with medical students,” at the 2022 ACP Internal Medicine Meeting next April in Chicago.

The UMKC School of Medicine’s Missouri Delta chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society announced 13 sixth-year students who will be inducted into the society next May. The inductees include Lauren Gresham, Rishabh Gupta, Shubhika Jain, Varsha Kandadi, Morgan Kensinger, Valerie Kirtley, Vijay Letchuman, Leilani Mansy, Caroline Olson, Michael Oyekan, Geethanjali Rajagopal, Megan Schoelch and Jacob Williamson. Selection to the organization recognizes a student’s dedication to the profession and art of healing and excellence in academic scholarship. Next spring, the AOA chapter will also welcome fifth-year students, alumni, residents and faculty inductees. This year’s student officers are: Andrew Peterson, student president; Kartik Depala, student vice-president; Madhavi Murali, student secretary; and Yen Luu, student treasurer.

We want to know what is going on at the UMKC School of Medicine. Send us your story ideas and we will consider them for publication in “SOAP Notes,” a new feature on our School of Medicine PRN news page that will include short, interesting tidbits about our students, faculty and staff.

To submit a note or story idea, email
Your name:
Your email:
Student ___ / Faculty ___ / Staff ___
Story idea or note (150 words or less):


UMKC physician assistant student focuses on treating the underserved

Kevin Du, a first-year physician assistant student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, has experienced patients at their worst while working in the emergency room at University Health Truman Medical Center.

“I see the impact the social determinants of health have on certain populations,” Du said. “In the emergency room, we see a lot of immigrants and persons of color and that really resonated with me coming from a first-generation family.”

It made such an impact that Du is now part of a unique Area Health Education Centers Scholars program that helps prepare health professions students to care for rural and urban underserved patients in small interprofessional teams.

Throughout the two-year program, students take part in didactic and community activities that focus on areas such as quality improvement and patient-centered care, as well as cultural competency and emerging issues in health care. Interprofessional education events that bring together students from differing health care fields are also part of the curriculum.

Du is taking part in the scholars program in conjunction with his physician assistant studies at the School of Medicine. Much of the coursework for the AHEC program is done individually but participants also work interprofessionally once or twice a year with others throughout the state.

“My biggest reason for doing this program is to become more culturally competent and to be able to recognize any biases I may have so that I can be a more understanding patient care provider in the future,” Du said.

Before starting the physician assistant program at UMKC, Du served as an emergency room technician at Truman Medical Center, now University Health Truman Medical Center, as well as a technician in the cardiovascular ICU at St. Louis Barnes Jewish Hospital and as an EMT/technician with an urgent care center also in St. Louis.

Now, he says his goal is to work in an urban core medical center where he can reach those in need of help.

“I have seen the struggles that my parents went through and how they were treated regarding health care,” Du said. “I truly want to help the underserved population when I graduate from UMKC.”

Longtime emergency medicine physician addresses burnout in annual McNabney Lectureship

Robert Muelleman, M.D.

Doctoring is hard work, said Robert Muelleman, M.D., quoting long-time emergency medicine physician W. Kendall McNabney, M.D.

Muelleman, who spent 36 years in clinical and administrative roles as an emergency medicine physician, was the keynote speaker on Oct. 14 at the school’s W. Kendall McNabney Endowed Lectureship. The graduate of UMKC School of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residency program talked about burnout as a physician and specifically those who practice emergency medicine.

“Dr. McNabney said doctoring is hard work,” Muelleman said. “I heard him say it more than once.”

Muelleman understands just how hard. He served as a faculty member in emergency medicine for 10 years at UMKC before moving to Nebraska where he retired as a professor at the University of Nebraska.

The World Health Organization describes burnout among physicians not a medical condition but an occupational phenomenon, Muelleman said. He added that it’s a wicked problem that poses serious consequences for not only physicians but for patient care and the health system as well.

“You’re dealing with a bunch of exhausted doctors who love what they do,” he said. “We’ve got issues in terms of exhaustion and things like that but also a lot of opportunities for resilience.”

The annual lectureship honors McNabney, who founded the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine and Truman Medical Center in 1973. McNabney was the first and longest serving chair of emergency medicine at the school and served as the head of trauma services for many years.

Adam Algren, M.D., chair of Emergency Medicine, recognized McNabney, who died  in August, as an icon of the school and the specialty of emergency medicine.

“He impacted thousands of individuals, learners, patients in his career,” Algren said. “We’re all thankful about what he was able to teach us about being a skilled compassionate clinician and a good human being. We know his memory and legacy will live on in the department and the organization.”

Humanities office plans art show to display creative talents at School of Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine’s Sirridge Office of Humanities and Bioethics is planning an event for students, staff and faulty to show off their creative sides. Participants in the Beyond Human Factor Art Show will have the opportunity to showcase their artwork, photography and poetry.

This year’s event is scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Diastole Scholars Center on Nov. 9.

The program is an extension of the office’s printed publication, Human Factor, which celebrates the connection between art, humanities and the practice of medicine. The magazine provides an outlet for the School of Medicine community to display its creative and imaginative talents. It is typically published each fall.

Art show participants do not have to be previously published in the Human Factor to take part.

Anyone interested in sharing their artwork, photography or in signing up to participate in the poetry reading during the year’s art show should contact Sarah McKee, senior office support specialist, at

Office of Research Administration welcomes new staff members

Norma Aguirre, left, and Madison Denson

The School of Medicine Office of Research Administration has added two new grant support specialists, Norma E. Aguirre and Madison Denson, to its staff.

Norma E. Aguirre joined the School of Medicine in April. She previously worked in Chillicothe, Missouri, as an office manager. Prior to the office manager position, she worked at the UMKC School of Pharmacy as an administrative assistant. She has also worked at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. Aguirre is originally from Texas and  attended Texas Tech University.

Denson, who joined the research administration staff in June, and her husband are both from Nebraska. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, she previously worked for a company Omaha-based company while being located in the Kansas City area.

SOAP Notes

SOAP Notes
for September 2021

Amy Patel, M.D., assistant professor of radiology, has been nominated for a second year in a row as a semifinalist for a Minnies award as “Most Effective Radiology Educator” by, a comprehensive community internet site for radiologists and related professionals in the medical imaging industry. The Minnies are‘s campaign to recognize the best and brightest in medical imaging. More than 200 candidates in 14 categories ranging from Most Influential Radiology Researcher to Best Educational Mobile App are part of this year’s campaign. Winners will be selected by an expert panel with the final winners announced in October.

The School of Medicine has recognized students with its 2021 Community Service Awards for Most Service Hours. Top award recipients include:
Most Service Hours: Sophie Berstein
Runner up Most Service Hours: Raneem Issawi
Most Covid-19 Vaccination/Testing Hours: Michelle Wu and Michael Brancato
Runner Up Most Covid-19 Vaccination/Testing Hours: Jacob Honey
Most UMKC Service Hours: Benjamin Kazdan
Thirty-two students were also recognized as Community Engagement Champions with 100 or more hours, seven students as Community Engagement Navigators with from 75 to 99 service hours, and 11 students as Community Engagement Stewards with 50 to 74 service hours.

We want to know what is going on at the UMKC School of Medicine. Send us your story ideas and we will consider them for publication in “SOAP Notes,” a new feature on our School of Medicine PRN news page that will include short, interesting tidbits about our students, faculty and staff.

To submit a note or story idea, email
Your name:
Your email:
Student ___ / Faculty ___ / Staff ___
Story idea or note (150 words or less):

School of Medicine announces two new GME program directors

Amelia Sorensen, M.D., (left) and Devika Maulik, M.D. (right)

The School of Medicine and the Office of Graduate Medical Education have announced the appointment of two new program directors for the school’s Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship.

Amelia Sorensen, associate professor of surgery, began serving as the new program director for the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency on Sept. 1. Devika Maulik, an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, will serve as the new Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship director beginning Nov. 1.

Sorensen joined the orthopaedic surgery staff at Truman Medical Centers in 2015 and has represented the School with numerous publications and presentations.  She received her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She remained in St. Louis to complete her orthopaedic surgery residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, then went to the University of California-San Diego to complete her hand and microsurgery fellowship. She has worked nationally and internationally with the National Institutes of Health and has served as a HIVCorps Fellow.

Maulik has been a member of the School of Medicine faculty since 2015, during which time she has received numerous honors and awards from organizations including the National Institutes of Health. She has represented the school nationally and internationally through multiple publications, presentations and invited lectures.

A graduate of Weill Medical College at Cornell University, Maulik completed her residency at the University of California-Los Angeles and moved to Kansas City where she did a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine at UMKC School of Medicine before joining the faculty.

School of Medicine welcomes new Years 1-2 Education Team Coordinator

Carline Bruton has joined the School of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs as an Education Team Coordinator in the Years 1 & 2 Office. She will be part of the office’s mission to provide comprehensive support and assistance to ensure the academic and professional success of students in the program.

Bruton earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. Moving to Kansas City, Missouri, shortly after graduation, she began investing her time providing mentorship, support and leadership to youth and young adults in the Kansas City metro area. While working in the mental health field, Bruton pursued her graduate studies at UMKC. She holds a master’s degree in social work and is licensed to practice in the state of Missouri.

In her spare time, Bruton enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and friends and long-distance running. She became a long-distance runner in 2016 and says her goal is to run 50 half marathons by the age of 50.

New program supports School of Medicine’s Latinx students

Latinos in Medicine, a new program for the School of Medicine’s Latinx students, held an early meeting on Zoom.

A new organization at the UMKC School of Medicine is designed to support and encourage Latinx students to help them succeed in medical school and as physicians.

Raquel McCommon, coordinator of strategic initiatives in the school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said Latinx students are paired with physician mentors who can meet with and help the students through the challenges of life as an underrepresented minority in medical school and beyond.

Latinos in Medicine, established a year ago, gives the students the opportunity to meet and see successful Latinx physicians.

“That in itself is supportive, motivating and inspiring,” McCommon said. “It’s a way of making them feel a sense of belonging, connected, that they have people who are looking out for them, who understand where they’re coming from to help them have better success.”

McCommon said most of the students participating in the program are also involved in the school’s STAHR (Students Training in Academia, Health and Research) program. Supported by a grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration, that program also helps prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering health care programs.

However, McCommon said, the STAHR program currently does not have any Hispanic mentors for students.

What we were hearing from our Latinx students was ‘we need mentors and we need mentors that look like us,’” she said. “Part of the challenge is finding physicians who come from the same background and experiences as our Latinx students.”

As a result, School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., reached out to Liset Olarte, M.D., a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, where Jackson is also on staff. Olarte leads the hospital’s Latinx Employee Resource Group, which includes several Hispanic physicians.

Olarte and her colleagues agreed to serve as physician mentors for the School of Medicine’s Latinos in Medicine program, which also partners with UMKC’s Avanzando program for Hispanic students campus wide.

“Not all of our students are going to go into pediatrics, but this is a stepping stone,” McCommon said. “Here is a physician that does look like you, who might speak the same language as you, that might have experienced a similar background or struggles as you.”

Ten students actively participate in the program, which is open to all Latinx students at the School of Medicine. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, the plan is for the Latinos in Medicine students to meet at least twice a year, including a welcoming program at the beginning of the school year.

McCommon said the broader goal is to offer more group meeting opportunities such as in-person study sessions where students and mentors can come together in an informal setting.

“Often students feel intimidated. There’s a level of hesitancy or reluctance,” McCommon said. “We want them to have what they need when they need it, not when it’s too late.”

InDOCtrination ceremony welcomes first-year students to School of Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine recognized a new class of 103 first-year medical students during the school’s annual InDOCtrination ceremony on Aug. 20 at the UMKC White Recital Hall.

The ceremony has been a long-standing tradition for the School of Medicine. Brenda Rogers, M.D., associate dean for student affairs, told students and their families that this was a special day to remember. 

This ceremony affirms for each of you that you are entering the challenging and exciting world of medicine – a world that will demand a lot from you, but will reward you greatly for your efforts, Rogers said. 

Demi Elrod was announced as this year’s Richard Garcia Memorial Award recipient. The honor is presented annually to a student entering the Year 2 class who best exemplifies the qualities of compassion, concern and academic excellence. The recipient is selected by classmates. 

Speaking to the Year 1 class, Elrod said, “In a few days you will start one of the most difficult journeys of your life. I know it may seem daunting, but I can promise you it’s worth it.” 

Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, also spoke to the class, describing how it is entering the field of medicine at unique time as the world continues to battle the COVID pandemic. She said the responsibility of medical professionals is a duty of care with an ethical duty to place patient’s health first. She encouraged the students to be role models in helping families and loved ones emerge from the pandemic. 

Each student was recognized individually as they were introduced as members of their Year 1 docent teams.