All posts by Kelly Edwards

AAFP honors UMKC School of Medicine Family Medicine Interest Group

Members of the UMKC School of Medicine Family Medicine Interest Group, Haley Kertz, Kyla Mahone, Morgan Dresvyannikov, Paige Charboneau, Michele Sun, and Aniesa Slack, M.D., faculty sponsor, with the American Academy of Family Physicians 2019 Program of Excellence Award

A productive year of sponsoring and participating in community services and professional development program has earned the UMKC School of Medicine’s Family Medicine Interest Group the 2019 Program of Excellence Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The honor is given annually in recognition of outstanding performance in student involvement and retention, advocacy of family medicine, community outreach and patient advocacy. It was presented this summer to 19 medical school Family Medicine Interest Groups during the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students in Kansas City.

These student-run organizations provide opportunities for students to learn about and experience family medicine outside of their medical school curricula. They also sponsor events, workshops, leadership development opportunities and community and clinical experiences.

The UMKC organization was selected for its wide-ranging series of programs such as performing sports physicals for more than 350 children, early exposure to health care professions through a middle school Medical Explorers Pipeline Project, participation in a diabetes prevention program, programs to bring local medical students and family physicians together to talk about family medicine, and a week-long series of events to promote Primary Care Week.

Throughout the year, members of the interest group also developed working relationships with other interest groups on campus such as the Simulation Interest Group, the Pediatric Interest Group, Wellness Council, and the free, student-run Sojourners Clinic.

Morgan Dresvyannikov, MS 6, and Kyla Mahone, MS 5, served the award-winning 2018-19 year as co-presidents of the School of Medicine group that has nearly 130 active members. Other leadership members included Alice Hwang, M.D., 19, and Emma Connelly, MS 5, co-vice presidents; Michele Sun, MS 6, treasurer; Paige Charboneau, MS 6, secretary; Andrea Pelate, MS 5, community Chair; and Claire Wolber, MS 5, public relations. Aniesa Slack, M.D., assistant professor of community and family medicine, serves a faculty sponsor.

“Making sure that medical students have an appreciation of family medicine is a key step to those students choosing family medicine for their career,” said Clif Knight, MD, senior vice president for education at the AAFP. “This year’s award winners have done outstanding work giving students the opportunity to activate the knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom, develop leadership skills that will serve them in their future practices and communities, and better understand the vital role that family medicine plays in our health care system.”

This was the second time the School of Medicine organization has received the award. It also earned the recognition in 2011.

In Memoriam: Dr. Alan Salkind

Dr. Alan Salkind

Alan Salkind, M.D., who served nearly 20 years as a member of the UMKC School of Medicine faculty, died on Sept. 3 at Saint Luke’s Hospice House following a short battle with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.

Dr. Salkind joined the School of Medicine in 1998 as a docent and assistant professor of internal medicine and faculty in infectious diseases at Truman Medical Center. He completed his medical degree at East Tennessee State University College of Medicine and residency at Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York. Following his infectious diseases fellowship and research training in immunology at the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, he was faculty at University of Mississippi where we was engaged in AIDS research and later was the medical director of infectious diseases for the Heartland Health System in St. Joseph, Missouri.

A devoted instructor and mentor, Dr. Salkind was honored with the university’s 2011 Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award. His research work included a landmark article published in JAMA, which revealed that 90% of those with self-reported penicillin allergy are actually penicillin tolerant, continues to be highly cited.

He retired in 2017 as professor emeritus, after serving many key roles at the School of Medicine during his career including as assistant dean of selection from 2002 to 2007, a member of the physician promotion committee, and on the faculty development committee.

Dr. Salkind is survived by his wife, Millie; three daughters, Emily (Norman), Katie and Stephanie; one son, Robert; a brother, Randy; his sister, Sue Feldman (Stuart); and two grandchildren.

No services are planned. Instead of flowers, the family requests all donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in tribute of Dr. Alan Salkind.

Read the full obituary.

 

Office of Student Affairs welcomes Bridgette Jones, M.D., as assistant academic dean

Dr. Bridgette Jones

The School of Medicine has announced that Bridgette Jones, M.D., M.S., has joined the Office of Student Affairs in a new role of assistant academic dean.

In this position, Jones will work with students across all six years of the curriculum on matters pertaining to academic affairs. She will maintain regular office hours in both the Years 1 and 2 office on the Volker campus and in  student affairs at the School of Medicine.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Jones to student affairs where her enthusiasm for student engagement and support will contribute to the enhancement of student services,” said Interim School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D.

Jones holds a faculty appointment as an associate professor of pediatrics in the divisions of Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Innovation and Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Children’s Mercy. A clinician scientist with a focus on therapeutics and interventions to improve the lives of children with allergic disease and asthma, she also serves as the associate program director for the Children’s Mercy Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology training program.

She is the inaugural chair of the Faculty and Trainee Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the medical director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Children’s Mercy. In that role, she develops and maintains a pipeline of diverse and successful trainees and physicians in medicine to ensure their career development. She has also been a national advocate for diversity and equity for women in medicine.

Jones was recently nominated for the American Medical Association Inspiration Award that recognizes physicians who have contributed to the achievements of women in medicine. She will be honored by the AMA Women Physician Section with the award during the  AMA House of Delegates interim meeting in September during Women in Medicine Month.

Jones is active on a national leadership level as well. She currently serves as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs, chair of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma Immunology Asthma and Cough Diagnosis and Treatment Committee, and serves as a member of the Food and Drug Administration Pediatric Advisory Committee.

She was appointed by the United States Secretary of Health to serve on the National Institutes of Health Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women. She has received funding through the National Institutes of Health and other extramural and intramural resources to support her work.

She is married to Rafiq Saad and is the mother of two daughters, Lola and Nora.

Leader in early language development to present 2019 Sirridge Lecture

Dr. Dana Suskind

Dana Suskind, M.D., a 1992 graduate of the School of Medicine and nationally recognized leader in early language development, will present to 2019 William and Marjorie Sirridge Annual Lecture on Sept. 19.

A professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Chicago, Susknid is the director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program and founder and co-director of TMW (Thirty Million Words) Center for Early Learning + Public Health.

As a surgeon performing cochlear implants in children, Suskind realized her patients’ language skills developed at far different rates. Through her research, she discovered that children who thrive hear millions of words during their early years and wrote a book on her work, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain.

Through her Thirty Million Word Initiative, she developed an evidence-based intervention program that is intended to reduce the language gap between children in lower-income families and wealthier households. The program combines education, technology and behavioral strategies for parents and caregivers to enhance the verbal interactions with their children.

Following medical school at UMKC, Suskind completed her residency at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and a fellowship at Washington University Children’s Hospital.

She has received many awards for her work including the Weizmann Women for Science Vision and Impact Award, the SENTAC Gray Humanitarian Award, the LENA Research Foundation Making a Difference Award, the 2018 Chairman’s Award from the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the John D. Arnold, M.D., Mentor Award for Sustained Excellence from the Pritzker School of Medicine.

William T. Sirridge, M.D., and his wife, Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., two of the UMKC School of Medicine’s original docents, viewed the humanities as an essential part of a students’ medical training. In 1992, they established the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics to merge the humanities with the science of medicine. Today, the school recognizes their dedication, compassion and advancement of patient care and medical education in Kansas City with the William and Marjorie Sirridge Lecture.

New School of Medicine class begins its journey with InDOCtrination ceremony

The School of Medicine welcomed a new class of first-year students at the annual InDOCtrination Ceremony on Aug. 16.

A class of 109 first-year students marched into the UMKC Student Union for the UMKC School of Medicine’s annual InDOCtrination ceremony on Friday, Aug. 16, taking the first step in a six-year journey toward earning their medical degrees.

First-year medical students Srujay Pandiri (left) and Rohit Siddabattula relaxed for a photo during a reception following the School of Medicine’s annual InDOCtrination ceremony on Aug. 16.

Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., interim dean of the School of Medicine and a 1978 graduate, shared her experience as a new medical student.

“I was excited to start this new journey and just slightly overwhelmed to think this was my first step toward becoming a physician,” she said.

She told the class that the next six years would be some of the most challenging, but also most memorable and most life-changing of their lives.

“Each and every day, you will make a difference in people’s lives,” Jackson said. “Embrace that.”

InDOCtrination Photo Album

This year’s incoming class is comprised of 76 women and 33 men from 15 states spread from California to Massachusetts.

Second-year medical student Corrine Workman received the 2019 Richard T. Garcia award.

Corrine Workman, a second-year student, received the school’s Richard T. Garcia Memorial Award. It is given annually to a second-year student for outstanding leadership skills, compassion toward fellow students, and outstanding academic performance throughout Year 1.

“I remember meeting people that I now consider my closest friends,” Workman said. “I also learned about taking care of myself and people around me.”

She encouraged members of the new Year 1 class to be patient with themselves when they face challenges and to be a help to others.

Each of the students was then introduced to family and friends with their Year 1 docent units and then listed to a reading of the Oath of Physicians. It is the same oath the class will recite in six year upon graduation.

 

White Coat Ceremony brings new beginning, new responsibilities to Class of 2023

Bridgette Jones, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, reads the Hippocratic Oath to the Class of 2023 during UMKC School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 10.

For the physicians who wear it, the white coat is a recognized symbol that carries respect. It also signifies a growing set of responsibilities for 117 students at the UMKC School of Medicine.

The class of third-year students and two oral surgery students, was reminded of that as their Years 3-6 docents presented each with his or her white coat during the school’s annual White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 10 at the White Recital Hall on the UMKC Volker Campus.

Jill Moormeier, M.D., chair of internal medicine, presided over the ceremony that included a message to students from Interim Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D.

The ceremony marks a transition in their training from an emphasis on classwork to more intensive clinical training. It also serves as an introduction to the students’ new docent units on the UMKC Health Sciences District campus on Hospital Hill and at Saint Luke’s Hospital for their next four years of medical school.

Gabriel Calderon, recipient of the 2018 Garcia Award for outstanding leadership and academic performance, represented the class in reading the Class of 2023 Philosophy of Medicine that is a compilation of their thoughts about the profession of medicine.

Jill Moormeier, M.D., chair of internal medicine, and third-year student Daniel Oh presented the 2019 Outstanding Year 1 and 2 Docent Award to Stefanie Ellison, M.D.

The class also recognized Stefanie Ellison, M.D., professor of emergency medicine, as the 2019 Outstanding Year 1 and 2 Docent. Third-year student Daniel Oh, a new member of the Gold 6 docent unit, introduced Ellison as this year’s award recipient.

Ellison served as a docent for first- and second-year students in the ambulatory care program from 2002 through 2015 and returned to that role in 2017. She also serves as associate dean for learning initiatives and  as co-chair of the UMKC health sciences schools’ interprofessional education program.

Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the White Coat Ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for patients and proficiency in both the art and the science of medicine. It has been a tradition at the UMKC School of Medicine since 2003.

Vision researcher receives grant to look at technology to detect traumatic brain injury

A diagnostic process used in routine eye exams could hold a key to early stage detection and long-term monitoring of subclinical and clinical traumatic brain injury.

The Leonard Wood Institute awarded a $383,837 grant to the UMKC School of Medicine to explore the use of microperimetry to detect changes in visual function that are the result of traumatic brain injury. The project’s principal investigator is Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of basic research at the UMKC School of Medicine’s Vision Research Center in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Microperimetry measures the light sensitivity of the central retina. It is currently used in ophthalmology to identify damage to the retina and vision loss due to eye diseases.

“We’re not looking for treatments for traumatic brain injury. We’re looking for a quantitative method to detect the disease that tells the patient, your disease severity is a 9 out of 10 or a 2 out of 10,” Koulen said. “Being able to quantify the disease will help physicians to better evaluate their patients. And then, when there is a treatment, it will help evaluate the treatment as well.”

Interventions to prevent or stop traumatic brain injuries are most effective early in the disease, but are not possible without reliable and easily repeatable early stage identification and diagnosis.

Current tests to conclusively show subclinical, or non-recognizable, forms of traumatic brain injury and the degree of acute and long-term damage are typically costly and often imprecise without accurate baseline data.

Using the microperimetry technology, Koulen’s research will sample mild to moderately concussed patients, subclinical traumatic brain injury and non-concussed patients to achieve a baseline. That data will then be used to create a defined number of quantitative parameters and produce a specific fingerprint of functional changes in vision that allow the researcher to optimally perform early stage detection, grading and long-term monitoring of subclinical and clinical traumatic brain injury.

Koulen said the UMKC School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology and its Vision Research Center are uniquely positioned to conduct research on the new diagnostic technique because their faculty includes nationally recognized experts in the retina and neuro-ophthalmology sub-specialties.

If successful, the technology will ultimately enable diagnosis without invasive or subjective measures and will likely also enable an assessment of the severity and long-term impairment resulting from traumatic brain injury.

“Our technology will address this urgent clinical need,” Koulen said.

New Summer Scholars program opens the door of opportunity in health professions to college undergrads

Paul Ganss, EMS Education Program Director, used a mannequin to show STAHR Summer Scholar students how to apply a bag valve mask on a patient.

Two years ago, Karlin Byrd was a Kansas City high school student exploring her options in the health care professions through the UMKC School of Medicine’s Summer Scholars program. Now, getting ready for her second year of college, Byrd is back for more as part of the inaugural class of the school’s new Summer Scholars program for college students.

“My first time in the program, I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician,” said Byrd, who attended Lincoln Prep High School. “I did the clinical rotations in Summer Scholars and realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

After spending her freshman year at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, where she is now studying to become a pharmacist, Byrd has recently joined other college students from Kansas City in the new STAHR Summer Scholars program.

Much like the high school version of Summer Scholars, it provides experiences in clinical settings, supplemental instruction in the sciences, research opportunities, and reinforced skill development to support student academic progression and retention. This six-week program goes even further. It provides college students insights into the professions of pharmacy and dentistry as well as medicine and more.

More photos from STAHR Summer Scholars

“Our objective is to increase the diversity of applicants to each of the schools and of those who are going into each of the health care professions,” said Allan Davis, program coordinator. “We want to open up the options to undergrads so they can explore the programs, find what fits for them and what they’re interested in. We’re providing an experience to prepare students to come into these professional programs.”

Last October, the School of Medicine, in collaboration with the UMKC schools of Pharmacy and Dentistry, received a $3.2-million STAHR Partnership grant to help students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds enter and succeed in health profession degree programs. Part of that grant is supporting the new college Summer Scholars program.

Ten Kansas City residents attending college at UMKC, Johnson County Community College, Kansas State, Rockhurst, Metropolitan Community College, Haskell Indian Nations University, Donnelly College and Hampton University are participating in the STAHR Summer Scholars. Another group of 12 college students from across the country who are nearing completion of their undergraduate degree with plans to enter dental school are participating in a School of Dentistry program that includes a one-and-a-half-week component of Summer Scholars and its own eight-week online program.

Students spent the first week in a series of personal development workshops focused on things from how to write a resume and prepare for professional program entry exams to learning basic research skills.

As the program continues, the students will get an overview of the medicine and pharmacy professions through shadowing experiences at Truman Medical Center and the medical, pharmacy and dental schools, and hands-on experiences and spend time learning medical terminology.

They are also exposed to the School of Medicine’s graduate programs for physician assistants and anesthesiologist assistants.

“These students get an intense look at a day in the life of a health care provider as well as some clinical experiences,” Davis said.

For Byrd, it’s been an eye-opening experience.

“Hampton has a six-year pharmacy program and I discovered I could still see patients but it would be a different experience than being a physician,” she said. “I came back to ask more questions about the health care professions. Now, I’m learning about all the opportunities. I still want to continue in pharmacy, but going through this program is really opening my eyes to all the other professions like physician assistant and the anesthesiologist assistants.”

Grant-funded project will help Kansas City community take charge of its own vascular health

School of Medicine researcher Kim Smolderen, Ph.D., is leading a grant-funded project to raise community awareness of peripheral arterial disease.

A few years ago, Kansas City received the federal CHOICE grant to revitalize one of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Now, an effort by UMKC School of Medicine researcher Kim Smolderen, Ph.D., will support residents of the Paseo Gateway and surrounding neighborhoods to build on existing efforts to flourish in their communities.

With the backing of a new two-year, $300,000 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute grant, Smolderen, is leading a project to raise community awareness of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and the cardiovascular risks associated with it.

More than 8.5 million Americans live with PAD, a narrowing of the peripheral arteries that occurs most commonly in the legs and often causes pain while walking. African Americans particularly are at risk of late diagnosis and related leg amputations in part because of a low awareness of the disease.

The project focuses on the Gateway Plaza area, specifically the Pendleton Heights, Paseo West and Independence Plaza neighborhoods that have some of the lowest life expectancy rates in Kansas City and Jackson County with their widely diverse communities including a growing immigrant population.

“These are the areas where people have to grapple with financial hardship,” said Smolderen, an assistant professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics. “Violence is a factor, poor housing conditions. These are typically overlooked areas that are dealing with a lot of challenges at the same time.”

Previous data from the American Heart Association also shows that knowledge and resources to improve vascular health are not widely accessible in inner-city neighborhoods characterized by these challenges, further predisposing them to PAD complications such as amputations.

The plan is to increase the awareness of PAD by presenting information to the community through a multi-faceted dissemination campaign including seminars and artwork by neighborhood artists promoting vascular health. Symposiums with community members will also serve to determine what issues impacting vascular disease are most concerning to those in their neighborhoods. Project and neighborhood leaders will then work together to create a list of available community resources that address the identified barriers. Common issues include insufficient resources to stop smoking, which is the leading risk factor for the disease, and needed exercise programs and facilities.

“We’re going to work with the community, not telling them what to do, but sharing with them what we have found and then let them tell us how we can help make connections in the community to implement that knowledge and do something with it that serves their needs,” Smolderen said.

The project will begin this summer with a workshop bringing together a steering committee that includes an array of collaborators from UMKC, Saint Luke’s Hospital, the UMKC Health Sciences District, Storytellers, Inc., the Paseo Gateway Initiative, the local American Heart Association, and PAD experts.

Students interested in community outreach activities are also being invited to contact Smolderen about potential research internships regarding the program.

She said the project will work in lockstep with the city as it continues to implement resources from the stimulus grant it received in 2015 to transform the neighborhood.

In addition to creating awareness and promoting cardiovascular health, Smolderen said the program could also become a template for those in other cities and neighborhoods to engage their city stakeholders and public health officials to focus on health problems facing their communities.

“If you enforce things on people, you only create resistance,” she said. “This is really to help people discover their own autonomy, creativity, and to find needed resources in their own community.”

Health Sciences District co-sponsors 46th annual Hospital Hill Run

More than 3,500 runners competed in the 2019 Hospital Hill Run co-sponsored by the UMKC Health Sciences District.

More than 3,500 runners converged on Kansas City’s Crown Center to compete in the 46th annual Hospital Hill Run on June 1. The UMKC Health Sciences District served as one the sponsors for this year’s event that included a half marathon, 10K and 5K races.

UMKC faculty, staff, students and alumni served in volunteer roles including manning the event’s medical tent.

2019 Hospital Hill Run Photo Album

UMKC School of Medicine students, residents and faculty manned the medical tent.

The Hospital Hill Run was started by in 1974 by School of Medicine founder E. Grey Dimond, M.D., as a single 6.8-mile race that drew fewer than 100 runners to the inaugural event. Today, the race weekend usually draws top runners from around the country, plus many local participants, often from fitness groups.

More than 170,000 athletes of all levels from across the world have completed in the event since its inception. The Hospital Hill Run served as host to the first USATF National Championship half marathon in 2002. In 2013, it was recognized by Runner’s World Magazine as the 11th best half marathon in the United States.

Click here to see the 2019 Hospital Hill Run race results.