Training the next sideline stars

Margaret Gibson, an avid skier, is director of one of the School of Medicine’s sports medicine fellowships.

Sports medicine physicians and surgeons usually complete a one-year fellowship, and the UMKC School of Medicine has two top-flight fellowships. The programs’ faculty include team physicians for UMKC Athletics and the Kansas City Chiefs, and the fellows get experience with those teams and at Truman Medical Centers, as well as the school’s other affiliate hospitals.

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery takes one fellow each year. The program is led by Jon E. Browne, clinical associate professor, who also led the Chiefs’ orthopaedic team for 23 years, through the 2011 season. The program, endorsed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, dates to 1990, making it one of the first of its kind.

“The fellowship has excellent relationships with our teams and hospitals,” Browne said, adding that UMKC Athletics’ move to Division 1 status greatly increased the requirements for sports physicians and surgeons — and the opportunities for UMKC faculty and fellows.

The Department of Community and Family Medicine takes two physicians a year for its fellowship, which started in 2008 and is led by Margaret Gibson, associate professor of community and family medicine. Gibson, an avid skier who has served several U.S. teams in international competitions, said past fellows had a variety of private practices and included team physicians with the Chiefs, the University of Kansas, Louisville University and the University of Central Missouri.

“We keep up with the latest developments in sports medicine,” Gibson said, “and working with our fellows and UMKC’s teams makes me keep learning, too. It’s a good feeling knowing you’ve helped train the physicians who are caring for athletes at all levels.”

An update for alumni

In these challenging times, the School of Medicine endeavors to keep students, faculty and staff both safe and informed, while continuing to pursue our mission of education, research and service. I also want to keep you, my fellow alumni, up to date. Here are some key recent developments:

— On March 12, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, in consultation with Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer and our own Dr. Erica Carney, the Emergency Medical Services Medical Director, issued a state of emergency proclamation, and on March 16 issued a stay-at-home order. Other surrounding counties and municipalities followed suit. Gov. Kelly from the state of Kansas also issued a state of emergency proclamation on March 12, followed by a statewide stay-at-home order to run from March 30 through at least April 19.

— As a result, the School of Medicine building is closed except for “essential activities.” In practical terms, that means nearly all staff are working from home, and students cannot use their docent offices or other school space for study. Exceptions have been made for faculty researchers who must access the building for critical procedures or equipment management, and for our clinical faculty.

— We have moved to online curriculum for our biomedical science courses. We also are offering online clinical options as our students have moved out of the health care environments as part of efforts to limit personnel and conserve PPE. We join the vast majority of medical schools across the United States who are adding new classes on pandemics, telemedicine and intensive care of patients.

In addition, the American Association of Medical Colleges is curating a new, free and open resource that allows sharing of innovative educational approaches during the pandemic. The resource is called the iCollaborative Collection. Two of our humanities courses (Medicine and Literature: Pandemics, Plagues, and People — What Physicians In Training Think, and Medicine and the Visual Arts – Pandemics, Plagues, and People — What The Visual Arts Can Teach Us) have been accepted to the Collective. This national inclusion in an AAMC effort is just one more example of where we are making a difference during the pandemic.

Other examples include exceptional work and effort by our faculty that have ensured a smooth transition to online learning to keep all of our students on the path to graduation. There has been a Herculean effort on the part of our staff to ensure excellent student support during this time, and we have instituted virtual class meetings. And our students who are out in the community are providing child care for HCW, sponsoring blood drives and developing an interprofessional effort to collect and distribute personal protective equipment that is necessary to ensure our front-line workers are protected.

— Many valued social and professional activities have been postponed or canceled, including the Alumni Reunion. But some others continued, in creative new ways, such as our successful virtual Match Day. And we will be moving our 7th Annual Vijay Babu Rayudu Quality and Patient Safety Day to a virtual event.

— We welcome Dr. Tyler Smith as our new Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She is the first M.D. to fill this role and takes over for Nate Thomas, Ph.D., who was with SOM from February 2018 to March 2020. Dr. Smith joined the Children’s Mercy Department of Pediatrics in February 2018 and is the General Academic Pediatrics fellowship program director. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina SOM and completed pediatric residency at the University of Maryland Medical System in 2008. She then completed her M.P.H. and fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and SOM. Seh was recognized as a mentor of the year by Hampton University, where she completed her undergraduate work, and is on the National Medical Association Editorial Board. Dr. Smith is nationally known for her work in medical education, mentorship, diversity, health care disparities and physician wellness.

We are immensely grateful for your continued support as we endeavor to provide the best possible medical education, research efforts and patient care, under unusually trying circumstances. Please continue to stay in touch — and we will do likewise, as our situation continues to evolve.


Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. ’78, Interim Dean


Welcoming our newest students

The new class of “M.D. only” students.

Though students in the 6-year B.A./M.D. program are the school’s largest contingent, students pursuing other degrees are an important part of the School of Medicine. Some of their programs also start in January, rather than in the fall, which gave us a chance to welcome our newest groups of students in January.

Our “M.D. only” students have already earned a bachelor’s degree and join second-year B.A./M.D. students for much of their clinical training and other course work.

The new Master of Science in Anesthesiology class.

The Master of Science in Anesthesia program was started in 2008 to address a shortage of anesthesia care providers in Missouri and several other states. The program is known for its outstanding placement rate and rate of success on the profession’s certifying exam. Graduates typically earn starting salaries of $90,000 to $120,000.

The Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Program’s new class.

The Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Program also is known for its outstanding certification-test and job placement rates.

The School of Medicine welcomes its newest students and looks forward to their becoming another integral part of providing top-quality health care to residents of Missouri and elsewhere in the Midwest and other states.

A letter to fellow alumni

13 January, 2020

Dear UMKC School of Medicine Alumnus,

Hello.  For those of you who don’t know me, my name is David John, M.D.  I am a 1977 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine and have returned to the School of Medicine after practicing rheumatology in Honolulu since finishing my fellowship.  While I continue to serve as the Gold One Docent (I was Green One under William Sirridge as a student), I have recently taken on the position as the Associate Dean of Alumni and Community Engagement.  Today is my first day in the new position and I wanted my first task to be reaching out to my fellow UMKC School of Medicine alums.

The first thing I want to tell you is that our School of Medicine is alive and well under the leadership of another fellow alum, Dean Mary Anne Jackson (Class of 1978, Blue One Docent unit).  Many exciting things are happening:

  • Our 50th Anniversary is rapidly approaching; save the date of September 25th, 2021, for the Anniversary dinner.
  • A student-centric major remodeling project beginning with the front SOM courtyard, the lobby, the humanities classroom and the canteen area
  • A rapidly expanding research initiative to support our student and resident needs
  • A reinvigoration of and recommitment to our Docent concept, the backbone of the UMKC School of Medicine Academic Plan
  • Our recent full 8-year reaccreditation by the LCME
  • “Hospital Hill” is passé; we are now part of the Health Sciences District.

I want to take the opportunity to emphasize that our School of Medicine is very special.  The Junior-Senior partnership concept still works.  Do-Ro still gives our graduates a more solid grasp of medicine than most schools.  Our graduates go on to have impressive careers and do astounding things.

For a 17-year-old guy who envisioned a career as a small college literature professor (with an eventual Nobel), the life that the UMKC School of Medicine gave me has been amazing.  I cannot imagine a more worthwhile purpose than ours as physicians.  I am honored.  I am grateful.  I am confident that you feel the same way!

If you ever want to talk about the School, hear about our plans to enhance the facility and the students’ experience, get a tour, air a concern, please contact me.  You can expect a warm welcome.

My cell number is 808-382-1307.  I look forward to speaking with you individually.  And, look forward to regular updates.

Have a grand 2020!




David John, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Associate Dean of Alumni and Community Engagement
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

AOA nominations sought

Jan. 7, 2020

Dear Alumni Member:

In accordance with the national constitution, the UMKC Delta chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha (National Honor Medical Society) is inviting interested alumni members to apply for consideration for AOA membership. To be eligible, UMKC-SOM alumni must have graduated at least 10 years ago.

Criteria considered in the selection process include scholastic excellence, integrity, leadership, research, compassion, and fairness.

If you wish to be considered, please send electronically or mail me a copy of your CV as well as one letter of recommendation. If you prefer to nominate someone else please submit their name with a letter of recommendation and we will get in touch with them directly for a CV.

Please submit materials to:

John Foxworth, PharmD
UMKC School of Medicine
2411 Holmes St.
Kansas City, MO 64108-2792

All materials must be received by March 1 for the candidate to be considered. Material received after that date will not be considered. Decisions will be made in the spring of 2020.

If you need any additional information, reach me at 816-235-1925 or my email above. You can view information at the National AOA website at

Thank you for your participation in this nomination process.


John Foxworth, PharmD
Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, & Biomedical and Health Informatics
Associate Dean, Academic Enrichment, School of Medicine
Associate Program Director & Director of Research, Internal Medicine Residency Program
Fellow, American College of Clinical Pharmacology
Member, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Clinical Pharmacology Section,
Department of Medicine, Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill
and University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine


The gift of relaxation

Niloofar Shahmohammadi, wellness program coordinator, showed off the new Wellness Wing when it opened.

Students at the School of Medicine keep up a fast pace, but when they do get a break they have the perfect place to go: the fifth-floor Wellness Wing.

The large room, once the curriculum office, was remodeled with financial help from the school’s Alumni Association and stocked with sports equipment, an electric massage chair and other amenities with help from the Friends group. Since it opened in May 2018, the Wellness Wing has offered everything from a massage chair, soothing music and free herbal tea to books and magazines on taking care of yourself, and tables loaded with puzzles, coloring books and arts and crafts supplies.

Niloofar Shahmohammadi, the school’s wellness program coordinator who brought the Wellness Wing to life, said, “This is our official wellness place where you can take a break, step away and then get back to what you need to do.”

Besides being a good place to decompress informally, the wing has offered yoga classes and will again this semester. That schedule hasn’t been set yet, but Shahmohammadi said the class again will be taught by a trained instructor from the Swinney Center on UMKC’s Volker Campus.

The wing also has sports equipment, donated by the Friends, that can be checked out when the weather is good for soccer, Frisbee or tossing around a football.

“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,” Shahmohammadi said.