The Collective – Affiliate Institutions

Children’s Mercy Hospital

Virtual Equity and Diversity Education Sessions

  • Date: May 25th, 2021
    Topic: Immigrant and Refugee Families – Addressing Culturally Sensitive Strategies in a Healthcare Setting
    Time: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
  • Date: June 24th, 2021
    Topic: Unconscious Bias for Healthcare Professionals
    Time: 12:00 – 1 PM
  • Date: July 22nd, 2021
    Topic: Culture & Language: Engaging Families Through Health Literacy
    Time: 12:00 – 1 PM
  • Date: August 26th, 2021
    Topic: The Impact of Micro-Messages in the Workplace
    Time: 12:00 – 1 PM

Remembering Sister Corita Bussanmas
Sister Corita Bussanmas, co-founder of Operation Breakthrough (OB), passed away March 27, 2021 at the age of 87. A 50-year champion of children and families facing adversity, Sister Corita spent most of her life providing social services, education and health for those most in need ( To honor the life of Sister Corita, Children’s Mercy Hospital had a formal collaboration with Operation Breakthrough, named Partnership for Resilient Families, which combined early childhood education and healthcare delivery efforts at OB.

Chief Residents
Each year, Children’s Mercy Pediatrics Residency Program selects three resident leaders from the second-year class to continue at CMH for an additional year after graduation and serve as key leaders of the residency program and the hospital.

We are excited to announce the Pediatric Chief Residents for the 2022-2023 academic year will be: Dr. Darius Blanding, Dr. Zuri Hudson and Dr. Jordan Marquees. They will start their Chief Resident year in July 2022. For the upcoming academic year, July 2021-June 2022, our Chief Residents will be Drs. Adam, Brown and Meyer.

  • Darius Blanding, M.D.
    Dr. Blanding grew up in small town South Carolina and graduated with an honors biology degree from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University before completing medical school at the University of South Carolina-Greenville. He came to Kansas City for the first time to interview for our residency program and we are excited that he has chosen to stay for a fourth year and serve as Chief Resident. Throughout his residency training, Dr. Blanding has been recognized for his friendly demeanor and approachability mixed with his leadership skills that are highlighted in medical school student government positions and work with diversity and inclusion at both CMH and UMKC. Dr. Blanding has career aspirations that include pursuing a fellowship in Gastroenterology followed by a career in medical education.
  • Zuri Hudson, D.O.
    Dr. Hudson was in the first cohort of the Mercy +ME pilot-year program of the rotation that was funded by the Black Community Fund of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. After growing up in Sharpsburg, Georgia, she headed to Atlanta and Georgia Institute of Technology (She will tell you ‘Go Jackets!’) where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology.  She continued her education at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee where she earned her medical degree as well as a master’s degree in business (M.B.A) and a master’s degree in biological sciences (M.Biol.S.).  When you meet Dr. Hudson, you will quickly see why her peers identify her as energetic, enthusiastic, and approachable in her role as a physician and leader. Dr. Hudson post-residency plans includes a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology and continued work on her passions of diversity, equity and inclusion in academic medicine, mental health, and advocacy.
  • Jordan Marquess, M.D.
    Dr. Marquess is a Kansas City native who earned an honors degree in biology from Kansas State University along with a minor in leadership studies before completing her medical degree from the University of Kansas. Our residency program was happy Dr. Marquess chose to ‘stay home’ and complete her training at CMH where she has utilized her leadership background to demonstrate for her peers a friendly and enthusiastic energy with disciplined and professional expectations for patient care and creating positive work environments. Dr. Marquess is considering fellowship opportunities in hospital medicine or critical care after her Chief year with a goal to be a lifelong formal and informal leader in medicine.

Walking the Talk: Glass Ceiling
In honor of Women’s History Month, Michelle Wimes, SVP and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, sat down with Children’s Mercy medical and research trainees to learn more about the obstacles they’ve overcome, who they see shattering glass ceilings, and what excites them about the future. Here is the Youtube link:

STAR Program

Congratulations to Dr. Bridgette Jones and Vickie Yarbrough on student and teacher selection of Children’s Mercy Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) 2.0 Program, which provides a hands-on, high-quality research experience during the summer academic break for high school students and educators. During the 6-week program, held June 21 to July 29, 2021, participants will get the chance to:

– Work with Children’s Mercy faculty on an original research project.
– Develop a research publication for submission in a peer-reviewed journal.
– Learn about clinical and translational research methodology, writing, statistics, medical ethics, and career development.
– Network and learn with other students/educators from across the country.

The STAR Program 2.0 is held at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute (CMRI) and will also collaborate with the STAR Program at Duke University. The CMRI integrates research into healthcare by fostering a partnership among healthcare professionals, researchers, patients and families. Together we are pursuing discoveries to improve the health and well-being of children everywhere. The CMRI is located on the Hospital Hill Campus at 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Mo.

Students and teacher are:
Mikayla Stamps – she is a student at Sumner Academy in Kansas City, Kansas
Paw Wah – she is a student at Northeast High School
Zackary Shelby – he is a student at Lincoln Prep
Yvonne Villa – she is a student at East High School
Kaison Hill-Beard – he is a student at Lincoln Prep
Ms. Danielle Farr – middle school science teacher at University Academy

Children’s Mercy Hospital Notes

Two abstracts from Clínica Hispana de Cuidados de Salud (CHiCoS) Research Group have been accepted for presentation at the upcoming Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in May. Congratulations to project leads Jodi Dickmeyer and Ryan Northup. The titles are “Where are they now? Spanish utilization and career direction of graduates of a pediatric bilingual continuity clinic” and “Spanish-speaking families’ perspectives on the acceptability and impact of culture and language coaching for bilingual residents.” The abstracts will be presented as an “e-Poster with Chat Q&A” as part of an on-demand virtual poster session available throughout the meeting and until January 2022.

In honor of Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31st), CM Pride Employee Resource Group hosted two guest speakers: Rachael Cady, Kansas City Center for Inclusion and Dr. Rachael Allen from UMKC.

African-American Advancement celebrated Women’s History Month with a special wellness session titled, “Survival Over Sisterhood,” which is a reflection opportunity to talk about how we treat and/or celebrate one another.

In partnership with Interfaith Employee Resource Group and Spiritual Services, CM celebrated a virtual Festival of Colors-Holi celebration, a popular festival that celebrates the eternal and divine love of Radha and Krishna.

Children’s Mercy Office of Equity and Diversity and Spiritual Services conducted a Service to Honor Those Lost in the Atlanta Tragedy on March 23rd, 2021.

Truman Medical Center

Truman Medical Centers/University Health is excited to highlight two staff members who are expanding their roles to enhance the organization’s value in equity, diversity, and inclusion in our health care system.

Dr. Brett Ferguson, DDS, FACS, FICD, has become TMC/UH’s Medical Director of Health Equity. Dr. Ferguson serves our community as an accomplished oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He says he is happiest in the operating room. Among several other notable accomplishments, he is the recipient of the 2019 W. Kendall McNabney Heart for Healing Award, the first Black person to be elected to the board of trustees of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and chair of UMKC’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry. Many lives have been changed due to his passion to serve our community.

Kamera Meaney, MA, MBA, has assumed the role of Director of Nursing Administrative Services. She will lead projects on nursing wellness and resiliency, provide administrative support for the TMC/UH and UMKC academic-practice partnership, and will serve as the liaison between TMC/UH’s Nursing Administration and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Department. She is an alumna of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program and has been highly successful in implementing special programs and leading initiatives to advance equity in healthcare service delivery.

We congratulate Dr. Ferguson and Mrs. Meaney on their new roles. TMC/UH is confident they will enhance health care equity in our community.

The Collective – UMKC DEI Updates

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and the School of Medicine DEI Council are actively working to ensure that all identities represented at UMKC SOM are seen, heard, valued and appreciated. We are aware that we cannot make announcements and statements for everything, but we strive to provide some form of recognition for all.

2021 Residency Match

Congratulations to our Students in Medicine, Academia, Research, and Training (SMART) Program who matched for residency training. We are so proud of you and all of your hard work towards this wonderful achievement.

  • Saniya “Sunny” Ablatt – General Surgery – St. Joseph’s Hospital – Tacoma, WA
  • Rico Beuford – Emergency Medicine – Duke University Medical Center – Durham, NC
  • Manuela “Mela” Garcia – Family Medicine – Texas Tech University – El Paso, TX
  • Nina Govalla – Psychiatry – University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, AZ
  • Nila Jones – Internal Medicine – Kettering Health Network – Kettering, OH
  • Ginika Osude Ibezim – Family Medicine – University of Texas at Austin-Dell Medical School – Austin, TX
  • Debra Wekesa – Internal Medicine – University of Nebraska Medical Center – Omaha, NE

DEI Highlights

Women’s History Month
– Thank you to the presenters, panelists, members of the UMKC SOM Chapter of AMWA, and supporters of Women’s History Month activities. The month-long celebration included webinars about financial literacy, negotiation skills, leaderHERship, and a community service activity.

Panel Discussion – Thank you for attending our panel discussion about the documentary, Black Men in White Coats, on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. This was an impactful and informative discussion about the impacts of being a Black man in the medical profession, reasons for the decreased numbers of Black men in medicine, and potential action steps to mitigate this problem. Thank you to our moderator and panelists.

Michael Moncure, MD (moderator)
Jordan Grimmett
Darius Blanding, MD
Jackson Sadler, MD
Michael Moncure
Michael Weaver, MD
Gerald Woods, MD

Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia – Thank you for attending our panel discussion about anti-Asian racism and xenophobia on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. This was an empowering and safe space discussing the unfortunate rise in racism and xenophobia experienced by the Asian American/Pacific Islander community including the associated feelings about these acts and impact on the community. Thank you to our moderator and panelists.

Valerie Chuy (moderator)
Victoria Shi
Yen Luu
Nabeel Rasheed
Robin Imperial, MD
Rex Liu, MD
James Kim, MD
Nolan Kagetsu, MD

UIM Student Recruitment – At the School of Medicine, we continue to take action-steps towards supporting the recruitment of diverse students. This includes enhancing the pathway from our SOM high school and college student health sciences development programs with activities such as automatic interviews of participants for the Physician Assistant Program.We continue to create and strengthen partnerships and collaborations with K-12 schools, historically Black colleges/universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and non-profit organizations. More information to come in the future.

Learning Environment – The Learning Environment has been active and busy over the last few months in designing and creating content that promotes professionalism and respect at the SOM. The Project Expect Respect website is now up and running. This initiative is designed to highlight the stories and lived experiences of our SOM community in efforts to promote learning, teachable moments, and empathy from the experiences of others. Please visit to share your story or read the stories of others. The Project PEAK (Professionalism, Empathy, and Kindness) website is also up and running. This initiative provides an opportunity to share stories and experiences about the core values of the medical profession. Please visit to read and listen to colleagues stories as well as to share your own.

UMKC School of Medicine STAHR Program

  • The Ambassador Program wrapped up the year with its Culmination Ceremony on Wednesday, April 28th.  At the event, all professional mentors, student leaders and student mentors were honored. Additionally, we highlighted our 18 Spring 2021 graduates (6 from Medicine, 5 from Dentistry, and 7 from Pharmacy).
  • We are gearing up for our virtual Summer Scholars Program that starts June 1st for undergraduate students and June 14th for high school students. This summer, we will host 112 scholars in the program (40 undergraduates and 72 high school students). We are excited to kick-off the program soon! Take a look at what our 2020 Scholars had to say about the their experience in the program. What has UMKC STAHR Summer Scholars meant to you?


The Collective – UMKC DEI Updates

UMKC School of Medicine Clinical Training Facility

Simulation-based education is a vetted option for experiential learning, offering hands-on opportunities for students. UMKC School of Medicine’s Clinical Training Facility (CTF) recently expanded resources to include more inclusive approaches to medical simulation.

Since opening in 2014, the SOM CTF has used high-fidelity simulation manikins and training models — all of them white-skinned — for skill-based training of health care students. That’s about to change, thanks to increasing availability of manikins of color and an initiative to add them to reflect UMKC’s diverse student population and the patients they serve. New dark-skinned IV arms, a lumbar puncture model, OB/Gyn task trainers and a newborn baby manikin made their CTF debut in January, 2021.

“We recognize that diversity in manikins does not equal an anti-racist simulation program,” said Dr. Emily Hillman, Director of Simulation Education in the Clinical Training Facility.  “Beyond the color of our manikins, we must consider the cases we write. We must also explore simulation as an educational tool that can be used to train learners about racial and ethnic disparities in care, implicit bias and communicating with diverse patients.”

Those objectives are extending further to UMKC’s standardized patients, or real people who are trained to portray patients in scenario-based activities. With assistance from the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, UMKC’s SP Program is evaluating strategies to continue recruiting diverse members of the community to join the SP pool .

For more information about inclusion in simulation education, please reference:

Conigliaro, R., Peterson, K. and Stratton, T., 2020. Lack of Diversity in Simulation Technology. Simulation in Healthcare: The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 15(2), pp.112-114.

For a guide to revising material to eliminate racial/cultural stereotypes, please reference the following article and appendix:

Krishnan A, Rabinowitz M, Ziminsky A, Scott S, Chretien KC. Addressing Race, Culture, and Structural Inequality in Medical Education. Acad Med. 2019;Publish Ahead of Print(NA;):NA; doi:10.1097/acm.0000000000002589

UMKC School of Medicine STAHR Program

  • The STAHR Program created self-care packages for 120 student participants as a refreshing way to “kick-off” the spring semester. The packages included activities and items for de-stressing, school supplies, journals for reflection and snacks for their studying time. In addition, students received STAHR T-shirts and STAHR face masks.
  • STAHR is hosting a fun, virtual paint night for its participants in mid-March. This event is a casual get-together where students from the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy can connect outside of their courses.
  • STAHR has begun its planning for this year’s Summer Scholars Programs, which will begin on Monday, May 31, 2021. The programs offered this summer are: Traditional Summer Scholars which is for 2 weeks, the 6-week track for high school and undergraduate students interested in entering the fields of medicine, dentistry or pharmacy, and a 10-week track for undergraduate students interested in dentistry. All Scholars programs will be held virtually again this summer.

Additional Office of DEI Updates

  • Three abstracts were accepted for presentation at the 2021 American Association of Medical Colleges Group on Diversity and Inclusion and Health Workforce Research Group Joint Conference scheduled for May 5-7, 2021. Accepted abstracts were about STAHR, UNITED, and Summer Success Seminar Series Bridge program.
  • Panel Discussion – Hopefully you were able to view the documentary, Black Men in White Coats. The Offices of DEI and GME will host a panel discussion in March 2021 of Black men medical students, trainees, and attending faculty to discuss the low numbers of Black men in the medical profession and potential ways to mitigate this issue.
  • Social Media – As the Office of DEI and the SOM DEI Council strive to keep medical and graduate students, trainees, faculty, and staff informed, more content will be coming out about activities, programs, and initiatives through the UMKC SOM social media platforms. Watch for content in coming weeks. Thank you to our students Dumebi Okocha and Rachel Tran for volunteering to assist with this endeavor.
  • Office of DEI Leadership History Video – To archive the rich history of the Office of DEI in collaboration with our media and marketing departments, we are creating a history video of past and current leaders in the Office of DEI. This will allow for future generations and leaders to know the energies and work about DEI from the office.

The Collective – Affiliate Institutions

Saint Luke’s Health System

Department of Surgery Grand Rounds – Michael L. Weaver, MD, FACEP, CDM, Medical Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Nikki Beard, Director of Strategic Diversity Initiatives, presented The Journey of Diversity to Equity during the Department of Surgery Grand Rounds Jan. 14. Attendees of the one-hour virtual presentation received CME credits.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration – Saint Luke’s celebrated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by sharing a series of articles internally for all employees, in addition to connecting them with a new library of resources, courtesy of the Saint Luke’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. All employees and providers were encouraged to share what they have learned or what inspires them about Dr. King. Digital displays and waiting room display in Saint Luke’s hospitals shared inspirational quotes from Dr. King’s messages.

Enhanced Care of LGBTQ Patients Training – Saint Luke’s provided information to all employees on online training courses available to all staff through the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Many of Saint Luke’s senior leaders have completed training courses, and Saint Luke’ encourages all employees to schedule time to participate in this valuable training to enhance care for our LGBTQ patients.

Children’s Mercy Hospital

Equity and Diversity Education Sessions

Children’s Mercy Equity and Diversity Education Series is focused on educating faculty, students, and health professionals about ways to address diversity, equity, anti-racism, and inclusion. It contributes to more effective strategies for improving health for individuals and communities of color, reduce barriers to quality healthcare access, and increase social equity for all.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • Topic: Berry Sisters Vision and Dr. John Perry’s Mission: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Children’s Mercy Date: Thursday, 2/23 Time: 12 – 1 PM
  • Not-So-Journal Club Topic: The Gifts Within Our Walls: A Conversation About the Experiences of Our Multicultural Faculty Members Date: Tuesday, 3/16/2021 Time: Noon – 1 PM

Overview: The not-so-journal club series aims to cultivate conversations that inspire personal and system change through examination of articles and other media that are particularly relevant to achieving equity in the healthcare environment.

– Discuss among faculty, trainees, researchers, and healthcare professionals in regard to improving equity in the health care environment
– Discuss with a panel of leaders how to address systems and structures, confront implicit bias and racism, and foster equity and inclusion in the workplace.
-Examine articles and personal feelings/behaviors in order to build a culture of inclusion Identify solutions that can make Children’s Mercy more equitable and inclusive.

The Office of Faculty Development (OFD) and the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) sponsored a Faculty Evening Event: A History of Black Healthcare in Kansas City on Feb. 11 via zoom in celebration of Black History month. In partnership with the African American Heritage Trail, the program presented information about the history of Black health care in Kansas City. Presenter Geri Sanders led a discussion of the history of black hospitals in Kansas City, talked about the leaders of the hospital movement and examined where they succeeded including major hospitals such Wheatley-Provident, General Hospital No. 2 and Children’s Mercy.

CM Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) is a group of Children’s Mercy LGBTQIA employees dedicated to fostering a welcoming culture of diversity and inclusion for our patients, families, employees, and community. It strives to provide education, awareness, and support around gender and sexual orientation as an intentional and strategic partner within Children’s Mercy. Through these efforts, we aim to improve the safety and care of our patients and families.

African American Advancement (A3) ERG is geared toward the support and advancement of Black and African American employees and the education of the entire Children’s Mercy (CM) family in matters relevant to Black and African American employees, patients, and families.   It envisions influencing CM policy and programming as well as promoting recruitment and retention of Black and African American individuals.   By focusing on these objectives, we hope to create a community where employees feel uplifted and encouraged, thereby allowing them to be great ambassadors to CM patients, families, and the greater community. A3, in partnership with the CM Child Life team, hosted a Black History Month fun programming activity on February 11th on CCTV. The activity was filmed in the Lisa Barth Chapel.


  • Walk the Talk with Michelle Wimes – Michelle Wimes, new SVP and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer invites CM staff and faculty to take part in “Walking the Talk,” a new video series that will educate and engage staff and faculty around issues on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Click here to hear more from Michelle!
  • CMH, KU Med, TMC and UMKC collaborated on a community forum on vaccine safety on Feb. 4. This virtual forum provided an opportunity to learn the truth about the COVID-19 vaccine from KC-area physicians and experts. Over 100 people attended and were able to receive great info and helpful resources regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic. A big thanks to our moderator and panelists.
  • The Office of Equity and Diversity wants to share some new resources that have been developed to help our communities of color gain confidence and trust in the Covid 19 vaccines. Please help us to share with community partners and use your platforms to help spread these video messages.
  • A Message to the Black Community about the Covid-19 Vaccine
  • Spanish video on Telemundo

Acknowledgements from CMH

  • Michelle Wimes shared a hopeful message at CM Interfaith Prayer Service on January 21st, 2021! It was a powerful moment for us to reflect and share on good news to come.
  • The Equity and Diversity Council is excited to announce the upcoming publication of a quarterly newsletter to include information from all diversity related workgroups, committees and endeavors throughout the hospital.
  • The 2019-2020 Equity and Diversity Report has been released. Check out what your amazing colleagues and outstanding Children’s Mercy leadership have been up to. Colorful captions and stories of success highlight our shared vision of diversity, health equity, inclusion, and service on every page. Thank you, Tiffany Chow, MA, MS, Project Manager & Health Science Summer Internship Supervisor for OED on her leadership and creative direction a beautiful report.

Additional Comments from CMH

On January 12th, 2021, OED and CM Spiritual Services Today continued to promote Dr. King’s vision of love as a potent social and political force for change. As our country struggles today, the message and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King are increasingly important and applicable to us all. A small group of faculty and staff from across the organization addressed the question: How would Dr. King’s teachings from the 60’s help us transform into a more just and peaceful country today?  Martin Luther King Jr. Program 2021.

Truman Medical Centers

Truman Medical Center/University Health’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion department in conjunction with the Diversity & Inclusion Council, had two exciting virtual programs for February, Black History Month.

A virtual conversation with Academy Award winner Kevin Willmott took place on Feb. 23. Willmott, is the creator of From Separate to Equal: The Creation of Truman Medical Center. He  discussed the groundbreaking documentary as it relates today in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historical health inequities that persist in the U.S.

Willmott is an Academy Award and Bafta Award winning screenwriter and filmmaker who has written and directed several feature films including Ninth Street, CSA – Confederate States of America, The Only Good Indian, The Battle for Bunker Hill, Destination Planet Negro! and Jayhawkers. He and Spike Lee co-wrote Blackkklansman, which won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 2019.  He teamed with Lee again in 2020 co-writing Da Five Bloods, which was just selected as the best film of 2020 by the National Board of Review.

Willmott recently completed the critically acclaimed The 24th, about the Houston riot of 1917.  He is also a playwright and works as an activist for peace and civil rights issues.  Willmott is a graduate of Marymount College of Kansas and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a Professor in the Film and Media Studies Department at The University of Kansas.

If you haven’t watched From Separate to Equal, take an opportunity to see it:

A conversation with esteemed poet Glenn North, Executive Director of the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, took place on Feb. 17.  Glenn, who received his MFA in Creative Writing from UMKC, is the author of City of Song, a collection of poems inspired by Kansas City’s rich jazz tradition and the triumphs and tragedies of the African American experience. He is a Cave Canem fellow, a Callaloo creative writing fellow and a recipient of the Charlotte Street Generative Performing Artist Award and the Crystal Field Poetry Award.

His work has appeared in the Langston Hughes Review, Kansas City Voices, One Shot Deal, The Sixth Surface, Caper Literary Journal, KC Studio, Cave Canem Anthology XII, The African American Review, and American Studies Journal. He collaborated with legendary jazz musician, Bobby Watson, on the critically acclaimed recording project, Check Cashing Day and is currently filling his appointment as the Poet Laureate of the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District.


Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


The School of Medicine believes that a vibrant and diverse institutional climate is essential to the medical education and work environment, both promoting a culture of inclusion and the ability to effectively deliver healthcare in diverse communities.  A diverse learning and work environment should include, but not be limited to, community members from different racial and ethnic origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, rural and urban communities, geographic origins, sexual orientation, religious backgrounds, and academic backgrounds.  It should also include both men and women who can contribute to the medical education community through different personal experiences, such as overcoming hardship, demonstrating involvement within the community, possessing multilingual abilities, and/or exhibiting different life experiences that may contribute to achieving a diverse and inclusive environment. 

The School of Medicine established an office of diversity in October 1980.  Since its inception, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has worked closely with students, faculty and staff to develop and promote programs and initiatives that support an inclusive environment.  The goals of the office include: 

  • Promote policies, initiatives and resources that build an environment and community of success for all students, faculty, and staff, including those underrepresented in medicine.
  • Increase the diversity of our faculty, staff and student population through recruitment, retention and development activities.
  • Strengthen connections between the School of Medicine and the community in which it serves through service learning, research and/or other opportunities for collaboration.
  • Encourage initiatives that promote cultural competency in teaching, learning and healthcare delivery.


Equity & Access

The UMKC School of Medicine adheres to all policies and procedures adopted and approved by the University of Missouri system and the University of Missouri – Kansas City.  UMKC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, military status, veteran status, in admissions, educational programs or activities and employment.  The University complies with all federal and state laws and University of Missouri System policy regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the State of Missouri Human Rights Act Chapter 213 RSMO.  

Any person who feels they have been discriminated against or who have inquiries regarding this institution’s compliance with the foregoing regulations may contact the UMKC Office of Affirmative Action at 816-235-1771.  Additional resources are also available:

Division of Diversity and Inclusion

Office of Affirmative Action

You may also contact the School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 816-235-1780.

Trainees (Residents and Fellows)

School of Medicine Multicultural Affairs


Uniting Numerous medIcal Trainees for Equity and Diversity

Mission Statement

“We are a trainee advisory group that aims to foster and develop relationships across specialties, as well as advocate for diversity among all UMKC and CMH residency and fellowship programs. Through planning and hosting social events and educational workshops, we aim to bring people from all backgrounds together, to inspire collaboration and support the exchange of ideas on how to make UMKC a more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive workspace for all.”
Welcome to our New Members for our 2021-2022 Academic Year 
Register Here
(1-2 representative openings per program)

Leadership Team

Raquel McCommon, M.A.Ed.

UNITED Advisor and Creator

Zuri Hudson, MD

CMH Pediatrics Resident

Shanice Robinson, MD

UMKC Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident

Johana Mejias-Beck, MD

UMKC Internal Medicine – Pediatrics Chief Resident

Sara Anderson, MD, MPH

UMKC Psychiatry  & Arts and Medicine Resident

Current 2021-2022 Membership

Rebecca Aguayo, MD

UMKC Family Medicine Resident

Hanae Benchbani, MD

UMKC Pathology Resident


Cornita Cannon, MD

UMKC Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident


Bianca Cherestal, MD

CMH Pediatric Cardiology Fellow

Ana Cortez, MD

CMH Pediatric Nephrology Fellow


Jessica Darusz, MD

UMKC Neurology Resident


Allison Drummond, MD

UMKC Ophthalmology Resident

Marwa Elsayed, MD

UMKC Internal Medicine Resident

Hannah Ho, MD

CMH Pediatrics Resident


Hiba Ibad, MD

UMKC Orthopedic Surgery Resident


Phil Jurasinski, DO, MPH, MSN

UMKC Internal Medicine – Pediatrics Resident


Andrew Lupo, MD

CMH Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology


Clinton Nelson, MD

UMKC Emergency Medicine Resident


Rachel Oldfather, MD

UMKC Internal Medicine – Pediatrics Resident


Sindhuja Palle, MD

UMKC Internal Medicine Resident


Anik Patel, MD

CMH Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow


Sha’Ray Shaw, MD

UMKC Neurology Resident


Mollie Walton, MD

CMH Pediatric Cardiology Fellow


Xiaofeng (Jasmine) Yan, MD, PhD

UMKC Psychiatry Resident


“Being a part of UNITED has shown me that UMKC really values diversity and through the support of its administration, we can make a sustainable change to our program. This has been very gratifying.”
“The UNITED community has given me a sense of pride, a family within residency outside of my program; it has given me courage, a voice and refuge to speak my mind and share ideas and advocate!”

Uniting Numerous medIcal Trainees for Equity and Diversity (UNITED) is a residency and fellowship advisory group founded in 2019 from the spirit and need of residents and fellows across the Hospital Hill campus who recognized the need for creating safe spaces to develop community and build relationships among under-represented in medicine (UIM) physicians.  UIM physicians are not limited to racial and ethnic identities, but also include those identifying as LGBTQIA+, numerous religious faiths and beliefs, diverse geographical locations, and varying ability levels.

The goal is to develop and foster relationships across medical specialties while advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion among residency and fellowship programs. Through social events and educational workshops, we aim to bring together people from different backgrounds to inspire collaboration and support the exchange of ideas on how to make our graduate medical education programs more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive workspaces for all.  Training programs affiliated with UMKC School of Medicine are different, but all strive to create a learning environment that prepares physicians to care for a global community of patients.

“This [UNITED] provides a way to connect with our colleagues that are simply across the street.”

UNITED provides a platform bringing residents and fellows together in the exchange of ideas to diversify their respective training program.  UNITED gives trainees a safe space outside of clinical responsibilities to harness their passion for advocacy, community engagement, and providing excellent medical care to patients while serving as ambassadors of their respective UMKC School of Medicine training program.  Group members strive to improve the health of patients and Greater Kansas City communities through education about health care disparities and social determinants of health while increasing awareness about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“It [UNITED] has made me feel less alone, knowing that there are other people who are committed to this and understand the challenges that come with being a minority trainee.”


Strategic Plan Roadmap

Key Time Periods and Action Items

The SOM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council in collaboration with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion developed a number of action items to implement a three-year Diversity Strategic Plan. In aligning with the SOM Strategic Plan and UMKC Diversity Strategic Plan, this plan will extend for two years to meet the SOM Strategic Plan timeline with additional action items included secondary to continued diversity, equity, and inclusion needs. The initial 31 action items were developed to improve the living, learning, and working environment of faculty, staff, residents, students and especially those in underrepresented and resource limited communities. This is a living document that will continue to grow and evolve over time.

Status Key:
  Completed   On time   Timeline shifted/In Progress   Project restructured

Year 1: Spring 2018 to Summer 2019
Dimension 1: Representation, Access & Success

Spring 2018 start Hispanic/Latinx student group. Completed

Summer 2018 develop and implement a SOM mentoring program to support URM students and residents. Completed

Summer 2018 start a Diversity Graduate Program Welcome. Completed

Summer 2018 develop and implement a Building Our Own Career Advancement Program where URM faculty, staff, and residents meet for professional development, networking, sense of belonging, and securing leadership and professional opportunities at UMKC SOM or affiliates. Completed

Summer 2018 create a collaborative group with affiliates to share, develop, and implement strategies that include unconscious bias and cultural sensitivity training with leaders and search teams to recruit and retain URM faculty and residents. Timeline shifted/In Progress

Summer 2019 increase the number of qualified, competitive URM applicants to the 6 year BA/MD program, MD program, and SOM grad programs by 10% annually. Timeline shifted/In Progress

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Dimension 2: Climate & Campus Environment

Summer 2018 create and implement a group to develop strategies to report mistreatment incidents so data can be tracked and issues addressed. Completed

Fall 2018 identify, review and assess data that impacts underrepresented faculty, staff, resident, and student working and learning environments, their sense of belonging, and success. Timeline shifted/In Progress

Fall 2018 develop and implement a plan to address concerns on the AAMC faculty survey and any staff surveys regarding perceptions of institutional climate. Timeline shifted/In Progress

Fall 2018 develop and implement a plan to address concerns in the AAMC graduate questionnaire and student survey regarding perceptions of institutional climate. Completed

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Dimension 3: Responsive Teaching, Research & Learning

Summer 2018 develop proposal to implement cultural competency into the curriculum. Completed

Summer 2018 Diversity Council suggests books related to social justice to increase Dr. Cattaneo’s Yr1 students’ learning about diversity & inclusion. Completed

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Dimension 4: UMKC & the Urban Community

Fall 2018 identify and report the number of activities the SOM has across departments with URM communities (i.e., Poverty Simulation). Timeline shifted/In Progress

Fall 2018 quantify the human and financial capacity provided to URM communities. Timeline shifted/In Progress

Spring 2019 develop a plan to identify and increase SOM department community engagement where there is a lock of involvement with URM communities. Timeline shifted/In Progress

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Dimension 5: Institutional Infrastructure

Summer 2018 apply for HEED award. Completed

Summer 2018 develop strategy to strengthen collaboration with Diversity Office affiliates to enhance diversity recruitment and retention, professional development, and issues related to mistreatment. Timeline shifted/In Progress

Summer 2018 update diversity webpage. Completed

Summer 2018 develop a template to support and hold SOM departments accountable for the implementation of D&I action items. Timeline shifted/In Progress

Fall 2018 develop and implement a ODI mini symposium with SOM administrators to support their leadership with understanding D&I strategic initiatives, celebrate strengths, discuss opportunities, and address gaps. Completed

Fall 2018 provide an annual report that highlights D&I strengths and successes across the SOM by UMKC D&I Dimensions. Completed

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Year 2: Fall 2019 to Summer 2020
Dimension 1: Representation, Access & Success

Fall 2019 create a toolkit for success to support UR faculty, resident, and staff experiences in work and learning environments. Project restructured

Fall 2019 develop a database to identify, outreach, and build relationships to recruit URM faculty and residents to UMKC SOM. Timeline shifted/In Progress

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Dimension 2: Climate & Campus Environment
Dimension 3: Responsive Teaching, Research & Learning

Fall 2019 develop and implement a plan to provide equity, diversity and inclusion training to 100% of faculty, residents, and staff over 3 years: all new individuals and 33% of individuals Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3. Timeline shifted/In Progress

Fall 2019 develop and implement a plan to provide a cultural competency and cultural appropriate care course to 100% of students over 3 years: all new students complete and 33% of students Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3. Completed

Summer 2020 the SOM Diversity Council will evaluate and summarize responses from Annual Student Feedback Questionnaire and the content of the curriculum for cultural competency and cultural appropriate care learning objectives, using TACCT or another relevant tool. Completed

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Dimension 4: UMKC & the Urban Community

Fall 2019 identify and report the number of activities the SOM has across departments with URM communities (i.e., Poverty Simulation). Timeline shifted/In Progress

Fall 2019 quantify the human financial capacity provided to URM communities. Timeline shifted/In Progress

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Dimension 5: Institutional Infrastructure

Fall 2019 develop and implement a plan to increase D&I funding to support office needs and scholarships for students. Timeline shifted/In Progress

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Year 3: Fall 2020 to Summer 2021
Dimension 1: Respresentation, Access & Success
Dimension 2: Climate & Campus Environment
Dimension 3: Responsive Teaching, Research & Learning
Dimension 4: UMKC & the Urban Community

Fall 2020 identify and report the number of activities the SOM has across departments with URM communities (i.e., Poverty Simulation). Timeline shifted/In Progress

Fall 2020 quantify the human and financial capacity provided to URM communities. Timeline shifted/In Progress

More Info

Dimension 5: Institutional Infrastructure