50 Years of Improving the Health of Our Community

A look at the unique qualities, accomplishments of the UMKC School of Medicine

Fifty years ago, UMKC launched a bold experiment in educating the medical leaders of the future. Today, the UMKC School of Medicine is a cornerstone of Kansas City’s medical community.

Along the way, the school has grown into a national leader and trend-setter in medical education with innovative research that has improved the health and well-being of Kansas City, the state of Missouri and beyond.

Here are five things that make UMKC’s School of Medicine so special:

  1. The UMKC School of Medicine is one of only two medical schools nationally that accepts students upon high school graduation and puts them through a rigorous program that earns them B.A. and M.D. degrees in just six years. Upon entering the B.A./M.D. program, students are classified as professional students. They begin studying medicine on their first day and clinical experience begins immediately. The initial two years also include courses leading to bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts, chemistry or biology. Clinical experiences increase in the third year, when students work together one-half day a week in an outpatient continuing care clinic. They also work on two-month internal medicine rotations throughout each of their final three years.This unique and innovative curriculum provides students with early and continuous patient-care experience and fully integrates liberal arts/humanities, basic sciences and clinical medicine. The learning environment de-emphasizes competition and encourages learning through close faculty-student interaction and student partnerships.
  2. As a foundation of UMKC’s medical education program, the docent system takes the best of apprenticeship learning and combines it with small-group teaching, mentoring, peer coaching and other techniques. Students start their education by joining a docent team, where they learn from one another, as well as from faculty physicians known as docents. In this setting, docents provide clinical instruction while also guiding students’ personal and professional development. The system develops the attitudes, beliefs, competencies, habits and standards students need to be the best physicians possible.
  1. In 2021, the school expanded its program to St. Joseph to address the state’s rural physician shortage. The new campus is a partnership with Mosaic Life Care and is aimed at increasing primary care providers to improve patient access throughout Missouri. The disparities in care in rural areas result in higher rates of death, disability and chronic disease for rural Americans, and have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Expansion of the UMKC medical school to the northwestern region of the state will serve to bridge this gap, knowing that students training in rural programs are three times as likely to remain in practice in those areas.
  1. Throughout its history, the UMKC School of Medicine has established a strong tradition of community outreach – a practice its students engage in early on and one that graduates carry with them into their careers.
    • Our Healthy Kansas City Eastside, a community health collaborative created to address COVID-19 in underserved neighborhoods, administered more than 11,000 vaccinations in Kansas City neighborhoods with high health care disparity. Backed by nearly $5 million in CARES Act funding through Jackson County, Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., professor of biomedical and health informatics and director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute, took up the challenge to bring the message as well as the needed vaccines to Kansas City communities with some of the lowest vaccination rates in the city.
    • The Sojourner Health Clinic was founded by a group of medical students in 2004. Students have organized this program as a service-learning project: Students from across the health sciences campus learn about working with vulnerable populations outside of the hospital setting and how to create and sustain a free health clinic, while providing a needed service to the Kansas City community.
  1. UMKC is one of 20 universities in the country where Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies, and Pharmacy share a single, walkable campus, fostering exceptional student learning opportunities. Why does that matter? That co-location encourages interprofessional collaboration on clinical care and research from the get-go. Together, our four health sciences schools share the vision and spirit, along with the resources and academic programs, to launch you into the right health professions career. Our unique structure positions UMKC as a leader in interprofessional education — a cross-discipline approach that prepares students to provide the best patient care in a collaborative team environment. UMKC is Kansas City’s top provider of health care professionals.

Lance Carter appointed director of SOM’s anesthesiologist assistant program

Guthrie, Melanie
Melanie Guthrie, M.S.A.
Lance Carter, M.S.A.

The School of Medicine has announced that Lance Carter, M.S.A., C.A.A., will serve as the new program director for the school’s Master of Science in Anesthesia Program.

Carter, an associate professor in the Department of Graduate Medical Education, previously served as assistant program director. Melanie Guthrie, M.S.A., C.A.A., the founding program director, served in the role since the MSA program was started in 2008 to address a shortage of anesthesia care providers in Missouri and throughout the United States.

A nationally recognized leader in anesthesiologist assistant education, Carter was the recipient of UMKC’s Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in 2021. He serves on the National Certifying Commission for Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) and has created a series of popular anesthesia procedure videos with more than four million views. He has been published in the emergency medicine textbook, Roberts and Hedges’ Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine, 6th Edition.

Carter completed his undergraduate degree at BYU-Idaho and received his Master of Science in Anesthesia degree from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio. He started practicing as a certified anesthesiologist assistant at Liberty Hospital in 2007 and joined the School of Medicine as assistant program director.

The MSA program at the UMKC School of Medicine was first MSA program located west of the Mississippi. It accepts 16 students for admission each year and has graduated more than 130 certified anesthesiologist assistants. Program graduates deliver quality anesthesia care to patients across the country, yet the majority are employed in Missouri. Certified anesthesiologist assistants can practice in 16 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam.

UMKC School of Medicine Celebrates 50 Years

Alumni and community leaders honor successful past and promising future

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine celebrated its rich 50-year history as a leader in innovative health care education and delivery in the urban core of Kansas City, and its future potential during the school’s Golden Jubilee event on June 4.

Event chairs Rachael and Nelson Sabates, M.D., ’86, and honorary chairs Charlie Shields, president and CEO of University Health, and the Honorable Brenda Shields welcomed more than 800 alumni and community supporters to the event.

Mary Anne Jackson (MD ’78), dean of the medical school, recognized Lucky Chopra (BA,’91, MD ’92), as the recipient of the 2022 UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Award.

“Dr. Chopra’s entrepreneurial career began while he was still in his final year of radiology residency,” Jackson said. “Working out of his garage, he purchased an old milk truck and converted it to carry a ‘barely portable’ radiology X-ray machine and began contracting with local Houston nursing homes to provide imaging services without the patient having to travel. His company, Advanced Diagnostics Healthcare, was born.”

"Four thousand alumni strong, we are the backbone for health care in a multitude of communities, serving as innovators and leaders in clinical care, as educators, department chairs, section chiefs and medical school faculty, as leaders in diversity and advocacy, and national leaders in research.”
- Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean UMKC School of Medicine

Jackson celebrated the school’s outstanding legacy beginning with the first dean, Richardson K. Noback, M.D., who will be 99 years old this year, and the late E. Grey Dimond, M.D., who developed the accelerated curriculum and docent concept that is now a part of medical programs across the county.

Attendees look at pillars depicting photos from each decade of the medical school

Jackson acknowledged the  tight connection between the school and Kansas City.

“We are the anchor to healthcare in the urban core and beyond,” Jackson said. “Teaching students how to use information, how to approach ambiguity and uncertainty and to think critically about challenges in medicine and biomedical science, continues to be part of our DNA. Four thousand alumni strong, we are the backbone for health care in a multitude of communities, serving as innovators and leaders in clinical care, as educators, department chairs, section chiefs and medical school faculty, as leaders in diversity and advocacy, and national leaders in research.”

A group of gala attendees smile for a photo with Chancellor Mauli Agrawal

Jackson noted the significant contribution of the school’s clinical affiliates and their dedication to student education by providing opportunities for students to participate in care for diverse patient populations and to see cutting edge medical care and its affects.

“We are grateful for the strong partnerships with University Health, Children’s Mercy, St. Luke’s Health System, Research Medical Center, the Center for Behavioral Medicine, the Kansas City VA, Advent Health and Liberty Hospital.”

A woman stands to be recognized with her hand over her heart. People seated around her are applauding.

New partnerships have led to the student opportunities and advancement of health care statewide.

“In 2021 we launched our additional campus in St. Joseph, Missouri and welcomed our newest affiliate, Mosaic Life Care, to recruit, prepare and encourage these students to become part of the primary health community in rural Missouri counties,” Jackson said.

After highlighting the outstanding successes of alumni, UMKC chancellor Mauli Agrawal recognized the event chairs for their untiring leadership and support of the School of Medicine.

“This spectacular event is much more than a party,” Agrawal said. “This evening represents and celebrates generations and decades – literally five decades – of students, graduates, critical health care providers and their teachers. Just as the UMKC School of Medicine was launched with an innovative vision of healthcare education five decades ago, we move into the next fifty years with an exciting vision for the future of the school.”

Reid Waldman, M.D., ’17, a pioneer in dermatologic therapies

Reid Waldman, M.D., ’17 (photo credit: UCONN Health)

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a lead up to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we are spotlighting some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Reid Waldman, M.D., ’17, a dermatologist, cofounder and chief operating officer of a Connecticut-based startup company that is pioneering therapeutic approaches in dermatology. The company, VeraDermics Inc., raised more than $20 million to develop a child-friendly wart treatment.

Where are you now and where are you working?
I am a board certified dermatologist living in West Hartford, Connecticut.  I am currently the chief operating officer of a dermatology-focused pharmaceutical startup called VeraDermics Inc.  At VeraDermics Inc., we are developing drugs for dermatology. Our initial pipeline product, a microneedle patch for the treatment of warts, is in preclinical development and has been featured in Forbes.

Could you share one of your most fond memories from your time at UMKC?

My favorite experience at UMKC was delivering a baby for the first time with then OB/GYN resident, Megan Bokemper, MD.

What is the greatest lesson you learned during your time at the School of Medicine?

The greatest lesson I learned was the importance of mentorship. While I was at the School of Medicine, my father, Steven Waldman, MD, JD, MBA, an anesthesiologist, provided crucial career counseling and mentorship to my fellow students, which was incredibly impactful.

What is something about you that people may not know?

As a child, I got to be a coin toss captain for the Kansas City Chiefs.

School of Medicine celebrates 2022 graduates

UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal congratulates the School of Medicine’s Russell Brown during the university’s 2022 Commencement ceremony at the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium.

SOM-50-YRS-1971-2021The UMKC School of Medicine returned to Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on May 13 to celebrate the graduating class of 2022, following a two-year absence due to the COVID pandemic.

Almost 150 students participated in the Achievement Ceremony that recognized nearly 100 doctor of medicine graduates and those earning their master’s degrees or graduate certificates in the anesthesia assistant, bioinformatics, health professions education and physician assistant programs.

Two days later, School of Medicine graduating students were part of the more than 2,300 UMKC graduates who participated in the university’s Commencement ceremony at the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium.

During the Achievers Event, School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., ’78, congratulated and sent the class off with encouragement to make difference in the lives of those they will be caring for.

“I know from experience that the investment you make in caring for patients, engaging in research and service will fuel and inspire you throughout your careers,” Jackson said. “The world needs you. Go out and change the world.”

Jackson also recognized Scot Ebbinghaus, M.D., ’79, this year’s recipient of the prestigious E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award. Ebbinghaus, the vice president of clinical research at the pharmaceutical manufacturing company, Merk, said the graduates entering the health care professions have a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of their patients.

“Patients are the center of everything we do,” he said.

2022 Senior Awards and Recognitions

Samar Azzaidani | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Avleen Kaur Bhandal | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Michael Ryan Brancato | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Anna Elizabeth Davis | James F. Stanford, M.D., Patient Advocate Scholarship; Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Kartik Depala | Bette W. Hamilton Memorial Award for Excellence in Immunology
Courtney Dorris | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Lauren Gresham | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
Anna Yung-hua Hwang | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Shubhika Jain | Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Memorial Award for Excellence in Pathology; Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Memorial Award for Excellence in Microbiology; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
Anya Joyo | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Morgan Kensinger | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Valerie Rita Louise Kirtley | Outstanding Senior Partner
Eshwar Kishore | Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Award; Richardson K. Noback Founders’ Award for Clinical Excellence
Caitlyn Marie Kohake | Master of Science in Anesthesia Program Student Ambassador
Vijay Letchuman | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Award for Research
Milan Ravidev Malhotra | Ratilal S. Shah Medical Scholarship Fund
Laura Katherine Mann | Laura L. Backus Award for Excellence in Pediatrics
LeiLani N. Mansy | Pat D. Do, M.D., Matching Scholarship in Orthopaedics; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
Abigail M. Murphy | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Caroline Grace Olson | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation; Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Dakota James Owens | Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Michael Adebowale Oyekan | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Basic Science Award
Andrew Michael Peterson | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Award for Research; Lee Langley Award for Academic Excellence; UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Association Endowment Fund: Excellence in Medical Education; Merck Manual
Geethanjali Rajagopal | ACP Senior Student Book Award; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
Casey E. Rose | J. Michael De Ungria, M.D., Humanitarian Award; Dean of Students Honor Recipient
Benjamin Spector, M.D. | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence
Elizabeth Hartanti Theng | J. Michael De Ungria, M.D., Humanitarian Award; Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Harry S. Jonas, M.D., Award
Sejla Turnadzic | Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence; Merck Manual
Isabelle Bruner Ulloa | Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Award for Excellence
Megan Anne Weber | Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence
Jacob T. Williamson | Pat D. Do, M.D., Matching Scholarship in Orthopaedics

Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society
Alaya Bodepudi
Kartik Depala
Lauren Gresham
Rishabh Gupta
Shubhika Jain
Varsha Kandadi
Morgan Kensinger
Valerie Rita Louise Kirtley
Vijay Letchuman
Milan Ravidev Malhotra
LeiLani N. Mansy
Caroline Grace Olson
Michael Adebowale Oyekan
Andrew Michael Peterson
Geethanjali M. Rajagopal
Megan Anne Weber
Jacob T. Williamson

Gold Humanism Honor Society
Jessica Anyaso
Kartik Depala
Jason Egberuare
August James
Frank Adam Habib
Varsha Kandadi
Morgan Kensinger
Eshwar Kishore
Shruti Rani Kumar
Jordan Jean Longabaugh
Caroline Grace Olson
Nikhila Pokala
Casey E. Rose
Laraib Sani
Elizabeth Hartanti
Theng Kabir
Antonio Torres
Jacob T. Williamson

Pi Alpha Honor Society
Molly Ray Arand
Samar Azzaidani
Stephanie Kathryn Rieger

Hospital Hill Run organizers need medical volunteers

School of Medicine students should sign up now to help race participants in the medical tent at the 49th annual Hospital Hill Run. Come rain or shine, the event is slated to take place on June 4 with the start and finish lines at Kansas City’s Crown Center.

Volunteers will be stationed at the finish line to watch for race participants that need medical attention. Some will help check participants into the medical tent and others will triage participants.

To help with the medical tent, go to the website at https://hospitalhillrun.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=60720, enter the password “medical,” and complete the requested information. Those wishing to volunteer may also contact Alison Troutwine, UMKC Health Sciences District program manager, directly at alison.troutwine@uhkc.org.

All volunteers will receive a free race t-shirt and food.

The medical staff typically treats 50 to 100 race participants during the event that includes three different races – a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon. Meg Gibson, M.D., director of the UMKC sports medicine fellowship, serves as medical director for the race.

UMKC honors School of Medicine faculty for achievements in diversity, teaching

Tyler Smith, M.D., and Theodore Cole, Ph.D.

UMKC honored School of Medicine faculty members Tyler Smith, M.D., and Theodore Cole, Ph.D., with special awards during the annual Faculty Recognition Event on May 18 at the Student Union.

Smith, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, received the Chancellor’s Award for Embracing Diversity. Cole, professor of biomedical sciences, received the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award.

The Chancellor’s Award is given annually to university faculty, staff and student organizations engaged in fostering an environment of multiculturalism, globalism and diversity and inclusion.

An assistant professor of pediatrics, Smith is the first physician to serve in her DEI role. She is a key strategist and supervises related to recruitment and retention of underrepresented or marginalized students, staff, and faculty. Her efforts promote a culture of inclusion and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in a safe space. She has been recognized at Children’s Mercy with an Early Career Advocacy Achievement Award in 2019 and 2021 and with the DEI Achievement Award.

The Elmer Pierson Good Teaching Award recognizes creative and innovative teaching methods and skills, and educational leadership. Cole has been a School of Medicine faculty member for more than 24 years. He is the gross anatomy co-director for the Human Structure Function series.  Since 1998 he has taught anatomy in the HSF I, II, III courses and as course director for the HSF IV course since 2003, he directs coursework for thorax and abdomen anatomy.

In 2018, Cole received the Christopher Papasian, Ph.D., Excellence in Teaching Award from the School of Medicine. In addition to teaching medical students, he has served as course faculty in Human Gross Anatomy I for dental students since 1999.

Brad Warner, M.D., ’82, provides surgical care for children in need

 

UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Reflections Throughout 50 Years

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a lead up to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we are spotlighting some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Brad Warner, M.D., ’82, a pediatric surgeon and chief surgeon for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In addition to general pediatric surgery, he also specializes in treating short bowel syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis and inflammatory bowel disease. In addition to his clinical practice, he also enjoys teaching students and residents, and doing research.

Where are you living and working now?

I am living in St. Louis, Missouri, where serve as the chief surgeon for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and as the Jessie L. Ternberg, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

What is your fondest School of Medicine memory?

My greatest memory would be the med school trip we took to Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

What has been the greatest lesson you learned at the School of Medicine?

The best lesson I learned from medical school at UMKC is the value of strong clinical training.

What is something about you that people may not know?

I love doing landscape photography.

School of Medicine receives NIH grant to continue cardiovascular outcomes research program

The UMKC School of Medicine has received a nearly $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue and build upon a successful two-year training program in clinically-oriented cardiovascular disease outcomes research through the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics and UMKC’s new Healthcare Institute for Innovations in Quality (HI-IQ).

The funding covers the first of five years of support through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, bringing the total grant funding to just less than $2 million.

Immense research investments have improved the care of patients afflicted with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. But continued evaluation of patient-centered outcomes, including patient symptoms, function and quality of life, and how to apply that knowledge in clinical settings is needed, said John Spertus, M.D., professor, clinical director and endowed chair in metabolic and vascular disease research.

“Collectively, our committed team will provide formal training, mentorship and research experiences for trainees to make significant contributions to the scientific literature, embark on successful academic careers, and improve the value and patient-centeredness of medical care,” Spertus said.

Hands-on research is one of the key components of the program that provides a basic foundation in clinical research, including a master’s degree in bioinformatics with a clinical research emphasis, and specialized skills for outcomes research, coupled with academic survival skills.

Hallmarks of the research experiences include multi-disciplinary group and individualized mentorship to meet each trainee’s needs, as well as access to numerous existing data. Clinical populations for primary data collection and implementation, training in entrepreneurship, and highly experienced statistical support are provided to support trainees’ success.

Program enhancements are also planned that include a more robust collaboration with the University of Missouri system, increased engagement in clinical trial design and a growing focus on implementation science with access to HI-IQ’s multistakeholder collaboration of 19 regional hospitals.