Prarthana Patel to present rare case study after winning clinical case competition

Prarthana Patel

Sixth-year medical student Prarthana Patel turned a rare opportunity to be involved in a unique patient case into an award-winning case study that she will present at a national conference in October.

Patel submitted her winning abstract to the National Med-Peds Residents’ Association 2019 Medical Student Clinical Case Competition after working a case on her rheumatology rotation with Amar Edrees, M.D., docent and associate professor of internal medicine, and Med-Peds resident Oliva Kwan, M.D.

“I really enjoy learning about various autoimmune conditions and their evolving treatment options,” Patel said. “It was an incredible experience to have been able to participate in this case and learn more about clinical presentation and management of a rare rheumatological condition.”

Her abstract focuses on a female patient diagnosed with Macrophage Activation Syndrome (MAS), a potentially fatal complication of a rare system inflammatory disorder known as Adult Onset Still’s Disease (AOSD). The exact pathogenesis of AOSD is still unknown and MAS typically presents during the course of the illness. It can be difficult to identify because of a lack of diagnostic criteria. In her case study, however, the patient was not diagnosed with a rheumatological condition and AOSD until after being diagnosed with MAS.

Patel will present her case at the National Med-Peds Residents’ Association 2019 national conference in New Orleans.

“I am grateful to Dr. Edree and Dr. Kwan for giving me an opportunity to be involved with this case,” Patel said.

Thirty Million Words initiative founder presents annual Sirridge Lecture

Dana Suskind, M.D., presented the 2019 William and Marjorie Sirridge Lecture on Sept. 19.

One of the best things parents can do for their young children to help them succeed in life is to talk to them. A lot.

Dana Suskind, M.D., has spent much of the past nine years advocating for early childhood development by focusing on the importance of language and the power of parent-talk and interaction to build children’s brains. The 1992 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine discussed her career path at the 2019 William and Marjorie Sirridge Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the School of Medicine.

A professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Chicago and director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implantation, Suskind is founder and co-director of TMW (Thirty Million Words) Center for Early Learning + Public Health. The program offers evidence-based interventions to optimize brain development in children from birth to five years of age, particularly those born into poverty. It combines education, technology and behavioral strategies for parents and caregivers to enhance the verbal interactions with their children.

As a cochlear implant surgeon, Suskind realized vast differences in her patients after undergoing the implant. Some grew to talk and communicate well while others didn’t. The gap resulted not only in some children having a much smaller vocabulary, but also impacted their IQ and test scores in the third grade.

While cochlear implants brought sound to a child’s brain, Suskind found that something else was needed to make that sound have meaning.

“I came to realize that during their first three years, the power of language is the power to build a child’s brain,” she said.

Suskind pointed out that most of the organs in the human body are fully formed at birth. That’s not so with the brain, which doesn’t fully develop for many years after birth. She said the brain is particularly active and rapidly developing during the first three years, making it important for young children to grow up in a language-rich environment.

“At no other time in life will brain development be so robust and active,” Suskind said.

In 2014, she wrote Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain. The book describes her study of how children develop communication skills and how those who thrive live in households where they hear millions of spoken words. Her book reached the number one spot on Amazon’s best-seller’s list for parenting and family reference.

Following medical school, 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.

The Sirridge Lecture is named for William T. Sirridge, M.D., and his wife, Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., two of the UMKC School of Medicine’s original docents. The Sirridges 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.

Subhjit Sekhon awarded fellowship in tropical medicine

Subhjit Sekhon

Through a previous medical outreach journey to Nicaragua, Subhjit Sekhon saw first-hand the dire need for health care services in some of the remote and underserved areas of the world.

The UMKC School of Medicine sixth-year medical student recently received a travel fellowship award from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene to go back to Latin America to study the risk factors and sociodemographics associated with women suffering from cervical cancer.

“During a medical outreach trip to Nicaragua, I had the privilege of serving more than 900 patients from several remote and under-resourced villages,” Sekhon said. “For many it was their first experience with a health care professional. A majority wanted help for common complaints. By meeting basic health care needs, I developed a passion to help medically underserved areas and create sustainable health care solutions.”

Guatemala suffers one of the highest rates of cervical cancer among women in Latin America with more than 22 in every 100,000 women diagnosed and more than 12 in every 100,000 women who die of the disease each year.

Sekhon will travel with colleagues from Washington University in St. Louis to work at La Liga Nacional Contra el Cancer (INCAN) in Guatemala City, the largest cancer referral center in the country. It is the only comprehensive cancer treatment center in the region for the poor and underserved and provides care for more than one-fourth of all cancer patients in the country.

She said her research study will explore characteristics associated with noncompliance to treatment or follow up among women with a diagnosis of cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer. She will also assess barriers to treatment and analyze outcomes of treatment in patients treated at INCAN.

Sekhon was one of 26 students from 21 medical schools across the country to receive  the 2019 Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine. The annual award is the only medical student fellowship dedicated to promoting a career path in tropical medicine.

“My primary interest in tropical medicine is to understand the disease in totality of circumstances,” Sekhon said.

An exact time frame for her travel has yet to be worked out, but Sekhon said wants to learn more about the intersection between infection, biology, the patient and society.

“As a future physician-scientist, tropical medicine appeals to me because it equally weighs social determinants of health with the microbiological basis of disease, which I believe is the true way to treat a patient, conduct meaningful research, and implement health care change,” she said.

 

 

 

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.

 

Class of 2025 enjoys move-in day

Interim Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. ’78, greeted many students and their families.

Excitement filled the air Thursday morning at the Oak Street Hall, and it was easy to see why. It was move-in day for the dozens of members of the UMKC School of Medicine Class of 2025, who all were taking on the challenge of earning a bachelor’s degree and their medical degree in just six years.

The program calls for extraordinary students, and they and their supportive families filled the halls and elevators.

There was Liv Lyon, from Ozark, Missouri, saying, “I love a challenge and always push myself to do what’s hardest.” In high school she did not one but two capstone projects, both involving health care improvements. One helped a hospital’s SICU set up a system to accurately track the weight of each patient every day.

And when med school’s obstacles come along, Lyon just might vault over them — even if they’re 12 feet high. She was the Missouri Class 5A pole vault champion last year, with a winning vault of 11’3″ and a personal best of 12’6″.

“I love sports, track and field especially,” she said. “Pole vaulting is my favorite.”

She credited her parents, too, for encouraging her to do her best and learn as much as possible. Her mother, a schoolteacher who stopped teaching to raise her children, is “the best mom in the world,” Lyon said. And her father, a D.O. who practices emergency medicine and is certified in family practice, made it easy to get and stay interested in pursuing medicine.

Upperclass students — veterans of move-in day — say there’s always room for more on the elevator.

UMKC’s six-year program “is just an incredible opportunity,” Lyon said.

Lyon’s roommate, Megan Costello, comes from the St. Louis area and also had plenty of move-in support. Her maternal grandparents were along for the day, as were her banker father and scientist mother.

“I know it will be a challenge, but I really love science,” she said. “The only class that sounded interesting my first year of high school was Principles of Biomedicine. And it was really interesting.”

After that, she said, she took all the science classes she could and thrived in them. A special program her senior year at Holt High School in Wentzville let her work half days at a hospital.

Costello couldn’t remember how she first heard about the UMKC program, but the more she learned, the more she was drawn to what it offered.

“I like that this program will give us clinical experience for six years instead of just two,” she said. “And I like that I’ll be able to finish medical school faster.”

The challenge of becoming a physician, and on a fast track, also attracted classmate Victor Arellano.

“I’ve been interested in this program since I heard about it my sophomore year in high school,” said Arellano, from the lake community of Stockton, Missouri. “I started job shadowing, and that just increased my interest.”

His parents, Luis and Christie Arellano, obviously were proud of how hard their son had worked to excel in school and to get into medical school. But the family is no stranger to hard work, having run Enrique’s Mexican Grill for 15 years.

“We’ve done well for several years,” Luis Arellano said, “and that’s something for a restaurant in a town of only 1,900.”

Like Arellano, his roommate, Ryan Dirksen from Springfield, had been interested in medicine for years, “since I was in grade school,” he said. That’s not surprising because as his father, now retired, was a podiatrist, and his uncle is a pediatrician.

“This is a chance to make a longtime dream a reality,” Dirksen said.

But he didn’t follow in the family footsteps without making sure that was the right path for him. He joined Medical Explorers, a shadowing program that Dirksen explored further.

Another exceptional part of move-in day was being greeted by the school’s interim dean, Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. ’78. She made a point of meeting and connecting with as many students and families as she could — and found a few she already knew.

That was the case with Dirksen’s family. His aunt and pediatrician uncle, Dr. Michael S. Hanks, were along to help with the move-in, and big smiles and hugs were exchanged when they realized who was greeting them.

“I’ve been attending Dr. Jackson’s pediatric lectures for years,” Hanks said.

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.