School of Medicine grad addresses physician burnout in annual McNabney Lectureship

Robert Muelleman, M.D.

Doctoring is hard work, said Robert Muelleman, M.D., quoting long-time emergency medicine physician W. Kendall McNabney, M.D.

Muelleman, who spent 36 years in clinical and administrative roles as an emergency medicine physician, was the keynote speaker on Oct. 14 at the school’s W. Kendall McNabney Endowed Lectureship. The 1977 graduate of UMKC School of Medicine talked about burnout as a physician and specifically those who practice emergency medicine.

“Dr. McNabney said doctoring is hard work,” Muelleman said. “I heard him say it more than once.”

Muelleman understands just how hard. He served as a faculty member in emergency medicine for 10 years at UMKC before moving to Nebraska where he retired as a professor at the University of Nebraska.

The World Health Organization describes burnout among physicians not a medical condition but an occupational phenomenon, Muelleman said. He added that it’s a wicked problem that poses serious consequences for not only physicians but for patient care and the health system as well.

“You’re dealing with a bunch of exhausted doctors who love what they do,” he said. “We’ve got issues in terms of exhaustion and things like that but also a lot of opportunities for resilience.”

The annual lectureship honors McNabney, who founded the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine and Truman Medical Center in 1973. McNabney was the first and longest serving chair of emergency medicine at the school and served as the head of trauma services for many years.

Adam Algren, M.D, chair of Emergency Medicine, recognized McNabney, who died earlier in August, as an icon of school and the specialty of emergency medicine.

“He impacted thousands of individuals, learners, patients in his career,” Algren said. “We’re all thankful about what he was able to teach us about being a skilled compassionate clinician and a good human being. We know his memory and legacy will live on in the department and the organization.”

UMKC School of Medicine: 50 years of excellence in medical education

Graduation has always been a special celebration for docents and their students at the UMKC School of Medicine.

Fifty years ago, the University of Missouri-Kansas City launched a bold experiment in educating the medical leaders of the future.

After years of planning, more than $8.8 million in federal funding and a charter class of 18 students, the doors of the UMKC School of Medicine opened in 1971.

Fifty years later, that bold experiment is a cornerstone of Kansas City’s medical community.

This month, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine is kicking off its yearlong observance of the 50th anniversary. A new logo, a special website and many special events will highlight the celebration. Among the key events:

  • A series of distinguished guest lectures, including:
    • Nov. 5: Roger Bush, M.D., from University of California-San Francisco, speaking on rural health inequities.
    • Nov. 17-19: Silvio Inzucchi, M.D., from Yale, sharing research linking type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and cardiovascular complications.
    • Dec. 2: Harriet Washington, medical ethicist from Harvard Medical School, speaking on medical apartheid.
    • Dec. 9: Kenneth Churchwell, M.D., from Boston Children’s Hospital, speaking on pediatric critical care (Noback-Burton Lecture).
    • Feb. 11: Geeta Swamy, M.D., from University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill and Duke University, speaking on maternal vaccines, COVID pregnant women, preterm delivery interventions.
  • Special signage around the SOM campus and 50th-anniversary themed touches for Match Day, Commencement and other signature academic occasions.
  • A Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary gala, set for June 4, 2022, at the Loews Hotel in downtown Kansas City.

Today as in the past, UMKC’s School of Medicine is making a difference the health and wellbeing of Kansas City communities and beyond. Long known for its innovative research, humanities-focused education and unique medical programs – namely the accelerated BA/MD program where students enter medical school straight from high school and complete their degrees in six years – UMKC continues to graduate future leaders in health care. The school has been instrumental in founding Kansas City’s UMKC Health Sciences District, where it continues to play a primary role.

“This is an exciting time for the UMKC School of Medicine, as we celebrate half a century of history and traditions,” said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., ’78, dean of the medical school. “As our nation’s health care profession has evolved, so has the School of Medicine. We are bringing new technologies and innovations to the forefront that continue to solidify our standing as a leader in today’s medical education.”

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the School of Medicine. Through the years, additional programs added include master’s degrees in anesthesia, physician assistant, health professions education and bioinformatics, and graduate certificates in research and health professions education. In January 2021, the school opened its second campus in St. Joseph, Missouri, with a focus on rural medicine. But it is the school’s MD programs and its docent system of learning – where faculty physicians combine the best of apprenticeship instruction with small-group teaching, mentoring, peer coaching and other techniques – that have withstood the test of time and continue to position the school as a trendsetter in medical education.

“Fifty years speaks to the longevity of the school, not to mention we have many physician leaders across the country that are graduates,” said School of Medicine alumni association president Ralph Wuebker, M.D., ’94. “There is no doubt that UMKC is a top medical school!”

Marjorie Sirridge, M.D., one of the three founding docents and later dean of the medical school, once reflected on the early days: “I remember being tired a lot and sometimes discouraged when it seemed that we just couldn’t get it all done. But, mostly I remember the challenge and the excitement of being part of a new adventure in medical education.”

Indeed, it’s been an exciting adventure the past 50 years – and the next several months will celebrate the past, present and future of UMKC School of Medicine. Join us.

Humanities office plans art show to display creative talents at School of Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine’s Sirridge Office of Humanities and Bioethics is planning an event for students, staff and faulty to show off their creative sides. Participants in the Beyond Human Factor Art Show will have the opportunity to showcase their artwork, photography and poetry.

This year’s event is scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Diastole Scholars Center on Nov. 9.

The program is an extension of the office’s printed publication, Human Factor, which celebrates the connection between art, humanities and the practice of medicine. The magazine provides an outlet for the School of Medicine community to display its creative and imaginative talents. It is typically published each fall.

Art show participants do not have to be previously published in the Human Factor to take part.

Anyone interested in sharing their artwork, photography or in signing up to participate in the poetry reading during the year’s art show should contact Sarah McKee, senior office support specialist, at

Hitting the Pavement

Marathon runners at finish

UMKC and School of Medicine supporting KC Marathon

UMKC and the School of Medicine are proud sponsors of the Oct. 16 Garmin KC Marathon – the largest race event in Kansas City and a significant community tradition. This year’s race has something for everyone: a full- and half-marathon, as well as a 10k and 5k, plus many volunteer opportunities.

For all the Running Roos out there, registration is now open for the race. New this year, the race will start and end near the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In-between, runners will enjoy a tour of the city including the National World War I Museum & Memorial, the Country Club Plaza, Waldo, Westport, 18th & Vine, and more. Participants receive a race shirt, a finisher’s medal, free food and drinks, free downloadable race photos and massages at the Finish Line Festival.

Not a runner? Consider volunteering at the event. There are many ways to help: course monitors, medical tent support, packet pickup, etc. To see all the opportunities, visit the race’s volunteer page.

And if you will be on the sidelines supporting the race and its participants, make sure to sport your Blue and Gold so all the racers know that the Roos are cheering them on.

COVID safety will be top of mind during the race, as organizers have implemented a number of protocols to ensure the safety of participants and staff, including:

  • A socially distanced start
  • Masks required at all times except while actively racing
  • Contactless aid stations
  • Hand-washing and sanitization stations throughout the race site
  • Increased spacing in the Finish Line Festival area

Don’t miss out – this year’s event promises to be one to remember. For more information visit the KC Marathon website.

Office of Research Administration welcomes new staff members

Norma Aguirre, left, and Madison Denson

The School of Medicine Office of Research Administration has added two new grant support specialists, Norma E. Aguirre and Madison Denson, to its staff.

Norma E. Aguirre joined the School of Medicine in April. She previously worked in Chillicothe, Missouri, as an office manager. Prior to the office manager position, she worked at the UMKC School of Pharmacy as an administrative assistant. She has also worked at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. Aguirre is originally from Texas and  attended Texas Tech University.

Denson, who joined the research administration staff in June, and her husband are both from Nebraska. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, she previously worked for a company Omaha-based company while being located in the Kansas City area.

SOAP Notes

SOAP Notes
for September 2021

Amy Patel, M.D., assistant professor of radiology, has been nominated for a second year in a row as a semifinalist for a Minnies award as “Most Effective Radiology Educator” by, a comprehensive community internet site for radiologists and related professionals in the medical imaging industry. The Minnies are‘s campaign to recognize the best and brightest in medical imaging. More than 200 candidates in 14 categories ranging from Most Influential Radiology Researcher to Best Educational Mobile App are part of this year’s campaign. Winners will be selected by an expert panel with the final winners announced in October.

The School of Medicine has recognized students with its 2021 Community Service Awards for Most Service Hours. Top award recipients include:
Most Service Hours: Sophie Berstein
Runner up Most Service Hours: Raneem Issawi
Most Covid-19 Vaccination/Testing Hours: Michelle Wu and Michael Brancato
Runner Up Most Covid-19 Vaccination/Testing Hours: Jacob Honey
Most UMKC Service Hours: Benjamin Kazdan
Thirty-two students were also recognized as Community Engagement Champions with 100 or more hours, seven students as Community Engagement Navigators with from 75 to 99 service hours, and 11 students as Community Engagement Stewards with 50 to 74 service hours.

We want to know what is going on at the UMKC School of Medicine. Send us your story ideas and we will consider them for publication in “SOAP Notes,” a new feature on our School of Medicine PRN news page that will include short, interesting tidbits about our students, faculty and staff.

To submit a note or story idea, email
Your name:
Your email:
Student ___ / Faculty ___ / Staff ___
Story idea or note (150 words or less):

School of Medicine announces two new GME program directors

Amelia Sorensen, M.D., (left) and Devika Maulik, M.D. (right)

The School of Medicine and the Office of Graduate Medical Education have announced the appointment of two new program directors for the school’s Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship.

Amelia Sorensen, associate professor of surgery, began serving as the new program director for the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency on Sept. 1. Devika Maulik, an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, will serve as the new Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship director beginning Nov. 1.

Sorensen joined the orthopaedic surgery staff at Truman Medical Centers in 2015 and has represented the School with numerous publications and presentations.  She received her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She remained in St. Louis to complete her orthopaedic surgery residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, then went to the University of California-San Diego to complete her hand and microsurgery fellowship. She has worked nationally and internationally with the National Institutes of Health and has served as a HIVCorps Fellow.

Maulik has been a member of the School of Medicine faculty since 2015, during which time she has received numerous honors and awards from organizations including the National Institutes of Health. She has represented the school nationally and internationally through multiple publications, presentations and invited lectures.

A graduate of Weill Medical College at Cornell University, Maulik completed her residency at the University of California-Los Angeles and moved to Kansas City where she did a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine at UMKC School of Medicine before joining the faculty.

School of Medicine welcomes new Years 1-2 Education Team Coordinator

Carline Bruton has joined the School of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs as an Education Team Coordinator in the Years 1 & 2 Office. She will be part of the office’s mission to provide comprehensive support and assistance to ensure the academic and professional success of students in the program.

Bruton earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. Moving to Kansas City, Missouri, shortly after graduation, she began investing her time providing mentorship, support and leadership to youth and young adults in the Kansas City metro area. While working in the mental health field, Bruton pursued her graduate studies at UMKC. She holds a master’s degree in social work and is licensed to practice in the state of Missouri.

In her spare time, Bruton enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and friends and long-distance running. She became a long-distance runner in 2016 and says her goal is to run 50 half marathons by the age of 50.

New program supports School of Medicine’s Latinx students

Latinos in Medicine, a new program for the School of Medicine’s Latinx students, held an early meeting on Zoom.

A new organization at the UMKC School of Medicine is designed to support and encourage Latinx students to help them succeed in medical school and as physicians.

Raquel McCommon, coordinator of strategic initiatives in the school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said Latinx students are paired with physician mentors who can meet with and help the students through the challenges of life as an underrepresented minority in medical school and beyond.

Latinos in Medicine, established a year ago, gives the students the opportunity to meet and see successful Latinx physicians.

“That in itself is supportive, motivating and inspiring,” McCommon said. “It’s a way of making them feel a sense of belonging, connected, that they have people who are looking out for them, who understand where they’re coming from to help them have better success.”

McCommon said most of the students participating in the program are also involved in the school’s STAHR (Students Training in Academia, Health and Research) program. Supported by a grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration, that program also helps prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering health care programs.

However, McCommon said, the STAHR program currently does not have any Hispanic mentors for students.

What we were hearing from our Latinx students was ‘we need mentors and we need mentors that look like us,’” she said. “Part of the challenge is finding physicians who come from the same background and experiences as our Latinx students.”

As a result, School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., reached out to Liset Olarte, M.D., a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, where Jackson is also on staff. Olarte leads the hospital’s Latinx Employee Resource Group, which includes several Hispanic physicians.

Olarte and her colleagues agreed to serve as physician mentors for the School of Medicine’s Latinos in Medicine program, which also partners with UMKC’s Avanzando program for Hispanic students campus wide.

“Not all of our students are going to go into pediatrics, but this is a stepping stone,” McCommon said. “Here is a physician that does look like you, who might speak the same language as you, that might have experienced a similar background or struggles as you.”

Ten students actively participate in the program, which is open to all Latinx students at the School of Medicine. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, the plan is for the Latinos in Medicine students to meet at least twice a year, including a welcoming program at the beginning of the school year.

McCommon said the broader goal is to offer more group meeting opportunities such as in-person study sessions where students and mentors can come together in an informal setting.

“Often students feel intimidated. There’s a level of hesitancy or reluctance,” McCommon said. “We want them to have what they need when they need it, not when it’s too late.”

Remembering 9/11

UMKC Medicine Alum recalls his time at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Tyson Becker (M.D. ‘01) was one of many UMKC alumni whose job found him responding to the tragic event. He was a first-year surgical resident at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. – about eight miles from the Pentagon, where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the structure. On 9/11, his skills were needed to treat those injured by the explosion and his efforts in the burn unit at Walter Reed were featured in the school’s alumni magazine.

On the 20th Anniversary of September 11, many are taking the time to look back at that date in history. Here are Becker’s recollections and how the experience shaped his medical career.

How has your professional career evolved since that time?

I am still in the Army and am now a colonel. I work as a trauma critical care surgeon at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. BAMC is the Department of Defense’s only Level 1 trauma center and covers San Antonio and the surrounding 22 counties in South Texas, serving military and civilian traumas.

I also serve as the general surgery consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and am a member of the American College of Surgery Board of Governors. In addition to that, I am the director of the Strategic Trauma Readiness Center, which prepares forward surgical teams to deploy and take care of combat trauma. I have deployed six times to Central America, Africa, Afghanistan and Syria.

What memories stand out from your time at Walter Reed after September 11, 2001?

A lot has happened since that day. I have spent the last 20 years taking care of our service members injured in combat operations against terrorism. That day two decades ago is when my whole career started. Everything I have done since has stemmed from that day. As we see with current events, the work continues.

I remember that on 9/11 everything changed. One minute I was working in a hospital as an intern, and the next minute, everything I did was focused on ensuring those citizens that were put in harm’s way came home alive and in the best shape possible.

That day gave the rest of my career a clear purpose.

How did the experience shape you as a health care provider?

I have a strong sense of service to our country. After 9/11, I felt I could best serve the country as a trauma surgeon in the military. It has made me want to serve in austere environments, whether combat or humanitarian.

I feel that what I do is more than just a job, it’s a duty.