Town Hall Q&A 12-6-21

Can we host the match in person somewhere more socially distanced than theatre A, B, and C?
Answer:   The student affairs planning persons (Betsy and Brent) will meet with the year 6 class officers in January to begin planning the Match Day event, so please be certain to communicate your thoughts with your class officers.   We wish to plan an in-person event that is safe, can accommodate students, families and friends, and that meets the city/county requirements that may be in place in March.  We look forward to working together to plan a fabulous, celebratory event.
What is the date of graduation?
The SOM is planning a celebration event in May, and the contract for the day and location is currently being vetted.  As soon as it is signed, which I predict will be within 2 weeks, we’ll share the details with students, staff, and faculty.   The University has not yet finalized the date of the May commencement ceremony, so continue to watch your email for that announcement.

Can the SOM install an ice machine? I think it’d really increase the quality of life for our students.

Thanks for submitting this suggestion.  We’ve forwarded your request to the University director of facilities, and he is investigating options on how to accommodate your request.  We like ice too and look forward to having a machine!

Student Absences

Student Absences

Students in clinical coursework are expected to attend their clinical experiences as planned.  There are only three options for absences without ​penalty:

1.        Excused absence:  Situations occur that necessitate a student being absent, and the Clerkship Excused Absence Policy contains information about reasons ​for and the process of requesting an excused absence.  Students should provide as much advanced notice as possible regarding absences. Clerkships also recognize that unexpected circumstances arise. The excused absence form recently was updated to include self-care as a reason for an excused absence, whether self-care is needed for an acute physical or mental health need. Again, students should go through the appropriate process for notifying clerkships. An updated copy of the form is attached for reference and will be posted soon on the Council on Curriculum website.    

2.        Personal holiday:  Every student is allowed two personal holidays per academic year.  These holiday​s can be used for any reason but must be planned at least one block in advance of the start of the clinical rotation.  Student affairs tracks these and notifies the clerkship directors and coordinators of planned student holidays.

3.       SOM holiday:  All students are excused from educational endeavors on eight major holidays:  

o    New Year’s Day

o    Martin Luther King Jr Day

o    Memorial Day

o    Juneteenth

o    Independence Day

o    Labor Day

o    Thanksgiving

o    Christmas Day

 Information about absences is available on the Council on Curriculum Website:

Town Hall Q&A 11/16/2021


How does the updated Kansas City mask mandate reflect at UMKC SOM and at TMC/UH?


The short answer is that masks continue to be strongly encouraged but are not required at the medical school.  The hospital setting is completely different – TMC/UH has a mask requirement due to the clinical environment, so you must continue to wear a mask while in the hospital/clinic setting.  The same is true for all of our clinical affiliate sites.

On November 5, Chancellor Agrawal and Provost Lundgren sent the following message which pertains to the School of Medicine building and all buildings on the UMKC campus:

To Our Campus Community:

We are updating our UMKC masking policy effective today. The Kansas City mask mandate will continue but will only apply to K-12 students, ages 18 and younger. That means masks are recommended but no longer required on the UMKC campus, as outlined by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators.

In keeping with CDC recommendations, UMKC officials request that all individuals wear masks in indoor spaces – especially when social distancing is not possible. Protecting the health and safety of our campus community continues to be a top priority as we continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks will still be required in certain clinical spaces, including the School of Dentistry building, Student Health and Wellness and Community Counseling and Assessment Services.

We appreciate the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect in regards to COVID safety that have kept our campus Coronavirus case counts very low.

Although this changes previous guidance on masking, all other COVID-related protocols remain in place, such as notifying the university about an exposure, symptoms or positive results and following isolation/quarantine procedures.

We continue to urge vaccination for all members of our community as our single best defense against COVID-19. To get vaccinated, we offer:

• An ongoing series of on-campus free vaccination clinics for students, faculty and staff. Clinics will be offered at the Student Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 9, Nov. 23 and Dec. 7. As an incentive, we are offering a $25 gift card to every student, faculty or staff member who receives a vaccine at these clinics. Each person vaccinated at one of the upcoming clinics also will be automatically entered in a drawing to win one of several $200 and $500 gift cards.

• Free vaccinations by appointment through our partners at University Health/Truman Medical Centers. Register online or call (816) 404-CARE (2273) and press option 1.

We must each do our part to ensure that we can continue to offer in-person teaching, learning and community service. Please remember to stay home when you are sick, get tested if you have COVID symptoms, follow quarantine guidance and report positive cases to the university.

In this together,

C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D.

Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

How to Use WellConnect

WellConnect is a nationwide network of counselors contracted with the UMKC School of Medicine to offer 6 free sessions of mental health services per student every school year.  In addition to mental health services, students are also entitled to one free legal consultation and one free financial consultation each year.

WellConnect counselors are available to you no matter where you are in the country.  Simply call WellConnect at 866.640.4777 to set up an appointment.  The person who answers will take some basic information from you including which school you attend, what type of services you are looking for, your current address and phone number, and will then let you know how many counselors are available in network within a few miles of you.  If you’re not interested in in-person therapy, you also have the option of telephone therapy, online/web therapy, and email/text therapy (which are administered through BetterHelp).  You may also use the WellConnect phone number as a crisis line.  If you’re having a panic attack at 4AM pick up the phone and call.  Several students have told me they’ve used WellConnect in this manner and found it helpful.    You can also visit the WellConnect website at  The school code is UMKCSOM.

I know that given the fact that many of you are now off-campus and spread out all over the country more of you are utilizing WellConnect’s array of services for the first time.  Figuring out which services you need or how to get set up can feel a little daunting, especially when you’re already stressed and overwhelmed, so I want you to know I’m here to help!  I have a direct relationship with our WellConnect account manager and have worked to resolve any issues that have arisen or get any questions answered when students have tried to use the service.

If you know you need services but don’t know where to start – or if you tried using WellConnect but couldn’t figure it out or didn’t get what you needed – please contact me immediately so I can walk you through it or get the situation remedied.  I’m happy to help and I want to make sure everyone is getting connected to the resources they need!

Email me at with any questions or feedback!


What is burnout?
  • A state of mental and physical exhaustion due to excessive/prolonged stress
    leading to:

    • emotional exhaustion
    • depersonalization (cynicism)
    • diminished sense of personal accomplishment
  • Everyone has a physical, emotional and spiritual energy pool. Each pool has a
    certain percentage of energy reserve. Activities and stress that leads to depletion of
    the reserve without replenishment leads to risk of burnout.
  • Physical energy pool come from caring for the physical body which includes eating,
    sleeping etc.
  • Emotional energy pool comes from maintaining healthy relationships at work and
  • Spiritual energy pool comes from connecting with your sense of purpose.
Prevalence of Burnout
  • Over 50% of medical students and over 44% of physicians experience burnout with
    16% experiencing clinical form of depression.
Consequences of burnout
  • Physical
    • Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, increased BMI,
      metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia
  • Psychological
    • Increased depressive symptoms, hospital admission for mental health
      disorder and insomnia
  • Occupational
    • Job dissatisfaction
      • Absenteeism – missing work
Are you at risk of burnout?
How to reduce burnout:
  • Reduce burnout through Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) techniques:
    • Mindfulness meditation
    • Yoga
    • Body scan
    • Mindfulness breathing
    • Mindfulness eating
  • Mindfulness is a mental state in you focus on awareness of the present moment. The
    focus can be on thoughts, sensations, and emotion without judgement.
  • UMKC resources:

Wellness program event focuses on work-life balance


School of Medicine faculty members Rebecca Pauly, M.D., Blue 4 docent, Reem Mustafa, M.D., Blue 3 docent, Fariha Shafi, M.D., Gold 7 docent, Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of the School’s Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program, and Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., associate dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health, took part in a panel discussion on Oct. 22 at the School of Medicine on how to strike a healthy work/life balance.
School of Medicine faculty members Rebecca Pauly, M.D., Blue 4 docent, Reem Mustafa, M.D., Blue 3 docent, Fariha Shafi, M.D., Gold 7 docent, Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of the School’s Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program, and Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., associate dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health, took part in a panel discussion on Oct. 22 at the School of Medicine on how to strike a healthy work/life balance.

Striking just the right balance between work, particularly the demanding role of a health care professional, and the home and family life can be a challenge for anyone. A panel of female faculty members from the School of Medicine shared their experience on how they go about it during an after school discussion on Oct. 22 in Theater C.

The Women in Medicine event conducted by the School’s Wellness Program drew a number of female students who took part with questions for five panelists: Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., associate dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health, Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of the School’s Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program, Reem Mustafa, M.D., Blue 3 docent, Rebecca Pauly, M.D., Blue 4 docent, and Fariha Shafi, M.D., Gold 7 docent.

Pauly, who also works with the School’s faculty development programs, said her advice for maintaining a health balance includes being efficient  and living in the present moment.

“Multitasking means none of the tasks have your full attention and likely are not being completed with your best effort,” she said. “Stay focused.”

There are times in life, Pauly said, when one may need to make the decision to put aspects of their career on hold for a period of time.

“You may decide that you can work full-time while your child is age 3 months to 4 years but when he or she starts school at age 5 or 6, you want to be home in the afternoon and thus need to work part-time until the child enters middle school,” Pauly said. “During these years you may elect to only travel to one academic meeting per year, not three or four.”

Pauly also suggested that one should seek help whether from family, friends or even be willing to hire help to avoid becoming isolated and stretching oneself too thin across too many responsibilities.

“Look for time to escape and rejuvenate,” she said.

The Wellness Program offers students wellness planning and coaching sessions to help them succeed in a rigorous academic environment as well as a variety of workshops throughout the year that focus on topics from cooking to making therapeutic lifestyle changes.

For more information about the Wellness Program, contact Niloofar Shahmohammadi, program coordinator, at or at 235-1862.

Contacts & Hours

Wellness Program

Room: M4-205E

Physical Location:

4th floor of the school of medicine, inside the Gold Unit, in Student Affairs suite

Mailing Address:

UMKC School of Medicine
2411 Holmes Street
Kansas City, MO 64108

Program Coordinator

Niloofar Shahmohammadi
Phone: 816-235-1862
Fax: 816-235-5277

Hospital Hill Hours

Drop–in and by appointment, Monday through Friday,
8:30 to 5:30
email for an appointment

Volker Campus Hours

Wednesdays: 8:30AM to 11:30AM
Thursdays: 2:30PM to 5:00PM

Wellness Workshops

In addition to Wellness Planning and Coaching, the UMKC School of Medicine Wellness Program offers a variety of workshops throughout the year, including the following*:

Cooking For College Students

Learn easy, fast, and wallet-friendly recipes ideal for busy students on the go. Learn the basics of what to keep in your pantry, necessary equipment, and easy and effective meal-planning strategies.

“The Work”

Learn Byron Katie’s internationally acclaimed four question method of challenging your negative, stressful thoughts. These simple questions will improve your relationships, your mood, and your overall wellbeing.

“Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC)”

Learn Dr. Stephen Ilardi’s research-based holistic treatment for depression. Studies have shown it is more effective than drugs and therapy.
*Dates and times are TBA. Please email me ( if you are interested in attending a workshop. I will notify you of the date and time.

What is Wellness?

According to the National Wellness Institute, “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.” This definition describes a shift from unconscious living – where you do not think about your health until you have a problem or experience symptoms – to conscious living – where you are actively making healthy choices to promote your success and wellbeing.


Wellness Is Multidimensional & Holistic

Wellness is multidimensional in that there are several different areas of life considered to be a part of overall wellness, as shown in the Wellness Wheel above. Wellness is not just about physical activity and good nutrition. It includes positive choices and a sense of fulfillment spiritually, occupationally, psychologically, physically, environmentally and socially.

Wellness is holistic in that it encompasses the total person and explores the relationship between various dimensions of wellness. Instead of simply directly treating symptoms, such as poor nutrition, our approach to wellness involves understanding how the various dimensions are interrelated and may be affecting one another. If you are not psychologically well, for instance, it is likely that your success in other areas of life will be impacted as well.

Why Wellness?

National College Health Assessments have shown year after year that college students experience high rates of stress during their time in school. Depression and anxiety, family and financial troubles, and other factors outside of a student’s control can also come into play. As a medical student in a rigorous six-year program, you are even more susceptible to stress, and uncontrollable life circumstances are likely to take a greater toll on your success and wellbeing.

You are entering a career field in which the lives of others will be in your hands. If you are “impaired,” then you will be unable to reach your full potential and will only be able to provide sub-optimal care. This puts both your license and the lives of others at risk.

As a physician-in-training, you are setting an example for others and should treat yourself as your own first patient. This includes regular checkups and other behaviors that promote a healthy and successful life.