Betty M. Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E.

Professor, Dean Emerita, Associate Program Director - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship, Program Director – Nutrition and Metabolism Fellowship, President - Stowers Institute for Medical Research Graduate Program
Department(s) of Internal Medicine, Biomedical and Health Informatics
Section: Endocrinology
UMKC School of Medicine, University Health - UMKC Health Sciences District
Education and Background

M.D. - University of Kansas
Residency - Internal Medicine - University of Kansas Medical Center
Fellowship - Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism - University of Kansas Medical Center

Meet Betty Drees
How did you get started in research?

I have always been interested in endocrinology because it’s applied physiology—systems with feedback loops, very logical. I also wanted the variety a career in academic medicine provides: You get to care for patients, teach and do research. After my fellowship in endocrinology I went into the Veterans Administration’s career development program, which funded physicians starting research careers and provided mentors for me.

What do find rewarding in your work?

Affecting people’s lives in positive ways is always rewarding. My current work on diabetes in the community promotes disease prevention and the connection between clinical medicine and community resources. And I always enjoy working with students, residents, fellows and junior faculty. It’s rewarding to see them develop their careers and grow professionally. I’m proud of establishing the bioinformatics program and the research infrastructure it provides for the whole school.

What do you enjoy outside of your research?

My pleasures are quiet pleasures, including the outdoors and travel to our national parks. I was in the Teton Mountains for last year’s solar eclipse. Family is very important to me; my husband and I have three grown children. And I’m always reading and learning new things. I read widely, including science and technology, history and fiction, to learn about other cultures and to see what forces brought us to current situations. I recently read a string of Russian novels, some of them classics, some contemporary authors. And “Genghis Khan and the Search for God,” “Salt: A World History,” “Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter,” “Incarnations: A History of India in 50 Lives,” “Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America,” to learn about American post-Civil War history. I like to keep learning.


With 30 years in clinical practice, research, education, and administration, Dr. Drees is Dean Emerita of the School of Medicine. She served thirteen years in that role, from 2001-2014.  She is currently the Program Director for the Fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism.  Since 2018, she has served as the President of the Graduate School for the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, MO.

Her research interests center around community impact and improved quality of health care, such as prevention of diabetes mellitus and prevention of fractures.  She is the site PI for the Enhanced Lifestyles for Metabolic Syndrome (ELM) study, which is a $9 million, six-year, multi-site trial for evaluation of lifestyle intervention for sustained reversal of metabolic syndrome.  She is the President of the regional American Diabetes Association Community Leadership Board.

Research Focus

Metabolic health.

Selected Publications
Calcium and Bone

Van Veldhuizen PJ, Taylor S, Drees B.  Efficacy of Vitamin D in Treating Bone Pain Secondary to Metastatic Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer. J Urology, 2000.  163:187-90

Zhao LJ, Jiang H, Papasian CJ, Maulik D, Drees BM and Deng HW. Correlation of Obesity and Osteoporosis – Effect of Fat Mass on the Determination of Osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Res. 2008, 23(1):17-29.

Zhang F, Xiao P, Yang F, Shen H, Xiong DH, Deng HY, Papasian CJ, Drees BM, Hamilton JJ, Recker RR and Deng HW. A whole genome linkage scan for QTLs underlying peak bone mineral density. Osteoporosis Int. 2008, 19(3):303-310.

He LN, Liu YJ, Xiao P, Zhang L, Guo Y, Yang TL, Zhao LJ, Drees B, Hamilton J, Deng HY, Recker RR, Deng HW.  Genomewide linkage scan for combined obesity phenotypes using principal component analysis.  Annals of Human Genetics, 2008.  72(Pt 3):319-26

Drees B.  Diabetes and Bone:  The Importance of Fracture Prevention in Diabetes Management.  Kansas City Medicine, 2017.  1:30-3

Bonanni S, Sorensen AA, Dubin J, Drees B.  The role of the fracture liaison service in osteoporosis care.  Missouri Medicine, 2017.  114(4):283-6


Diabetes and the Community

Drees B and Yun S.  Reducing the Burden of Diabetes in Missouri: A Call to ActionMissouri Medicine, 2016: 113(5);352-357

Schwasinger-Schmidt TE, Schrage JP, Moore JB, Drees BM.  The State of Diabetes in Kansas:  A Community Centered Approach to the Treatment of Diverse Populations.  Kansas J Med 2017: 10(4):96-101 PMID 29472981

Bao YK, Weide LG, Ganesan VC, Jakhar I, McGill JB, Drees, BM.  High Prevalence of Comorbid Autoimmune Diseases in Adults with Type 1 Diabetes from the HealthFacts Database.  J Diabetes. 2018;1–7

Bzowyckyj AS, Aquilante CL, Drees B, Cheng A-L. Leveraging the Electronic Medical Record to Identify Predictors of Non-Attendance to a Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) Program.  Diabetes Educ. 2019: 45(5):544-552.  PMID: 31486339

Bruce JM, Cozart J, Shook RP, Ruppen S, Sieungsukon C, Simon S, Befort C, Lynch S, Drees B, Bruce    AS.  Modifying Diet and Exercise in MS (MoDEMS): Study design and protocol for a telehealth Weight loss intervention for adults with obesity & Multiple Sclerosis.  Contemporary Clin Trials 2021 Aug;107:106495.


Drees B, Arnold L, Jonas H. The University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Medicine: Thirty-Five Years of Experience with a Non-Traditional Approach to Medical Education.  Academic Medicine, 2007. 82(4):361-9

Drees B, Omurtag K.  Accelerated medical education:  past, present and future.  Missouri Medicine, 2012.  109:352-5.  (Reprinted in Metro Med Bulletin and Panorama, 2013)

Artinian, NT, Drees BM, Glazer G., Harris K., Kaufman LS, Lopez N, Danek JC, Michaels J. Holistic Admissions in the Health Professions: Strategies for Leaders. College & University, 2017. 92(1):65-68 PMID 29200468

Hillman E, Paul J, Neustadt M, Reddy M, Wooldridge D, Dall L, Drees B.  Establishing a Multi-Institutional Quality and Patient Safety Consortium: Collaboration Across Affiliates in a Community-Based Medical School. Acad Med. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003552.  Acad Med. 2020 ; 95(12):1864-1873

Mustafa R, Gillenwater K, Miller S, Aly A, Pamulapati, Sifers T, Naji D, Drees B, Wooldridge D.  Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Curriculum and Resident Experience (QIPS CURE): A Roadmap.  J Grad Med Ed. DOI:  2020;12(4):469–477