Fall excitement meets pandemic challenges

As we enter the fall of 2021, there is exciting news about our students, still more impact from the pandemic and a vision for looking forward to our next 50 years. In August, we welcomed our 2027 B.A./M.D. class and held two White Coat ceremonies — one for our students on the Health Sciences Campus and, for the first time ever, a separate ceremony for the inaugural class on our St. Joseph Mosaic Life Care Campus.

It is always invigorating to welcome our students to the medical community, but we do so as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. We face the hard truth that the highly contagious delta COVID variant virus, which has fueled the fourth surge of cases in the United States, has infected almost exclusively those who have chosen not to be vaccinated. COVID is indeed a vaccine preventable disease — and we are seeing more hospitalized in the youngest age groups, for whom vaccination is not yet available. We now enter the era where a third booster dose is recommended for those who are immunocompromised, and other high-risk adults, and anticipate the approval of vaccination for children down to the age of 5 years.

As we reflect on the UMKC SOM opening its doors in 1971, we do so with the recognition that based on the 2021-2022 US News and World report survey, we now rank as one of the top medical schools in the country where graduates pursue primary care training. We know this aging teaching facility has served us well, but now we need to renovate our research space to facilitate modern cutting-edge research programs and progress on updating our classrooms and IT technology. These plans will allow us to support our continued research and funding growth and to increase our capacity to train diverse health professional students. We hope you will invest in us as our SOM continues for the next 50 years of our journey.  

Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. ’78
Dean, School of Medicine