Friends welcome students, plan meeting at Diastole

A reception presented by the Friends group in August was well attended by parents of first-year students.

Friends of the School of Medicine, a parents organization, sponsored a successful welcoming reception in August and invites parents to attend its annual board meeting Oct. 8 at Diastole.

The Friends group gives parents opportunities to support and be involved in their students’ education. It endows a scholarship and the Harry S. Jonas, M.D., Ambassador’s Award, and has financed such student amenities as a pingpong table, a massage chair and a water-bottle filling station. The group is led by Shanna Kimmis and Susan Storm, M.D. ’85 and clinical assistant professor in the Pediatrics department.

The board meeting, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., is open to all parents and will provide a chance to assess progress and plan more initiatives. (Parents who can attend are asked to RSVP by calling 816-235-5281 or emailing Call-in information for St. Louis area parents will be available soon.)

This year’s gathering also will offer a look inside Diastole and tours of the peaceful retreat center just south of campus. It was built in 1976 as the home of founder E. Grey Dimond, M.D., and his wife, Mary Clark Dimond, and converted to a non-profit center in 1980.

“We haven’t met there before,” Kimmis said, “so Dr. Storm suggested it. A lot of parents have never been through the center or had a chance to learn its history.”

Kimmis said the venue, at 2501 Holmes, was selected as a good way to involve more parents. “We’re hoping to get a good showing,” she said.

A good showing is what the Friends experienced for another annual event: a reception geared toward parents of Year 1 students. The Aug. 18 gathering, held at the Student Union, drew more than 200 Year 1 parents and included an informational panel discussion.

Both Kimmis and Storm participated in the discussion to provide the parents’ perspective. The medical students on the panel were Mrudula Gandham, Year 2, and Kimmis’ and Storm’s sons, Brooks Kimmis, Year 5, and Shane Storm, Year 3. Also participating were Raymond Cattaneo, M.D. ’03, assistant dean for Years 1 and 2, and Brenda Rogers, M.D. ’90, associate dean for student affairs.

Kimmis said she became involved in Friends when she was asked to help when her son was starting at the school.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” she said.