Change is coming to the UMKC School of Medicine Department of Community and Family Medicine where Michael O’Dell, M.D., chair of the department, has announced his retirement after nearly 40 years in academic medicine.
The School of Medicine announced that R. Stephen Griffith, M.D, has been appointed interim department and academic chair while a search for a permanent chair is completed. The appointment is effective April 12. Griffith previously served nine years as chairman of the department.
“I am pleased to be asked to serve as interim chair during the time of transition from Dr. O’Dell’s leadership until a new permanent chair is named,” Griffith said. “As a previous chair, I know the challenges of the position and look forward to working with the outstanding faculty of the department to prepare for the next chapter in the department’s journey.”
Griffith is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine and completed his Family Medicine residency at the University of Arizona. A faculty member in the UMKC Department of Community and Family Medicine and Truman Medical Centers medical staff member since 1984, he was chair of Community and Family Medicine from 2001 until 2010. He has also served as residency program director and as the school’s rural health director.
O’Dell announced his retirement effective July 1. He will take a 10-week personal and educational enrichment break beginning April 12.
During his appointment as chair of Community and Family Medicine starting in 2010, O’Dell furthered the department’s clinical, educational, and scholarly missions. He also significantly expanded the faculty.
Before coming to UMKC, he served on faculty and held leadership positions at the University of Kansas, the University of Texas Medical Branch, the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Huntsville Campus, and the North Mississippi Medical Center.
O’Dell is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Medicine and the University of Kansas Family Medicine residency program. He served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves and retired holding the rank of captain. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and other awards during his Naval career and was deployed in the first Gulf War.