School of Medicine mourns loss of first graduate

Jerald Burton, M.D.
Jerald Burton, M.D.

Jerald A. Burton, M.D., a member of the UMKC School of Medicine’s first graduating class died on Monday, Nov. 17, following a brief illness. Burton held the distinction as the first graduate of the School of Medicine.

Services will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23, at the Old Mission United Methodist Church, 5519 State Park Rd, Fairway, Kan.

Burton joined the initial class at the School of Medicine as an advanced standing student after having earned a B.S. in pharmacy and an M.S. and Ph.D. in pharmacology, all from UMKC. He was board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and addiction medicine.

After retiring from private practice in Kansas City, he served as a co-teacher of the History of Medicine course at the School of Medicine, lecturing to students at UMKC in the History of Medicine course and the behavioral science portion of the curriculum. He also spent time mentoring medical students at UMKC and KU through the William Osler and John Locke Societies and served on the advisory boards of several organizations with ties to UMKC.

He and his wife, Patricia, were asked by School of Medicine founder E. Grey Dimond, M.D., to write a book about the first forty years of the medical school. They had been working on the project, dear to their hearts, for much of the past two years.

Following his graduation from the School of Medicine, Burton completed his residency in internal medicine at Truman Medical Center then moved to California where he completed a fellowship in pulmonary medicine at the University of California-Irvine. He served as director of respiratory services at the Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, Calif., was an assistant professor of medicine at UCLA, and a faculty advisor for the National Critical Care Institute of Education in Orange, Calif.

He later returned to Kansas City and served as medical director of the Cedar Ridge Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center, and the CenterPoint Counseling and Recovery Center. He also was a private practice physician and served as chief of medicine, chief of pulmonary disease, medical staff president, medical staff representative and a member of the Humana Board of Trustees with the Overland Park Regional Medical Center.