Tag Archives: Alumni

Timothy Martin, M.D., ’84, a leader in pediatric anesthesiology and pain medicine

SOM-50-YRS-1971-2021Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a lead up to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we are spotlighting some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Timothy Martin, M.D., ’84, chief of pediatric anesthesiology, anesthesiology residency program director and associate chair for education at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Where are you living and working now?

I currently live and work in Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, home of the main campus and health science center of the University of Florida. I practice at the University of Florida Health locations including Shands Hospitals and the Children’s Surgery Center in Gainesville.

Tell us about your current role?

I am professor of anesthesiology and associate department chair for education, as well as core Anesthesiology Residency Program Director and chief of the Division of Pediatric Anesthesia at the University of Florida, roles that I have filled since 2015 when I was recruited to UF. I began my post-UMKC medical career with 10 years of active duty service in the U.S. Air Force in San Antonio, Texas, and then served on the faculty and as Chief of Pediatric Anesthesia at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, Arkansas for more than 20 years.

What is your primary focus in medicine?

My primary clinical specialty is pediatric anesthesiology and pain medicine although the Shands Hospital perioperative areas serve a mixed adult and pediatric patient population. So, I do frequently care for adult surgical patients. Approximately 50 percent of my time is devoted to clinical practice, while the other 50 percent is allocated to fellow, resident and medical student education due to the large number of programs that I oversee at UF.

Share one of your most fond memories of the UMKC School of Medicine?

My “tongue in cheek” response would be the many wonderful Saturday morning activities at the UMKC School of Medicine such as the Saturday morning Correlative Medicine series in years 3 and 4, and the Quarterly Profile Examinations (QPE). Seriously though, my most fond memories are of faculty members and class friends who inspired and motivated me to pursue a career in medical education and research through various activities and events. I recall sitting on my roommate, John Whitfield’s and my apartment floor the day of graduation in 1984 thinking I had just experienced the best years of my life. In many ways, I still believe this is so 38 years later, although I have been very fortunate throughout my career.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you learned at the UMKC School of Medicine?

There were many great lessons learned, but I think the most valuable may have been learning to appreciate, train and work alongside, and engage colleagues from diverse backgrounds and experiences. This has proven to be extremely helpful throughout my career in medical leadership.

What is something about you that people may not know?

Aside from my obvious interest in medicine, I have been a lifelong student of all things historical — particularly early American and native American history. Throughout my years in Arkansas, I consistently worked to support and held a variety of leadership roles in the Historic Arkansas Museum, and more recently the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.

Dana Suskind, M.D., ’92, improving child outcomes

UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Reflections Throughout 50 Years

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a leadup to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we will spotlight some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Dana Suskind, M.D., ’92, author, early language development expert and founder of TMW (Thirty Million Words) Center for Early Learning + Public Health.

Where are you now and what is your current role?

I now live in Chicago, Illinois, where I am a professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medical Center. I serve as director of the pediatric cochlear implantation program and co-director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health.

TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health provides evidence-based interventions to optimize brain development in children from birth to five years of age, particularly those born into poverty. It combines education, technology and behavioral strategies for parents and caregivers to enhance the verbal interactions with their children.

What is your primary focus in medicine?

I work with pediatric cochlear implants and supporting parents to build a more family focused society through my upcoming book and initiative, Parent Nation.

What is your fondest memory of your time at the School of Medicine?

I have many, such as my junior-senior partners, DoRo, our post board and Beta parties, and the best friends that I made at UMKC School of Medicine.

Can you share the greatest lesson you learned in medical school?

The best lesson I learned is that the Hippocratic oath doesn’t end when the clinic visit is over, but when your patients thrive.

Tell us something about you that people may not know?

I have the joy of being the mother (and bonus mother!) to eight wonderful children.

Tracy Stevens, M.D., ’90, a leading advocate for women’s heart heath

UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Reflections Throughout 50 Years

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a leadup to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we are spotlighting some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Tracy L. Stevens, M.D., F.A.C.C., ’90, medical director of the Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center, recognized as the first women’s heart center of its kind in the United States, and recipient of the Inaugural Woman’s Day Red Dress Award.

Where are you now and what is your current role?

I work at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, as a member of Saint Luke’s Cardiovascular Consultants. I also serve as the Julia Irene Kauffman Endowed Chair for Women’s Cardiovascular Health, the Ben D. McCallister, M.D., Community Ambassador, and as a professor of medicine with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.

What is your primary focus in medicine?

As medical director of Saint Luke’s Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center, I focus on promoting women’s cardiovascular health. I have been involved in two White House events including the proclamation signing by President George W. and Mrs. Laura Bush in support of the Heart Truth Campaign.  I have also been the host to Mrs. Bush at Saint Luke’s on three occasions.

Dr. Stevens is the recipient of the WomenHeart Wenger Award for her contributions to women’s heart health. She serves on the Heart Health Advisory Board for Woman’s Day, Scientific Advisory Council for WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and is a National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

What is one of your fondest memory of your time as a student at the School of Medicine?

My fondest memory would be the HOURS AND HOURS of rounding with my docent, Dr. James Stanford!

What is the greatest lesson you learned as a student?

The best lesson that I learned as a students was to ALWAYS advocate for your patient.

Can you share something about you that people may not know?

I love to wear ball caps and spend time at our “farm!”

Hospital executive Mark Steele, M.D., ’80, leads today’s physicians

UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Reflections Throughout 50 Years
Mark Steele, M.D. ’80

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a leadup to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we are spotlighting some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Mark T. Steele, M.D., ’80, executive chief clinical officer at Kansas City’s University Health (formerly Truman Medical Centers), executive medical director of University Health Physicians, and associate dean for the UMKC School of Medicine’s University Health programs.

What is your current role in medicine?

I currently serve at University Health to provide administrative leadership and oversight of clinical operations and medical staff affairs. I also oversee medical staff recruitment and have oversight of undergraduate and graduate medical education at University Health.

What is your most fond memory from your time at UMKC School of Medicine?

The new friends I met from different backgrounds from across the state of Missouri have to be my most fond memory. That and the fun we had navigating our way through the new and innovative School of Medicine. And, of course, FAPAN!

Tell us about the greatest lesson you learned in medical school.

One of the greatest lessons that came from medical school at UMKC was the importance of respect for all and the value and power of diversity and diverse experiences.

Can you share something about yourself that people may not know?

I’m the proud father of triplets plus an adopted son who is only 7 months older than the triplets. So, we essentially raised quadruplets. The adoption resulted from a chance conversation with a fellow alum at a School of Medicine alumni event back in 1991.

 

Mike Weaver, M.D., delivers 2022 Shannon Lecture

Dr. Michael Weaver

Discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion are culturally sensitive and complex. They’re also necessary, said Mike Weaver, M.D., ’77, a member of the UMKC School of Medicine’s first graduating class to complete the school’s six-year program.

The first African-American graduate of the School of Medicine, Weaver reflected on his time at the medical school and navigating the field of medicine as an underrepresented minority as keynote speaker at the Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health.

Weaver said he was particularly honored and excited to present this year’s Shannon lectureship for two reasons.

“First, because the school of medicine is celebrating our 50 year golden anniversary and I am a proud graduate of the inaugural class,” Weaver said. “And second, because I am a URiM (underrepresented in medicine) member of that class, and I have seen and experienced how diversity, inclusion and equity can have important downstream impacts on students, residents, physicians and health care in our community.”

Weaver said now is a good time for people to reflect on what has taken place in the world around them.

“We are observing an awakening period around issues of diversity, inclusion and equity,” he said. “Not only from a criminal, social justice standpoint, which was brought on by the murder of George Floyd, but also from a health care and social standpoint, brought about around COVID.”

Weaver pointed out that today’s society is recognizing that racism is a social influencer of health and that diversity, equity and inclusion are some of the tools necessary to address the issue. Diversity, he said, is allowing others in the room to be part of the discussion.

“It’s important to remember that representation matters and that inclusion takes place when one is given a seat at the table and has a voice that is valued and respected,” he said. “Equity is what happens when that seat and that voice influences equitable outcomes.”

An emergency medicine physician who retired last summer, Weaver worked in various roles over the years.  He served as medical director of Saint Luke’s Kansas City Hospital’s Level I trauma emergency services for 17 years. He was the founding chairman of the hospital’s department of emergency medicine and provided emergency medicine oversight for MAST and Life Flight Ambulance systems for more than 15 years. Weaver was appointed by two Missouri governors to chair the Governor’s Advisory Council on Missouri Emergency Medical Services.

He has also championed the School of Medicine’s efforts in diversity and inclusion. One of four African-American members of the school’s inaugural six-year class, he was the only one of the four to complete the program with his class.

“The school was intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion from the beginning,” Weaver said. “That intentionality created the opportunity for me to be the first African-American to do certain things at Saint Luke’s (Hospital) that positively benefited the community. Our work is to make sure there will be many more students that serve the community. I was able to do many things because the school gave me a chance.”

Mario Castro, M.D., ’88, cares for patients on a global level

Alumni Reflections Through 50 Years
Mario Castro, M.D., ’88, and his family

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a leadup to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we will spotlight some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Mario Castro, M.D., ’88, a pulmonary care specialist who received the 2021 E. Grey Dimond Take Wing Award.

Where are you now and where are you working?

I’m now live in Lenexa, Kansas. I joined the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2019 and serve as L. E. Phillips and Lenora Carr Phillips Professor, chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. I am also vice chair for clinical and translational research and director of the Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

What is your focus?

Asthma and COPD have been my focus at KUMC. When I’m not working, I focus on my family, running and biking.

While working on improving respiratory health throughout the developing world, Castro also played a major role in the battle against COVID-19 on a global level. He worked with partners throughout Kansas City on one of the largest vaccine studies in the country to develop a global vaccine that could be taken to the farthest reaches of the world. The study enrolled more than 500 participants in Kansas City who were part of an effort that resulted in the development of the COVID vaccine most used worldwide.

Can you share something that people may not know about you?

I came to the U.S. as a refugee from Cuba as a young child. In one of my efforts to give to those in need, I am a board member of the International Medical Assistance Foundation (IMAF), an organization that reaches the underserved in Honduras and lead an annual medical brigade to Hospital Hermano Pedro in Catacamas, Honduras.

Castro oversees a board that regularly sends volunteer teams of ENT, orthopedics, cardiology, neurology and other specialists to remote areas of Honduras. Twelve years ago, the Honduran government provided $3 million and the IMAF raised another $3 million through church donations and fundraisers to build and supply the 100-bed Hospital Hermano Pedro. Just prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic, Castro and his team saw and treated 1,300 pulmonary patients in less than a week at the hospital.

 

 

Alumni Reflections Through 50 Years

Arif Kamal, M.D., ’05, follows ‘marching orders to change the word’

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a lead-up to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we will spotlight some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Arif Kamal M.D. ’05,  MBA ’15, MHS ’16, who now lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Where are you working?
I now work at the American Cancer Society as the Chief Patient Officer. My team oversees all of the patient-facing support programs offered by the ACS including the Hope Lodges, patient transportation program, and patient navigation systems.

Share with us one of your fondest memories.
My fondest memory is not a specific one but all the moments growing and learning as a class of colleagues and friends. We started together at 18 years old, new to medicine and anxious to build a career as a physician. And we graduated together as confident, skilled physicians with marching orders to change the world.

What is the greatest lesson you learned during your time at the School of Medicine?
The greatest lesson I learned is from the bedside, having six years of hands-on experience with patients. It is a quote I attribute to Dr. Carol Stanford, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” She taught us to put people and their stories and lived experiences first, and the diagnosis or condition second. When you take a people-first attitude, good things happen.

What is something about you that people may not know?
Something many may not know about me is that although I serve many roles in health care, I take most pride in serving as a soccer coach to my daughter’s team. We have such an amazing time together.

 

 

UMKC alum works to promote breast cancer awareness, diversify field

Dr. Amy Patel leads KC area Breast Care Center while mentoring students

Growing up in Chillicothe, Missouri, a town of fewer than 10,000 people, Amy Patel didn’t see many physicians that looked like her.

“There was only one primary care woman physician in my hometown and there weren’t any women who looked like me, a woman of color. From a young age I realized there was such a need for women practicing specialized care, but especially for women of color,” Patel said.

That observation sparked a fire and passion in Patel that has continued to grow. Patel went on to study medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and graduated from the school’s six-year medical program. During medical school she completed a rotation with a breast radiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, which was a turning point in her decision to specialize in breast cancer radiology.

After completing a breast imaging fellowship at Washington University, Patel began her professional career in Boston, and even found time to work as a faculty member at Harvard. But eventually, Patel felt called to return to Missouri.

“I always wanted to come back to the Midwest to assume a leadership position where I could make a difference and make an impact,” Patel explained.

In July of 2018 Patel was named medical director of the Breast Imaging Center at Liberty Hospital. Since her arrival she’s helped grow the program, adding an additional breast imaging specialist, starting a plastic surgery program and partnering with the UMKC School of Medicine to launch a Breast Radiology elective course. Patel teaches the course, which involves a rotation designed to introduce medical students to a range of screening and diagnostic breast imaging modalities to multidisciplinary care. She hopes this course will help others, especially women and minorities, become more interested in the profession.

“The percentages of women entering the radiology field have remained around 27% a year, and those numbers for underrepresented minorities are even lower. Right now, there are so many opportunities for students and I’m hopeful in the future, we will start to see growth in the percentages that have remained stagnant for many years,” Patel said.

In addition to helping launch the new rotation, Patel says one of the initiatives she’s most excited about is a newly launched genetics program within Liberty Hospital.

“Knowing your family history is very important because that could potentially warrant genetic consultation and then possible testing. That is why it’s so important for a hospital system to have a genetics program and that’s why we’ve worked really hard to have one here,” she adds.

While familial genetic indicators may be out of our control, Patel says everyone can proactively take steps to lower their risk of breast cancer.

“A healthy diet is important, maintaining a body mass index that is within recommended limits is key because we know obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer. Moderate alcohol consumption and not smoking are also important ways to lower your risk,” Patel said.

Regular screenings are also key in the fight against breast cancer. Patel says screening rates among women plummeted into the single digits during the pandemic due to the pause of routine screenings in Spring and early Summer of 2020 under advisement of the CDC. While the numbers have started to rebound, they’re still down about 13% compared to pre-pandemic.

“I always wanted to come back to the Midwest to assume a leadership position where I could make a difference and make an impact.” — Amy Patel

 

Dr. Amy Patel looks at images in a lab

“We are particularly worried about women of color, who tend to be the ones with more barriers when it comes to access and education. If screening rates don’t pick back up, we are worried that disparity could widen even further so it’s really going to take the entire breast cancer community to come together and encourage patients of all backgrounds to get screened,” Patel said.

Patel says October is a good time to get screened and encourage friends and family to do so as well.

“Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not just about raising money for research; the awareness component is equally as important, and I love to see specialists coming together and encouraging others to go and get your mammogram.”

Longtime emergency medicine physician addresses burnout in annual McNabney Lectureship

Robert Muelleman, M.D.

Doctoring is hard work, said Robert Muelleman, M.D., quoting long-time emergency medicine physician W. Kendall McNabney, M.D.

Muelleman, who spent 36 years in clinical and administrative roles as an emergency medicine physician, was the keynote speaker on Oct. 14 at the school’s W. Kendall McNabney Endowed Lectureship. The graduate of UMKC School of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residency program talked about burnout as a physician and specifically those who practice emergency medicine.

“Dr. McNabney said doctoring is hard work,” Muelleman said. “I heard him say it more than once.”

Muelleman understands just how hard. He served as a faculty member in emergency medicine for 10 years at UMKC before moving to Nebraska where he retired as a professor at the University of Nebraska.

The World Health Organization describes burnout among physicians not a medical condition but an occupational phenomenon, Muelleman said. He added that it’s a wicked problem that poses serious consequences for not only physicians but for patient care and the health system as well.

“You’re dealing with a bunch of exhausted doctors who love what they do,” he said. “We’ve got issues in terms of exhaustion and things like that but also a lot of opportunities for resilience.”

The annual lectureship honors McNabney, who founded the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine and Truman Medical Center in 1973. McNabney was the first and longest serving chair of emergency medicine at the school and served as the head of trauma services for many years.

Adam Algren, M.D., chair of Emergency Medicine, recognized McNabney, who died  in August, as an icon of the school and the specialty of emergency medicine.

“He impacted thousands of individuals, learners, patients in his career,” Algren said. “We’re all thankful about what he was able to teach us about being a skilled compassionate clinician and a good human being. We know his memory and legacy will live on in the department and the organization.”

Remembering 9/11

UMKC Medicine Alum recalls his time at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Tyson Becker (M.D. ‘01) was one of many UMKC alumni whose job found him responding to the tragic event. He was a first-year surgical resident at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. – about eight miles from the Pentagon, where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the structure. On 9/11, his skills were needed to treat those injured by the explosion and his efforts in the burn unit at Walter Reed were featured in the school’s alumni magazine.

On the 20th Anniversary of September 11, many are taking the time to look back at that date in history. Here are Becker’s recollections and how the experience shaped his medical career.

How has your professional career evolved since that time?

I am still in the Army and am now a colonel. I work as a trauma critical care surgeon at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. BAMC is the Department of Defense’s only Level 1 trauma center and covers San Antonio and the surrounding 22 counties in South Texas, serving military and civilian traumas.

I also serve as the general surgery consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and am a member of the American College of Surgery Board of Governors. In addition to that, I am the director of the Strategic Trauma Readiness Center, which prepares forward surgical teams to deploy and take care of combat trauma. I have deployed six times to Central America, Africa, Afghanistan and Syria.

What memories stand out from your time at Walter Reed after September 11, 2001?

A lot has happened since that day. I have spent the last 20 years taking care of our service members injured in combat operations against terrorism. That day two decades ago is when my whole career started. Everything I have done since has stemmed from that day. As we see with current events, the work continues.

I remember that on 9/11 everything changed. One minute I was working in a hospital as an intern, and the next minute, everything I did was focused on ensuring those citizens that were put in harm’s way came home alive and in the best shape possible.

That day gave the rest of my career a clear purpose.

How did the experience shape you as a health care provider?

I have a strong sense of service to our country. After 9/11, I felt I could best serve the country as a trauma surgeon in the military. It has made me want to serve in austere environments, whether combat or humanitarian.

I feel that what I do is more than just a job, it’s a duty.