Tag Archives: Announcements

Celebrating Reaner Shannon

Reaner Shannon, Ph.D. (M.A. ’78, Ph.D. ’83), part of the UMKC School of Medicine for 34 years, died July 13 at the age of 85.

Shannon began her career at the school as the main research lab technologist. In 1990, she left the lab to become director of the minority affairs office at the school, becoming the school’s first associate dean for minority affairs in 1998, a post she held until she retired in 2008. That year, she was presented the Bill French Alumni Service Award.

Shannon and her husband, Henry Shannon, established the Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health in 2006. Speakers of local and national interest have presented the lecture each February since in conjunction with Black History Month, focusing on timely topics that impact underserved and minority communities.

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, delivered the 2022 lecture.

“Reaner Shannon was an insightful, compassionate, and tireless advocate for URiM (Underrepresented in Medicine) students, who was well ahead of her time.  Long before it was common to talk about health equity, Dr. Shannon recognized that the lack of attention to minority health was creating an ongoing healthcare disparities crisis. She raised awareness on these issues and encouraged the School of Medicine to bring these topics to medical education,” Weaver said. “The Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Endowed Lectureship in Minority Health is a testament to that vision and her intention to ensure that medical students at UMKC would forever have access to thought leaders in this area.”

“She recognized that URiM students experience unique challenges in medical school, and she was a mentor who helped hundreds of students mitigate those challenges and successfully graduate,” he continued. “I am very grateful that I was one of those students when I met her back in 1973. She helped me navigate some difficult situations, was affirming, and always had an open door and a warm smile.”

Shannon established the UMKC School of Medicine Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council in 2001 to promote a diverse, nondiscriminatory learning and working environment for the school. It was charged with promoting cultural competency, awareness, inclusion, respect and equity through education, training, programing and advancement. The Council hosts a Diversity Symposium bringing together all departments across the School of Medicine to create goals and recognize existing efforts towards more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments and work execution.

Shannon also launched Saturday Academy, a free program designed to spark interest in and help prepare young people for potential careers in health care. The program provides students in grades six through 12 with two and a half hours of classes that focus on math and science as well as ACT prep.

2022 class of Summer Scholars view an ventilation demonstration.

She started a similar program, Summer Scholars, that invites minority and disadvantaged students in the Kansas City metropolitan area to take part in a two-week session each July. They receive daily instruction in academic areas such as chemistry and language arts, and study anatomy and physiology in the school’s cadaver lab. Summer Scholars has grown from a single two-week experience for local underserved high school students that Shannon began more than 40 years ago to four different programs provided for high school and undergraduate college students.

“I’d like to think I made an impact in the lives of those students who, in some cases, might not have known that studying medicine was even an option,” she said when presented with the Bill French award. “It was important for me to build in the lives of young people, to help them in any way that I could to succeed.”

Shannon also served on the board of directors for the Black Health Care Coalition and the Edgar Snow Foundation.

$100 Million Project Planned for Health Sciences District

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is poised to begin work on a new interprofessional health sciences building in the UMKC Health Sciences District, housing expanded medical school teaching facilities and new, state-of-the-art dental teaching clinics.

The multi-story, $100 million project also will serve as a home for the university’s Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center and Biomedical Engineering program. This project will take the Health Sciences District to the next level, accelerating health care access and equity for the community and sparking development to turn the campus into a regional draw, igniting entrepreneurship and economic growth for the city and region.

The state of Missouri has appropriated $40 million for the building in legislation signed by Gov. Mike Parson on July 1. This appropriation comes with a challenge to the Kansas City community to raise the additional $60 million to build the $100 million project.

The project has broad and enthusiastic support from the City of Kansas City, Jackson County and multiple business, civic and economic development organizations. The project will add impact and momentum to the burgeoning growth underway in the district – including recent additions such as Children’s Mercy Kansas City’s $200 million Research Institute tower, the $70 million University Health 2 medical office building and the $45 million University Health 1 building.

Civic leaders view the UMKC project as a next step toward the launch of a comprehensive development plan for the district.

“A united medical and dental building will be a signature facility, as there is only one such institution in the country with this combined learning and clinical environment,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “The project will spark an expansion of the entire UMKC Health Sciences District that could dramatically expand health care in Kansas City, attract top faculty and researchers and new private investment that could create new jobs and eventually contribute billions to the Kansas City economy.”

Academic medical centers in San Antonio, Memphis and Denver, among others across the country, have transformed districts with an estimated multibillion regional economic impact annually.

Additionally, an interprofessional health building allows for increased collaboration among health care fields, which creates a greater capacity for developing health solutions and providing patient care. UMKC is one of only 20 universities in the country where dentistry, medicine, nursing and health studies, and pharmacy share a single, walkable campus, which underscores the need to continue to provide opportunities for collaboration among the health sciences.

UMKC will occupy the first several floors of the project and additional floors may be available to public partners for medical office space, clinical space and other uses. Here’s what will be housed in the UMKC space:

School of Medicine

The new building will provide state of the art educational facilities for UMKC medical students and programs, such as space for more simulation labs, which lead to better training for students and better care for the community. The expansion also will allow for necessary infrastructure changes to improve the school, including increased capacity for digitization with additional space for fiberoptic cables, improved air flow throughout the building and expanded classroom space.

School of Dentistry

These state-of-the-art clinics will attract some of the best students and faculty from the region, making UMKC competitive with top schools across the country. In addition, UMKC will have increased space to continue its important work in serving the underserved – delivering almost $1 million in uncompensated care to those who otherwise might not get treatment. With a new interprofessional medical building, the next generation of dentists can be taught to deliver better dental care at a lower cost. Another benefit will be the expansion of dental emergency services, which will lower the number of dental emergencies seen at hospital emergency rooms and continue to make first-rate dental care more accessible to the community.

Biomedical Engineering

Proximity between doctors and developers of medical devices is paramount, and this new building will foster faster, more effective collaboration between engineers and medical professionals to accelerate product development in areas such as imaging technology, implants and microsurgery tools. UMKC will expand its ability for creating new technology, generating innovations for products and patents with the potential to work with companies to develop and produce them.

Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center

Through its expertise in data science, UMKC and its clinical partners are ushering forward a new era of personalized health care — one that will treat diseases based on individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle, rather than a traditional one-size-fits-all approach. The data center’s work will drive innovation in a variety of domains, ranging from health care and business intelligence to agriculture and digital humanities

School of Medicine announces changes in Saint Luke’s Hospital, graduate medical education leadership

Howell, Greg
Dr. Gregory Howell

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced upcoming changes in the school’s associate dean for Saint Luke’s Hospital programs and in the school’s graduate medical education leadership.

Diana Dark, M.D., a 1980 graduate of the School of Medicine and long-time associate dean for Saint Luke’s Hospital programs, will retire from her role this summer. In turn, Gregory Howell, M.D., who currently serves as associate dean of graduate medical education, will assume the associate dean’s role at Saint Luke’s Hospital beginning June 1.

Howell, a Kansas City native, graduated from the School of Medicine in 2000 and completed his pulmonary and critical care fellowships at UMKC. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine. He also holds a master’s in public health from the University of Kansas. An associate professor of internal medicine, he previously served as program director for the critical care fellowship.

“It has been an honor to serve the graduate medical education community at the School of Medicine for the last three years and I look forward to working with the leadership at Saint Luke’s in the coming years.” Howell said.

Dr. Diana Dark

Dark has cared for patients as a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Saint Luke’s Health System for 29 years. She has served as the associate dean for Saint Luke’s programs for 18 years and the last two years has also served the associate dean for the learning environment at the School of Medicine.

After graduating from the SOM, Dark did her internship, residency and fellowship at the University of Kansas Hospital. She remained on faculty at the University of Kansas for seven years before being recruited to Saint Luke’s Hospital as associate program director for the Internal Medicine residency program, a position she held for 10 years. She established the UMKC Critical Care fellowship and served as program director for seven years.

School of Medicine dean Mary Anne Jackson congratulated Dark on her upcoming retirement and thanked her for her extensive service to the med school.

“I have truly enjoyed working with Dr. Dark as she has advocated for our students, residents, fellows and faculty,” Jackson said. “I am grateful for her leadership and the strong collaborative spirit as she has promoted a strong relationship between the School of Medicine and Saint Luke’s Hospital.”

Jani Johnson, CEO of Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City echoed Jackson’s sentiments.

“Dr. Dark’s leadership has been tremendous throughout her years of service to Saint Luke’s and UMKC,” she said. “We are grateful for her many contributions and we wish her a joyful retirement. We are also thrilled to congratulate Dr. Howell, who we know will bring passion and enthusiasm to this role, and whose expertise will be of great value to our students and staff alike.”

Dark said that while she will miss the interaction with her friends and coworkers, she is looking forward to experiencing the next chapter of her life and her leisure time.

“I cannot imagine anyone having a more rewarding career than I have had,” Dark said. “It has truly been a privilege to help educate so many medical students, residents, and fellows, those who will be taking care of all of us. I have been honored to work alongside and partner with incredibly strong leadership at both Saint Luke’s Hospital and the UMKC School of Medicine.”

Dr. Beth Rosemergey chosen as new chair of Community and Family Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine and University Health have announced the appointment of Beth Rosemergey, D.O., as the new chair of the Department of Community and Family Medicine. Her appointment takes effect Jan. 10, 2022.

Rosemergey, an associate professor of community and family medicine, currently serves as vice chair of the department. She is also medical director of the Bess Truman Family Medicine Center at University Health Lakewood Hospital and director of the Family Medicine residency program and will continue in those roles as well.

A 1988 graduate of the Kansas City University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, now Kansas City University, Rosemergey completed her community and family medicine residency, including a year as chief resident, at UMKC before joining the School of Medicine faculty in 2016.

“I am honored to be appointed as chair of the Department of Community and Family Medicine and work with an amazing group of faculty, fellows and residents,” Rosemergey said. “I hope to partner with our patients, learners, healthcare system, medical school and community to develop innovative ways to serve our patients by expanding primary care access, educational endeavors and scholarship.”

Rosemergey is an active member of many committees and boards. She is on the Physician NTT Initial Academic Appointment and Promotion Committee, the Professional Development Committee, Graduate Medical Education Committee and Honor Council.  She is also a co-faculty advisor for the School of Medicine chapter of Gold Humanism Honor Society and a mentor in the Faculty Mentor Program. With University Health, she serves on the Physicians Board of Directors and Finance Committee. She is also a board member on the Kansas City and Missouri Academies of Family.

In 2020, the Independence Examiner honored Rosemergey with a Woman of Distinction Award. The award recognizes outstanding women of Eastern Jackson County, Missouri, in in the fields of business, government, education and non-profits based on their accomplishments and community involvement.

Stephen Griffith, M.D, professor and past chair of community and family medicine, has served as interim department and academic chair since April. Beginning Jan. 10, he will serve as vice chair for the department.

UMKC School of Medicine: 50 years of excellence in medical education

Graduation has always been a special celebration for docents and their students at the UMKC School of Medicine.

Fifty years ago, the University of Missouri-Kansas City launched a bold experiment in educating the medical leaders of the future.

After years of planning, more than $8.8 million in federal funding and a charter class of 18 students, the doors of the UMKC School of Medicine opened in 1971.

Fifty years later, that bold experiment is a cornerstone of Kansas City’s medical community.

This month, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine is kicking off its yearlong observance of the 50th anniversary. A new logo, a special website and many special events will highlight the celebration. Among the key events:

  • A series of distinguished guest lectures, including:
    • Nov. 5: Roger Bush, M.D., from University of California-San Francisco, speaking on rural health inequities.
    • Nov. 17-19: Silvio Inzucchi, M.D., from Yale, sharing research linking type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and cardiovascular complications.
    • Dec. 2: Harriet Washington, medical ethicist and Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas., speaking on medical apartheid.
    • Dec. 9: Kenneth Churchwell, M.D., from Boston Children’s Hospital, speaking on “Becoming a Physician in the Time of COVID: A Few Thoughts.” (Noback-Burton Lecture).
    • Feb. 11: Geeta Swamy, M.D., from Duke University, speaking on maternal vaccines, COVID pregnant women, preterm delivery interventions.
  • Special signage around the SOM campus and 50th-anniversary themed touches for Match Day, Commencement and other signature academic occasions.
  • A Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary gala, set for June 4, 2022, at the Loews Hotel in downtown Kansas City.
(Make your hotel reservations here for this special event.)

Today as in the past, UMKC’s School of Medicine is making a difference the health and well-being of Kansas City communities and beyond. Long known for its innovative research, humanities-focused education and unique medical programs – namely the accelerated BA/MD program where students enter medical school straight from high school and complete their degrees in six years – UMKC continues to graduate future leaders in health care. The school has been instrumental in founding Kansas City’s UMKC Health Sciences District, where it continues to play a primary role.

“This is an exciting time for the UMKC School of Medicine, as we celebrate half a century of history and traditions,” said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., ’78, dean of the medical school. “As our nation’s health care profession has evolved, so has the School of Medicine. We are bringing new technologies and innovations to the forefront that continue to solidify our standing as a leader in today’s medical education.”

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the School of Medicine. Through the years, additional programs added include master’s degrees in anesthesia, physician assistant, health professions education and bioinformatics, and graduate certificates in research and health professions education. In January 2021, the school opened its second campus in St. Joseph, Missouri, with a focus on rural medicine. But it is the school’s MD programs and its docent system of learning – where faculty physicians combine the best of apprenticeship instruction with small-group teaching, mentoring, peer coaching and other techniques – that have withstood the test of time and continue to position the school as a trendsetter in medical education.

“Fifty years speaks to the longevity of the school, not to mention we have many physician leaders across the country that are graduates,” said School of Medicine alumni association president Ralph Wuebker, M.D., ’94. “There is no doubt that UMKC is a top medical school!”

Marjorie Sirridge, M.D., one of the three founding docents and later dean of the medical school, once reflected on the early days: “I remember being tired a lot and sometimes discouraged when it seemed that we just couldn’t get it all done. But, mostly I remember the challenge and the excitement of being part of a new adventure in medical education.”

Indeed, it’s been an exciting adventure the past 50 years – and the next several months will celebrate the past, present and future of UMKC School of Medicine. Join us.

Hitting the Pavement

Marathon runners at finish

UMKC and School of Medicine supporting KC Marathon

UMKC and the School of Medicine are proud sponsors of the Oct. 16 Garmin KC Marathon – the largest race event in Kansas City and a significant community tradition. This year’s race has something for everyone: a full- and half-marathon, as well as a 10k and 5k, plus many volunteer opportunities.

For all the Running Roos out there, registration is now open for the race. New this year, the race will start and end near the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In-between, runners will enjoy a tour of the city including the National World War I Museum & Memorial, the Country Club Plaza, Waldo, Westport, 18th & Vine, and more. Participants receive a race shirt, a finisher’s medal, free food and drinks, free downloadable race photos and massages at the Finish Line Festival.

Not a runner? Consider volunteering at the event. There are many ways to help: course monitors, medical tent support, packet pickup, etc. To see all the opportunities, visit the race’s volunteer page.

And if you will be on the sidelines supporting the race and its participants, make sure to sport your Blue and Gold so all the racers know that the Roos are cheering them on.

COVID safety will be top of mind during the race, as organizers have implemented a number of protocols to ensure the safety of participants and staff, including:

  • A socially distanced start
  • Masks required at all times except while actively racing
  • Contactless aid stations
  • Hand-washing and sanitization stations throughout the race site
  • Increased spacing in the Finish Line Festival area

Don’t miss out – this year’s event promises to be one to remember. For more information visit the KC Marathon website.

Office of Research Administration welcomes new staff members

Norma Aguirre, left, and Madison Denson

The School of Medicine Office of Research Administration has added two new grant support specialists, Norma E. Aguirre and Madison Denson, to its staff.

Norma E. Aguirre joined the School of Medicine in April. She previously worked in Chillicothe, Missouri, as an office manager. Prior to the office manager position, she worked at the UMKC School of Pharmacy as an administrative assistant. She has also worked at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. Aguirre is originally from Texas and  attended Texas Tech University.

Denson, who joined the research administration staff in June, and her husband are both from Nebraska. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, she previously worked for a company Omaha-based company while being located in the Kansas City area.

Student Affairs changes announced at SOM’s Health Sciences District and St. Joe campuses

Top row: Nyia Duncan, Betsy Hendrick, Alex Luke. Bottom row: James Shackelford, Hilary Yager

The School of Medicine has announced a number of new staff appointments and changes in the Office of Student Affairs at both the Health Sciences District campus and the St. Joseph campus.

On the Health Sciences District campus, Betsy Hendrick has been appointed as a senior education team coordinator.

Hendrick has served as ETC for the past year and a half with the Blue Unit and interim ETC for teams on the Purple and Green units. She also serves as the school’s immunization coordinator, facilitates the health disparities elective and assists with Match Day planning.

Also joining the Health Sciences team will be Nyia Duncan, who recently joined the St. Joseph staff as education team coordinator. Duncan will be transitioning to the Health Sciences District campus as an ETC in February. She is recent graduate of Ottawa University with a master’s degree in business administration and human resourses. At Ottawa, she served as a resident director and student affairs graduate assistant.

At the School of Medicine’s new St. Joseph campus, based at Mosaic Life Care, Hilary Yager will serve as program coordinator and administrative assistant. Alex Luke, M.D., joins the staff as academic initiatives specialist. Also, James Shackelford will serve as senior student recruitment specialist and coordinator of special initiatives

Yager is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and brings a broad occupational history that includes teaching, working therapeutically with students, and overseeing summer camps and events. She has worked to streamline connections between School of Medicine faculty, staff and students with Mosaic Life Care.

Luke received his bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University, then worked as a medical scribe in the emergency department at Mosaic before joining the UMKC School of Medicine’s M.D.-only program in 2017. He has held multiple tutoring and academic support roles during his undergraduate and medical careers, and will begin a residency in neurology in July.

Shackelford previously worked in the School of Medicine Deans Office as executive assistant to the dean before leaving the university to run for public office. A graduate of the UMKC Bloch School of Management, he has a master’s degree in public administration.

 

SOM research office taking applications for SPiRe Grant

The School of Medicine Office of Research is seeking applications for the Sarah Morrison Pilot Research Fund (SPiRe), an internal grant for clinical and basic scientists. Application deadline is noon, March 1.

The grant provides support to develop preliminary data or pursue high-risk innovative research that will enable submission of highly competitive applications to national funding sources.

To be considered, research must either be performed at the School of Medicine or be in collaboration with faculty at the school where at least 50 percent of the research is performed. Tenure-track, tenured, research and clinical faculty are eligible to apply for the grant.

Standard awards are $15,000 to be spent during the course of two years. If a compelling case can be made for additional funding, up to $20,000 may be requested.

Full application guidelines and the application packet are available online.

Questions prior to preparing and submitting applications may be directed to Paula Monaghan-Nichols, associate dean for research, at nicholsap@umkc.edu or 816-235-6663. Questions about applications should be directed to Mark Hecker, director of research administration, at heckerm@umkc.edu or 816-235-6015.

School of Medicine announces new assistant dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

The School of Medicine announced that Doris C. Agwu, M.P.H., will serve in the new position of assistant dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Agwu has 11 years of experience with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in academics, business and community work. Under the leadership of associate dean Tyler Smith, M.D., Agwu will work to expand the school’s focus on current diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Her new role will also include implementing new programs to recruit, educate and serve students, residents and faculty, and emphasize initiatives to ensure a positive learning environment.

At the University of Missouri-Columbia, Agwu earned a bachelor of arts in psychology, a bachelor of science in biology, a minor in business administration and a master’s degree in public health. She served as a research specialist at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing where she created strategies to address the health care needs of rural Missouri women over the age of 50. She also has served as medical department chair for Bryan University in Columbia, where she spearheaded diversity and inclusion initiatives, taught multiple courses and managed more than 20 direct reports.

In her most recent role as director of engagement and coordinator of underrepresented minority student recruitment at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Arts and Sciences, she worked to drive inclusion, diversity and equity strategies through best practices to ensure an inclusive culture. She implemented long-term strategic outreach efforts for the college, and collaborated with senior leaders and key stakeholders on state and community programming.

A 2019 recipient of the University G.O.L.D. award for service to the alumni community, Agwu is the vice president of the Mizzou Black Alumni Network. She is also membership co-chair of the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women. She was selected as a member of the new, chancellor-appointed Equity Resolution Hearing Panel and is a charter member of the central Missouri chapter of The Links, Incorporated, serving as the technology/PR/communication chair.

Agwu said she understands the needs of all students to address issues of marginalization.

“I want all Black students to know that their lives matter,” Agwu said. “I want all students of color, including Asian, Hispanic/Latinx and indigenous students, to know their cultures and unique experiences are significant. I want all women to know they have autonomy over their bodies. I want all LGBTQIA students to feel embraced and supported, and for students with disabilities, that they can access everything.”