Kristen Kleffner, Ph.D., has assumed a new role as assistant dean of student affairs for the UMKC School of Medicine’s St. Joseph campus.
In her position, Kleffner will oversee all School of Medicine student affairs activities and services for the St. Joseph students at Mosaic Life Care. This includes academic advising and support, career advising, financial wellness, events, student records, advocacy and organizations.
Kleffner has spent her career in medical education. She attended the University of Missouri–Columbia where she completed a master’s degree in counseling and a Ph.D. in higher education administration. She joined the School of Medicine staff in 2010 and has served in progressive roles in admissions, advising and career services before becoming assistant dean for the St. Joseph campus in 2020 when the school opened its new rural medicine site at Mosaic Life Care.
She has served on several committees during her tenure at UMKC including the Chancellor’s LGBTQIA Initiative, the General Education 2.0 Committee, and as the advisor for the Student National Medical Association.
“We are excited to have Dr. Kleffner as part of our Student Affairs team and look forward to her continued advocacy of students,” said Robert Riss, M.D., associate dean of student affairs.
The UMKC School of Medicine has announced four recent appointments to academic leadership positions: John Borsa, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiology; Adam Algren, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine; Jennifer Elliott, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Anesthesiology; and Molly Uhlenhake, D.O., director of the Continuing Care Clinic clerkship.
Borsa adds the role of the school’s academic chair of radiology to his current position as department chair at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. A board certified vascular interventional radiologist, he is a national expert in procedures related to percutaneous treatment of venous thromboembolic disease.
A fellow of the Society of Interventional Radiology, he also is a peer reviewed author and international lecturer in his field. He has been honored three times as teacher of the year by residents and five times as a distinguished faculty presenter.
Borsa completed medical school and an internship at the University of Manitoba, and his radiology residency at the Mayo Clinic. He also completed an interventional radiology fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle before joining the staff of Saint Luke’s Hospital in 2011.
Algren, a 2001 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine, has served as interim chair of emergency medicine since January. He is also chair of the University Health Physicians Board of Directors.
A member of the UMKC departments of emergency medicine and pediatrics since 2007, Algren has served as the chair of the School of Medicine’s Council on Selection and on the Truman Medical Centers Board of Directors.
He completed his emergency medicine residency and served as chief resident at TMC. Fellowship trained in medical toxicology at the Emory University/CDC program, Algren also served as a clinical instructor in the Emory University emergency medicine department.
In addition to her new role as interim chair of anesthesiology, Elliott currently serves as medical director of the Pain Management Clinic at Saint Luke’s Hospital. A 1996 UMKC School of Medicine graduate, she has served for many years as a member of the residency education committee in the radiology department.
After completing her anesthesiology residency and a fellowship in pain management at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Elliott joined the staff at Saint Luke’s Hospital. She has been a member of the hospital’s Institutional Review Board, a member of the UMKC School of Medicine Physician Promotions Committee, and the physician chair of the Saint Luke’s Health System Opioid Stewardship Committee. She completed the UMKC Physician Leadership Development Program in 2018.
Elliott has also written numerous articles and chapters on topics in pain medicine and is the primary editor of an acute pain management handbook published in 2011.
Uhlenhake takes on her director’s role in the school’s Continuing Care Clinic, having previously served on the Council of Selections as vice chair and the scholarship selection committee as chair. She is currently working to develop a multidisciplinary LGBT+ clinic at TMC, where she directs primary care services.
A member of the School of Medicine docent team, Uhlenhake is also medical director of Refugee and Immigration services at the Kansas City Health Department and medical director of community outreach for TMC. She is a core faculty member for the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program at TMC and for Teen Primary Care at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.
After graduating medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa, Uhlenhake completed her internal medicine-pediatrics residency the UMKC School of Medicine, where she also served chief resident. Before joining the staff at UMKC and TMC, she served at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and was the medical director of adolescent medicine at the High Street Clinic in Denver.
Amy Patel, M.D. ’11, was elected chair of the American College of Radiology’s Young and Early Career Professional Section at this year’s ACR Annual Meeting.
The section comprises more than 6,000 young U.S. radiologists, defined as 8 years or less out of training or under the age of 40. Patel, recognized nationally for her use of social media among radiologists, is the section’s first chair from Missouri.
The School of Medicine has announced that Dr. Akin Cil has accepted the appointment as interim Department and Academic Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery.
A member of the School of Medicine faculty since 2008, he has served since 2012 as the Franklin D. Dickson/Missouri Endowed Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Research in recognition of his collaborative research with colleagues in the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering in UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering.
A 1999 graduate of the Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Cil completed his orthopaedic residency in Turkey. He then emigrated to the United States where he completed a fellowship in adult lower extremity reconstructon at Baylor University and a fellowship in upper extremity reconstruction at the Mayo Clinic. He also added a sports medicine fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston-Harvard Medical School before coming to UMKC.
Board certified in orthopaeidc surgery, he has served as the vice chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and has been a member of the staff at Truman Medical Center Health Sciences District for the past 12 years. A mentor to more than 100 students, residents and fellows, his clinical and research emphases focus on shoulder and elbow injuries.
Three members of the UMKC community with expertise in emergency medicine and public health have been appointed by Mayor Quinton Lucas to the Kansas City Health Commission.
Erica Carney, M.D., was appointed co-chair of the commission, which provides oversight for the city’s Community Health Improvement Plan and fosters collaborative community efforts in the wider metropolitan area. Lucas said Carney’s work had been instrumental in the city’s response to COVID-19 and collaboration with area health providers.
Carney is a graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program, an assistant professor in emergency medicine, an emergency care physician at Truman Medical Centers and the medical director of emergency medical services for the City of Kansas City.
“I was fortunate enough to complete my emergency medicine residency at UMKC, where I served as one of the emergency medicine chiefs,” Carney said. “I found my love for emergency medical services after responding to the Joplin tornado.”
Carney said her areas of interest included improving survival rates for out-of-hospital heart attack patients from lower socioeconomic ZIP codes, improving health care for people who need and use the system the most, and improving public safety, including response to disasters and special situations such as COVID-19.
“The best defense to the unknown is a united front in the name of public protection, and I truly feel that our region is leading the way,” Carney said.
The mayor also appointed to the commission Joseph Lightner, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor and director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, and Austin Strassle, a housing stabilization specialist at Truman who earned his bachelor’s degree in urban studies/affairs from UMKC in 2016.
Lightner has helped launch the School of Nursing’s undergraduate public health degree and worked to involve undergraduates in innovative research bringing fitness and nutrition programs to area schools. In his research and outreach, Lightner has collaborated with community groups and institutions including Kansas City schools and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Health Department.
Strassle, who also has a master’s in city/urban, community and regional planning from the University of Kansas, has worked for three and a half years at Truman as a mental health caseworker. He also was the leader of a successful community campaign to get the Kansas City Council to ban the use of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical practitioners.
The mayor, in making his appointments, said it was important to have “experts in outreach to at-risk communities” on the commission, along with “medical professionals with specialties in trauma, infectious disease treatment, pediatric and prenatal care; supporters for survivors of domestic violence; advocates for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; educators; long-time community health reformers; and more.”
The School of Medicine has announced Tyler Smith, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics, as the new Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion beginning April 6, 2020. She is the first physician to hold this role.
Smith takes over for Nate Thomas, Ph.D., who served in that role from December 2017 to March 2020. She joined the Children’s Mercy Department of Pediatrics and UMKC faculty in February, 2018. In addition to her role as associate dean, she will continue to serve at Children’s Mercy as the General Academic Pediatrics Fellowship program director.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Smith completed her pediatric residency at the University of Maryland Medical System in 2008.
Smith completed her M.P.H. and fellowship in general academic pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and School of Medicine. She was recognized as mentor of the year by Hampton University, where she completed her undergraduate work.
A member of the National Medical Association Editorial Board, Smith is nationally known for her work in medical education, mentorship, diversity, health care disparities and physician wellness.
In August 2019, she was appointed by the Governor of Kansas to the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund. The initiative assists children and families in Kansas by developing and implementing a service delivery system.
The School of Medicine announced that Charles Inboriboon, M.D., associate professor and associate program director for emergency medicine, has been appointed assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education.
He will work directly with Sara Gardner, M.D., associate dean, to interact with Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and non-ACGME programs, residents and fellows. He will be responsible for quality improvement of graduate programs with a specific focus on assessment.
A member of the UMKC faculty since 2012, Inboriboon has a rich background in graduate medical education. He works clinically at both Truman Medical Center Health Sciences District and Children’s Mercy Kansas City. He has been part of the emergency medicine residency leadership team, serving as a GME ombudsman and as director of international emergency medicine programs.
Inboriboon is a Fulbright Scholar Award recipient and led several programs in Thailand during their transition to competency based medical education.
He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, where he completed emergency medicine residency and served as chief resident. He also completed a fellowship in international emergency medicine and earned a master’s degree in public health at the University of Rochester.
School of Medicine Interim Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., has appointed Mark Nichols, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics effective August 1, 2018. In this role, he will work closely with faculty, staff and students to help position the department as a catalyst for innovation and creativity.
Dr. Nichols received his Ph.D. from Yale University in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. He then undertook postdoctoral training in molecular biology at the German Cancer Research Center, and the European Molecular Biology Lab, both in Heidelberg.
In 1998, Dr. Nichols returned to the United States as an assistant professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine.
From 2010-2016, he served as a Scientist Administrator for Research Development in the Senior Vice Chancellor’s Office of Research at the University of Pittsburgh. In that capacity, he served all six health science schools at the University of Pittsburgh with the specific objective of assisting other investigators in their quest to obtain extramural research funding. His work resulted in 77 grants funded for more than $121 million.
In 2016, Dr. Nichols was recruited to UMKC as Associate Dean for Research at the School of Nursing and Health Studies and as Associate Research Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the School of Medicine.
His expertise includes molecular mechanisms of drug and enzyme action, molecular biology, mutagenesis, cloning, signal transduction, genomic regulation, cell cycle, and steroid hormones, with peer-reviewed publications in 20 biomedical journals, an siRNA biotechnology patent, and funding from NIH (NIDDK, NCI), DOD CDRMP, and American Cancer Society.
The School of Medicine has announced that Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., will serve as the inaugural chair of the Department of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine.
Banderas is particularly qualified to serve as the chair of the department. She has served as Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health since 2012 and before that was Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.
She will oversee the department as it is integrated into the School of Medicine’s strategic plans and objectives to expand graduate and professional degree programs in medicine to meet the needs of the community.
The School of Medicine currently offers three graduate medical programs that include a Master of Science in Anesthesia, a Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant, and a Master of Health Professions Education.
The Department of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine will serve as academic home for all existing and future graduate medical degree programs. It will bring organization, efficiency and structure to the strategic planning and policy decisions for these programs.
Banderas has an accomplished research, teaching, and leadership record. She provided oversight in supporting two graduate programs that recently underwent successful accreditation reviews.
Therefore, it is with the enthusiastic support of the faculty that the School of Medicine looks forward to the growth of existing graduate programs and the establishment of new programs under her leadership.
University of Missouri System President Mun Choi announced that C. Mauli Agrawal, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been appointed chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, effective June 20.
“I’m thrilled that Dr. Agrawal has agreed to serve as the next chancellor of UMKC, and I’m confident that the university will reach new heights of success in research, education and outreach through his leadership,” Choi said. “UMKC has an outstanding team of administrators, faculty, staff and alumni supporters who will work closely with him to achieve our collective vision.”
David Steelman, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, said, “We had a very strong finalist pool, but what made Dr. Agrawal stand out was his combination of strong academic credentials with proven entrepreneurial skills. He understands the mission of UMKC, but he also knows that mission can only be fulfilled through innovative approaches and risk; he is not a status quo leader.”
Choi will introduce Agrawal to the Kansas City campus at 10 a.m. Friday in Spencer Theatre in the Olson Performing Arts Center. The event will be streamed live at www.umsystem.edu.
“I’m very grateful for the work of the search committee members who spent countless hours reviewing and interviewing candidates,” Choi said. “I’m also extremely appreciative of Dr. Barbara Bichelmeyer, who has made important contributions as interim chancellor and provost at UMKC. Dr. Bichelmeyer will continue in her role as interim chancellor during the transition period and will return to her provost role when Dr. Agrawal arrives in June 2018.”
Bichelmeyer is leading a number of key initiatives that will continue to move forward at UMKC, including academic reorganization, academic portfolio review, strategic plan development and the budgeting process. She has the full backing and support of Choi to implement changes to achieve UMKC’s goals of excellence in student success, research breakthroughs and effective engagement.
“I will work closely with Dr. Bichelmeyer to make the important and necessary changes during the transition period,” Choi said. “We are indebted to her for her work in continuing to move UMKC forward. She will be a great asset to Dr. Agrawal as he moves into this position.”
Bichelmeyer said she looks forward to working with the new chancellor.
“I’m excited to partner with Chancellor-designate Agrawal and look forward to his arrival in Kansas City,” she said. “His background and experiences complement the mission and vision of UMKC – and together, with all the great partners on this campus and in this metro area, we will keep the momentum going as we grow UMKC into the great university this region needs.”
Before his appointment at UTSA, Agrawal served as vice president for research and dean of the College of Engineering. He also has been a professor of orthopedics and bioengineering at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, one of the largest medical schools in the United States. He obtained a doctorate from Duke University in 1989, a master’s degree from Clemson University in 1985 and a bachelor’s degree of technology from IIT-Kanpur, India.
“I’m very excited to be chosen to help lead this great university. The potential for the University of Missouri-Kansas City is immense and exciting,” Agrawal said. “UMKC has all the elements necessary to make a great university. With strengths in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, business, engineering, arts and theater, the university is an exceptional anchor for economic development in the Kansas City region. I’m looking forward to working with UMKC’s faculty and staff as well as Kansas City’s civic leaders who are passionate about higher education and are constantly working to make Kansas City a great place to live, learn and work.”
During his tenure as dean, Agrawal led the UTSA College of Engineering to a 40 percent increase in student enrollment, a 50 percent increase in faculty, and a 400 percent increase in research funding. In 2010, he worked closely with the city of San Antonio and Mayor Julian Castro to establish the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute at UTSA, which received a $50 million pledge of support from CPS Energy, the city-owned utility operation.
“Mauli is a beloved member of the San Antonio community who has earned admiration and respect from the university community, the business community and civic leadership,” current San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “I certainly wish him the very best at UMKC. You have an absolute gem of a man to lead the university forward. He understands the important role that a university plays in the civic life of a city and has a unique skill set of translating that role into meeting the needs of the university. His skill set is one of a kind.”
Agrawal has served on the editorial boards of various scientific journals, including the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Tissue Engineering, the Journal of System of Systems, and the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.
Agrawal’s research specializes in the area of orthopedic and cardiovascular biomaterials/implants, and he has written more than 300 scientific publications and holds 29 patents. He is a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Additionally, he served as president of the Society for Biomaterials in 2006. His bioengineering research group has been responsible for starting three companies in San Antonio.