Tag Archives: Awards and Recognition

UMKC Honors Top Class of 2020 Graduates

Dean of Students Honors Recipients

Each year as the semester begins to wind down and seniors prepare for commencement, one of the biggest moments of their lives, academic and administrative units host breakfasts and ceremonies honoring the academic accomplishments of their graduates.

This year, however, things are very different, because of the novel coronavirus and related social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Still, UMKC faculty and staff are finding other ways to virtually recognize honors seniors through social and multi-media.

Fourteen School of Medicine students are among those nominated as Dean of Students Honors Recipients by faculty and staff for their commitment to academic success while actively participating in leadership and service to the community and our university outside of the classroom. Nominators and students recorded videos reflecting on this semester’s honors. See what they had to say:

“You are an exceptional group of people. Despite the demands of family, work and studies, you made time to give back to the community. When you saw a need, you worked to fill it. You are humanitarians, leaders and philanthropists and you should rightfully be proud of yourselves,” said Interim Dean of Students Chris Brown.

* – School of Medicine recipients

Afaq Alabbasi – School Pharmacy [watch the video] Nominated by Cameron Lindsey, interim chair of the Division of Pharmacy and Practicum [watch the video]

* Priyesha Bijlani – School Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Betsy Hendrick, academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video]

Hannah-Kaye Carter – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video] Nominated by Carla Mebane, director of the UMKC High School/College Dual Credit Partnership [watch the video]

Austin Dada – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences [watch the video] Nominated by Ryan Mohen, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology [watch the video]

* Morgan Dresvyannikov – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Brent McCoy, senior academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video]

Sierra Duncan-Sonich – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video] Nominated by Tammy Welchert, director of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Enrollment, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video]

Jorden Erskin – School of Nursing & Health Studies [watch the video] Nominated by Corinna Beck, academic advisor, School of Nursing and Health Studies [watch the video]

* Elsa George – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video]

* Thomas Haferkamp – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Krisana West, academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video]

* Chizitam Ibezim – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video]

Alyssa Jones – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video] Nominated by Susana Chavez-Bueno, associate professor of pediatrics [watch the video]

* Anusha Kodidhi – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video]

* Christopher Kurian – School of Medicine
Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video]

Nuvia Lemus-Diaz – School of Dentistry [watch the video] Nominated by Richie Bigham, assistant dean for student programs, School of Dentistry [watch the video]

* Rmaah Memon – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video]

Pooja Menon – School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video] Nominated by Lawrence Dreyfus, associate vice provost of faculty development and research [watch the video]

Emily Oliver – School of Pharmacy [watch the video] Nominated by Roger Sommi, associate dean and professor, School of Pharmacy [watch the video]

* Anthony Oyekan – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video]

Jayanth Rao – School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video] Nominated by Tara Allen, teaching professor, School of Biology [watch the video]

* Nicole Rogers – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video]

* Subhjit Sekhon – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video]

* Mehr-Zahra Shah – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video]

* Saumya Singh – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video]

* Garima Thakkar – School of Medicine [watch the video] Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video]

Sarah Towakoli – College of Arts & Sciences and Honors College [watch the video] Nominated by Ken Novak, professor, criminal justice [watch the video]

Rachel Zender – School of Law [watch the video] Nominated by Molly Wilensky, director, Professional and Career Development Center [watch the video]

Undergraduate Research Fellows

Eleven May graduates earned the Undergraduate Research Fellow honorary transcript designation by demonstrating deep involvement in research process–formulating a research question, identifying an appropriate method to investigate the question, carrying out the project, and publication or presentation of the results beyond the classroom or research group.

Jerrah Biggerstaff – B.S. Physics/Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences

Jaime Crouse – B.S. Biology; double minor in physics/astronomy and chemistry

Austin Dada – B.S. Biology

Lauren Higgins – B.S. Physics/Astronomy

Brandon Landaverry – B.S. Environmental Sciences

Andy Leon – B.S. Biology

Pedro Morales-Sosa – B.S. Biology

Minh Nguyen – B.S. Biology

Bwaar Omer – B.S. Biology

Annie Spencer – B.A. English and History

Sarah Towakoli — B.A. Criminal Justice & Criminology and Political Science

 

Making the ranks of medical schools

For the first time ever, the UMKC School of Medicine joined the U.S. News & World Report rankings of medical schools and other graduate programs.

The  school placed 75th for primary care medical schools and 88th for research medical schoolsU.S. News said its rankings covered 122 accredited medical and osteopathic medical schools that participated in the rankings, out of 189 that were asked.

UMKC, whose innovative six-year program takes most of its students right out of high school, did not participate in past surveys because its program is so different from others in the United States. Interim Dean Mary Anne Jackson, a 1978 graduate of the program, said she thought it was time to join the survey.

“Our school is known for excellent clinical training and great success in residency matching, throughout the Midwest and at Mayo and other top institutions,” Jackson said. “We also offer expanding research opportunities and have placed students in the top National Institutes of Health student research program for several years in a row.”

The medical school rankings were based on a weighted average of indicators, seven for the primary care rankings and eight for research. Some indicators were quality assessments by academic peers and residency directors. But most were objective data submitted by the schools, such as research activity, student test scores and acceptance rate. The UMKC school rated in the top one-third, for example, in faculty-student ratio, on a par with Stanford, the No. 4 school overall, and ahead of 78 other schools. It also did well in the percentage of its graduates going into primary care.

Dean Jackson said it took a “yeoman’s effort” to compile and submit the required data for the first time, and she thanked the school’s leadership team including Vice Deans Steven Waldman, M.D. ’77, J.D., and Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D., M.B.A., for their efforts.

School of Medicine recognizes December grads, honors recipients

The School of Medicine recognized four December graduates at UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 14 at Swinney Recreation Center.

Students who participated in the ceremony and received their M.D. degrees were Logan Christine Hemme, Sultan Ibrahim Khan, Jude-Patrick Nnamdi Okafor and Landon James Rohowetz.

They were among 21 students anticipated to graduate in December with either a Doctor of Medicine, a master’s degree or a graduate certificate in clinical research from the School of Medicine.

Five of the December M.D. graduates were also recognized as 2019 Dean of Students Honor Recipients. Faculty and staff nominate students who have maintained high scholastic performance while actively participating in university and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom.

Those honorees and their nominating faculty or staff member include: Shelby Chesbro, nominated by Jignesh Shah, M.B.B.S./M.P.H., and Betsy Hendrick; Jordann Dhuse, nominated by Stefanie Ellison, M.D.; Zach Randall, nominated by Stefanie Ellison, M.D.; Marcella Riley, nominated by Nurry Pirani, M.D.; and Rohowetz, nominated by Peter Koulen, Ph.D., and Betsy Hendrick.

School of Medicine Students anticipated to graduate in December included:

Doctor of Medicine graduates
Timothy Brotherton, Shelby Chesbro, Jordann Dhuse, Abygail Dulle, Logan Hemme, Haley Kertz, Taylor Lind, Zachary Randall, Marcella Riley, Landon Rohowetz, Louis Sand, Keton Schroeder, Gurpreet Seehra, Brandon Trandai and Mesgana Yimer

Graduate Certificate Clinical Research
Ishaan Jakhar

Master of Science in Bioinformatics

Emily Deutch, Benjamin Matta, M.D., and Jason Wilson

Master of Health Professions Education

Christa Balanoff and Emily Hillman, M.D.

The School of Medicine’s spring graduation ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. on May 18, 2019, at the Kauffman Center.

School of Medicine attracted sisters in Legacy Award winning family

Lange
Hembree

Two sisters who eventually became ophthalmologists were drawn to UMKC by its innovative School of Medicine. Now, the 2019 UMKC Legacy Family Alumni Award recognizes their decades of service to their communities, and their distinguished second-generation graduate.

School of Medicine alumni Mary Pat (Strickland) Lange, M.D. ’85, and Kathryn Ann (Strickland) Hembree, M.D. ’86, anchor the Strickland-Hembree family. The second generation member is Hembree’s daughter, Kathryn Hembree Night, who received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and philosophy in 2009 and is a graduate of the UMKC Honors College. She works in finance in New York.

Lange has served the Lawrence, Kansas, community for more than 25 years and is a senior partner at Lawrence Eye Care Associates. Hembree founded Northland Eye Specialists in the Kansas City area, focused on providing comprehensive family eye care.

“I was aware from a young age that I wanted to be a physician,” Lange said. “My oldest brother was in his orthopedic residency when I was in high school. The six-year program offered by UMKC appealed to me as the most direct way to pursue this career path.”

The six-year program allows someone right out of high school to earn B.A. and M.D. degrees, and it matches each younger student with an older “senior partner.” Lange said her senior partner’s keen interest in ophthalmology got her interested in that specialty, and when she saw a patient’s vision dramatically improve after laser surgery, she was hooked.

In the meantime, her older sister, Hembree, already had a degree in chemistry and biology, along with a job as a medical technologist. But she, too, had always wanted to be a physician. Spurred by Lange’s great experience at UMKC, Hembree followed her and entered the School of Medicine’s four-year track for students who already had a bachelor’s degree.

Night

Hembree also “caught” her sister’s interest in ophthalmology, saying she was drawn by “being able to see all ages of patients, assist in medical diagnosis of many systemic diseases and, most wonderful of all, helping restore vision!”

Both sisters credited the school’s extensive clinical experience with fully preparing them to practice and pursue their careers in ophthalmology.

Night, Hembree’s daughter, said she started at UMKC interested in medicine but then found philosophy, law and other pursuits interesting. She credited the Honors College with helping her follow her interests and, along with summer internships and hard work, eventually land a  job in finance in New York.

Sekhon selected to post with AMWA student organization

Sekhon, SubhijtSubhjit Sekhon, a fifth-year medical student, has been appointed to serve on the National Committee for the American Medical Women’s Association’s Medical Student Division.

Serving as the recruitment chair for the medical student division, Subhjit will work with regional directors to identify schools that currently don’t have an AMWA student chapter, establish new chapters of the organization and work on updating recruitment materials for the student group.

AMWA is the oldest multispecialty organization dedicated to supporting women in medicine and women’s health.

Sekhon was chosen for the post from a pool of applicants from across the country. She has been a member of the UMKC chapter of the medical women’s organization for three years and has served as co-treasurer and co-community service chair.

She also serves as an ambassador of the Centennial Congress for the Medical Women’s International Association. An offshoot of AMWA, the organization represents women doctors from all six continents.

 

 

 

Sojourner Clinic honors volunteers

The awards banquet was well attended.

Hundreds of student volunteers were recognized May 8 at the annual Sojourner Clinic Banquet, which was held at the Diastole Scholars’ Center. Students put in more than 1,500 volunteer hours each year treating more than 300 patients in more than 800 patient visits at the clinic, which offers free care to the homeless in downtown Kansas City.

This year’s award winners:

Top Year 1 Volunteer – Harshita Degala
Top Year 2 Volunteers – Madhavi Murali & Alaya Bodepudi
Top Year 3 Volunteer – Koral Shah
Top Year 4 Volunteer – Komal Kumar
Top Year 5 Volunteer – Jessica Wise
Top Year 6 Volunteer – Rahul Maheshwari
Top PA Student Volunteer – Emma Windham
Top Pharmacy Student Volunteer – Katie Tuck
Brook Nelson Award for Leadership – Michele Yang
Ellen Beck Award for Dedication – Imaima Casubhoy
Angela Barnett Award for Humanism – Koral Shah
Dan Purdom Award for Commitment – Eshwar Kishore

The clinic also has a new board for 2018-2019:

Executive Directors: Danielle Terrill and Adithi Reddy
Laboratory Director: Michele Yang
Patient Assistance Program Director: Priyesha Bijlani
Lead Clinic Manager: Elle Glaser
Financial Chair: Rose Puthumana
Clinic Managers: Seenu Abraham, Jessica Wise, Vishnu Harikumar, Antonio Petralia, Tony Cheng, Shipra Singh, Elizabeth Theng, Raga Kilaru, Vijay Letchuman
Main Operations Director: Kavelin Rumalla
Lab Managers: Alaya Bodepudi, Madhavi Murali, Imaima Casubhoy
PA Reps: TBA
Webmasters: Eshwar Kishore, Mrudula Gandham
PR Reps: Sriram Paravastu, Adnan Islam
Secretary: Angela Nwankwo
Pharmacy Liaison: Riddhi M. Ishanpara
Junior Financial Chair: Shruti Kumar

More on the clinic and award winners is here.

Michael Hinni takes wing

Michael Hinni, M.D., ’88, a pioneer in head and neck surgery, is the 2018 winner of the E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award.

Hinni is professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and head of the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Otolaryngology at Mayo Scottsdale. He is known for being in the forefront of developing minimally invasive procedures for surgical removal of head and neck tumors.

Those efforts included designing instruments to accomplish better, safer surgery; contributing to the published medical literature on such topics as how much tissue needs to be removed to completely clear malignancy from the throat and surrounding areas; and presenting the evidence for this medical advances at local , national and international forums.

In letters nominating him for the award, his colleagues praised him for displaying substance, purpose, courage, care for and loyalty to followers, integrity and self sacrifice.

As Take Wing winner, Hinni is scheduled receive his award and deliver the annual Take Wing lecture on May 21 at the School of Medicine and to speak as part of the School of Medicine’s commencement ceremony later that afternoon.

Eight School of Medicine students get 2018 awards from Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund

Eight School of Medicine students, double the number from last year, will receive awards from the 2018 UMKC Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund.

Across UMKC, 67 women received support gifts totaling $78,212.

The School of Medicine winners, their field of study, and their projects:

— Kelly Anderson, anesthesiology, will attend the annual American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, with help from the Charles W. Nielsen Award in honor of Georgia Pierson Nielsen.

— Priyesha Bijlani, medicine, will present at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition, with help from the Presidents and Past Presidents General Assembly of Greater Kansas City Award II.

— Taylor Carter, medicine, received funding for her Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills medical licensing exams through the Soroptimist International of Kansas City Award and the Clarence and Shirley Kelley Award.

— Frances Grimstad, bioinformatics, received support to compensate transgender patients participating in radiology imaging as a part of her master’s thesis project, through the Curtis J. Crespino Award and Dorothy A. Stubbs Charitable Trust Award.

— Anna Grodzinsky, cardiology, received support to attend the Cardiac Problems in Pregnancy Conference from the Mary Kay McPhee and Bill Pfeiffer Award.

— Jessica Kieu, obstetrics and gynecology, received support to present research at the 16th World Association for Infant Mental Health World Congress through the Women’s Council Annual Fund Donors Award and Planned Parenthood of Kansas City Award.

— Grace Rector, medicine, received support for an out-of-country elective to provide care to the African pediatric population, through the Zonta Club of Kansas City, Missouri, II Award and the Harriette Yeckel Friendship Across Borders Award.

— Nyaluma Wagala, medicine, received support for her Orthopedic Research and Abstract Presentation through the Marilyn McGuyre and Frances Nelson Office of Student Affairs Award.

Gummi, Nizamuddin take Kansas City Free Eye Clinic to national stage

Ravali Gummi spoke about the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic during the opening session of the 2017 Clinton Global Initiative University.

Volunteers with the student-operated Kansas City Free Eye Clinic (KCFEC) are working to extend free eye care to the city’s refugee community. The plan took a national stage in October when Ravali Gummi, a sixth-year medical student at UMKC, pitched the idea to more than 1,200 college students from across the globe and national leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative University.

The annual meeting is an event of the Clinton Foundation that brings together young visionaries from across the globe to discuss and explore global challenges.

Ravali Gummi, middle, and Imran Nizamuddin, right, met with Dr. Vivek Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, at the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Gummi serves as student clinic director of the KCFEC. Imran Nizamuddin, a fifth-year medical student, is the organization’s communications director. Both were invited to attend this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University in Boston based on a Commitment to Action plan submitted on behalf of the KCFEC.

In addition to being selected to attend the national meeting, their action plan, “A Vision for Our Refugees: The Efforts of a Free Eye Clinic,” was one of just five chosen for presentation on the main stage during the meeting’s opening session.

After making her presentation (that begins at 37:35 of the video), Gummi had the honor of shaking hands with former President Bill Clinton.

“The opportunity to speak on stage prompted many conversations through the rest of the weekend, as students approached us to ask more about our free eye clinic or to share their own efforts,” Gummi said.

In her presentation, Gummi explained how the KCFEC has treated more than 3,100 patients and distributed more than 1,000 pairs of free eye glasses since its inception eight years ago. Five years ago, the clinic moved to a location densely populated with homeless shelters to target local underserved populations.

“This year, we are seeking to reach the increasing number of refugees entering the Kansas City area and enhance their access to eye health care,” Gummi said.

During the Clinton Global Initiative University program, Gummi and Nizamuddin networked with other students, met with national leaders and learned about the diverse array of global challenges facing the world.

In 2009, KCFEC began in part as a commitment from Clinton Global Initiative University with a grant from the foundation. About 30 volunteers, including UMKC medical and physician assistant students, and Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences students, actively participate in the KCFEC.

In addition to the initiative to expand eye care to the refugee community, Gummi said the clinic is working toward starting a new mobile eye clinic to better serve patients for whom transportation is a barrier.

Fifteen selected to join UMKC chapter of AOA honor society

The UMKC School of Medicine’s Missouri Delta chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society recently announced its newest members. The society selected 15 sixth-year students who will be inducted into the society next May.

Students selected for induction are Gaurav Anand, Tiffany Bland, Dorothy Daniel, Michael Keirsey, Brooks Kimmis, Margaret Kirwin, Nidhi Reddy, Shiva Reddy, Alexandra Reinbold, Elina Sagaydak, David Sanborn, Sumita Sharma, Ryan Sieli, Meghna Singh, and Christopher Tomassian.

Selection to the organization is considered an honor recognizing one’s dedication to the profession and art of healing. It is based on character and values such as honesty, honorable conduct, morality, virtue, unselfishness, ethical ideals, dedication to serving others and leadership. Membership also recognizes excellence in academic scholarship.

In May, the School of Medicine AOA chapter also welcomes fifth-year students, alumni, residents and faculty inductees who are announced in the spring. One or two sixth-year students will be selected next spring to join the 2018 class of inductees.