Tag Archives: Awards / Recognitions

Journey begins for UMKC School of Medicine Class of 2028

The UMKC School of Medicine Class of 2028 participated in the annual InDOCtrination Ceremony.
Second-year medical student Samuel Kim received the 2022 Richard T. Garcia award from Bridget Jones, M.D., assistant academic dean for student affairs.

Samuel Kim, a second-year medical student at the UMKC School of Medicine, spoke from experience when offering words of advice to the incoming Class of 2028 Friday morning during the school’s annual InDOCtrination Ceremony.

People need people, Kim said, reflecting on his time as a first-year medical student.

“Even if you forget everything else from day to day, remember you need each other,” Kim said.

Kim shared his message as this year’s recipient of the annual Richard T. Garcia Award. The honor is given annually to a second-year student for outstanding leadership, compassion toward fellow students and first-year academic performance.

With a packed auditorium of family and friends looking on, the School of Medicine introduced a class of 105 new students who are beginning their journey toward becoming physicians. One of the morning event’s highlights was the introduction of the annual Garcia Award winner.

In receiving the award, Kim related how instrumental his classmates were during his first year of medical school.

“You all voted me as this award recipient because you thought I was the best in you, but honestly, you’re the best in me,” Kim said, speaking to the second-year class. “Every day I can smile, I can fail, I can succeed and I can study because you make it worth it. You remind me what goodness, patience, intelligence, prudence, love and wisdom look like. You’re my support.”

School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., echoed Kim’s encouragement for the first-year students to look to one another and others around them for the support they will need in navigating the school’s six-year program.

“Your friends, your family, your medical school peers and all of the staff and faculty here today and those you meet along the way will bring you support in times of distress and rejoice and celebrate with each of your accomplishments,” Jackson said. “It will be a wild ride at times.”

The first-year class is comprised of students from across the United States, from Massachusetts to California and come from small towns of 2,000 to metropolitan areas of more than 9 million people. It is also a diverse group with nearly one-fourth of the class made up of racial groups underserved in medicine.

Each of the students was introduced with their Year 1 docent units. The class then listened to a reading of the Oath of Physicians. It is the same oath the class will recite in six year upon graduation.

Jackson left the group with one final encouragement.

“Keep your passion, keep your focus and boundless energy. That is my hope and my vision for you today as you start your medical school journey,” Jackson said. “I promise you, the time is going to fly by.”

SOM’s Nwankwo receives AMA Foundation scholarship

Christy Nwankwo, a sixth year medical student at the UMKC School of Medicine, has received a 2022 American Medical Association Foundation Underrepresented in Medicine Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship.

Nwankwo has been active at the School of Medicine in community involvement and advocacy. She has served in leadership roles with the Student National Medical Association as well as serving as clinic manager for the school’s Sojourner Health Clinic and the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic.

She has also taken on mentorship roles that include founding an organization to encourage high school students to consider a career in medicine. Nwankwo is active in research that explores dermatologic concerns for persons of color.

The AMA Foundation award is given to African American, Latinx/Hispanic, or Native American/Native Hawaiian/Alaska Native students who have demonstrated a dedication to serving vulnerable or underserved populations.

The Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship program provides tuition assistance to medical students in their final year of school. Since 1950, the program has awarded more $61 million in scholarships to medical students in 12 scholarship categories with a variety of focus areas, including serving those underrepresented in medicine.

UMKC honors School of Medicine faculty for achievements in diversity, teaching

Tyler Smith, M.D., and Theodore Cole, Ph.D.

UMKC honored School of Medicine faculty members Tyler Smith, M.D., and Theodore Cole, Ph.D., with special awards during the annual Faculty Recognition Event on May 18 at the Student Union.

Smith, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, received the Chancellor’s Award for Embracing Diversity. Cole, professor of biomedical sciences, received the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award.

The Chancellor’s Award is given annually to university faculty, staff and student organizations engaged in fostering an environment of multiculturalism, globalism and diversity and inclusion.

An assistant professor of pediatrics, Smith is the first physician to serve in her DEI role. She is a key strategist and supervises related to recruitment and retention of underrepresented or marginalized students, staff, and faculty. Her efforts promote a culture of inclusion and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in a safe space. She has been recognized at Children’s Mercy with an Early Career Advocacy Achievement Award in 2019 and 2021 and with the DEI Achievement Award.

The Elmer Pierson Good Teaching Award recognizes creative and innovative teaching methods and skills, and educational leadership. Cole has been a School of Medicine faculty member for more than 24 years. He is the gross anatomy co-director for the Human Structure Function series.  Since 1998 he has taught anatomy in the HSF I, II, III courses and as course director for the HSF IV course since 2003, he directs coursework for thorax and abdomen anatomy.

In 2018, Cole received the Christopher Papasian, Ph.D., Excellence in Teaching Award from the School of Medicine. In addition to teaching medical students, he has served as course faculty in Human Gross Anatomy I for dental students since 1999.

School of Medicine celebrates 9th annual Quality Patient Safety Day

Mamta Reddy, M.D., endowed chair of patient safety (left), and Betty M. Drees, M.D., dean emerita, present a quality and patient safety lifetime achievement award to Lawrence Dall, M.D.,assistant dean of student research.

Quality care and patient safety took center stage as Julia Snodgrass and Wes Weske received the top honors from among students and Drs. Erica Wee and Jeremy Beyer earned the top resident/fellow awards with their research abstract submission at the UMKC School of Medicine’s 9th annual Vijay Babu Quality and Patient Safety Day.

Judges selected the winners from among 23 medical student and 17 resident/fellow research submissions. The four were chosen to give oral presentations of their research during the day-long event.

The annual patient safety day program provides students, residents and fellows an opportunity to display their work in quality improvement and patient safety to the entire medical school community.

Thirty students, residents and fellows also participated in a poster presentation showcase. A panel of judges selected presentations by Snodgrass and Fahad Qureshi as the top student posters, while Drs. Thomas Cochran and Rueben Joaquim Ricardo De Almedia were recognized for the top poster presentations among residents and fellows.

School of Medicine faculty members Lawrence Dall, M.D., and Rana El Feghaly, M.D., were also recognized for their contributions to quality improvement and patient safety mentorship. Dall, who a docent who also serves as assistant dean of medical student research, received the QIPS Lifetime Achievement Award. El Feghaly, associate professor of pediatrics, received the QIPS Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.

Christopher Moriates, M.D., assistant dean for Health Care Value at the Dell Medical School, University of Texas in Austin, gave a keynote address, speaking “Leading for Where You Stand.” Moriates created a Choosing Wisely STARS program that has spread throughout the United States to generate student-led initiatives in advancing health care value in medical education. He also oversaw the creation of the Del Med Discovering Value-Based Health Care online learning platform used by medical professions throughout the United States.

To view a complete list of student, resident and fellow oral and poster presentation, go online to Vijay Babu Rayudu Quality & Patient Safety Day.

Betty M. Drees, M.D., honored for efforts to advance the careers of women in medicine

Betty Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., Dean, UMKC School of Medicine

The American College of Physicians has recognized former UMKC School of Medicine Dean Betty M. Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., for her distinguished contributions to women in medicine.

Drees was presented the Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Careers of Women in Medicine at the ACP’s national meeting in Chicago. The award recognizes an individual who has furthered the careers of women medical students, residents and/or physicians through mentoring and leadership development.

A board-certified endocrinologist with 30 years of experience in clinical practice, research, education and administration, Drees has played a major role in advancing the careers and career opportunities for women physicians.

She served as dean of the UMKC School of Medicine from 2001-2014 and established the school’s Excellence in Mentoring awards that recognize faculty members for significant contributions to enhancing and developing the careers of faculty and trainees. In 2018, she was appointed president of the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a program offers education and training that leads to a doctorate in biology. She also currently serves as a professor at the UMKC School of Medicine’s Departments of Internal Medicine and Biomedical and Health Informatics and continues to teach endocrinology to medical students, residents and fellows.

Among her many leadership roles, Drees is the immediate past president of the Kansas City Medical Society. She was named one of Kansas City’s Most Accomplished and Successful Women and an icon of education by Ingram’s Magazine. She remains passionate about community well-being and diabetes prevention with a research focus on improving metabolic health and diabetes prevention.

The ACP is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with 161,000 internal medicine physicians, related subspecialists and medical student members in more than 145 countries worldwide.

SOAP Notes

SOAP Notes
for August 2021

Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of the UMKC Vision Research Center, has been named to the editorial board of the journal, Neurochemical Research. He will serve a permanent appointment on the board after previously serving as a peer-reviewer and contributing author. He has also been selected to chair a National Institutes of Health panel that reviews neuroscience research in general and neuropathology, new therapies and diagnostics for neurodegenerative diseases in particular.

Sixth-year medical student Divya Jain is participating in the Jerome H. Grossman, M.D., Graduate Fellowship in the Healthcare Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recipients of the highly competitive award are selected on the basis of potential for and commitment to contributing to the shaping of health care policy in the United States. Licensed physicians are given first preference for the award but consideration may also be given to accomplished candidates currently pursuing their medical degree. Fellowship recipients receive full tuition and fees to pursue a two-year master’s degree in public policy or administration. As part of the curriculum, fellows are invited to participate in symposia, workshops and other activities at Harvard that explore health care policy.

We want to know what is going on at the UMKC School of Medicine. Send us your story ideas and we will consider them for publication in “SOAP Notes,” a new feature on our School of Medicine PRN news page that will include short, interesting tidbits about our students, faculty and staff.

To submit a note or story idea, email edwardske@umkc.edu:
Your name:
Your email:
Student ___ / Faculty ___ / Staff ___
Story idea or note (150 words or less):

Medicine students make strong showing in annual Health Sciences Student Research Summit

Health Sciences Student Research SummitThe UMKC School of Medicine made a strong showing with 10 students among the winners in the 10th annual UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit. For the second year in a row, the event that takes place each May was held in a week-long virtual, online format.

Students from the schools of medicine, pharmacy and biological and chemical sciences shared their research with 20 PowerPoint and oral presentations and 31 poster presentation during the week. More than 50 students participated in this year’s event.

Caroline Olson won first place with her oral PowerPoint presentation in the graduate division for fifth- and sixth-year medical students, master’s degree and Pharm.D. students and medical residents. Sejla Turnadzic and Karina Shah tied for third place for poster presentations.

In the undergraduate division for first-year through fourth-year medicine and biological and chemical sciences students, Parth Patel and Rohan Ahuja tied for first place in poster presentations. Siddarth Balaji was the first-place winner for oral PowerPoint presentation. Anika Mittal place second and Ahuja was third in poster presentations. Josephine Nwanka and Anthony Le tied for second and Fahad Qureshi was third in oral PowerPoint presentations.

The summit promotes collaborations across disciplines and schools to produce economic, health, education and quality of life benefits for the Kansas City community in a forum that brings the UMKC health sciences community together to highlight student research.

A panel of judges from the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Children’s Mercy Kansas City hospital selected the top three in each category.

2021 Health Sciences Student Research Summit

Graduate Clinical Poster Presentations

(BA/MD and MD Years 5 and 6 medical students, master’s students, Pharm.D. students and medical residents)

1st Place: Nitish R. Mishra, School of Pharmacy. Method Development of Stable Isotope-Labeled Marfey’s Reagent Derivatized Physiological Amino Acids Stereoisomers Using LCMS 9030 Q-ToF. Authors: Nitish R. Mishra, Amar Deep Sharma and William G. Gutheil. Mentor: William G. Gutheil

2nd Place: Jordan Frangello, School of Pharmacy. Impact of a Pharmacist-led Preventative Screening Intervention During Comprehensive Medication Reviews. Authors: Jordan Frangello, Yifei Liu and Chad Cadwell. Mentor: Yifei Liu

3rd Place Tie: Sejla Turnadzic, School of Medicine. Influence of Racial Disparities on Length of Stay in Hospital in Patients with Cerebral Venous Thrombosis. Authors: Leslie Shang, Sadhika Jagannathan, Sejla Turnadzic, Divya Jain, Monica Gaddis, Jean-Baptiste Le Pichon. Mentor: Jean-Baptiste Le Pichon

3rd Place Tie: Karina Shah, School of Medicine. The Impact of COVID-19 on the Clinical Component of the Surgical Clerkship. Authors: Karina Shah, Donya Jahandar, Christopher Veit, Jennifer Quaintance and Michael Moncure. Mentor: Michael Moncure

Graduate Oral PowerPoint Presentations

(BA/MD and MD Years 5 and 6 medical students, master’s students, Pharm.D. students and medical residents)

1st Place: Caroline Olson, School of Medicine. Systemic Fat Embolism-Induced Accumulation of Fat Droplets in the Rat Retina. Authors: Caroline G. Olson, Landon Rohowetz, M.D., and Peter Koulen, Ph.D. Mentor: Peter Koulen

2nd Place: Shelby Brown, School of Biological and Computer Sciences. Phase separation of both a plant virus movement protein and cellular factors support virus-host interactions. Authors: Shelby Brown and Jared May. Mentor: Jared May

3rd Place: Nitish R. Mishra, School of Pharmacy. Application of LCMS 9030 Q-ToF in Biomarkers Analysis for Pre-term vs. Term Delivery Patients. Authors: Nitish R. Mishra, Donald DeFranco, Paula Monaghan-Nichols and William G. Gutheil. Mentor: William G. Gutheil

Undergraduate Poster Presentations

(BA/MD and MD Years 1 to 4 medical students, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences students)

1st Place Tie: Parth Patel, School of Medicine. Predicting Recurrent Coarctation of the Aorta in Infants with Single Ventricle Heart Disease Using Home Monitoring Data. Authors: Parth S. Patel, Shil Shah, Keith Feldman, Lori A. Erickson, Amy Ricketts, Hayley Hancock and Ryan A. Romans. Mentor: Ryan Romans

1st Place Tie: Rohan Ahuja, School of Medicine. Intracellular calcium changes in intact mouse heart mediated by Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 – implications for chronic kidney disease. Authors: Rohan Ahuja, Shaan Patel, Nabeel Rasheed, Derek Wang, Julian A. Vallejo and Michael J. Wacker. Mentor: Michael Wacker

2nd Place: Anika Mittal, School of Medicine. Vascular Inflammation in the Brain Following Fat Emboli. Authors: Anika Mittal, Fahad Qureshi, Suban Burale, Neerupma Silswal, Alan Poisner, Agostino Molteni and Paula Monaghan Nichols. Mentor: Paula Monaghan Nichols

3rd Place: Rohan Ahuja, School of Medicine. Absence of Cardiac Immune Pathology in a Rat Model of Fat Embolism Syndrome. Authors: VanDillen A, VanDillen M, Hamidpour S, MateescuV, SilswalN, Wacker M, Patel S, Vallejo J, Ahuja R, Monaghan Nichols AP, SalzmanG, Poisner A, Molteni A. Mentor: Michael Wacker

Undergraduate Oral PowerPoint Presentations

(BA/MD and MD Years 1 to 4 Medical students, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences students)

1st Place: Siddharth Balaji, School of Medicine. Comparing Usage of FDA 510(k) and Premarket Approval Pathways within Orthopaedics to Other Specialties. Authors: Siddharth Balaji and Jonathan Dubin. Author: Jonathan Dubin

2nd Place Tie: Josephine Nwankwo, School of Medicine. Increasing Representation of Black Women in Orthopedics Starts with Medical Students. Authors: Josephine Nwankwo and Ali Khan. Mentor: Dr. Ali Khan

2nd Place Tie: Anthony Le, School of Medicine. Patient Perception of Paralysis-Inducing Spinal Cord Injury Through Twitter and Instagram. Avi Gajjar, Anthony Huy Dinh Le, Rachel C Jacobs and Nitin Agarwal. Mentor: Avi Gajjar

3rd Place: Fahad Qureshi, School of Medicine. Social Determinants for Explaining Disparities in COVID-19 Rates: A Population Analysis From 10 Large Metropolitan Areas. Authors: Aarya Ramprasad, Fahad Qureshi, Bridgette L. Jones and Brian R. Lee. Mentor: Bridgette Jones

School of Medicine recognizes graduates, Senior Award winners

Graduates of the School of Medicine participated in a unique, two-day commencement ceremony at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

A combined ceremony on the afternoon of May 15 brought together graduates of the schools of School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies, and Pharmacy. The following afternoon, UMKC held a ceremony to celebrate May 2020 and December graduates.

The School of Medicine recognized students with its annual senior awards. Five SOM students were also selected by the university as Dean of Student Honors recipients.

Mario Castro, M.D., ’88, who received the School’s 2021 E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award, addressed the graduation classes on Saturday afternoon, saying they would remember this time like no other in their careers.

He shared three particular thoughts. Castro told the graduates to have faith in their training and themselves. He reminded them to be inquisitive and maintain the curiosity that got interested in medicine to begin with. And, he encouraged them to pursue their passions as a physician or health care provider.

“Class of 2021, have faith, question and pursue. Take Wing,” he said.

2021 Dean of Students Honor Recipients

Saniya “Sunny” Ablatt
Charles Burke
Varsha Muthukumar
Isabella Nair
Ginikachukwu Osude

2021 UMKC School of Medicine Senior Awards

Anesthesiologist Assistant Program

Master of Science in Anesthesia Student Ambassador Award
Taylor Brundage
Alex Sextro

Physician Assistant Program

Pi Alpha Honor Society
Nicholas Farace
Chandra Grimes

M.D. Awards

ACP Senior Student Book Award
Varsha Muthukumar

Bette W. Hamilton Memorial Award for Excellence in Immunology
Varsha Muthukumar

Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Award for Research
Yicheng Bao

Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Basic Science Award
Kavelin Rumalla

Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Harry S. Jonas, M.D., Award
Charlie Burke

J. Michael de Ungria, M.D., Humanitarian Award
Tom Mathews

James F. Stanford, M.D., Patient Advocate Scholarship
Claire Wolber

Laura L. Backus, M.D., Award for Excellence in Pediatrics
Maggie Urschler

Lee Langley Award
Brandon Wesche

Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence
Sarah Jacob
Jacob Perera

Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education
Brandon Wesche
Vishnu Harikumar

Richardson K. Noback Founders’ Award for Clinical Excellence
Brandon Wesche

Ratilal S. Shah Medical Scholarship Fund
Yicheng Bao

Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Award
Vishal Mittal

Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Award for Excellence in Microbiology
Sarah Jacob

Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D., Award for Excellence in Pathology
Prarthana Patel

UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Medical Education
Vishnu Harikumar

UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Award Association Outstanding Senior Partner
Anna Curtis

Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
Sarah Jacob
Prarthana Patel
Rashmi Thimmapuram
Komal Kumar
Koral Shah
Alisha Shah

 

Giving back is part of 2021 Take Wing winner’s blood

Mario Castro, M.D., ’88, is the School of Medicine’s 2021 E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award recipient.

Mario Castro, M.D., a specialist in pulmonary care and 1988 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine, received the school’s prestigious E. Grey Dimond Take Wing Award and delivered the annual Take Wing lectureship on May 17.

After congratulating and offering encouraging words to School of Medicine graduates two days earlier during a commencement ceremony at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, Castro spoke on the care of patients with severe asthma, a major focus of his research career.

He also discussed respiratory health in the developing work and his work to battle COVID-19 on a global level. Castro serves as principal investigator and director of Frontiers, a clinical and translational research institute at the University of Kansas. The organization collaborates with leaders of health care institutions throughout the region including the UMKC School of Medicine.

While much of the country anxiously awaited the first vaccines to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Castro was leading a group of researchers in the Kansas City area with a much broader focus.

The goal was a global vaccine that could be taken to the farthest reaches of the world. Vaccines that were being produced for distribution in the United States required deep freezing, said Castro, whose team studied the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“If you’re in the middle of Africa, that won’t work very well,” Castro said. “We needed a vaccine like the AstraZeneca that just requires simple refrigeration, that you can take in a cooler and you can take it anywhere with you.”

Working with partners throughout Kansas City, the collaborative embarked on one of the largest vaccine studies in the country. The study enrolled more than 500 participants in Kansas City who were part of an effort that has since developed the COVID vaccine most used world-wide.

The vaccine has been approved for use in more than 30 countries. More than 200 million doses have been applied. It is also part of the World Health Organization’s plan to reach those world’s lower socioeconomic countries.

Castro has already launched three additional National Institutes of Health-funded studies to combat COVID infection.

“It’s really been an honor to participate in and lead that effort in the midst of this pandemic,” Castro said. “It’s definitely been a help on a world-wide basis to get a vaccine that will be easy to transport and be more readily available around the world.”

Castro joined the KU School of Medicine in 2019 as chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine and vice chair for clinical and translational research. Before that, he spent 25 years in St. Louis at the Washington University School of Medicine where he oversaw the asthma and airway translational research unit that conducted as many as 30 clinical trials at a time.

A renowned leader in his specialty, he has received numerous honors for his work including two awards from the American Lung Association of Eastern Missouri and the CHEST Foundation’s Humanitarian Recognition Award.

“What UMKC always taught me well was how to take care of a patient and how to listen to a patient,” Castro said.

That training also paved the way for Castro to create the International Medical Assistance Foundation, an organization that has been reaching the underserved in Honduras.

He 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 Castro’s foundation raised another $3 million through church donations and fundraisers to build and supply a 100-bed hospital and clinic, Hospital Hermano Pedro, in Catacamas, Honduras.

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.

“I immigrated to this country in 1965,” said Castro, who was born in Matanzas, Cuba. “It’s been part of my blood to give back to those who are disadvantaged. We want to give back to those who are less fortunate and certainly it helps us appreciate what we have here in this country.”

SOM’s Dr. Bridgette Jones receives Gold Award for Humanistic Care

Bridgette L. Jones, M.D., M.S.C.R., associate professor of pediatrics and assistant academic dean in the medical school’s Office of Student Affairs, is one of three UMKC health care community members recognized by the University as 2021 Gold Foundation Champions of Humanistic Care.

She will be among those from across the country honored at a virtual gala June 10, where three national honorees, including Anthony Fauci, M.D., will also be recognized.

The three winners were all nominated by the UMKC School of Medicine and its dean, Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. Joining Jones, an allergy, asthma and immunology specialist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, as award winners are Obie Austin, F.N.P., M.S.N., UMKC Student Health and Wellness director and UMKC School of Nursing alum, and Pam Bean, R.N., B.S.N., M.H.S.A., M.B.A., Truman Medical Centers/University Health vice president for practice management and ambulatory care.

Sharing vital information

Jones was commended for working to ensure humanistic care for patients, providing COVID-19 education along with other trusted messengers and sharing her voice to eliminate health inequities for those most affected by the pandemic.

Her activities included working with a medical student leader to distribute masks to medical centers and communities in need, and collaborating with a faculty colleague to launch a fund-raising campaign to support Children’s Mercy employees who had unexpected financial need during the pandemic. She also discussed COVID-19 with community teenagers to answer their questions and was the host and moderator of a panel discussion with other trusted physicians and faculty focused on COVID-19 disease and vaccination in the Black community of Kansas City.

“Over the past year the pandemic has brought so much grief, sorrow, loss and pain to so many individuals, communities and our entire world,” Jones said. “I have been blessed to have my calling and purpose as a physician and as a human being to be a helper. I am blessed and privileged to be able to use my knowledge, skills and my voice to advocate and speak up for those who are most often thought of last or not thought of at all.”

Caring and collaborating

Austin, the longtime director of student health services for the university, was praised as “one of our true heroes over the past year” for his leadership in fostering a culture of care and service. He was commended for quickly learning about COVID-19 and continuing to say up on the latest information so he could be a trusted source for the broader UMKC community and as a member of the university’s Coronavirus Planning Team.

“Providing care never takes the back seat,” Austin said. “I learned that from so many beautiful souls that poured into me as a student here at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, and it has been an honor to give back to the community educators making a difference in the Kansas City community.”

Austin, a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, reflected on the past year.

“This war on COVID has tested our resiliency, fueled our compassion for others and most definitely our ability to see each other in an equal light fighting together as one people to save our humanity,” he said.

Rapid response throughout pandemic

Bean was praised for her efforts that kept Truman Medical Centers, a vital member of the UMKC Health Sciences District and a key affiliate for the School of Medicine, on top of the pandemic. Her nomination for the award said Bean “could not have been replaced in the early, uncertain days of the pandemic.” She helped design the protocols that enabled TMC to initially provide more than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines, and her quick work allowed TMC to be the first medical center in the metro area to vaccinate its staff.

“Providers worked quickly, and with compassion, to match the cruel reality of patients dying without family by their bedside,” Bean said. “Patients turned to providers for emotional support, and I am proud of my team for answering that need while offering high-quality, comprehensive care.”

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is dedicated to the proposition that health care will be dramatically improved by placing the interests, values and dignity of all people at the core of teaching and practice. In addition to Fauci, this year’s national Gold Awards will honor Wayne Riley, M.D., president of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and head of the Board of Trustees of the New York Academy of Medicine, and Eric Topol, M.D., founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and professor of molecular medicine at the Scripps Research Institute.