Tag Archives: Awards / Recognitions

School of Medicine grads selected as Student Honor Recipients

UMKC celebrated more than 800 Fall 2022 graduates on Dec. 18 at the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City.

Two graduating School of Medicine students have been honored as Dean of Students Honor Recipients for the 2022 fall semester.

Francesca Moisson, who will graduate with her M.D. degree this month, and Turquoise Templeton, who will receive her master’s in Bioinformatics, were recognized for their scholastic performance, community leadership and service.

Moisson and Templeton are two of five School of Medicine students who graduated in December. They are joined by Molly Pasque, also receiving her M.D. degree, Zhiheng Zhang, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in biomedical and health informatics, and Jennifer Dutton, master of medical science-physician assistant.

Each semester, the Dean of Students Honors program distinguishes honors graduating students who maintain high scholastic performance and actively participate in university and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom. Seven UMKC recipients were recognized at a special breakfast celebration in their honor.

“Our students embody the values of UMKC with their dedication to their academic success and service to the university and surrounding communities,” said Michele D. Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for student affairs and dean of students. “As the dean of students, I am proud to recognize their achievements and know without a doubt they all have successful futures ahead of them.”

UMKC recognized its 2022 mid-year graduates at the annual mid-year commencement on Dec. 18 at Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center. Bob Carpenter, a UMKC alumnus and announcer for Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, was the ceremony’s keynote speaker.

School of Medicine receives 2022 award for excellence in diversity

INSIGHT into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity publication for higher education, has recognized the UMKC School of Medicine with its Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for the second time in four years.

One of only two schools in Missouri to receive this year’s national honor, the School of Medicine also received the award in 2018.

“We are proud of the work at our SOM that allowed us to be recognized with the 2022 HEED award,” School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson said. “Our DEI efforts are made possible through not only the passion and commitment of our staff and faculty who lead initiatives, programs, and outreach, but we see these efforts translate to a positive impact on student recruitment, retention, completion and ultimately to benefit the health and welfare within our community and beyond.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity selected the School of Medicine for its efforts supporting diversity, equity and inclusion. Among those are new programs such as UNITED (Uniting Numerous Medical Trainees in Equity and Diversity), a program to support resident and fellowship trainees, an anti-racism and cultural bias program for medical students, a summer success seminar series for incoming B.A.-M.D. students, and expansion of the school’s successful STAHR (Students in Training, Academia, Research and Health) program.

The school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has also received an increase in its budget to support programming and initiatives, has added an assistant dean to the office, and has been an active part of a care team for students in academic risk as well as admissions and selection committees for the school’s academic programs.

Dean Jackson praised her staff.

“Congratulations to Dr. Tyler Smith and Ms. Doris Agwu, our associate and assistant dean respectively, Drs. Ayanda Chakawa and Wail Hassan, who lead our Diversity Council, and all of the staff and faculty who work tirelessly to envision, promote and expand the DEI footprint at our medical school,” she said.

Smith said, “We are honored and humbled. Receiving the HEED Award recognizes our programs and initiatives that embrace the medical school’s mission towards creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture within the learning and clinical environments for graduate and medical students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff. As a top priority at UMKC School of Medicine, we strive to infuse DEI into all academic units while ensuring that all identities feel seen, heard, valued and respected.”

The School of Medicine, as well as 64 other recipients, will be featured in the December 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. A.T. Still University College of Graduate Health Sciences, an osteopathic medical school with a campus in Kirksville, is the only other Missouri college to receive this year’s honor.

UMKC received the HEED Award in 2019 and the UMKC School of Dentistry received the award for health professions schools in 2016.

“The Health Professions HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a Health Professions HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for schools where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

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