Tag Archives: Community Service

Hitting the Pavement

Marathon runners at finish

UMKC and School of Medicine supporting KC Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five from School of Medicine among 2021 Dean of Student Honor Recipients

Five students from the School of Medicine have been recognized for their scholastic performance, community leadership and service as recipients of 2021 Dean of Students Honor Recipients.

The five 2021 graduating students – Saniya “Sunny” Ablatt, Charles Burke, Varsha Muthukumar, Isabella Nair and Ginikachukwu Osude – were honored for excelling in both academic achievement ans service.

“Every semester, it is our pleasure to host a breakfast in celebration of the accomplishments of the Dean of Students Honor Recipients.  While this semester has been a bit different, we wanted to continue this tradition by virtually celebrating your achievements,” shared Co-Interim Dean of Students Keichanda Dees-Burnett. [watch the video]

This program recognizes the exceptional students who maintain high scholastic performance while actively participating in University and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom.

“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 Co-Interim Dean of Students Todd Wells. [watch the video]

Saniya “Sunny” Ablatt – School of Medicine [watch the video]

Charles Burke – School of Medicine

Varsha Muthukumar – School of Medicine [watch the video]

Isabella Nair – School of Medicine [watch the video]

Ginikachukwu Osude – School of Medicine [watch the video]

UMKC health sciences students play major role in COVID-19 vaccine efforts

At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, students from the four Health Sciences Campus schools have been busy in the COVID-19 vaccination effort, volunteering thousands of hours of service.

Third-year medical student Nikki Seraji said she recognizes that nurses and pharmacists often bear the brunt of the work of actually administering vaccines. So, when Stefanie Ellison, M.D., UMKC School of Medicine associate dean for learning initiatives, asked for medical student volunteers to become certified vaccinators, Seraji jumped at the opportunity.

“I’m studying the medical field and going to be doing this for a living and felt like I couldn’t help out enough,” she said. “When the opportunity to volunteer (as a vaccinator) came in in mid-January, I wanted to take advantage.”

Ellison said that 66 UMKC medical students from years one through six have been trained and certified to give vaccines. The students give vaccinations daily at the Truman Medical Center COVID-19 vaccination center at the University Health 2 building. They’ve helped with the School of Pharmacy’s campus vaccine clinic, assisted in vaccination events at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Zoo, Hallmark and the Missouri Cerner campus among other events and clinics.

At the school’s new St. Joseph Campus, Steve Waldman, M.D., campus dean, said all of his students have been certified as vaccinators and have given vaccines at the St. Joseph Mosaic Life Care vaccination center. Many, he said, have participated in other community vaccination outreach events as well.

Ellison said she works daily to partner the School of Medicine with vaccine clinics and events across Kansas City.

“Our students are so wonderful that when TMC has a busy day, I can email or text our students to help in a pinch and three to five students show up to help,” she said.

Students at the School of Pharmacy are trained and certified to give vaccines during the second year of their curriculum. As of mid-March, pharmacy students and faculty had volunteered 4,400 volunteer hours to administer more than 17,500 doses of vaccines at 36 events throughout the state.

Jane Beyer, a third-year pharmacy student, said she began helping administer COVID vaccines in December as soon as they were available.

“It is exciting that as student pharmacists we are able to get out there and really help the community and be part of the solution to COVID-19” she said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling to be part of the vaccine efforts in Kansas City.”

Medical student Seraji echoed that thought and admitted being a bit anxious when she was learning to administer a shot. With the help of the nurses who trained her, she was able to quickly adapt. Now she volunteers as a vaccinator at least once a week as her class schedule allows.

“I was definitely anxious when I was getting certified but I did maybe 20 or 30 (shots) the first time I was on my own and you get into a routine,” she said. “I’m trying to think how many that I’ve vaccinated. I don’t know but it’s definitely more than 80 or 90.”

Next door on the UMKC Health Sciences campus, nursing student Ciera Ayala got involved when the vaccination efforts were made an option for her clinical rotations. In fact, she has been part of eight vaccination events, most of them at Truman.

When she was vaccinated, Ayala said, she felt relief and “like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.” Now she is happy to share that feeling with all the people she inoculates.

“I find it very gratifying,” Ayala said. “I got to be a part of history, and it felt really good to be a part of the efforts to end this pandemic. It was also relieving, but also a little overwhelming, when we would have a line of hundreds of people for hours and hours ready to get their vaccine. It makes me happy that people are trusting in science!”

Ayala doesn’t remember any particular vaccine recipients, but she said, “it just felt really good when people were appreciative of our efforts.

“Health care workers don’t often get the recognition that is deserved, so when people recognized how hard we were working, it felt amazing.”

From the School of Dentistry, 119 third-and fourth-year students bolstered the ranks of student vaccinators after they were trained in early April. They already knew how to give the more involved injections needed to numb dental patients but had to learn the quicker technique for vaccines.

They were trained by Meghan Wendland, D.D.S., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the dental school, with help from faculty at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. They quickly joined in at Truman and at events for their fellow UMKC students.

One dental student, Tiara Fry, said she was “a little nervous” the first few times she gave the shot, “but once I got comfortable with it, it was great! It felt amazing to be a part of diminishing the spread of a virus during a pandemic.”

Fry said she sympathized with people who were skeptical or fearful but hoped to share the relief she felt when she was vaccinated.

“I knew it was for a great purpose to do my part in protecting myself and those around me,” she said. “I felt for those who were extremely afraid of needles. Many would tell me right before I gave the injection, so I tried my best to make them feel as comfortable as possible.”

Beyer said that working with the vaccine effort has made her a valuable resource to friends and family, helping them stay up to date on the latest information and vaccine availabilities.

“It’s interesting that people have a lot of different responses to getting the vaccine,” she said. “There’s kind of a split. Some people, I think, feel obligated to get the vaccine and are kind of nervous. But there’s also the other half that just give sigh a sigh of relief after they get the vaccine. They’re wanting to protect themselves and also all their loved ones.”

Beyer estimated that she has participated in at least 10 vaccine clinics since December and only wished she had time to do more. She said that at one mass event she participated in, more than 800 people were vaccinated.

“We wish we could be there all the time helping,” she said. “With school, it’s hard to dedicate all your time going out and vaccinating. Without all the volunteers, who knows where we would have been on this vaccine rollout schedule.”

UMKC Student Volunteers Step Up to Help With COVID-19 Testing

Earlier this spring, the Kansas City Missouri Health Department received federal funding to provide COVID-19 testing. What the department lacked was the manpower to support the many testing sites across the city.

It didn’t take long for the UMKC Health Sciences Campus to fill the void. More than 80 students from the schools of dentistry, medicine and pharmacy answered the call for helpers. In May and June, they volunteered 28 three-hour blocks of time at 18 testing locations through the greater Kansas City area. Many of those were at schools and churches.

“This is a great example of a long-running collaboration with the health department,” said Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., director of the Health Equity Institute. “Especially since our students could help expand their capacity to conduct testing in communities hard hit by COVID-19.”

Stefanie Ellison, M.D., associate dean for learning initiatives at the School of Medicine, said students across the campus were eager to help.

“In 24 hours, I gave a group of students the chance to communicate the need across social media sites and get the word out,” Ellison said. “They stepped up to fill in the volunteer spots.”

UMKC students help with COVID-19 testing

The testing was offered at federally qualified health centers such as the KC Care Clinic, Swope Health and the Samuel Rogers Health Center.

Carole Bowe Thompson, project director for the Health Equity Institute, helped organize the volunteer efforts.

While workers at the testing centers did the actual COVID-19 testing, Thompson said the students worked in a supporting role, handling patient check-in and registration, providing patient education, labeling and securing specimen tubes and even directing car and walk up traffic up to the test sites.

“They did the pre-screening, going over COVID-19 symptoms and collecting health and other important intake information,” Thompson said. “The testing centers didn’t have the support they needed for taking care of traffic. They needed the students to help direct traffic.”

Many of the students said the experience helped them realize the importance of working with other health care providers and how community outreach can play a large role in public health.

“I learned that I am in a prime position to assist those in need,” said Rico Beuford, a sixth-year medical student. “I don’t necessarily need a medical degree to open up access to health care resources to vulnerable communities. I think it’s important for each us to realize how much we can impact those who are on the periphery of society and that are largely neglected by it.”

Sixth-year med student Emma Connelly was one of those who helped with the screening process, taking basic patient information and asking those being tested if they had experienced symptoms or been exposed to anyone with the coronavirus.

“Being a medical student, I am not technically on the front lines, so I thought this would be a small way to help out,” Connelly said. “I felt that it was important to help out no matter how small the task was. And if I could help prevent at least one COVID-19 positive individual from spreading it to their family or friends, it was totally worth the effort.”

Ellison said students found a wide variety of other ways to help those in need as well. Some spent time simply talking online with senior center residents to keep them company and help them feel less isolated. Students volunteered to tutor and check on grade school students who were suddenly faced with online school while their parents had to work. Others found their green thumbs to help with gardening, harvesting and distributing produce, while some provided babysitting for health care workers.

“I am so overwhelmed by our students’ efforts to help out,” Ellison said.

Thompson said she hoped the volunteer efforts would continue through the summer and pick up steam when students returned to campus for the fall semester.

“There will be plenty more opportunities,” she said. “The health department is not going to stop doing testing.”

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Charlie Keegan, KSHB-TV, talked with Janette Berkley-Patton and volunteers at a drive-through testing site. Read Keegan’s story and view the video about the testing and the Health Equity Institute.

Community and Family Medicine residency director receives Women of Distinction honor

Beth Rosemergey, M.D., is being honored as a Woman of Distinction.

School of Medicine faculty member Beth Rosemergey, D.O., associate professor and director of the Community and Family Medicine Residency program, was honored recently as one of the outstanding women of Eastern Jackson County, Missouri.

For the past five years, the Independence Examiner newspaper has sponsored the annual Women of Distinction Awards. Women from the fields business, government, education and non-profit are honored based on their accomplishments and community involvement in Eastern Jackson County.

Rosemergey is the third honoree nominated by Truman Medical Center-Lakewood. Last year, Laura Doan, M.D., a 1984 UMKC School of Medicine graduate and University Health women’s care provider, was a Women of Distinction honoree. Lynette Wheeler, TMC Lakewood chief operating officer, was honored as Outstanding Woman of the Year in 2018.

An awards ceremony was to have been taken place on March 13. The event and announcement of this year’s Outstanding Woman of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award have been postponed until the end of April.

The mother of an autistic child, Rosemergey is passionate in her advocation for special needs children and their families. She has worked with local schools to develop programs that address the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and was instrumental in developing state guidelines for the care of autism patients.

Rosemergey also serves as vice chair of the Department of Community and Family Medicine and medical director of the Bess Truman Family Medicine Center.

A graduate of the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, she completed her family practice residency at UMKC and Truman Medical Center Lakewood and joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1992.

Staff Council plans Harvesters service project

The UMKC Staff Council Outreach Committee will sponsor a “Family Friendly” Harvesters Service Project from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Volunteers ages 10 and older are needed to assist with sorting and repacking donated food items. Each volunteer is asked to bring one donated food item.

Volunteers must sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090B4BA9AC2DAB9-harvesters1 by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Harvesters’ mission is to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow. Harvesters provides food and related household products to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes and others. We also offer education programs to increase community awareness of hunger and teach about good nutrition.

For more information on this service project, or future projects, please contact: Sandra at staffcouncil@umkc.edu.

Compassionate care will get an extra boost during Patient Solidarity Week

Really listening to patients and providing empathetic, compassionate care have always been a big part of the UMKC School of Medicine’s physician education. Next week those elements will get an extra boost from National Patient Solidarity Week.

The week, Feb. 12-16 this year, is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes patient-centered care. UMKC has had a chapter for 15 years and last month inducted more than three-dozen new members.

National Patient Solidarity Week activities are designed to strengthen the bond between patients and their physicians, nurses and other care givers. By increasing such engagement with patients, the program aims to enhance patient and staff satisfaction and improve health care outcomes.

For several years, members of the school’s Gold Humanism Honor Society chapter also have delivered roses and Valentines to Truman Medical Center patients on or near Valentine’s Day. And for the past three years, a “Tell Me More” activity during the week has emphasized medical students’ conversations that engage patients on important non-medical aspects of their lives.

Answers to some of the questions (such as “How would your friends describe you?”) are written on posters and hung at the head of each patient’s bed, so that everyone on the health care team has the opportunity to relate to patients in ways other than their clinical diagnoses. 

Members of the School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and their faculty sponsor, Carol Stanford, M.D., delivered roses and Valentine's cards to patients at Truman Medical Center.
For several years, members of the School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and their faculty sponsor, Carol Stanford, M.D., have delivered roses and Valentine’s cards to patients at Truman Medical Center.

 

 

 

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.

Hasnie focusing attention on global, public health

Usman Hasnie was appointed to the AMA Medical Student Section Committee on Global and Public Health at the 2017 AMA annual conference in Chicago.

Usman Hasnie knows well the importance of clean and adequate water supplies. As a high school student, he saw it first-hand while serving in Pakistan as a volunteer with SOS Children’s Village, an organization that provides care and resources to abandoned, destitute and orphaned children.

Hasnie is also from Flint, Michigan, and watched as a water crisis has thrown that community into a state of chaos for the past three years.

The images of both have prompted Hasnie to seek ways to make a difference. His latest effort will be as a member of the American Medical Association Medical Student Section Committee on Global and Public Health. He was selected to be part of the committee at the AMA national meeting in June.

“The issue of water sanitation is something that is very personal to me,” Hasnie said. “It’s a global issue that I hope to tackle and the AMA is giving me the opportunity to do that with other students around the country.”

Hasnie joined the AMA’s student section two years ago.

“The American Medical Association was an opportunity to advocate for my patients and to be part of the nation’s largest and most influential physician organization striving to increase access to healthcare for everyone,” he said.

Last year, Hasnie served on the student section’s committee on Long Range Planning. Now, he will serve a one-year term with 13 other medical students from across the country working to educate the AMA on public health topics and to organize public health initiatives.

Some of the agenda items for the year are providing educational programming at the AMA interim and annual conferences, and creating a campaign for National Public Health Week in April 2018.

At the same time, Hasnie hasn’t forgotten the people of Flint or the children in Pakistan. He said he plans to focus some of his committee’s attention on the Flint Water Crisis, firearm violence and water sanitation.

Med students helping younger generation get Fit for Life

Roos on Call_Fit_for_Life1
Members of the Roos on Call student service organization lead a group of fourth and fifth graders at Calvary Lutheran School in learning about the food pyramid.

 

It doesn’t take long for medical students working in the outpatient clinics of Truman Medical Center to see the consequences of unhealthy lifestyles. Poor nutrition and obesity are far too common culprits.

Roos on Call_Fit_for_Life2
Kayla Briggs, far right, and Logan Burrow, members of Roos on Call, talk with children about the Fit for Life program.

That’s why Kayla Briggs, a fifth-year student, and her student community service group, Roos on Call, are doing something to make a difference.

Combining interests in curriculum development and children’s health, Briggs and her organization launched a month-long lesson plan for elementary school children called Fit for Life. Roos on Call is teaming up with teachers at Calvary Lutheran School to present lessons on healthy lifestyles to 38 fourth and fifth graders.

Roos on Call_Fit_for_Life3
Marjorie Farrington, left, and Josh Gollub performed a short skit on opening day of the Fit for Life program at Calvary Lutheran School.

“All of us have been in the Truman clinic and have seen the effects of Type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure,” Briggs said. “If there’s a way we can get out there and prevent that through early education for the younger generation, we’re happy to do that.”

Briggs, who started Roos on Call a few years ago, created the curriculum with the help of David Skoglund, M.D., a pediatrics resident at Children’s Mercy. Skoglund developed a similar program when he was a medical student at Creighton. He shared his curriculum with Briggs and third-year student Danielle Graves, who tailored the program to fit the Calvary Lutheran students.

A kickoff program had nearly a dozen School of Medicine students leading small groups of the elementary students through presentations on healthy foods to eat, heart health and fun things to do to stay active.

The month-long program consists of 20 lessons, following a theme for each week: setting goals and establishing healthy habits; healthy diets; exercise; and continuing healthy lifestyles through good hygiene.

Students are taking turns leading six of the lessons, lasting 30 minutes to an hour each. The school’s teachers lead the remainder of the lessons each day, using materials and the curriculum supplied by Roos on Call.

Briggs had plenty of help. Asma Akhtar, a fourth-year student, is the program’s co-chair. Logan Burrow, a third-year medical student, attends church at Calvary Lutheran and connected the organization with the elementary teachers. Sarah Hampl, M.D., a childhood obesity specialty at Children’s Mercy, and Roos on Call faculty sponsor Sandra Smith, have been instrumental in getting the program off the ground, Briggs said.

“Healthy living and lifestyle activities don’t have to be something that takes up half a day,” Briggs said. “It can be something short, but very impactful. I think as long as you’re excited about it, it can make a huge difference in these kids’ lives. That’s something we really want to prove to these kids, the teachers and everyone who’s involved with the program.”

Find Roos on Call on Facebook at www.facebook.com/umkcROC