Steven Go, M.D., professor of emergency medicine, received the Edithe J. Levit Distinguished Service Award at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in Philadelphia. The award recognized Go for his more than 20 years of dedicated service to the NBME.
Go has been a member of the UMKC School of Medicine faculty in the emergency medicine department since 1994. An active member of the NBME since 1998, he was selected as a member of the NBME board NBME in 2014. He has served on numerous test material development, computer case simulation, interdisciplinary review, and forms review committees, task forces, and the USMLE Management Committee.
Established in 1983, the Distinguished Service Award is named in honor of former NBME president and CEO Edithe J. Levit, who served from 1977 to 1986. Recipients are selected from individuals retiring from NBME membership and others who have served the NBME exceptionally in their dedication to research related to the evaluation of health professionals.
Doctoring is hard work, said Robert Muelleman, M.D., quoting long-time emergency medicine physician W. Kendall McNabney, M.D.
Muelleman, who spent 36 years in clinical and administrative roles as an emergency medicine physician, was the keynote speaker on Oct. 14 at the school’s W. Kendall McNabney Endowed Lectureship. The graduate of UMKC School of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residency program talked about burnout as a physician and specifically those who practice emergency medicine.
“Dr. McNabney said doctoring is hard work,” Muelleman said. “I heard him say it more than once.”
Muelleman understands just how hard. He served as a faculty member in emergency medicine for 10 years at UMKC before moving to Nebraska where he retired as a professor at the University of Nebraska.
The World Health Organization describes burnout among physicians not a medical condition but an occupational phenomenon, Muelleman said. He added that it’s a wicked problem that poses serious consequences for not only physicians but for patient care and the health system as well.
“You’re dealing with a bunch of exhausted doctors who love what they do,” he said. “We’ve got issues in terms of exhaustion and things like that but also a lot of opportunities for resilience.”
The annual lectureship honors McNabney, who founded the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine and Truman Medical Center in 1973. McNabney was the first and longest serving chair of emergency medicine at the school and served as the head of trauma services for many years.
Adam Algren, M.D., chair of Emergency Medicine, recognized McNabney, who died in August, as an icon of the school and the specialty of emergency medicine.
“He impacted thousands of individuals, learners, patients in his career,” Algren said. “We’re all thankful about what he was able to teach us about being a skilled compassionate clinician and a good human being. We know his memory and legacy will live on in the department and the organization.”
The UMKC School of Medicine has announced four recent appointments to academic leadership positions: John Borsa, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiology; Adam Algren, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine; Jennifer Elliott, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Anesthesiology; and Molly Uhlenhake, D.O., director of the Continuing Care Clinic clerkship.
Borsa adds the role of the school’s academic chair of radiology to his current position as department chair at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. A board certified vascular interventional radiologist, he is a national expert in procedures related to percutaneous treatment of venous thromboembolic disease.
A fellow of the Society of Interventional Radiology, he also is a peer reviewed author and international lecturer in his field. He has been honored three times as teacher of the year by residents and five times as a distinguished faculty presenter.
Borsa completed medical school and an internship at the University of Manitoba, and his radiology residency at the Mayo Clinic. He also completed an interventional radiology fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle before joining the staff of Saint Luke’s Hospital in 2011.
Algren, a 2001 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine, has served as interim chair of emergency medicine since January. He is also chair of the University Health Physicians Board of Directors.
A member of the UMKC departments of emergency medicine and pediatrics since 2007, Algren has served as the chair of the School of Medicine’s Council on Selection and on the Truman Medical Centers Board of Directors.
He completed his emergency medicine residency and served as chief resident at TMC. Fellowship trained in medical toxicology at the Emory University/CDC program, Algren also served as a clinical instructor in the Emory University emergency medicine department.
In addition to her new role as interim chair of anesthesiology, Elliott currently serves as medical director of the Pain Management Clinic at Saint Luke’s Hospital. A 1996 UMKC School of Medicine graduate, she has served for many years as a member of the residency education committee in the radiology department.
After completing her anesthesiology residency and a fellowship in pain management at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Elliott joined the staff at Saint Luke’s Hospital. She has been a member of the hospital’s Institutional Review Board, a member of the UMKC School of Medicine Physician Promotions Committee, and the physician chair of the Saint Luke’s Health System Opioid Stewardship Committee. She completed the UMKC Physician Leadership Development Program in 2018.
Elliott has also written numerous articles and chapters on topics in pain medicine and is the primary editor of an acute pain management handbook published in 2011.
Uhlenhake takes on her director’s role in the school’s Continuing Care Clinic, having previously served on the Council of Selections as vice chair and the scholarship selection committee as chair. She is currently working to develop a multidisciplinary LGBT+ clinic at TMC, where she directs primary care services.
A member of the School of Medicine docent team, Uhlenhake is also medical director of Refugee and Immigration services at the Kansas City Health Department and medical director of community outreach for TMC. She is a core faculty member for the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program at TMC and for Teen Primary Care at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.
After graduating medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa, Uhlenhake completed her internal medicine-pediatrics residency the UMKC School of Medicine, where she also served chief resident. Before joining the staff at UMKC and TMC, she served at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and was the medical director of adolescent medicine at the High Street Clinic in Denver.
Three members of the UMKC community with expertise in emergency medicine and public health have been appointed by Mayor Quinton Lucas to the Kansas City Health Commission.
Erica Carney, M.D., was appointed co-chair of the commission, which provides oversight for the city’s Community Health Improvement Plan and fosters collaborative community efforts in the wider metropolitan area. Lucas said Carney’s work had been instrumental in the city’s response to COVID-19 and collaboration with area health providers.
Carney is a graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program, an assistant professor in emergency medicine, an emergency care physician at Truman Medical Centers and the medical director of emergency medical services for the City of Kansas City.
“I was fortunate enough to complete my emergency medicine residency at UMKC, where I served as one of the emergency medicine chiefs,” Carney said. “I found my love for emergency medical services after responding to the Joplin tornado.”
Carney said her areas of interest included improving survival rates for out-of-hospital heart attack patients from lower socioeconomic ZIP codes, improving health care for people who need and use the system the most, and improving public safety, including response to disasters and special situations such as COVID-19.
“The best defense to the unknown is a united front in the name of public protection, and I truly feel that our region is leading the way,” Carney said.
The mayor also appointed to the commission Joseph Lightner, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor and director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, and Austin Strassle, a housing stabilization specialist at Truman who earned his bachelor’s degree in urban studies/affairs from UMKC in 2016.
Lightner has helped launch the School of Nursing’s undergraduate public health degree and worked to involve undergraduates in innovative research bringing fitness and nutrition programs to area schools. In his research and outreach, Lightner has collaborated with community groups and institutions including Kansas City schools and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Health Department.
Strassle, who also has a master’s in city/urban, community and regional planning from the University of Kansas, has worked for three and a half years at Truman as a mental health caseworker. He also was the leader of a successful community campaign to get the Kansas City Council to ban the use of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical practitioners.
The mayor, in making his appointments, said it was important to have “experts in outreach to at-risk communities” on the commission, along with “medical professionals with specialties in trauma, infectious disease treatment, pediatric and prenatal care; supporters for survivors of domestic violence; advocates for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; educators; long-time community health reformers; and more.”
Adam Algren, M.D., a 2001 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine, has been appointed as interim department and academic chair for Department of Emergency Medicine.
An associate professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics, Algren joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2007. He currently serves as chair of the school’s Council on Curriculum.
Algren completed his emergency medicine residency at Truman Medical Center and the UMKC School of Medicine followed by a year as a chief resident. He completed his fellowship training in medical toxicology at the Emory University/Centers for Disease Control program. During his training, Algren served as a clinical instructor in the Emory Department of Emergency Medicine.
“I am deeply appreciative to be considered for the interim chair position and I look forward to being able to serve the faculty, hospital, and School of Medicine,” Algren said. “I am excited about the opportunity to grow and develop the department. I also look forward to being able to contribute to the School of Medicine expansion.”
Matthew Gratton, M.D., will step down as chair of emergency medicine on December 31. Following a six-week sabbatical, Gratton will assume an enhanced role at Truman Medical Center as associate chief medical officer. The role will include serving as the primary administrative liaison to the new TMC Medical Staff Wellness Committee. In this regard, he will work collaboratively with the UMKC Professionalism and GME Wellness committees.
Gratton was appointed chair of Department of Emergency Medicine in 2007, leading the department to national recognition as a “state-of-the-art, compassionate provider of emergency care in an environment of academic excellence.” In 2018, he was recognized with the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
Students from the School of Medicine’s Emergency Medicine Interest Group put their skills to work in an annual simulation contest at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s Great Plains Regional Meeting in St. Louis.
The team of fifth and sixth-year medical students, Nick Keevan, Deven Bhatia, Chris Favier, Dane Stephens, Dylan Schwindt, Luke He, Lauren Bulgarelli, Jordann Dhuse, Manna Varghese, MS5 finished runners-up to a team from Washington University.
The event took place during Healthcare Simulation Week, a nation-wide event to raise awareness about the importance of simulation activities in improving the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of health care delivery. It also fosters collaboration and celebrates the professionals who work in simulation.
Amy Stubbs, M.D., serves as program director for emergency medicine, and helped prepare the team for the competition.
The contest places teams in an emergency patient scenario in which they must work together to assess a patient, intervene and manage a medical emergency working on a human simulator. Judges review teamwork, communication and clinical decision-making skills.
Throughout Simulation Week in September, simulation education took place at the School of Medicine’s Clinical Training Facility on a daily basis. The simulation events ranged from procedural task training to high-fidelity interprofessional simulations at the undergraduate and graduate medical education levels.
The Simulation Interest Group also attended a regional simulation conference at Johnson County Community College where students learned about a variety of topics including basic debriefing techniques, the various roles of standardized patients and how to execute simulation in unconventional spaces.
UMKC’s PacerMan simulation trainer for transvenous pacing was also showcased at a cardiology conference in Kansas City. Sanjaya Gupta, M.D., program director for UMKC School of Medicine’s electrophysiology fellowship, led a hands-on session featuring the PacerMan.
School of Medicine cardiology fellows regularly use the simulator and faculty development sessions are being planned for the future, said Emily Hillman, M.D., assistant professor of medicine ant medical director for the Clinical Training Facility.
The addition of a second antibiotic to treat cellulitis skin infections did not result in significantly better cure rates in research recently published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study was the latest from an emergency medicine research group that includes Truman Medical Centers and Mark T. Steele, M.D. ’80. Steele is associate dean for TMC Programs at the UMKC School of Medicine and chief medical officer and chief operating officer for Truman Medical Centers.
“I’ve been involved with this group for more than 20 years,” Steele said. “It has 11 sites across the country and studies infectious diseases relevant to emergency medicine. This latest study used five of those sites, including Truman.”
The study involved 500 patients who had cellulitis that was not accompanied by abscess or a wound. Half of those patients were treated with cephalexin, an antibiotic effective against streptococci that typically is used in such cases. The other half got cephalexin plus trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, an anti-staph antibiotic that more patients with skin and soft-tissue infections have been receiving “just in case” MRSA — methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus — is present.
For the entire group treated, the added antibiotic seemed to help, producing a cure rate of 76.2 percent, versus a 69 percent cure rate for those who received just cephalexin. But that difference was not considered statistically significant. In addition, when the results were narrowed to the patients who were known to have taken at least 75 percent of the recommended doses of their antibiotics, the cure rates were almost identical, 83.5 percent for those who also got the second antibiotic, and 85.5 percent those who received just cephalexin.
MRSA has been showing up as a cause of more severe, abscessed skin infections, which has led to more dual prescribing of the antibiotics. Steele said this study’s results could inform emergency physicians that for cellulitis, absent abscess or a wound, the addition of the second antibiotic wasn’t more effective.
Amy Stubbs, M.D., helped oversee Truman’s portion of the research. She’s an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine and director of the school’s emergency medicine residency program. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at UMKC and was chief resident.
The National Institutes of Health sponsored the study, which Steele said was particularly well constructed to meet the standards of JAMA, the world’s most widely circulated medical journal.
It was the third in a series of published studies by the emergency research group, called the EMERGEncy ID NET. One dealt with treatment of abscesses and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Another looked at infected wounds seen by emergency physicians and was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Students from the UMKC School of Medicine returned from the Great Plains Regional Meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine with more than new insights into emergency medicine.
For the first time, UMKC also brought home the championship trophy from the annual Student Sim Wars competition. The event was held in Iowa City, Iowa.
“They were so well prepared,” said Emily Hillman, M.D., assistant professor, assistant program director and clerkship director for emergency medicine. “They represented the school so well. I was really happy for them.”
The contest places four-person teams in an emergency patient scenario in which students must work together to assess a patient, intervene and manage the situation. Students work on a manikin simulator that serves as the patient, while also managing the patients’ family members, played by actors. Judges review and grade the students on their teamwork, communication and clinical decision-making skills.
Seven teams from six regional medical schools, including two from UMKC, competed in a bracketed format. The winning team of Alie Reinbold, Jesal Amin, Caroline Baghdikian, Sean Mark and Brendan Kurtz, defeated teams from the University of Iowa, Washington University and Southern Illinois University to capture the championship trophy. Maggie Kirwin, Alana Hofmann, Bradee Gabel, Dylan Wyatt and Deven Bhatia made up UMKC’s second competition team. Five more students, Joseph Bennett, Alex Willis, Timothy Chow, Kent Buxton and Danielle Graves, were part of the school’s Sim Wars teams that practiced and helped prepare the competition teams.
Students met with faculty and residents from the Department of Medicine twice a week for two months in the Youngblood Medical Skills Lab at the School of Medicine’s Clinical Training Facility to practice and train for competition using the SIMman simulator and other low-fidelity procedural models.
“They worked hard to prepare,” Hillman said. “Some of the students had been on the team for a number of years. It was very exciting to see them win.”
A School of Medicine alumna who leads an organization of 64,000 pediatricians reiterated the safety and effectiveness of immunization at a panel discussion at UMKC.
Karen Remley, M.D. ’80, MBA, M.P.H., received the School of Medicine’s Alumni Achievement Award at a luncheon on April 21. Later that day, she participated in a panel discussion on global health. Raymond Cattaneo, M.D. ’03, M.P.H., president of the UMKC Alumni Association and assistant dean for years 1 and 2 medicine, moderated the discussion.
Remley became chief executive officer of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2015. She said one of the organization’s objectives is to provide accurate and timely information to the public.
Last September, when Remley had been on the job only a few days, she reacted quickly when false statements about immunizations were made during a Republican presidential debate. Within hours, she issued a statement that vaccines are “one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time.”
Remley also spoke out after the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City scheduled the showing of anti-vaccine film. The film was eventually dropped from the lineup.
“One of the most important roles that the academy has is to be the fair broker of honest information, because we are a trusted voice,” she said at the panel, which took place at the Student Union on the Volker campus.
Remley described her career as a “series of fellowships.” She has been a pediatrician, a pediatric emergency physician, an academician, a health plan medical director and a hospital’s chief medical officer. From 2008 to 2012, she was the commissioner of health for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Working as a state health commissioner required a wide range of expertise. Remley said she used to joke that regulating power plants and septic systems was not taught in medical school. But, she added, the six-year B.A./M.D. program had prepared her to meet a challenge.
“They did teach me at UMKC how to learn and how to keep moving forward and how to trust in your team,” she said.
Remley appeared on the panel with Alex Garza, M.D., M.P.H., and Bernard Beall, Ph.D., who also received awards from the UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board. Each year, the board and the campus recognize outstanding alumni at a luncheon event that also serves to raise funds for student scholarships.
Garza received the UMKC Alumnus of the Year Award. Beall was the School of Biological Sciences’ Alumni Achievement Award winner.
Garza was chief medical officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013. Now on the faculty of the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University, he trained in emergency medicine at UMKC after receiving his medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
During the panel discussion, Garza acknowledged Matthew Gratton, M.D., professor and chair of emergency medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine. Gratton was medical director of the Metropolitan Ambulances Services Trust, where Garza worked as a paramedic before starting medical school. Their paths crossed again when Garza began training in the emergency department at Truman Medical Centers. Both served in the Iraq War.
Garza echoed Remley’s comments about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. “The science is clear,” he said. “There is no doubt vaccines work and that they do not cause harm.”
Beall leads the Streptococcus Laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control, where he and his team study and characterize the bacterial strains causing strep throat, skin and blood infections and pneumonia. Conducting population-based surveillance of invasive pathogens, Beall said, “You get the opportunity to be a participant in the larger possible kind of experiment.”
A School of Medicine graduate and instructor has written a book designed to help emergency physicians review for the exams they take to become and stay board-certified.
Sajid Khan, M.D. ’05, clinical assistant professor of medicine, wrote The Ultimate Emergency Medicine Guide: The Only Book You Need to Succeed to fill a void he saw in existing review books — many of which become outdated by the time they are released and which he found were not reflective of actual test content. “There is no book that incorporates practice questions, mnemonics and pictures,” he said. “And why does it take three paragraphs to say something that can be written in one?”
The Ultimate Emergency Medicine Guide addresses these issues and more. It is organized around the different aspects of emergency medicine — cardiology, neurology, trauma, etc. — and concludes with a practice test. It contains dozens of illustrations, photographs and X-rays, which Khan presents clearly and supports with conversational language.
“I’m more of a visual learner,” he said. “If you hand me a paper on stroke and ask me to memorize it, I know there are better ways for me to learn.”
Emergency medicine residents take an in-service exam every year, something Khan likens to a practice test for the American Board of Emergency Medicine qualifying exam, which is taken the first year after graduating from residency. Another exam is taken every 10 years to maintain their emergency physician certification. Khan designed his guide to better prepare physicians for each of those steps.
Khan said residents preparing for the boards often make a mistake by focusing on exotic cases. In reality, he said, residents are more likely to face uncommon questions about common diseases. “To be a good EM physician, you have to know a little bit about everything, and each of those subjects are covered in this book. But those zebras aren’t the things you’re going to miss on the test,” he said.
The Ultimate Emergency MedicineGuide includes some of Khan’s favorite mnemonic devices. “AEIOU summarizes the indications for emergency dialysis,” he explained. “It stands for acidosis (refractory), electrolyte abnormalities (hyperkalemia), ingestion, overload and uremia. Taking that one step further, another helpful mnemonic is I-STUMBLED, which refers to ingestions that can be dialyzed: isopropyl alcohol, salicylates, theophylline, uremia, methanol, barbiturates, lithium, ethanol/ethylene glycol, depakote. That’s a hard list to memorize without a mnemonic.”
Khan used a publishing company which allows him to make regular updates based on feedback received from residents and test takers, ensuring that it is always up to date. The book is available at Amazon and other online sources.
The Ultimate Emergency Medicine Guide is Khan’s second book. In 2013, he published Khan’s Cases: Medical Ethics 101 with his wife and co-author, Maryam Arshad, M.D. That book addresses the ethical principles featured in the Step 1 exam and provides real-world cases — many drawn from Khan’s personal experiences.
“Ethical scenarios are never black or white,” he said, “but using the AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics, you can have a framework for how to make difficult decisions.”
Khan completed his residency in emergency medicine at UMKC/Truman Medical Center in 2008 and joined the Department of Emergency Medicine faculty in 2010. His clinical experiences include a period of service as the medical director of the emergency department at Golden Valley Memorial Hospital in Clinton, Missouri. He is currently the assistant medical director of the emergency department at Cartersville Medical Center in Cartersville, Georgia.