UMKC will be part of a grand tradition on June 3 when Kansas City celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Hospital Hill Run.
The UMKC School of Medicine, UMKC Health Sciences District, and University Health all serve as co-sponsors Kansas City’s oldest road race. With the sponsorship, UMKC faculty, staff, students, alumni can receive a 20 percent discount when they REGISTER using this code: UMKCSOM23. For younger participants, K-12 registration is offered as well.
Today, the Hospital Hill Run is one of region’s premiere running events and includes a 5K Run, a 10K run and a half marathon. More than 170,000 runners of all levels, from Olympic athletes to weekend warriors, and from throughout the world have participated in the event that takes place each June.
The UMKC School of Medicine was only few years old when the school’s founder, E. Grey Dimond, M.D., launched a running event in 1974 to coincide with a postgraduate course dealing with health and physical fitness. That event would become the Hospital Hill Run.
During those early years, the 13-mile half marathon route took runners by many of the hospitals affiliated with the School of Medicine: Truman Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Menorah Medical Center, Research Medical Center, Baptist Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Hospital, Trinity Lutheran Hospital, Trinity Lutheran, and St. Mary’s Medical Center.
As it did then, the race still begins and ends in front of Kansas City’s Crown Center.
In his biography, “Take Wing! Interesting Things that Happened on My Way to School,” Dimond wrote that, “Near the beginning of their route, the runners came up a long slope, immediately by Diastole. For many years, it gave me a surge of happiness to stand on the southwest corner of 25th and Holmes and see the thousands of men and women go by, many calling out a greeting.”
The idea of seeking out a mentor and embarking on a research project was a somewhat frightening experience for Sayra Nieto Gomez when she got started.
But with the support of a program for students underrepresented in the health professions and a willing faculty mentor, the fifth-year UMKC School of Medicine student was one of nearly 70 students who presented a research project at the 2023 UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit.
The event took place on March 22 at the Children’s Mercy Kansas City Research Institute, returning the summit UMKC’s Health Sciences Campus after being held at the Student Union on the UMKC Volker Campus for the past several years.
The annual summit provides an avenue for health sciences students to display their research, while also fostering collaborations across disciplines and schools that will provide economic, health, education and quality-of-life benefits for the community.
Students from the schools of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, education, computing and engineering and psychological sciences presented posters that displayed a vast array of research on medical science topics to community health programs.
Faculty members from the health sciences schools judged and scored the presentations based on overall quality and aspects of the presentations, including the research hypothesis, background, methodology and conclusions. The top three scores were announced in three categories: overall, graduate students (residents, post-doc, fellows), and undergraduate students.
Nieto Gomez’s presentation placed second in the overall division. She worked with her mentor, Karl Kador, Ph.D., a scientist at the School of Medicine who focuses on retinal research, to produce an abstract that looked at how early stage retinal ganglion cells are formed.
“Hopefully we can take this information and one day apply it to find cures for blindness,” she said.
School of Medicine student Josephine Nwankwo had the top-scoring presentation in the overall division, while medical student Keerti Ivaturi had the top poster presentation in the undergraduate division and pharmacy resident Rachel Askew earned the top score in the graduate division.
Nieto Gomez is member of STAHR (Student Training in Academia, Health, and Research), a collaborative of the UMKC schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy designed to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering health care programs and better prepare them for success academically and professionally.
She said participating in the STAHR program and meeting with other underrepresented minority students provided her with the encouragement she needed to embark on a research project.
“The conversations we had in the STAHR program with other students, and hearing about how they were doing research and how they got involved helped,” she said. “It made me feel that if I can see other students in the program doing research, then I can do it.”
Kristen Mize, Pharm.D., a UMKC pharmacy resident who works with ambulatory care patients at a KC CARE Health Center clinic, was another student who presented a poster at the Research Summit. Hers described her efforts to provide early, preventive eye exams for patients with diabetes.
Mize explained how she is trained to perform simple eye exams using a retina imaging machine to look for early signs of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of adult blindness and vision loss. It occurs when a diabetic’s blood sugar level rises too high, causing small blood vessels in the retina to break and leak blood or fluid into the eye, damaging the retina.
The project also looked at the effect her service has had on patients keeping current on eye exams.
“The purpose is to catch things early before the patient knows they have that issue,” Mize said of the exam.
Mize also planned to present her poster at a pharmacy conference later in the week with a broader message for pharmacists and other health care providers.
“For pharmacists, I want to show that we can do this,” she said. “I got trained on this machine and I’m the only person at KC CARE offering the exam right now. Next month I’m going to be training nurse practitioners, and they’ll be able to do it. Our message to those who aren’t ophthalmologists is, you can make a difference in this, too.”
2023 UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit Top Scoring Posters and Presentations
1st Place – Josephine Nwankwo, School of Medicine: Relationship between SES and Utilization of a Hospital Based Food Pantry
2nd Place – Sayra Nieto Gomez, School of Medicine: Early Stage Retinal Ganglion Cells Have Increased Axon Growth
Mentor: Dr. Karl Kador
3rd Place – Vijay Dimri, Shruti Mishra, Mauli Patel, School of Medicine: Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome in a Trauma Patient with Multiple Gunshot Wounds
Mentor: Dr. Binod Wagle
1st Place – Keerti Ivaturi, School of Medicine: Effects of Placenta Glucocorticoid Receptor Knockout on Gene Expression and Fetal Survival
Mentor: Dr. Dave Bridges
2nd Place – Samuel Brown, School of Medicine: Pericyte Recruitment and von Willebrand Factor Expression are Associated with Blood-Brain Barrier Tight Junction Formation During Embryonic Development in Mice
Mentor: Dr. Nihar Nayak
3rd Place – Paris Yates, School of Medicine: Is Ciclesonide a safer glucocorticoid alternative in the developing brain for preterm birth?
Mentor: Dr. Paula Monaghan-Nichols
1st Place – Rachel Askew, School of Pharmacy: Impact of pharmacist-led intervention of dispensing naloxone to an at risk of overdose patient population
Mentor: Dr. Yifei Liu
2nd Place – Dr. Soumya Rao, School of Dentistry: Loss of Function Mutations in SF3B2, A Regulator of mRNA Splicing, as a Cause of Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral Spectrum
Mentor: Dr. Timothy Cox
3rd Place – Roland Klar, School of Dentistry: 3D printed multi-gradient microsphere scaffolds for guided osteochondral tissue engineering
Mentor: Dr. Stefan Lohfeld
Three UMKC School of Medicine’s Master of Science in Anesthesia program alumni have been selected for faculty leadership roles. They all have served as preceptors for many years and bring diversity in their clinical and leadership experiences, expertise and advocacy for the anesthesiologist assistant (AA) profession.
Jonathan Chambers, a 2010 graduate, has been selected to serve as director of didactic education.
Chambers, an anesthesiologist assistant at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, has been a clinical instructor since 2011. He will be responsible for classroom teaching as well as coaching the School of Medicine’s basic medical science faculty in adapting courses to the anesthesiologist assistant profession. He also will serve as chair of the curriculum committee and ensure that the program’s curriculum meets the standards of accrediting and certifying bodies.
Adam Petersen, a 2012 graduate, is the new director of simulation education.
Petersen served as an anesthesiologist assistant at Ozark Anesthesia Associates in Springfield, then joined Saint Luke’s Hospital Kansas City in 2016. He will oversee the program’s simulation education, including “boot camp,” which involves intensive simulation training the first six weeks of the program. Students then receive a weekly curriculum of simulation and skills training throughout their first year. Petersen also will work to incorporate additional simulation training in the second year of the program.
Maggie Munn, who graduated in 2014, has been named director of clinical education.
Munn is an anesthesiologist assistant at Saint Luke’s Hospital Kansas City, and has served as a clinical instructor at the School of Medicine since 2015. As clinical coordinator, she will be responsible for scheduling all first-, second-, and third-year students at their clinical rotation sites, and will ensure students are on pace to meet their clinical requirements. She also will coach students, providing feedback and helping them set goals for each rotation. Munn is active in advocacy for the AA profession. She has served on leadership committees with the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants since 2016 and as president and vice president of the Missouri chapter.
Many School of Medicine AA graduates and faculty are involved nationally with leadership roles within the AA profession. Matthew Pinegar, M.D., program medical director, is a member of the board of directors for the Accreditation Review Committee for Anesthesiologist Assistant. Lance Carter, program director, is a member of the exam-item writing committee for the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants.
The School of Medicine’s AA program started in 2008 and was the first AA program located west of the Mississippi. It is now one of 15 accredited AA educational programs throughout the country.
Established to help address the shortage of providers in anesthesia care, the program accepts up to 16 new students each year for admission and boasts a 100% certification exam pass rate and employment rate for its graduates. While certified anesthesiologist assistants can practice in 19 states and in Washington, D.C., the majority of UMKC graduates are employed in Missouri, where they deliver quality anesthesia care to patients.
Prerequisites for the program are a bachelor’s degree with pre-medical sciences classes and passage of the Medical College Admission Test or Graduate Record Examination. The 27-month program begins each January, and students receive more than 2,000 hours of hands-on clinical training with patients. A highlight of the UMKC AA program is the intense skills and simulation instruction in the clinical training facility, as well as experience in the operating room that begins in the first semester.
The Kansas City Chiefs are on a roll in the National Football League and UMKC School of Medicine alumna and faculty member Amy Patel, M.D., is now part of the excitement surrounding Chiefs Kingdom.
Patel, a 2011 graduate and assistant professor of radiology at the School of Medicine, is celebrating the team’s success as its 2022 Fan of the Year. With that, Patel is now the Chiefs’ nominee for 2022 NFL Fan of the Year.
Patel learned of the honor earlier this year before the Chiefs’ home-opening game against the Los Angeles Chargers when she was awarded the game’s Lamar Hunt Legacy Seat that recognizes a community member who represents the spirit of Lamar Hunt, the team’s founder.
“I got to meet (Chiefs’ owner) Clark Hunt and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who shared the news with me,” Patel said at the time. “I am still in shock! But I feel so honored to have my work recognized as well as my love of the Chiefs.”
As Chiefs Fan of the Year, Patel will receive two tickets to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 12 and will be invited to take in all of the game’s surrounding activities.
Each of the NFL’s 32 teams selects a Fan of the Year. Through a combination of fan voting on the league’s web site that began this week and scoring by a panel of judges based on the individual’s enthusiasm, team fandom, inspirational story and community spirit, the NFL will select and announce its Fan of the Year at the Super Bowl.
Patel is a breast imaging specialist and medical director of the Breast Care Center at Liberty Hospital. With a primary focus on breast radiology and research in breast health equity, artificial intelligence, and digital breast tomosynthesis, she helped to build a comprehensive breast care program in Liberty.
Her love for the Chiefs began at an early age growing up in Chillicothe, Missouri. After earning her medical degree, she went to Harvard University, where she helped build a comprehensive breast care program at a local hospital. In 2018, Patel returned to Kansas City, where she is recognized as a champion of helping women achieve equitable access to breast care and a loyal fan of the Chiefs.
School of Medicine students should sign up now to help race participants in the medical tent at the 49th annual Hospital Hill Run. Come rain or shine, the event is slated to take place on June 4 with the start and finish lines at Kansas City’s Crown Center.
Volunteers will be stationed at the finish line to watch for race participants that need medical attention. Some will help check participants into the medical tent and others will triage participants.
All volunteers will receive a free race t-shirt and food.
The medical staff typically treats 50 to 100 race participants during the event that includes three different races – a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon. Meg Gibson, M.D., director of the UMKC sports medicine fellowship, serves as medical director for the race.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Faculty donation leads to collaboration between professors in the School of Medicine and UMKC Conservatory to yield safer surgeries
Medicine and music aren’t an obvious pair, but in a discussion between colleagues at the UMKC Surgical Innovations Lab, experts in each field realized an interesting link between the two topics.
Gary Sutkin, M.D., professor of surgery and associate dean of women’s health at UMKC, has focused much of his research on surgical safety and mitigating errors in the operating room. Today he’s working to expand that research by teaming up with his colleague – and composer – Paul Rudy, MM, DMA, Curators’ Distinguished Professor and coordinator of composition at the UMKC Conservatory, to study the effects of sound on patient safety in the operating room.
Studies have shown that reducing hospital noise levels has a direct impact on improving patient safety, but in operating rooms, in addition to conversations among the surgical team, the equipment required for surgeries makes noise. Though some sounds are necessary – such as the noise of the oxygen saturation monitor, which creates the rapid high-pitched beep people may recognize from medical shows on television — the noise created by people in the room often is not.
Rudy and Sutkin are working together to develop training and surgical methods that reduce some of the noise and related risk.
“People have been trying to solve the problem of miscommunication in the operating room for 20 years and there hasn’t been any meaningful progress,” Sutkin says. “What I know is that we need brains other than those of researchers, surgeons and nurses to study the problem.”
Sutkin’s interest in collaborating with people who have expertise in areas outside of medicine, coupled with Rudy’s curiosity and ability to hear the operating room with fresh ears is already leading to interesting results.
By observing surgeries, Rudy recognized that surgeons’ work entails very fine motor movements and unwavering focus that requires them to keep their heads down. He also observed other members of the surgical team are focused on their own tasks and responsibilities.
“People have been trying to solve the problem of miscommunication and errors in the operating for 20 years and there hasn’t been meaningful progress. What I know is that I need other brains than only researchers, surgeons and nurses.”
— Gary Sutkin, M.D.
“No one’s looking at the surgeon’s body language to figure out what’s needed,” Rudy says. “For example, the anesthesiologist is reading a screen. Much of the communication [the team receives] is coming through sound.”
But despite the importance of verbal communication, he observed a lot of the noise people make in the operating room is not critical to the surgery.
“Everyone is doing something necessary,” Rudy says. “But sometimes someone has to unpackage something in a hurry, and they can’t throw it in the trash can, so it ends up on the floor. Or someone picks up that big wad of plastic to get it out of the way and you can’t hear anything else over the noise. This has to be done – someone could trip over it – but if the surgeon needs to communicate something important to the anesthesiologist at that moment, the noise will mask the communication.”
Because of Rudy’s background as a musician, the amount of residual noise in the operating room came as a surprise.
“In rehearsals and in performances, no one makes any extra sound anywhere for any reason,” Rudy says. “Musicians carefully turn pages of sheet music so that the binder doesn’t make any noise.”
He’s aware of the differences between the disciplines, but still notes there is room for improvement when it comes to eliminating some unnecessary noise in operating rooms. Rudy’s research has identified solutions to common disruptions that OR teams may not even notice.
“For example, in the operating room there are really heavy metal step stools,” Rudy says. “People tend to scoot them across the floor with their feet and it makes this really intense grating sound that may mask any kind of communication that is going on in the room.”
Rudy understands that the medical professionals in the operating room move the stools with their feet because they need to keep their hands sterile, but he wonders if manufacturers are aware of the ramifications of production decisions.
“This research could lead to that awareness, and maybe even influence manufacturing standards.”
Observations like this that lead to opportunity for innovation and increased safety is at the heart of the mission of Surgilab and are why Sutkin wants colleagues like Rudy in the operating room.
“There’s value in having insight from brains other than researchers, surgeons and nurses. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity. And, surprisingly, to be honest, a scientific mind that contributes very well with this research.”
A gift from UMKC professor emerita, Elizabeth Noble, Ph.D., helped fund this research collaboration. Noble supports research that reaches across different fields of study because she thinks it makes the outcomes more reliable and more transferable.
“Today most researchers would agree that cross-disciplinary research is valuable,” Noble says. “It stimulates new ways of thinking about different issues, especially when we’re talking about music and medicine which are not always assumed to go together.”
“This research is exactly what I hoped would occur. I’m very happy that Dr. Rudy has had this kind of success,” she added.