Tag Archives: Faculty

School of Medicine announces upcoming faculty appointments

Dr. Nayak

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced that it will welcome Nihar Nayak, M.D., as a tenured professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to lead the UMKC Perinatal Institute beginning April 1, 2020.

Nayak is currently a tenured professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Reproductive Sciences Graduate Program at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Prior to joining WSU, he was an associate professor and director of translational research in maternal fetal medicine for nine years in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University. Additionally, he served as a tenured assistant professor for nine years in a school of veterinary medicine in India and as a research faculty at the Oregon Health and Science University.

A translational researcher in the field of pregnancy and women’s health, he has received national and international recognition. His research addresses the understanding of the defects in implantation and early placental development that result in pregnancy complications, mostly manifested in later stages of pregnancy.

It is expected that his research will provide specific guidance for the development of diagnostics and targeted therapies for a range of pregnancy disorders.

Dr. Queen

In another upcoming leadership transition, Michael Artman, M.D., noted pediatric cardiologist, professor, and Joyce C. Hall Endowed Chair in Pediatrics and chair, Department of Pediatrics, has announced his retirement effective, April 2020. The School of Medicine announced that it will welcome Mary Ann Queen, M.D., as the interim Chair.

Queen currently serves as division director of pediatric hospital medicine, one of the first and largest hospitalist programs in the country. She completed her pediatrics residency and a chief resident year at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and has been a faculty member there her entire career. A professor of pediatrics, she will continue in her role as the division director and as the associate chair of Inpatient Services & Faculty Engagement for the Department of Pediatrics.

“Dr. Queen is a well-respected clinician and educator and we look forward to welcoming her as academic chair in pediatrics,” said School of Medicine Interim Dean Mary Ann Jackson, M.D.

 

 

School of Medicine teams with Nestle to create unique student experience

Brandon Trandai, Madeline Harris and Valerie Hummel were the first to participate in a new UMKC School of Medicine elective, the Infant and Toddler Nutrition Experience.

Three sixth-year medical students from the School of Medicine this past fall were the first to participate in a unique elective experience bringing together the medical school and a leading baby food manufacturer.

The Infant and Toddler Nutrition Experience is a collaboration between UMKC and Nestle Nutrition North America, which produces Gerber baby foods and formulas.

Joel Lim, M.D., and Brandon Trandai

Emily Haury, M.D., docent and chair of the School of Medicine Docent Council, is one of the faculty members overseeing the course elective. She said one goal of the program is to expose students to the corporate world of health care. It also offers a glimpse of how corporations work with the medical field to produce the best products for their customers.

“In addition to gaining clinical knowledge and studying evidence-based guidelines, the students also gained practical knowledge and resources that they can use to counsel families about nutrition as they continue their training in pediatrics,” Haury said.

Madeline Harris, Valerie Hummel and Brandon Trandai began the class with reading assignments and participating in small group discussions on basic and clinical sciences related to infant and toddler nutrition.

After completing the preliminary work, the students spent 10 days at the Nestle facilities in Michigan and the company’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Their travel took in tours of a baby food factory, a farm and a consumer testing center. They also attended sessions with marketing, human resources and regulatory staff to learn about the business side of the industry.

“It was unique and a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Trandai said. “I was able to see another facet of pediatrics. We don’t typically focus on nutrition as much as treating illnesses and disease.”

Trandai said the experience enlightened the students about the amount of research done at Gerber and the innovation taking place to promote infant and toddler nutrition.

Hummel said, “This rotation was incredibly rewarding. I would highly recommend it for any students interested in learning more about nutrition and the intricate world of the business industry surrounding nutrition.”

The elective is overseen by Haury, Darla McCarthy, Ph.D., assistant dean for curriculum, and Joel Lim, M.D., adjunct professor pediatrics, who now serves as vice president of the Medical and Scientific Regulatory Unit at Nestle Nutrition North America. Funding for the students’ travel and lodging was provided by Nestle.

Haury said the elective will be offered again during several blocks in the 2020-21 academic year, providing students unique learning opportunity that they can share at their residency interviews.

School of Medicine’s Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomes 2020 class

The School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomed the 2020 class of students and faculty during a ceremony at Diastole.

The School of Medicine’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) inducted 21 new members on January 25 during a ceremony at Diastole.

This year’s GHHS induction class includes 19 students and two faculty physicians. Each was chosen for their exemplary care of patients and their humanistic approach to clinical practice. Students and faculty make nominations each year based on the individual’s excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.

Carol Stanford, M.D., Gold 5 docent and GHHS faculty sponsor, welcomed the new members and presented each with a certificate of induction during the program.

The GHHS began in the late 1990s. It now has more than 160 medical school and residency program chapters across the United States. The program is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Berry Foundation.

Medical students:
Suma Ancha
Charlie Burke
Anna Curtis
Sarthak Garg
Jacob Gowan
Sharika Kaula
Raga Kilaru
Connor King
Rachana Kombathula
Rebecca Kruian
Saja Necibi
Jacob Perera
Rawan Rajab
Karishma Raju
Koral Shah
Elizabeth Theng
Kabir Torres
Maggie Urschler
Sarah Wells

Faculty

Paramdeep Baweja, M.D.
Jignesh Shah, M.D.

SOM researcher working to prevent age-related vision loss

Backed by a $1.16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, UMKC School of Medicine vision researcher Peter Koulen, Ph.D., is studying new chemical compounds to treat and prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and blindness among older adults. As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration.

“AMD affects a significant and increasing portion of the U.S. population, with age being a predisposing factor,” said Koulen, director of basic research at UMKC’s Vision Research Center. “This research will contribute to improving health care and the prevention of blindness.”

His project, funded by the NIH National Eye Institute, will focus on the preclinical development of novel antioxidants that have the potential to be both preventative and therapeutic in nature. The compounds could prevent the deterioration and death of retina nerve cells and supporting cells. The retina cannot regenerate these cells, therefore, their loss as a result of AMD leads to irreversible damage to one’s vision.

If successful, these new antioxidants being developed by Koulen’s research would be effective in both preventing the disease from progressing and treating already existing damage.

The research focuses on dry AMD, a form of the disease that affects the majority of patients. Effective therapies are lacking for this form of the disease, in which cells are gradually lost over time resulting in blindness.

Medications developed as a result of the study could also complement existing treatment designs for the wet form of AMD that is more aggressive and affects a smaller number of patients.

Dr. Inboriboon appointed assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education

Inboriboon, Pholaphat (Charles)The School of Medicine announced that Charles Inboriboon, M.D., associate professor and associate program director for emergency medicine, has been appointed assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education.

He will work directly with Sara Gardner, M.D., associate dean, to interact with Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and non-ACGME programs, residents and fellows. He will be responsible for quality improvement of graduate programs with a specific focus on assessment.

A member of the UMKC faculty since 2012, Inboriboon has a rich background in graduate medical education. He works clinically at both Truman Medical Center Health Sciences District and Children’s Mercy Kansas City. He has been part of the emergency medicine residency leadership team, serving as a GME ombudsman and as director of international emergency medicine programs.

Inboriboon is a Fulbright Scholar Award recipient and led several programs in Thailand during their transition to competency based medical education.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, where he completed emergency medicine residency and served as chief resident. He also completed a fellowship in international emergency medicine and earned a master’s degree in public health at the University of Rochester.

New School of Medicine program designed to support underrepresented minority faculty

A new program launched earlier this year at the School of Medicine is helping develop and prepare underrepresented minority faculty for advancement from junior to senior faculty positions.

The URM Faculty Scholars and Fellows Program is an initiative of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It works in collaboration with the school’s offices of Professional Development and Academic Affairs, and affiliate hospitals.

“Our faculty need to know that they’re coming into a supportive environment,” said Nate Thomas, associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “This program is based on the idea of promoting diversity and supporting our underrepresented minority faculty.”

Eight faculty members who are physicians at affiliate hospitals including Truman Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Hospital, Children’s Mercy and the Kansas City Veterans Medical Center, are currently participating in the 13-month enterprise.

The program started in October. Led by members of the medical school’s Collaborative Committee for Faculty Success, it includes seven two-hour sessions. The focus is on topics such as understanding the criteria and process for faculty promotion; recognizing personal strengths, weakness, opportunities;  and establishing attainable goals and strategies for successful promotion.

Participants also receive coaching from senior faculty and administrators.

“I want to learn how to become a more effective leader and craft my personal leadership style,” said Leah Jones, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

Santosh Shenoy, M.D., a clinical associate professor of surgery at Kansas City Veteran’s Medical Center, said he also joined the program to gain a better understanding of the administrative functions of graduate medical education and other physician leadership roles.

“This may enable me to advance my career and future opportunities at UMKC,” he said.

Thomas said another goal is for faculty members who complete the program and successfully go through the promotion process to ultimately become mentors and advisors and help future faculty members.

The first class of participants is scheduled to complete the program in November 2020.

UMKC researcher part of $1.5-million NIH grant-funded project on novel tissue-preservation technique

A new technique of crypreservation being studied by UMKC researcher Peter Koulen, Ph.D., could make human cell tissues such as the cornea tissues pictured more readily available for transplant.

Surgeons world-wide currently perform more than 240,000 corneal transplants a year to address a wide range of eye diseases. Researchers and physicians, however, estimate as many as 10 million patients could benefit from the procedure if enough viable tissue was available.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Vision Research Center is part of a $1.5-million National Institutes of Health grant-funded project exploring the capability of a novel, ultra-fast technique of cryopreservation that could help meet those far-reaching clinical needs in ophthalmology and a number of other fields of medicine.

The NIH awarded a phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to CryoCrate, a Columbia, Missouri-based company active in biomedicine working with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Vision Research Center. The new two-year award is for $1,566,168 and includes a subcontract of $722,870 to UMKC’s Vision Research Center. It is a follow-up grant to previous phase I SBIR funding from the NIH for earlier collaborative work between CyroCrate and UMKC.

With current techniques, many types of cells and tissues, including cornea tissues, cannot be preserved at all or lose their function when subjected to the freeze-thaw process of cryopreservation. Peter Koulen, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology, endowed chair in vision research at the UMKC School of Medicine and director of basic research at the UMKC Vision Research Center, and Xu Han, Ph.D., president and Chief Technology Officer of CryoCrate, jointly developed a new cryopreservation technique to preserve the viability and functionality of cornea and bioartificial ocular tissues. The new phase II SBIR funding will allow Han and Koulen to extensively test and refine the technology before taking it to the clinics.

Thus far, traditional methods of cryopreservation have been unsuccessful to preserve and store human corneas for use in patients due to the fact that cells critical for cornea function are lost during freezing. Corneas need adequate numbers of such cells to be present and properly functioning in the grafted tissue for the surgery to be successful. This currently limits storage of corneas to refrigeration, which is insufficient in delaying the deterioration of cornea tissue beyond a few days and creates numerous clinical challenges shared by other areas of transplantation.

CryoCrate is headquartered at the Missouri Innovation Center. It commercializes a new cooling method that better preserves tissue in a frozen state with only negligible mechanical damage to the tissue. The technology is co-developed and co-owned by CryoCrate and UMKC. It also eliminates the need for so called cryoprotectants, chemicals that facilitate successful recovery of live tissue from freezing, but pose a range of medical and regulatory challenges. International patents pending and patents by CryoCrate and UMKC protect the technology and will enable CryoCrate and Koulen’s team at UMKC to address the urgent worldwide clinical needs and rapidly evolving fields of transplantation medicine.

The new NIH SBIR phase II grant allows Han and Koulen to further develop an upgraded system that is equally effective in the cryopreservation of whole corneas and large bioartificial tissue. This would enable long-term storage of the tissues and could make them more readily available when and where needed for clinical use and research.

Early tests at the UMKC Vision Research Center detected no statistical difference in the number and quality of the cells that determine cornea health and function, when comparing corneas cryopreserved using the new technology with fresh cornea tissue. This level of efficiency in preserving corneal tissue has not been achieved previously with traditional corneal cryopreservation techniques.

If further tests prove to be equally effective, the goal is to introduce the new cryopreservation products for clinical use in patients following completion of the new NIH SBIR phase II grant and subsequent regulatory steps of product development.

 

 

 

 

Health for all remains an elusive goal

From left: Rex Archer, Mary Anne Jackson, Eric Williams, D. Rashaan Gilmore and Bridget McCandless.

Community leaders discuss UMKC efforts to close gaps

Health equity is a broad concept that encompasses differences in disease and mortality rates, and in access to healthcare services, among different population groups. It also includes differences in social determinants of health, such as poverty, exposure to toxins and access to healthy food.

UMKC leadership quantifying and addressing these differences was the focal point of the UMKC Engagement Showcase, the university’s signature event celebrating Engagement Week – a special week of engaged leadership, partnership and learning hosted by UMKC and the UM System.

The event included a demonstration of the System’s new online Engagement Portal and a panel discussion on health equity led by the director of the new UMKC Health Equity Institute, Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., of the UMKC School of Medicine.

Engagement with community partners by the UM System and its four universities is hardly a new phenomenon. Curt Crespino, UMKC vice chancellor for external relations and constituent engagement, noted that UMKC history is rooted in an enduring city-campus partnership.

Marshall Stewart, chief engagement officer for the UM System, said what’s new is a more systematic and coordinated approach to engagement, including a transformation of the system’s Extension programs, designed to expand engagement beyond Extension’s original rural focus to forge engagement partnerships in every community and corner of the state.

“Urban and rural communities are facing very similar issues across Missouri. Our mission is to work together with all of our stakeholders to expand our impact by using our research to help transform lives,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “That spirit of connection to the city and engagement with our community was woven into the origin story of UMKC. And we are excited to take those efforts to the next level in collaboration with the efforts being led by the system.”

Following are excerpted highlights of the health equity panel.

Jannette Berkley-Patton, director, UMKC Health Equity Institute:

“We spend billions on healthcare but are still one of the unhealthiest countries in the world.” The burden of health disparities rests primarily on groups outside the mainstream, including people of color, rural communities, veterans and seniors. Large federal grants allow for the creation of effective programs, “but what happens when the grant ends? Everything goes away. We need to figure out how to take the Cadillacs we create with these million-dollar grants and turn them into Pintos.”

Rex Archer, director, Kansas City Health Department:

“We need to change the structural issues that create the (health equity) problem.” These include issues with disparities in housing, poverty, education, safety and more.

Mary Anne Jackson, interim dean, UMKC School of Medicine:

In 2014, the Kansas City area had to contend with a large outbreak of a serious respiratory illness among school-age children. Researchers were notified early enough to identify the virus responsible and contain the outbreak. “We were able to address this in time because of the strong connections we have with people in the community who brought it to our attention.”

Eric Williams, pastor, Calvary Temple Baptist Church:

Conducting funerals for victims of gang violence and AIDS led Williams to involvement in public health. “Conversations about HIV were happening, but it was all on the down-low. (Berkley-Patton) helped us to understand that some of the things we were already doing were working” to change behaviors.

Rashaan Gilmore, founder and director, BlaqOut:

BlaqOut surveyed gay African Americans about their health care priorities, and the top response was health care access. “It was because they didn’t feel welcomed by traditional providers. We asked them to recommend strategies to address that, and we developed interventions based on those results.”

Bridget McCandless, former president and CEO, Health Forward Foundation:

After 15 years working in a free health clinic, she changed her approach from providing care to impacting policy “because I saw that policy could be far more effective.” Citing a sampling of dramatic health disparities between local white and black populations, she said “there’s no excuse for us to have disparities like that.” Data analysis can empower highly effective strategies if we act on the findings. “We’re getting smart enough to figure this out. (Data-driven policy) can be the new germ theory; it can revolutionize the delivery and effectiveness of health care.”

School of Medicine a leader in medical education learning communities

When it opened nearly 50 years ago, the UMKC School of Medicine was something of a pioneer in medical education with learning communities made up of docent teams and peer-mentorship groups. Today, learning communities are becoming more commonplace in medical education and the School of Medicine is still leading the charge.

Faculty and students presented the merits of the school’s learning communities during a three-day national conference of the Learning Communities Institute held Oct. 11-13 in Kansas City.

Louise Arnold, Ph.D., former associate dean and director of the Office of Medical Education and Research at the School of Medicine from 1971 through 2012, was one of the founders of the institute in 2004.

“We at UMKC were instrumental in spreading the word about learning communities to medical schools such as the University of Washington and Harvard,” Arnold said. “We were also instrumental in organizing informal meeting of schools with learning communities. We met during the national meeting of American medical schools for several years. That led to the formation of the national group, the Learning Communities Institute.”

That group is now made up of leaders of medical school learning communities from across that country that value and support the active presence of those communities within health professions schools. As many as 50 medical schools in the United States have incorporated learning communities into their programs.

At the organization’s national meeting, School of Medicine docent and chair of the docent council, Emily Haury, M.D., lead a presentation she designed on the role of peer mentors within the school’s docent teams. Brenda Rogers, M.D., associate dean for student affairs, served as moderator during the session that also offered docent and student perspectives. School of Medicine docents Molly Uhlenhake, M.D., and Nurry Pirani, M.D., spoke from the docent point of view, while medical students Saber Khan, sixth-year, and Megan Schoelch, fourth-year, presented the students’ perspective on the school’s learning communities.

“I had more than one person from other schools come up to me after their presentation to say how helpful it was and how they so deeply wished their school had such a super program,” Arnold said.

Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D., assistant dean for assessment and quality improvement, presented a research project on professional identity formation that is being conducted with support from the Learning Community Institute Research Network. Connor Fender, coordinator for the Council on Evaluation, gave a presentation on the school’s peer assessment program. And Cary Chelladurai, Ed.D., assistant dean of student affairs, presented a poster on the role of the Education Team Coordinator within the docent team.

 

School of Medicine recognizes faculty for achievements and service

The School of Medicine recognized faculty members who have recently received promotions and tenure and presented special awards for faculty achievements during a reception on Oct. 15 at Diastole.

This year’s list included 11 faculty who have been promoted to the rank of professor, 27 to the rank of associate professor, 12 to clinical associate professor, three associate teaching professors and one to the rank of clinical professor.

Special Awards Recognitions

Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., PA-C, received the Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine Award.

Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine Awards
Kathie Ervie, M.P.A.S., PA-C,
assistant teaching professor and founding director of the Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant program, received the award that recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated sustained and impactful contribution to diversity, inclusion and cultural competency or health equity. Ervie has actively engaged in efforts to create a more inclusive culture since joining the School of Medicine faculty in 2012. She is a trailblazer in curriculum innovation and creating developmental opportunities to advance the understanding of health equity, health disparities, and cultural competency among students, staff and faculty and an involved leader in university programs that promote health equity.


Michael Wacker, Ph.D., received the Christopher Papasian, Ph.D., Excellence in Teaching Award.

Christopher Papasian Excellence in Teaching Award
Michael Wacker, Ph.D.,
associate professor of biomedical sciences, received the third-annual award recognizing a faculty member who excels in medical student education through innovative contributions to the educational mission. Wacker is also vice chair of biomedical sciences and associate dean for academic affairs. He has served a member of the School of Medicine’s biomedical sciences faculty since 2007, teaching physiology. He is also a member of the Muscle Biology Group at UMKC with expertise in cardiac muscle physiology. Wacker embraces the qualities and lessons learned from his most successful teachers to create a teaching style that incorporates advancing technology and addresses challenges facing students in their future professions.


Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D., received the Louise E. Arnold Ph.D., Excellence in Medical Education Award.

Louise E. Arnold Excellence in Medical Education Research Award
Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D
., associate professor of biomedical and health informatics and assistant dean for assessment and quality improvement, received the fourth-annual award that recognizes one who has contributed to innovation and scholarship in medical education. Responsible for oversight of assessment metrics used to monitor the quality of the school’s educational program, Quaintance has made an impact on the medical education research community through formal teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning, one-on-one mentoring, and conducting educational research. Her instruction of faculty in medical education has served many to develop into leadership as course and clerkship directors, residency program leaders and assistant/associate deans roles.


The sixth-annual Betty M. Drees, M.D., Awards for Excelling in Mentoring were presented to faculty members for their excellence in mentoring, guiding, coaching and sponsoring students, trainees, staff and peer faculty.

David Wooldridge, M.D., received the Betty M.Drees, M.D., Excellence in Mentoring Award.

David Wooldridge, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, received the Excellence in Mentoring Award, presented each year to an assistant or associate professor. A 1994 graduate of the School of Medicine, he embodies the essential attributes of an outstanding mentor including being a thoughtful listener and counselor. Wooldridge joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1998 after completing his internal medicine residency and chief residency at UMKC. He also served as a docent and regularly stays in contact with and mentors students and residents under his tutelage.

Christine Sullivan, M.D., received the Betty M. Drees, M.D., Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award.

Christine Sullivan, M.D., professor of emergency medicine and associate dean for professional development, received the Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award. The award is given annually to a full professor. Sullivan, a 1985 graduate of the School of Medicine, has been a member of the faculty since 1988 and served as residency program director before taking on a new role focused on developing a formal faculty mentorship program. In addition to her distinguished faculty mentorship, she also served just more than a decade as director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program and used her “open door” policy to mentor numerous students and residents throughout her career.