Tag Archives: Office of the Dean

We Are on the Cusp — March 11, 2021

One year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, UMKC School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., says we are getting closer to returning to normal.

The first reported cases of a novel coronavirus called SARS CoV-2 were in December of 2019, and on March 11, 2020 – one year ago today – the Director-General of the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Based on the spread of COVID-19 to 114 countries and alarmingly high case-fatality rates, the declaration came with a caveat: with detection, testing, treating, isolating, tracing and mobilizing a response, we could change the course of this pandemic. At that time in the United States, there were 1,762 cases. Today we stand at more than 29 million cases and 528,829 people have lost their lives. We have seen the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our Black, Hispanic, and Native American populations, and many Americans have lost their jobs, income and housing. People have suffered disruptions in family bonding and lost family members to this disease. The human toll and downstream consequences – related to many who have avoided routine medical care, routine immunizations and cancer screenings – will have a cumulative impact on both physical and mental health. This impact will likely be seen for many years to come.

Children, while less likely to have severe disease, now account for more than 3.2 million – or 13.2% – of the COVID-19 cases across our country. The pandemic has taken an enormous toll on our youngest, most of whom have not been able to attend in-person school and have been isolated from family and friends. Children have lost multiple family members, many are food-insecure, and all have suffered at least some degree of toxic stress from the pandemic. This result is now being manifest as an increase in emergency room visits for mental health and behavioral complaints. In our community, we are just starting to return to at least partial in-person education for those who attend public schools in both Missouri and Kansas. In most cases, a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning remains the norm of today. The cumulative loss in learning for a child could average 5-9 months by the end of the school year. And for students of color, who lack internet, devices and appropriate places to study, the loss could be as much as 12 months. We must invest in bridging this gap and make sure every child has an opportunity for success.

As the pandemic unfolded, we were forced to make changes, to adapt and quickly evolve like we’d never done before in the 50-year history of our medical school. We are proud of the curricular innovation we brought to meet student needs and to ensure teaching, supervision and assessment. We kept student advancement our top focus. And we celebrated our students who graduated in 2020 – the first-ever to finish their medical school journey with virtual electives – with an entirely virtual Match Day and an entirely virtual graduation sending them off to residency programs to join the front lines of care. Even as we brought back students to clinical rotations last summer, we continued with a largely virtual biomedical science curriculum taught by talented faculty who, too, were learning to optimize virtual learning while navigating the pandemic personally. We saw flexibility and resilience from all of our students, staff and faculty to move forward all students – medical students, physician assistant and anesthesia assistant students – in their medical journey. Our senior students who will celebrate Match Day next Friday, with a virtual ceremony, will now join our medical community as they pursue residency training in a new era alongside their physician assistant and anesthesia assistant colleagues who are starting practice.

Now, we will join our current senior students to celebrate Match Day next Friday – again with a virtual ceremony – to mark their steps into the medical community to pursue residency training in a new era.

There are many reasons to be encouraged. The pace of disease has slowed, and we are seeing the lowest number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths since last spring. Prediction models suggest that a third of the population has natural immunity – I taking the number of cases we know, combined with the estimate of the number who have had asymptomatic infection. And there are some experts who suggest SARS CoV-2 may have a seasonality where summer may produce a natural reprieve. Add to that we are welcoming the era of COVID-19 vaccines – the clear path that will lead to the herd immunity necessary to stop the spread of this deadly virus. Today, we stand at three vaccines that have received emergency-use authorization and have all demonstrated the ability to reduce serious disease and deaths. Nearly 19% of the U.S. population has received a first dose of vaccine and 2.17 million doses are being administered every day as of March 4, 2021. While vaccine supply is not yet ready to meet demand, we expect enough vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson by end of April to fully vaccinate more than 200 million adults. That would put us on pace to have 50% of the population vaccinated by May 25. There is still a huge logistical challenge to providing equitable access to vaccination, and approximately one-half of those 65 and older have not yet received the vaccine. We need to prioritize getting vaccines to our seniors, as we know that age is a predictor of hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19. When compared to someone 30 years of age, it’s a 100 times greater risk for death in those 65 and older, a 1,000 times greater risk of death in those 75 and older, and a 10,000 times greater risk of death for those who are 85 and older. Ensuring access and reducing logistical challenges for this population is critical even as we open up access to more eligible populations.

As we vaccinate more and more Americans, the CDC provided new guidance this week: Those who are fully vaccinated can safety gather with family and friends. At the same time, experts are still recommending restrictions on travel. This caution relates to the increase in spread of vaccine variant viruses across the U.S. and the plateau of cases seen in many states. This may portend another surge of disease, even as we seem to be on the cusp of recovery. Vaccine manufacturers are already progressing on the work needed to provide a booster or multi-virus vaccine to address the variant spread.

So, on this day, one year into the pandemic that has disrupted all of our lives in ways we could have never imagined, know that we will return to normal. And know that we are increasingly getting closer to the point that we put the pandemic in our rear-view mirror.

Dr. Mark Nichols appointed interim chair of Biomedical and Health Informatics

School of Medicine Interim Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., has appointed Mark Nichols, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics effective August 1, 2018. In this role, he will work closely with faculty, staff and students to help position the department as a catalyst for innovation and creativity.

Dr. Nichols received his Ph.D. from Yale University in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. He then undertook postdoctoral training in molecular biology at the German Cancer Research Center, and the European Molecular Biology Lab, both in Heidelberg.

In 1998, Dr. Nichols returned to the United States as an assistant professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine.

From 2010-2016, he served as a Scientist Administrator for Research Development in the Senior Vice Chancellor’s Office of Research at the University of Pittsburgh. In that capacity, he served all six health science schools at the University of Pittsburgh with the specific objective of assisting other investigators in their quest to obtain extramural research funding. His work resulted in 77 grants funded for more than $121 million.

In 2016, Dr. Nichols was recruited to UMKC as Associate Dean for Research at the School of Nursing and Health Studies and as Associate Research Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the School of Medicine.

His expertise includes molecular mechanisms of drug and enzyme action, molecular biology, mutagenesis, cloning, signal transduction, genomic regulation, cell cycle, and steroid hormones, with peer-reviewed publications in 20 biomedical journals, an siRNA biotechnology patent, and funding from NIH (NIDDK, NCI), DOD CDRMP, and American Cancer Society.

SOM announces interim chair of psychiatry

Dr. Stephen Jarvis

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced that Stephen Jarvis, M.D., will serve as interim academic chair of the UMKC Department of Psychiatry.

Jarvis received his medical degree from University of Missouri-Columbia, and completed residency and fellowship training from the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As a UMKC faculty member, Jarvis has held multiple administrative positions at Truman Medical Centers and at the former Western Missouri Mental Health Center. He serves as the associate chief medical officer and clinical department chair for Psychiatry at Truman Medical Centers.

Jarvis assumed his new role on November 20, 2017.

He replaces Nash Boutros, M.D., who served as chair of the UMKC Department of Psychiatry and  medical director for the Center for Behavioral Medicine from 2014 to 2017. Boutros, a professor of psychiatry, holds tenure in the department of Biomedical and Health Informatics. Boutros will remain at UMKC to continue his research program.

School of Medicine’s role in developing leaders discussed

Dean Steven L. Kanter with former deans Betty Drees, M.D., Harry Jonas, M.D., and Richardson Noback, M.D., from left, at the Tradition of Leadership event.
Dean Steven L. Kanter withformer deans Betty Drees, M.D., Harry Jonas, M.D., and Richardson Noback, M.D., from left, at the Tradition of Leadership event

The UMKC School of Medicine marked its 45th anniversary celebrating the school’s rich tradition of developing leaders.

School of Medicine faculty members presented the preliminary findings of a research project at an April 8 event titled “A Tradition of Leadership.” The research project is a study of the factors that have led graduates of the B.A./M.D. program to leadership roles.

In his opening remarks, Dean Steven L. Kanter, M.D., said the study originated from his observation that the school had produced a substantial number of graduates who have ascended to leadership positions in patient care, research, education, the military, organized medicine, industry and government. “I was curious to know why this medical school is graduating so many individuals who achieved so much,” he said.

Kanter’s curiosity led to the alumni leadership research project. Two of the authors of the study, Louise Arnold, Ph.D., professor emerita of medical education and research, and Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical and health informatics and director of medical education support services, discussed the methodology and early results at the April 8 event.

For the purposes of the study, leadership was defined as documented achievement as administrators, clinicians, researchers or educators in substantial local, regional or national medical institutions, organizations or societies. The authors determined that of 213 of the 1,664 B.A./M.D. students who graduated from UMKC from 1976 to 1999 met the criteria.

The authors conducted interviews with 48 of the 213 graduates and asked them to identify the factors they believed had contributed to their leadership development. Many graduates indicated their experiences in medical school influenced their growth.

In interviews, graduates said the culture of the medical school was one of the key factors. Graduates described the learning environment as supportive, nurturing, friendly and encouraging. “No one told you that you couldn’t do something,” one respondent said.

Many graduates said the docent system was crucial in their development. They said the junior-senior partnerships and other aspects of the system taught responsibility, collegiality and other important concepts. The docent team, Arnold reported, “became a place for learning how to build and be part of an effective team.”

Three former deans and an alumnus participated in a panel discussion after Arnold and Quaintance presented the findings.

Founding Dean Richardson Noback, M.D., said the School of Medicine’s admissions process identified students who demonstrated a capacity for leadership. Noback said the school looked for students who had a “sustained record of application to a difficult task through time with excellence in performance.”

Noback’s successor, Dean Emeritus Harry Jonas, M.D., said UMKC medical students benefit from being exposed to patient care as first-year students. “The beauty of this program is the early, early clinical experience you have.”

Jonas said the School of Medicine’s skeptics focused on the accelerated curriculum. “They didn’t understand the docent system. They didn’t understand the integration of the humanities and medical education.”

Dean Emerita Betty Drees, M.D., agreed with the finding that the junior-senior partnerships and other aspects of the docent system are critical to UMKC graduates’ future success. “I think one of the reasons why they’re such effective clinicians is because they train in a team environment, and medicine is very much a team activity,” she said.

Michael Weaver, M.D. ’77, an alumnus and clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, said the phrase “patient-centered care” reminds him of his experience as a medical student at UMKC. “I would say that we had a student-centered learning approach at this institution.”

Stuart Munro, M.D., professor of medical humanities and social sciences, led the panel discussion.

Paul Cuddy, Ph.D., senior associate dean for academic affairs, and Susan Hathaway, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor of pediatrics, are co-authors of the research project, along with Arnold, Quaintance and Kanter.


City’s medical school deans meet for reception, panel discussion

Bruce D. Dubin, Robert D. Simari and Steven L. Kanter (from left to right) met at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences on Feb. 11.
Bruce D. Dubin, Robert D. Simari and Steven L. Kanter (from left to right) met at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

Deans of the three medical schools in Kansas City met for a reception and panel discussion at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences on Feb. 11

UMKC School of Medicine Dean Steven L. Kanter, M.D., joined Bruce D. Dubin, D.O., J.D., dean of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, and Robert D. Simari, M.D., dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, to discuss medical education, research, service and opportunities for collaboration.

Kanter said each school brought something important to the table. “At the end of the day, we are much more alike than we are different,” he said. “And I think the three of us are committed to taking advantage of that.”

The Kansas City Business Journal’s coverage of the event is available at this link.

Christopher Sirridge, M.D., ’78, presents late father’s lectureship

(From Left) Siblings Stephen Sirridge, Ph.D., Christopher Sirridge, M.D., '78, and Mary Sirridge, Ph.D.
(From Left) Siblings Stephen Sirridge, Ph.D., Christopher Sirridge, M.D., ’78, and Mary Sirridge, Ph.D.

It was a family affair at the 20th annual William T. Sirridge, M.D., Medical Humanities Lectureship on March 13 at the School of Medicine. Mary Sirridge, Ph.D., spoke first, discussing her late father’s appreciation for the arts. Stephen Sirridge, Ph.D., then introduced his brother, Christopher Sirridge, M.D., ’78, as their mother, former Dean Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., sat in the audience.

Christopher, an oncologist and hematologist at an affiliated private practice of the University of Kansas Hospital, presented his lecture titled, “‘From the Heart of Hell, I Strike at Thee’: Reflections on Moby Dick,” which explored the prominent themes, symbolism and human issues in the novel and how they relate to the art of medicine. Sirridge said he was honored to be the featured speaker for his late father’s lectureship and mentioned storytelling as one of his father’s greatest talents. The first graduate of the School of Medicine’s combined, six-year program to also major in English, Sirridge shares his father’s appreciation of literature’s insights on humanity.

The 1991 School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award winner said his father instilled in him the importance of listening to his patients and their stories.

“Listening is the greatest technique as a physician; let the patients tell their story,” Christopher said. “My dad used to say, ‘if you listen long enough, they will tell you what they have. If you listen longer, they will tell you what they need.”

Christopher mentioned the traditional literary themes of morality, man’s inhumanity to fellow man, loss of innocence, death and dying, failure, lack of forgiveness and unfiltered shame and how they are entrenched in Moby Dick. Christopher described his moment of loss of innocence in the beginning of his career. As a resident at the Cleveland Clinic, he was preparing to do a routine blood gas as a resident at the Cleveland Clinic, and as he pushed up the man’s sleeve, he saw the patient’s Auschwitz tattoo. The man instructed the young Dr. Sirridge to insert the needle into the “6.”

“This was a huge loss of innocence for me,” Christopher said. “Remember, your moments of loss of innocence and convert them to pillars of your character.”

Christopher went on to say that everyone is unique, and “we all have our own Moby Dick.” The whale symbolizes what is frightening and unknown.

Another message Christopher had for the audience was to “be tolerant and understand the uniqueness; let’s be dependent upon one another and celebrate uniqueness.”

Throughout the years, Christopher has remained invested in supporting the humanities not only at the SOM but also in the Kansas City area. His expansive medical career spans the military, academics and private practice. After graduating from the SOM, he completed an internal medicine residency program at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by fellowships in oncology and hematology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Since 1984, Christopher has been active in the United States Army Medical Corps. He began as a captain in 1984, was promoted to a major in 1986 and then served on active duty as a lieutenant colonel from 1993-2000. Christopher has received many distinguished honors within the military, including three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals and five Army Achievement Medals.

He has also had several academic appointments including the director of ambulatory services in the Oncology Clinic at Truman Medical Center-East, assistant professor of medicine of hematology and oncology at the SOM, and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Medical School and the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

School of Medicine announces new Assistant Dean for Years 1 and 2 Medicine

Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., ’03
Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., ’03

The School of Medicine has announced Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., M.P.H., ’03, a Kansas City pediatrician and president of the School’s Alumni Association, as the new Assistant Dean for Years 1 and 2 Medicine.

As assistant dean, Cattaneo will be responsible for promoting a cohesive and nurturing atmosphere for first and second-year students that will help them establish a solid foundation for success at the School of Medicine and their career development, while also realizing their emerging roles in the medical profession. The assistant dean works with Years 1 and 2 support staff to educate students about academic support resources available within the med school and the Volker campus.

“I am truly humbled the administration at the School of Medicine has trust in me for this position,” Cattaneo said. “With the wonderful support system that the School has assembled, my job will be to help those students become more professional, more dedicated, more educated on the fundamentals of medicine, and prepare those students to become efficient and effective upper level medical students.”

Cattaneo has been a general pediatrician with Priority Care Pediatrics since 2006. He will continue his private practice in addition to his role with the School of Medicine.

He is also a volunteer and medical director of a wellness clinic at Community LINC, a Kansas City organization that works with the community’s homeless and impoverished families.

“I am so excited to be joining the staff at the UMKC School of Medicine,” Cattaneo said. “After graduating from residency at Children’s Mercy, I knew that I wanted to do more than clinical medicine. My partners at Priority Care Pediatrics, LLC, have always been generous enough to allow me to have outside responsibilities.”

After graduating from the School of Medicine, Cattaneo completed his internship and residency training in pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. He is currently working toward completing his Master of Public Health Degree at UMKC.

He has remained active in promoting the School and has strived to keep alumni connected to the School as president of the Alumni Association since 2010.

“As a physician and an alum, I will have a different, unique perspective on being a Year 1 or 2 medical student than some other staff,” Cattaneo said.

School of Medicine announces new Psychiatry chair

Nash Boutros, M.D.
Nash Boutros, M.D.

The UMKC School of Medicine has announced the appointment of Nash Boutros, M.D., as the academic chair of the Department of Psychiatry, effective February 24, 2014. He will also serve as Medical Director for the Center for Behavioral Medicine.

Boutros currently serves as associate chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine where he is also a professor of psychiatry and neurology and director of Psychiatric Clinical Electrophysiology and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratories.

“Dr. Boutros will be an asset to the Kansas City community,” said Betty Drees, dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. “His experience and expertise will help lead mental health care treatment at a critical time of need locally and across the state of Missouri.”

He received his medical degree from Cairo University Medical School. He did his residency in psychiatry at Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, a neurology residency and a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at the University of Illinois, and a fellowship in epileptology and behavioral neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas.

He is boarded in psychiatry, neurology, and clinical neurophysiology. He has served on the faculties of the medical schools at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Ohio State University, Yale, and Wayne State University. He is the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed journal articles, including research studies in schizophrenia and neurophysiology, and is co-author of books on neuroanatomy and electroencephalography in psychiatry.

Boutros succeeds Stuart Munro, M.D., who became chair of the School of Medicine’s new Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences in March 2013.

Dr. Moormeier appointed Department of Medicine chair

Jill Moormeier, M.D.
Jill Moormeier, M.D.

The School of Medicine and Truman Medical Centers announced the appointment of Jill Moormeier, M.D., professor of medicine, as the new chair of the Department of Medicine. The appointment is effective immediately for a term of up to two years.

Moormeier has served as associate dean for Graduate Medical Education since 2006. She joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1990 and has served as a senior docent and as section chief and fellowship director for hematology and oncology. She has also been vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Medicine and served as the associate director of the Internal Medicine Residency program.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in Omaha, Moormeier completed her residency training at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and did fellowship training in hematology and oncology at the University of Chicago Medicine Medical Center.

She has held numerous committee positions and offices at the School of Medicine and Truman Medical Centers, having served as a member of the board of directors for the University Physicians Associates and as chair of the UPA finance committee.

Dean Drees announces she will step down in 2014

Betty Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., Dean, UMKC School of Medicine

After 12 years as dean of the UMKC School of Medicine, Betty Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., has made the decision to leave the position in 2014.

At the request of UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton, Drees will continue her leadership at the School of Medicine until a search can be conducted and a new dean appointed. Drees said that after transitioning from the dean’s position she plans to work on patient safety and health policy programs as well as teaching and community service.

“When the time comes, I will leave the deanship with tremendous pride in all that we have accomplished together since I first took on this role in 2001. But it is precisely because of our joint success that it is a good time to transition the school to new leadership,” Drees said. “In fact, Dr. Dimond’s (founder of the UMKC School of Medicine) practice of changing professionally and personally every 10 years went through my mind as I made this decision. It is healthy for the individual and the institution. Now is the perfect time to bring in fresh leadership for the School of Medicine to carry on the extraordinary work here at UMKC.”

Drees’ leadership has provided tremendous benefit for students, their families and their patients as they become physicians, said UMKC Provost Gail Hackett.

“Because of the high quality education School of Medicine graduates receive, she has made a difference in improving the health of many people in the community and across the country,” Hackett said.

UMKC School of Medicine’s accomplishments during Drees’ deanship:

  • Fiscal strength. “We’ve been able to strengthen the financial position of the school, despite holding tuition increases to a minimum. The improved finances allow us to increase scholarships, recruit faculty and upgrade facilities.” The new Skills Lab is opening in January and the docent units are beginning renovations. There are plans for new classrooms and labs for the school through a capital appropriations request of $48 million.
  • Collaboration. “We’ve strengthened our partnerships with other schools at UMKC and our clinical affiliations.” Examples include the Vision Research Center in partnership with the School of Pharmacy, the Master of Health Professions Education in partnership with the School of Education, and the Master of Bioinformatics in partnership with the Schools of Biological Sciences and Computing and Engineering.
  • Student success. “We have graduated more than 3,100 physicians since our founding, and celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2011-2012,” Drees said. “These graduates provide excellent medical care in our own community, and are also highly successful in academics and community service. The past two years, alumni from the School of Medicine were the university-wide alumni award winners, Dr. Catherine Spong and Dr. Mark Ediger.” The school sponsors more than 40 residency and fellowship programs that continue to grow and now include more than 500 physicians in post-graduate training. About half of these physicians remain in the region to practice medicine.
  • New education programs. New graduate and certificate programs in bioinformatics prepare students for clinical research, computational analytics and genomics. In order to meet health care needs, there are new master’s degree programs for students to become anesthesiologist assistants and physician assistants.
  • Research. The school is utilizing its partnerships and affiliations to build research programs based on collection, analysis and application of data —bioinformatics, an emerging specialty that will drive better patient outcomes and personalized medicine. Areas of research strength include brain and behavior, women and children’s health, chronic diseases, injury and cardiac patient outcomes. “We’ve established research centers in Vision, Lung Diseases, Shock/Trauma, Women’s Health and Health Insights. The Center for Health Insights is the newest center and will  create a strong foundation for clinical  research.”

The school has 22 endowed chairs and professorships, the most of any academic unit in the University of Missouri System. Seven of these chairs and professorships were funded during Dr. Drees’ tenure as dean. The most recently filled endowed chair is the Vijay Babu Rayudu Endowed Chair in Patient Safety.

“This chair fits well with our strength in clinical care, clinical education and clinical research,” Drees said.

Overall, the School’s faculty publications are approaching 700 manuscripts, monographs and book chapters each year.

Drees came to the UMKC School of Medicine in 1998 as associate dean for academic affairs. Previously, she was on the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical School, where she received her medical degree and trained in internal medicine and endocrinology.

Drees is a practicing physician with hospital privileges at Truman Medical Centers, Saint Luke’s Hospital and the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She is an endocrinologist who sees patients with bone and calcium disorders, diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease and other general hormone conditions.

At the UMKC School of Medicine, Drees has also served as a docent, a faculty mentor for students in the last four years of their medical education.

“Because of the shortage of physicians and in an effort to ease the burden of tuition costs, medical education across the country is again evaluating accelerated programs,” Drees said. “Fortunately, we’ve had 40 years of success in this innovation in training physicians for the future. The quality of our students who are accepted in the medical education program is exceptionally high. They are phenomenal people who become outstanding physicians. We also have wonderful faculty, residents, fellows and staff. We have an excellent group of leaders in our department chairs, deans and program directors who will carry the school forward.”