Tag Archives: Staff

SOM staff recognized in UMKC awards event

UMKC recognized eight School of Medicine staff members for their service and work during the university’s virtual Staff Awards event on April 20.

The celebration included milestone anniversaries, staff who were a part of the 2020 graduating class and staff who completed leadership development courses offered through the university.

Rachel McCommon, coordinator of strategic initiatives in the office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, received this year’s Living the Values Award. The honor recognizes a staff employee that best exemplifies excellence in one or more of the University’s key values: Learning, Diversity, Integrity, Accountability, Respect and Collaboration. Nominees must have shown extraordinary adoption of one or more of the key values in a work-related situation.

Four staff members, Collin Foster, Years 1-2 education team coordinator; Megan Frasher, manager of medical education with the council on curriculum; Brent McCoy, senior education team coordinator; and Sandra Smith, student support specialist, took part in the Series on Leadership Essentials. The program focuses on developing leaders in the areas of communication, engagement, giving and receiving feedback, and navigating change

Lisa Mallow, manager marketing/communications, was recognized as a graduate of the Administrative Leadership Development Program. The program provides professional development opportunities and ongoing support to administrative leaders on all campuses systemwide. ALDP enhances leadership effectiveness by focusing on core leadership competencies: Performance Oriented, People Centered, Culturally Competent, Values Driven, Strategic and Integrative Leaders.

Scott Guerrero, STAHR (Students in Training, in Academia, Health, and Research) program director, and Courtney McCain, coordinator of the school’s standardized patient program, were recognized among 2020 spring, summer and fall graduates.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony took place virtually  to celebrate dedication to student success, diversity and inclusion, engagement and outreach and research and discovery.

The Race Is On! Hospital Hill Run returns as In-person Event June 5

Get ready to hit the pavement!

After adapting to COVID restrictions and holding a virtual race last year, Kansas City’s Hospital Hill Run (HHR) is back as a live, in-person event on June 5. Whether you walk or run, and whether you prefer a 5K, 10K or half-marathon distance, make plans to join the city’s oldest foot race and the first live half-marathon event in the Kansas City Metro this spring. Here’s the official HHR statement:

The Hospital Hill Run has been given the green light to move forward with a live event, as scheduled for 6/5/21, pending any unforeseen circumstances. Health and wellness of our participants is our top priority   and all city and state protocols will be followed.

The UMKC Health Sciences District is sponsoring the event, and all UMKC faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends receive a 20 percent discount when you REGISTER using this code: WPFCUMKC21. For younger participants, K-12 registration is offered as well.

The Hospital Hill Run website provides resources, videos and training materials to help participants prepare for the race. Runners/walkers will receive race medals and t-shirts.

Not a runner? The race is also recruiting volunteers. Learn more.

The Hospital Hill Run, founded in 1974 by UMKC School of Medicine founder Dr. E. Grey Dimond, is the oldest foot race in Kansas City. What started as a single 6.8-mile race with 99 runners has evolved into a well-known, world-class event hosting thousands of runners from nearly all 50 states. It was recently voted the Best Organized Footrace/Run in Kansas City by The Pitch magazine readers, and the 2021 event will mark its 48th year of success.

For more information, visit the Hospital Hill Run website.

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.

In place of KC Marathon, Million Mile Challenge makes every mile count with free and discounted entries for SOM

The Garmin Kansas City Marathon is not alone in canceling its fall event because of the coronavirus, but its organizers are challenging runners and supporters in a new way.

UMKC School of Medicine and its hospital affiliate Truman Medical Centers are gold sponsors of the MILLION MILE CHALLENGE, KC Marathon’s running alternative for 2020. School of Medicine has 10 FREE entries available on a first-come, first-served basis, and all UMKC students, staff and faculty who register can receive a discounted entry fee.

“It was a tough call, but canceling the race was best for the safety of race participants, partners, staff and volunteers,” said Dave Borchardt, director of corporate and community relationships at the Kansas City Sports Commission, the non-profit organization that organizes the Garmin Kansas City Marathon. “Now, we are excited about the Million Mile Challenge and encouraged by the interest it’s received.”

The Million Mile Challenge is a fun and engaging way to support your local community while staying fit through training and running. Between now and Oct. 17, participants can track and log miles anytime and anywhere they walk or run, both as they train and complete their race miles (5k, 10K, half marathon or full marathon). The goal is to reach one million cumulative miles among all registered in the challenge, with key mileage benchmarks celebrated with randomly selected gift winners announced along the way.

The event concludes with a two-day, drive-through Finishers Fest Oct. 16-17 with fun photo opportunities, sponsor booths and other activities. There, participants can pick up their participant items in person, including a race-branded shirt, finisher’s medal, commemorative race bib and finisher’s certificate, Million Mile Challenger finisher item and the ultimate KC swag bag. Registrants may also have their race packets mailed directly to them (additional fees apply).

If interested in a FREE entry, contact Lisa Mallow (lmallow@umkc.edu). Registration is open through Oct. 15, and the cost is $40. UMKC students, staff and faculty save 10 percent when using the discount code UMKCMED10.

To sign up and start logging your miles today, click here.

Traci McDonald joins Office of Research Administration

Traci McDonald has joined the UMKC School of Medicine Office of Research Administration as a grants support specialist.

She comes to UMKC from Hallmark Cards, where she worked as a demand/inventory analyst. She was later promoted to product execution specialist. She has a bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas.

McDonald enjoys crafts, party planning, wedding decorating, and shopping. She has two children.

The newest member of the Office of Research Administration says she is looking forward to working with researchers at the School of Medicine and School of Nursing and Health Studies, and with clinicians and residents who conduct research activities at Truman Medical Center.

On A Mission: Personal Protective Equipment for Those on the Front Line

The need for personal protective equipment — called PPE — is one of the most serious challenges facing healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every health care institution in the U.S. has a critical shortage of PPE and no help is on the way in terms of federal stock to replenish the supply. The call to inventory PPE at other sites that have available stock is one way to provide the help needed by hospitals, and that is why the University of Missouri-Kansas City is on a mission to find and share currently unused PPE. So far, UMKC has located and given about 20,000 masks, tens of thousands of pairs of gloves and hundreds of gowns to local hospitals.

“What we are doing on the UMKC Health Sciences Campus is working with our colleagues across the university to identify PPE that can be deployed to those hospitals most in need, and we are sharing that precious equipment,” said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., interim dean at the UMKC School of Medicine.

Jackson, who specializes in infectious disease, is a national expert on the new coronavirus. She said proper PPE is crucial.

“Caring for patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals requires institutions to provide explicit guidance so staff can identify patients that need hospitalization and use all measures to prevent spread to other patients, and to themselves.” – Mary Anne Jackson, M.D.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic engulfs the United States, there are gaps in our scientific knowledge to tell us how many have been infected, and to identify the full spectrum of symptoms and signs. Adequate and reliable testing to help us correctly identify cases has not been widely available,” she said. “Still, the patients come and we care for them. Caring for patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals requires institutions to provide explicit guidance so staff can identify patients that need hospitalization and use all measures to prevent spread to other patients, and to themselves.”

To date, Italy, the hardest-hit country in the world, has seen an enormous number of cases; 20% of those infected are the doctors and nurses caring for the patients, Jackson said.

“Across the country, we are already seeing New York in a desperate situation,” Jackson said. “California, Washington state and now Louisiana, all are seeing a steep uptick in cases that threaten to overwhelm the healthcare system within the next week, and states like ours are only weeks behind unless we strictly enforce social distancing to reduce spread. That is why schools and businesses are closed and our mayor has issued a stay-at-home order. We face caring for patients without bed capacity, ventilators or the PPE needed to keep our workforce safe and operational.”

“What we are doing on the UMKC Health Sciences Campus is working with our colleagues across the university to identify PPE that can be deployed to those hospitals most in need, and we are sharing that precious equipment.” – Jackson, M.D.

UMKC delivers boxes of PPE

Within minutes of being asked if the UMKC School of Dentistry had surplus PPE it could part with, Dean Marsha Pyle and her colleagues rounded up a large inventory of boxes filled with gowns, masks and gloves that are not being utilized as the dental clinics have closed to all but emergency patients.

Later, the UMKC schools of Nursing and Health Studies and Biological and Chemical Sciences also donated. KC STEM Alliance at the School of Computing and Engineering gave 500 pairs of goggles. These were brought to local hospitals where staff said supplies were critically low.

“We do know that everyone wants to help and there has been a grassroots effort to have the community sew cloth masks. A recent study of cloth masks cautions against their use…so these are not the protection that healthcare workers can use in the healthcare environment at this time.” – Jackson, M.D.

Students from the UMKC Schools of Medicine and Dentistry led by Stefanie Ellison, associate dean for learning Initiatives at the School of Medicine and Richard Bigham, assistant dean of student programs at the School of Dentistry, are collaborating to identify other sources in the community and coordinating efforts to collect and distribute these vital supplies to local healthcare workers on the front lines. Others in the community that may be willing to donate their supplies include:

  • Nail, hair, tattoo and piercing salons
  • Local carpenters and maintenance workers, especially if contracted with apartment complexes, professional painters, drywallers, construction/machine operators, welders
  • Professional colleagues in veterinary medicine
  • Others in the local and regional dental community
  • Warehouses (such as UHaul), mechanics, auto shops
  • Cleaning services, or any organization that employs janitorial services or cafeterias
  • Any organization with nursing stations (pools, gyms, schools)

“We are also aware that our colleagues at Missouri S&T have developed a prototype for a face shield and N95 respirators (a protective mask designed to achieve a close facial fit with highly- efficient filtration of airborne particles) that could be mass produced, and we’re actively looking for community resources to do so,” Jackson said. “We do know that everyone wants to help and there has been a grassroots effort to have the community sew cloth masks. A recent study of cloth masks cautions against their use: moisture retention, reuse and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection so these are not the protection that healthcare workers can use in the healthcare environment at this time.”

Shortages of PPE are severe and increasing because of hoarding, misuse and increased demand, according to the World Health Organization. There is clear data that pricing for surgical masks has increased sixfold, N95 respirator prices have tripled and even gown costs have doubled. The governor of New York has criticized the price gouging that prevents him from getting the masks he needs in the most urgent of situations there.

The WHO has shipped 500,000 sets of PPE to 27 countries, but supplies are rapidly depleting and that stock won’t nearly cover the need. It estimates that PPE supplies need to increase by 40%, and manufacturers are rapidly scaling up production and urging governments to offer incentives to boost supplies, including easing restrictions on the export and distribution of PPE and other medical supplies.

This from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “This cannot be solved by WHO alone, or one industry alone. It requires all of us working together to ensure all countries can protect the people who protect the rest of us.”

To donate to the UMKC PPE initiative, please email Stefanie Ellison at ellisonst@umkc.edu and Richard Bigham at bighamr@umkc.edu.

UMKC discounts available for Hospital Hill Run; volunteers welcome, too

What could be better for your fitness than taking part in the 47th Annual Hospital Hill Run? How about doing it with a healthy discount on your entry free?

The UMKC Health Sciences District is once again a sponsor for the race, which will be June 6 this year. Through the sponsorship, all UMKC running enthusiasts, faculty, staff, students and alumni can get 20 percent off on registration for any race distance. Just register here and use the code WPFCUMKC20.

Kansas City’s Crown Center again will be the start and finish locations for all three race distances – 5K, 10K and half marathon.

Over the years, more than 170,000 athletes of all levels from across the world have participated in this event. Originated by UMKC School of Medicine founder Dr. E. Grey Dimond, M.D., the Hospital Hill Run served as host to the first USATF National Championship half marathon in 2002. In 2013, the race was recognized by Runner’s World Magazine as the 11th best half marathon in the United States.

UMKC faculty, staff, students and alumni who aren’t participating in the races may serve in one of many volunteer roles. Volunteers are the backbone of the Hospital Hill Run. Individuals and groups are needed to help unwrap medals; pack post-race food packets; sort, stack, and pass out t-shirts; distribute race bibs; set up and staff aid stations; cheer and steer participants on course; award medals; hand out wet towels, food, and hydration at the finish line; and help with event clean up. Volunteers can register here.

School of Medicine’s 2020 humanities magazine available online

The 2020 issue the UMKC School of Medicine publication, Human Factor, is now available online. Human Factor celebrates the connection between art, humanities and the practice of medicine.

The publication showcases the creativity, imagination and talent of our students, alumni, residents, faculty and staff. All of the printed words and images featured in this publication make the important link between an appreciation of art and compassionate patient care — illustrating the significant role of medical humanities.

This year’s issue features poetry, short stories, photos, drawings and and other original artwork including the cover image created by fifth-year medical student Rachana Kombathula.

Watch for a call for submissions to the 2021 edition of the Human Factor early next next fall.

Leader in early language development to present 2019 Sirridge Lecture

Dr. Dana Suskind

Dana Suskind, M.D., a 1992 graduate of the School of Medicine and nationally recognized leader in early language development, will present to 2019 William and Marjorie Sirridge Annual Lecture on Sept. 19.

A professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Chicago, Susknid is the director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program and founder and co-director of TMW (Thirty Million Words) Center for Early Learning + Public Health.

As a surgeon performing cochlear implants in children, Suskind realized her patients’ language skills developed at far different rates. Through her research, she discovered that children who thrive hear millions of words during their early years and wrote a book on her work, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain.

Through her Thirty Million Word Initiative, she developed an evidence-based intervention program that is intended to reduce the language gap between children in lower-income families and wealthier households. The program combines education, technology and behavioral strategies for parents and caregivers to enhance the verbal interactions with their children.

Following medical school at UMKC, Suskind completed her residency at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and a fellowship at Washington University Children’s Hospital.

She has received many awards for her work including the Weizmann Women for Science Vision and Impact Award, the SENTAC Gray Humanitarian Award, the LENA Research Foundation Making a Difference Award, the 2018 Chairman’s Award from the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the John D. Arnold, M.D., Mentor Award for Sustained Excellence from the Pritzker School of Medicine.

William T. Sirridge, M.D., and his wife, Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., two of the UMKC School of Medicine’s original docents, viewed the humanities as an essential part of a students’ medical training. In 1992, they established the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics to merge the humanities with the science of medicine. Today, the school recognizes their dedication, compassion and advancement of patient care and medical education in Kansas City with the William and Marjorie Sirridge Lecture.

Discounted registration available for 2019 Hospital Hill Run

The UMKC Health Sciences District is once again pleased to serve as an event sponsor for one of the oldest and most-storied races in Missouri: the 46th Annual Hospital Hill Run, which returns to Kansas City on Saturday, June 1.

This year’s race event will take place on one day, with the starting and finishing lines for all three race distances – 5K, 10K, and half marathon – set up at Kansas City’s Crown Center.

Through the sponsorship, all UMKC running enthusiasts, faculty, staff, students and alumni may receive a 20 percent discount on registration for any race distance. Just use the code: UMKCDISC19. Register here.

Over the years, more than 170,000 athletes of all levels from across the world have participated in this event. Originated by UMKC School of Medicine founder Dr. E. Grey Dimond, M.D., the Hospital Hill Run served as host to the first USATF National Championship half marathon in 2002. In 2013, the race was recognized by Runner’s World Magazine as the 11th best half marathon in the United States.

UMKC faculty, staff, students and alumni who aren’t participating in the races may serve in one of many volunteer roles. Volunteers are the backbone of the Hospital Hill Run. Individuals and groups are needed to help unwrap medals; pack post-race food packets; sort, stack, and pass out t-shirts; distribute race bibs; set up and staff aid stations; cheer and steer participants on course; award medals; hand out wet towels, food, and hydration at the finish line; and help with event clean up. Volunteers may register here.