Tag Archives: Student Affairs

SOM’s Dr. Bridgette Jones receives Gold Award for Humanistic Care

Bridgette L. Jones, M.D., M.S.C.R., associate professor of pediatrics and assistant academic dean in the medical school’s Office of Student Affairs, is one of three UMKC health care community members recognized by the University as 2021 Gold Foundation Champions of Humanistic Care.

She will be among those from across the country honored at a virtual gala June 10, where three national honorees, including Anthony Fauci, M.D., will also be recognized.

The three winners were all nominated by the UMKC School of Medicine and its dean, Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. Joining Jones, an allergy, asthma and immunology specialist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, as award winners are Obie Austin, F.N.P., M.S.N., UMKC Student Health and Wellness director and UMKC School of Nursing alum, and Pam Bean, R.N., B.S.N., M.H.S.A., M.B.A., Truman Medical Centers/University Health vice president for practice management and ambulatory care.

Sharing vital information

Jones was commended for working to ensure humanistic care for patients, providing COVID-19 education along with other trusted messengers and sharing her voice to eliminate health inequities for those most affected by the pandemic.

Her activities included working with a medical student leader to distribute masks to medical centers and communities in need, and collaborating with a faculty colleague to launch a fund-raising campaign to support Children’s Mercy employees who had unexpected financial need during the pandemic. She also discussed COVID-19 with community teenagers to answer their questions and was the host and moderator of a panel discussion with other trusted physicians and faculty focused on COVID-19 disease and vaccination in the Black community of Kansas City.

“Over the past year the pandemic has brought so much grief, sorrow, loss and pain to so many individuals, communities and our entire world,” Jones said. “I have been blessed to have my calling and purpose as a physician and as a human being to be a helper. I am blessed and privileged to be able to use my knowledge, skills and my voice to advocate and speak up for those who are most often thought of last or not thought of at all.”

Caring and collaborating

Austin, the longtime director of student health services for the university, was praised as “one of our true heroes over the past year” for his leadership in fostering a culture of care and service. He was commended for quickly learning about COVID-19 and continuing to say up on the latest information so he could be a trusted source for the broader UMKC community and as a member of the university’s Coronavirus Planning Team.

“Providing care never takes the back seat,” Austin said. “I learned that from so many beautiful souls that poured into me as a student here at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, and it has been an honor to give back to the community educators making a difference in the Kansas City community.”

Austin, a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, reflected on the past year.

“This war on COVID has tested our resiliency, fueled our compassion for others and most definitely our ability to see each other in an equal light fighting together as one people to save our humanity,” he said.

Rapid response throughout pandemic

Bean was praised for her efforts that kept Truman Medical Centers, a vital member of the UMKC Health Sciences District and a key affiliate for the School of Medicine, on top of the pandemic. Her nomination for the award said Bean “could not have been replaced in the early, uncertain days of the pandemic.” She helped design the protocols that enabled TMC to initially provide more than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines, and her quick work allowed TMC to be the first medical center in the metro area to vaccinate its staff.

“Providers worked quickly, and with compassion, to match the cruel reality of patients dying without family by their bedside,” Bean said. “Patients turned to providers for emotional support, and I am proud of my team for answering that need while offering high-quality, comprehensive care.”

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is dedicated to the proposition that health care will be dramatically improved by placing the interests, values and dignity of all people at the core of teaching and practice. In addition to Fauci, this year’s national Gold Awards will honor Wayne Riley, M.D., president of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and head of the Board of Trustees of the New York Academy of Medicine, and Eric Topol, M.D., founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and professor of molecular medicine at the Scripps Research Institute.

Student Affairs changes announced at SOM’s Health Sciences District and St. Joe campuses

Top row: Nyia Duncan, Betsy Hendrick, Alex Luke. Bottom row: James Shackelford, Hilary Yager

The School of Medicine has announced a number of new staff appointments and changes in the Office of Student Affairs at both the Health Sciences District campus and the St. Joseph campus.

On the Health Sciences District campus, Betsy Hendrick has been appointed as a senior education team coordinator.

Hendrick has served as ETC for the past year and a half with the Blue Unit and interim ETC for teams on the Purple and Green units. She also serves as the school’s immunization coordinator, facilitates the health disparities elective and assists with Match Day planning.

Also joining the Health Sciences team will be Nyia Duncan, who recently joined the St. Joseph staff as education team coordinator. Duncan will be transitioning to the Health Sciences District campus as an ETC in February. She is recent graduate of Ottawa University with a master’s degree in business administration and human resourses. At Ottawa, she served as a resident director and student affairs graduate assistant.

At the School of Medicine’s new St. Joseph campus, based at Mosaic Life Care, Hilary Yager will serve as program coordinator and administrative assistant. Alex Luke, M.D., joins the staff as academic initiatives specialist. Also, James Shackelford will serve as senior student recruitment specialist and coordinator of special initiatives

Yager is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and brings a broad occupational history that includes teaching, working therapeutically with students, and overseeing summer camps and events. She has worked to streamline connections between School of Medicine faculty, staff and students with Mosaic Life Care.

Luke received his bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University, then worked as a medical scribe in the emergency department at Mosaic before joining the UMKC School of Medicine’s M.D.-only program in 2017. He has held multiple tutoring and academic support roles during his undergraduate and medical careers, and will begin a residency in neurology in July.

Shackelford previously worked in the School of Medicine Deans Office as executive assistant to the dean before leaving the university to run for public office. A graduate of the UMKC Bloch School of Management, he has a master’s degree in public administration.

 

Office of Student Affairs welcomes Bridgette Jones, M.D., as assistant academic dean

Dr. Bridgette Jones

The School of Medicine has announced that Bridgette Jones, M.D., M.S., has joined the Office of Student Affairs in a new role of assistant academic dean.

In this position, Jones will work with students across all six years of the curriculum on matters pertaining to academic affairs. She will maintain regular office hours in both the Years 1 and 2 office on the Volker campus and in  student affairs at the School of Medicine.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Jones to student affairs where her enthusiasm for student engagement and support will contribute to the enhancement of student services,” said Interim School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D.

Jones holds a faculty appointment as an associate professor of pediatrics in the divisions of Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Innovation and Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Children’s Mercy. A clinician scientist with a focus on therapeutics and interventions to improve the lives of children with allergic disease and asthma, she also serves as the associate program director for the Children’s Mercy Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology training program.

She is the inaugural chair of the Faculty and Trainee Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the medical director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Children’s Mercy. In that role, she develops and maintains a pipeline of diverse and successful trainees and physicians in medicine to ensure their career development. She has also been a national advocate for diversity and equity for women in medicine.

Jones was recently nominated for the American Medical Association Inspiration Award that recognizes physicians who have contributed to the achievements of women in medicine. She will be honored by the AMA Women Physician Section with the award during the  AMA House of Delegates interim meeting in September during Women in Medicine Month.

Jones is active on a national leadership level as well. She currently serves as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs, chair of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma Immunology Asthma and Cough Diagnosis and Treatment Committee, and serves as a member of the Food and Drug Administration Pediatric Advisory Committee.

She was appointed by the United States Secretary of Health to serve on the National Institutes of Health Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women. She has received funding through the National Institutes of Health and other extramural and intramural resources to support her work.

She is married to Rafiq Saad and is the mother of two daughters, Lola and Nora.

Dr. Robert Riss selected as assistant dean for career advising

The School of Medicine has announced that Robert Riss, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, will serve as the next assistant dean for career advising.

In his new role at the School of Medicine, Riss will be responsible for oversight of all career advising services.

Riss is an associate director of medical student education and director of curriculum for the highly regarded pediatric clerkship at Children’s Mercy. His leadership in revising the pediatric clerkship curriculum using a scholarly approach and innovative facilitation of technology is cited as a reason for improved performance of students taking their NBME exams.

He has served on many leadership committees at UMKC and Childrens’ Mercy and currently serves as co-chair of the Medical Student Education Special Interest Group with the Academic Pediatric Association. He is also a faculty member of the association after recently completing the organization’s Educational Scholars Program.

Riss has received many awards for teaching and leadership including UMKC’s Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award, as well as the Children’s Mercy Gold Apple Mercy Mentor Award and a faculty award for outstanding teaching support of student medical education.

He currently participates in educational research focusing on curriculum design, evaluation and implementation utilizing technology. He is an educational consultant on the NIH grant: SPeCTRE: The Sunflower Pediatric Clinical Trials Research Extension in which he is charged with designing a curriculum for primary care physicians to increase the research capacity for pediatrics in the state of Kansas.

Riss received his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed his postdoctoral training as a pediatrics resident at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

 

Student Affairs welcomes new Education Team Coordinators

Krisana West, Nick Dean

The School of Medicine recently welcomed two new Education Team Coordinators to the Office of Student Affairs staff.

Krisana West will serve as the New ETC for the Gold Unit and Nick Dean has joined the staff as ETC for the Purple Unit and the allied health students.

West joins the School of Medicine after 15 years at the University of Central Missouri as an advisor for teach education students. She and her husband, John, who also works near Hospital Hill are relocating from Warrensburg to Kansas City with two Siberian huskies and a rat terrier.

West said she looks forward to working with students, faculty and staff at the School of Medicine, exploring Kansas City’s many cultural activities and trying new restaurants.

In addition to working with medical students on the Purple Unit, Dean will also advise students in the Master of Science Anesthesia, Master of Science Bioinformatics, Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant and the Master of Science Health Professions Education programs. He has worked in higher education for the past five years as an academic coach and academic counselor at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, before that. He received a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Arkansas and a bachelor’s in history from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. He will be entering a Master of Library Science program at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, this winter.

A lover of documentaries, food, especially Thai and Chinese, and travel, Dean said his favorite place to visit has been Montreal, Canada. He hopes to make Quito, Ecuador, his next international trip. He moved to Kansas City with his husband, Thomas, and a cat.

Chelladurai presenting AAMC program on professional development for student affairs

Cary Chelladurai, manager of student affairs at the School of Medicine, is working with the AAMC to present its professional Development Initiative to medical school student affairs leaders across the country.

More than 20 new medical schools have opened in the United States in the last 10 years, including a dozen in the past five years alone. And more are on the way.

As manager of the UMKC School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs, Cary Chelladurai understands some of the unique challenges student affairs leaders will face in establishing and maintaining their own departments.

Chelladurai has been working with the Association of American Medical Colleges since earlier this year, sharing its Professional Development Initiative program with other medical school student affairs associate deans, department managers and supervisors.

The AAMC is made of up of all 151 accredited medical schools in the United States and 17 in Canada. In 2016, the national organization’s Group on Student Affairs crafted the Professional Development Initiative to support its members’ student affairs offices.

After attending the AAMC’s first professional development workshop at a national meeting in 2016 and participating in subsequent webinars, Chelladurai implemented the program’s tools at the UMKC School of Medicine.

“We used them with restructuring our office,” said Chelladurai, who has served in her current position since 2012. “We’ve used them with rewriting job descriptions and, being short-staffed, deciding what duties are most important. It’s a framework and a tool that helps us figure that out so we don’t have to do it from scratch.”

Last February, the AAMC asked Chelladurai and a colleague at the University of Alabama to serve as subject matter experts on the program and present it to others at medical schools across the country. The two teamed up to present the material to about 30 student affairs leaders at the AAMC’s national conference in April.

They began offering a series of three online virtual classroom video conferences earlier this summer. The series provides interactive and collaborative discussions and personalized case studies that explore challenges that student affairs departments have faced. The first online video conference took place in July with following sessions slated for September and October.

The entire program highlights eight specific areas of focus for student affairs offices. It also provides a support network for making programs relative in a changing environment and to help student affairs professionals realize their own potential and career fulfillment.

“We’re talking to our colleagues across the country, telling them how we have personally used this program and giving them ideas about how they can use it at their own medical schools,” Chelladurai said. “It’s helpful to the new medical schools that haven’t developed their student affairs departments yet but they’re in their planning stages. They can use it to make sure they have someone covering all the areas of focus.”

It’s also beneficial to more established student affairs offices that are working to find new and better ways to serve their student populations.

“This information and the tools are free and they’re online, so even if a school can’t afford to send someone to a conference, they can benefit from these tools,” Chelladurai said. “That’s one of the good things about the virtual classroom series. They don’t have to travel. We’re teaching this to 25 of our colleagues across the country. They just need to tune in for a couple of hours three times and they’re getting the professional development instead of spending the money and time travelling to a conference.”

Collier named Red Unit education team coordinator

Nikki Collier
Nikki Collier
Nikki Collier, a former senior support assistant in the Office of Student Affairs, has been named the education team coordinator for the Red Unit.

Collier started her new role June 15. She replaced Gladys Zollar-Jones, who recently retired after a lengthy career of service at the School of Medicine.

Collier received a bachelor’s degree in fashion marketing and management from Stephens College. She worked at a property management company in Springfield, Missouri, while completing a master’s degree in mental health counseling at Missouri State University.

Collier joined UMKC as an administrative assistant in the Blue Unit in December 2014. She became senior office support assistant in the Gold Unit earlier this year.

Education team coordinators assist medical students with academic scheduling and degree requirements. They connect students with services and resources, act as student advocates and can serve as a liaison between the student and faculty members or docents.

An education team coordinator is provided to medical students in their first two years on the Volker campus. Students are assigned a new education team coordinator when they arrive at the Hospital Hill campus for Years 3-6.

Eight from School of Medicine participate in mid-year commencement

School of Medicine graduates were part of the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 19 at Swinney Recreation Center. Rana Singh, Ehren Ekhouse, Eric Roychowdhury, Ryan Stokes, Gretchen Woodfork, Chiazotam Ekekezie, Vedica Sharma received their M.D. degrees. Greyson Twist, not pictured, received his Master of Science in Bioinformatics.
School of Medicine graduates were part of the UMKC Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 19 at Swinney Recreation Center. Rana Singh, Ehren Ekhouse, Eric Roychowdhury, Ryan Stokes, Gretchen Woodfork, Chiazotam Ekekezie, Vedica Sharma received their M.D. degrees. Greyson Twist, not pictured, received his Master of Science in Bioinformatics.

Eight students from the School of Medicine took part in UMKC’s mid-year commencement ceremony on Dec. 19 at Swinney Recreation Center.

Seven students received their M.D. They were Chiazotam Ekekezie, Ehren Ekhause, Eric Roychowdhury, Vedica Sharma, Rana Singh, Ryan Stokes and Gretchen Woodfork . Greyson Twist received his Master of Science Bioinformatics degree.

The University’s combined mid-year commencement ceremony honors graduates from the Conservatory of Music and Dance, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, School of Biological Sciences, School of Computing and Engineering, School of Education, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and the School of Graduate Studies.

The School of Medicine will recognize its 2015 spring graduates on May 20 at the Kansas City Music Hall.

Hospital Hill student housing a cause for celebration

Dignitaries from UMKC as well as Kansas City and Missouri gathered to celebrate on Oct. 2 the grand openining of the new student apartments on Hospital Hill.
Dignitaries from UMKC as well as Kansas City and Missouri gathered to celebrate on Oct. 2 the grand openining of the new student apartments on Hospital Hill.

As apartment buildings go, this one was always intended to be more than just a roof, a view and an in-unit washer and dryer.

High expectations surrounded the construction of the first Hospital Hill Campus student housing project by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The new structure is supposed to help draw the most talented future nurses, dentists, pharmacists and physicians to study and practice in Kansas City; stabilize an evolving neighborhood; stimulate spinoff development; promote increased student traffic between UMKC’s two campuses; and help break down a generations-old racial barrier.

State and city dignitaries, neighborhood leaders, university officials, faculty, staff and students gathered at the Hospital Hill Apartments for a grand opening celebration and delivered their verdict: Mission accomplished.

Developer Hugh Zimmer, one of the leaders of the Beacon Hill Development Corporation that built the project, summed up the group’s feelings about the realization of a long-held “dream” to restore a once-proud and stable middle-class neighborhood called Beacon Hill.

“Since the groundbreaking for this project, 12 additional new homes have been completed and 10 additional lots have been sold, and 28 additional lots will be available for sale in the next few months,” Zimmer said.

A healthy-food grocery sponsored by Truman Medical Centers and a boutique hotel are in the planning stages; and the apartments are filled with a diverse mix of bright, eager students – 60 percent of whom take all or most of their classes at the UMKC Volker Campus four miles away.

Vaishnaui Vaidyanathan, MS 3, moved into the new apartment complex in August and now serves as a resident assistant. Vaidyanathan said she appreciated the convenience of living near the medical school and hospital and for her classes and clinical rotations.

“I really like living here,” Vaidyanathan said. “Being close to my classes at the med school is really nice. I can study at the med school and if it’s late, I don’t have very far to go to get back to my room at night.”

She said she also likes the diversity of the student body in the apartments.

“I like the apartments not beacuse they’re new but because there are so many different people here,” she said. “My roommate is a pharmacy student, so there is interaction with a diverse group of students. I’ve already met so many different people.”

A procession of speakers representing a variety of stakeholders participated in a ribbon-tying ceremony, as opposed to a ribbon-cutting. UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton explained the symbolism.

“Today is all about tying things together. We’re tying city and state, campus and community, east side and west side, business and government,” Morton said. “This building is a statement about what we can accomplish when we come together.”

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander said the building is a key addition to a Hospital Hill district that is the epicenter of a growing industry vital to Kansas City’s future – health care.

“UMKC is one of the bedrocks of Kansas City. Everybody knows that,” Kander said. “This will help UMKC to attract and educate students who will work in that vital industry.”

Mayor Sly James added that the building is both “an exciting milestone for UMKC and for this entire community,” as well as an amenity that will help to attract and keep highly talented young people from around the region and country to Kansas City.

Juan Garcia, president of the UMKC Student Government Association, said completion of UMKC’s fourth student housing building represents an evolutionary change for the university’s student body.

“We have more students living on-campus or within walking distance in community rental housing, than ever before,” Garcia said.

“No longer is UMKC merely the school that recedes in your rear-view mirror after class, as you drive back to your other life. As students, we are making our home here, in great neighborhoods that are part of a great city – a city that many of us will continue to call home after graduation.”

Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, said the building is an example of “leadership in action.”

“We are seeing the fruits of leadership from a city and a state, from a university and a private sector business partnership, and from a community that cares,” Wolfe said. “The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, in particular, deserves credit for their leadership. The board insisted on market rate development agreements in order to spur additional development in the surrounding area. The result is progress in health, in economic development and in neighborhood renewal.”

Morton singled out Nikki Krawitz, the longtime vice president for finance and administration for the University of Missouri System.

“It was her leadership, determination and effort that made today possible. Thank you, Nikki,” Morton said. “I am proud to stand here with so many people who contributed to this project, and to be representing Kansas City’s university. Today we demonstrate the full meaning of that phrase. This is what it means to be Kansas City’s university.”

School of Medicine celebrates Match Day 2014

The School of Medicine Class of 2014 celebrates Match Day on March 21.
The School of Medicine Class of 2014 celebrates Match Day on March 21.
Rima Chakraborty, MS 6, (right) celebrates Match Day on March 21 with her husband, Neer Dutta, after she learned she will go to the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minn., for her internal medicine residency.
Rima Chakraborty, MS 6, (right) celebrates Match Day on March 21 with her husband, Neer Dutta, after she learned she will go to the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minn., for her internal medicine residency.

Rima Chakraborty, MS 6, wiped the tears from her eyes late Friday morning, March 21, after reading a letter from the National Resident Matching Program congratulating her on her on a successful match:

“University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minn.
Internal Medicine.”

Chakraborty then turned and embraced her husband, Neer Dutta, a student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

“We both have family in Minnesota,” Chakraborty said as Dutta stood next to her with a bouquet of flowers.

The two have been married for almost a year. Dutta said he would be working hard to land a residency position near Minneapolis when it’s his turn to go through the match process two years from now.

“I was hoping to go to the University of Minnesota,” Chakraborty said. “I wanted to go some place that I love. I opened the letter and thought, ‘It’s someplace I love.’ I’m very happy right now.”

Throughout the courtyard in front of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, 83 members of the Class of 2014 shared the joys and excitement of Match Day with friends and family.

Just less than one-third of this year’s class will be staying in state for their residency training. Of the 27 students who matched to a residency in Missouri, 16 will be going into UMKC residency programs, including three in the pediatrics residency at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

Internal medicine programs landed the largest number of UMKC students, with 22 headed to programs across the country — from Florida to Texas to California. Pediatrics and medicine-pediatrics had the next highest number of matches with 11. Overall, 36 students from the UMKC School of Medicine matched in a primary care field.

School of Medicine Dean Betty Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., congratulated the class on a successful Match Day and shared how alumni continue to tell her how well students from School perform in their residencies.

“Please go forward with great confidence,” Drees said. “You are well prepared for these programs that you have matched to and will all do exceptionally well.”

Vikram Chakravarthy, MS 6, said Match Day is a time that students have long anticipated and called it a culmination of many years of hard work. Chakravarthy and Aakash Shah, MS 6, thanked Felix Oka, M.D., assistant dean for career advising, and Connie Beachler, career counselor, for their support and help throughout the match process on behalf of the class.

“We would not be here today had it not been for these two individuals,” Shah said. “As the Class of 2014, we know that it’s your jobs, that you do year in and year out. But from the bottom of our hearts, this is what makes UMKC family. These are the people that go above and beyond their jobs to help us reach our dreams and aspirations.”