Tag Archives: Students

Five from School of Medicine among 2021 Dean of Student Honor Recipients

Five students from the School of Medicine have been recognized for their scholastic performance, community leadership and service as recipients of 2021 Dean of Students Honor Recipients.

The five 2021 graduating students – Saniya “Sunny” Ablatt, Charles Burke, Varsha Muthukumar, Isabella Nair and Ginikachukwu Osude – were honored for excelling in both academic achievement ans service.

“Every semester, it is our pleasure to host a breakfast in celebration of the accomplishments of the Dean of Students Honor Recipients.  While this semester has been a bit different, we wanted to continue this tradition by virtually celebrating your achievements,” shared Co-Interim Dean of Students Keichanda Dees-Burnett. [watch the video]

This program recognizes the exceptional students who maintain high scholastic performance while actively participating in University and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom.

“You are an exceptional group of people.  Despite the demands of family, work and studies, you made time to give back to the community.  When you saw a need, you worked to fill it.  You are humanitarians, leaders and philanthropists and you should rightfully be proud of yourselves,” said Co-Interim Dean of Students Todd Wells. [watch the video]

Saniya “Sunny” Ablatt – School of Medicine [watch the video]

Charles Burke – School of Medicine

Varsha Muthukumar – School of Medicine [watch the video]

Isabella Nair – School of Medicine [watch the video]

Ginikachukwu Osude – School of Medicine [watch the video]

UMKC health sciences students play major role in COVID-19 vaccine efforts

At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, students from the four Health Sciences Campus schools have been busy in the COVID-19 vaccination effort, volunteering thousands of hours of service.

Third-year medical student Nikki Seraji said she recognizes that nurses and pharmacists often bear the brunt of the work of actually administering vaccines. So, when Stefanie Ellison, M.D., UMKC School of Medicine associate dean for learning initiatives, asked for medical student volunteers to become certified vaccinators, Seraji jumped at the opportunity.

“I’m studying the medical field and going to be doing this for a living and felt like I couldn’t help out enough,” she said. “When the opportunity to volunteer (as a vaccinator) came in in mid-January, I wanted to take advantage.”

Ellison said that 66 UMKC medical students from years one through six have been trained and certified to give vaccines. The students give vaccinations daily at the Truman Medical Center COVID-19 vaccination center at the University Health 2 building. They’ve helped with the School of Pharmacy’s campus vaccine clinic, assisted in vaccination events at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Zoo, Hallmark and the Missouri Cerner campus among other events and clinics.

At the school’s new St. Joseph Campus, Steve Waldman, M.D., campus dean, said all of his students have been certified as vaccinators and have given vaccines at the St. Joseph Mosaic Life Care vaccination center. Many, he said, have participated in other community vaccination outreach events as well.

Ellison said she works daily to partner the School of Medicine with vaccine clinics and events across Kansas City.

“Our students are so wonderful that when TMC has a busy day, I can email or text our students to help in a pinch and three to five students show up to help,” she said.

Students at the School of Pharmacy are trained and certified to give vaccines during the second year of their curriculum. As of mid-March, pharmacy students and faculty had volunteered 4,400 volunteer hours to administer more than 17,500 doses of vaccines at 36 events throughout the state.

Jane Beyer, a third-year pharmacy student, said she began helping administer COVID vaccines in December as soon as they were available.

“It is exciting that as student pharmacists we are able to get out there and really help the community and be part of the solution to COVID-19” she said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling to be part of the vaccine efforts in Kansas City.”

Medical student Seraji echoed that thought and admitted being a bit anxious when she was learning to administer a shot. With the help of the nurses who trained her, she was able to quickly adapt. Now she volunteers as a vaccinator at least once a week as her class schedule allows.

“I was definitely anxious when I was getting certified but I did maybe 20 or 30 (shots) the first time I was on my own and you get into a routine,” she said. “I’m trying to think how many that I’ve vaccinated. I don’t know but it’s definitely more than 80 or 90.”

Next door on the UMKC Health Sciences campus, nursing student Ciera Ayala got involved when the vaccination efforts were made an option for her clinical rotations. In fact, she has been part of eight vaccination events, most of them at Truman.

When she was vaccinated, Ayala said, she felt relief and “like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.” Now she is happy to share that feeling with all the people she inoculates.

“I find it very gratifying,” Ayala said. “I got to be a part of history, and it felt really good to be a part of the efforts to end this pandemic. It was also relieving, but also a little overwhelming, when we would have a line of hundreds of people for hours and hours ready to get their vaccine. It makes me happy that people are trusting in science!”

Ayala doesn’t remember any particular vaccine recipients, but she said, “it just felt really good when people were appreciative of our efforts.

“Health care workers don’t often get the recognition that is deserved, so when people recognized how hard we were working, it felt amazing.”

From the School of Dentistry, 119 third-and fourth-year students bolstered the ranks of student vaccinators after they were trained in early April. They already knew how to give the more involved injections needed to numb dental patients but had to learn the quicker technique for vaccines.

They were trained by Meghan Wendland, D.D.S., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the dental school, with help from faculty at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. They quickly joined in at Truman and at events for their fellow UMKC students.

One dental student, Tiara Fry, said she was “a little nervous” the first few times she gave the shot, “but once I got comfortable with it, it was great! It felt amazing to be a part of diminishing the spread of a virus during a pandemic.”

Fry said she sympathized with people who were skeptical or fearful but hoped to share the relief she felt when she was vaccinated.

“I knew it was for a great purpose to do my part in protecting myself and those around me,” she said. “I felt for those who were extremely afraid of needles. Many would tell me right before I gave the injection, so I tried my best to make them feel as comfortable as possible.”

Beyer said that working with the vaccine effort has made her a valuable resource to friends and family, helping them stay up to date on the latest information and vaccine availabilities.

“It’s interesting that people have a lot of different responses to getting the vaccine,” she said. “There’s kind of a split. Some people, I think, feel obligated to get the vaccine and are kind of nervous. But there’s also the other half that just give sigh a sigh of relief after they get the vaccine. They’re wanting to protect themselves and also all their loved ones.”

Beyer estimated that she has participated in at least 10 vaccine clinics since December and only wished she had time to do more. She said that at one mass event she participated in, more than 800 people were vaccinated.

“We wish we could be there all the time helping,” she said. “With school, it’s hard to dedicate all your time going out and vaccinating. Without all the volunteers, who knows where we would have been on this vaccine rollout schedule.”

Sirridge lecturer looks at how visual images bring health care into focus

The many forms of media — from movies to photographs and even YouTube videos — serve as an opening for analysis and discussion of individual experiences with illness and disability, said Therese Jones, Ph.D., associate director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Jones served as the keynote speaker for the UMKC School of Medicine’s 2021 Sirridge Lecture in an online format on March 30.

Jones, who also is the director of the Colorado school’s Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program, said these images offer an evocative illustration of health care issues ranging from access to care to life and even racism.

“These works can foster empathic responses, sharpen critical thinking and develop communication skills, especially in our work with health profession students,” Jones said. “Visual materials can serve as openings for our students to critique the culture of health care itself.”

She shared that 56 percent of children between the ages of 8 and 12 and 69 percent of teens from 13 to 18 years old use YouTube for educational reasons, including science topics. She also noted how images shared from cell phone photos and videos often play a crucial role in rallying social and political responses to confront issues and act as a catalyst for reform.

Jones also spoke about how many humanities programs in health professions schools share a common method of developing observational skills, critical thinking and empathy through student interaction with the visual arts from paintings and photography to visiting art galleries and museums. The School of Medicine provides similar opportunities in its humanities curriculum.

Jones explained a new thinking in academic medicine that focuses on art as an opportunity to unveil what is hidden in the images and recognizing what is unique or strange in what otherwise seems ordinary.

“The arts-based curriculum is designed to be a process, rather than an event in which learners move from the neutral position of looking to an implicated position of the witnessing,” Jones said. “They realize that seeing is more than description. That scene is filtered through their personal values and our cultural norms. And these inhibit nuanced, even contradictory observations.”

The goal, she explained, is to take participants from a sense of self-awareness to self-criticism, and teaching observation as a pathway to a more humane approach to health care.

A native Kansan who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theater arts and English at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, Jones received a Ph.D. in English in Colorado before taking a postdoctoral fellowship in medical humanities in Ohio. She currently teaches health, humanities and disability studies at the University of Colorado schools of medicine and pharmacy, and in physical therapy and physician assistance programs among others.

The Sirridge Lecture is named for William T. Sirridge, M.D., and his wife, Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., two of the UMKC School of Medicine’s original docents who viewed the humanities as an essential part of students’ medical training.

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.

SOM’s Gold Humanism Honor Society Welcomes New Inductees

From its beginning, the School of Medicine has emphasized compassionate patient care, professionalism and humanism. The school’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomed a class of 30 students, faculty and medical residents who embody those traits during a virtual induction ceremony.

This year’s class included 20 fifth-year students, four faculty physicians and six residents nominated by their colleagues. The inductees were selected based on demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion, and dedication to service.

The GHHS is a national honor society established in 2002 with sponsorship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Today, GHHS has more than 160 chapters in medical schools and residency programs throughout the country and more than 35,000 members who serve as role models in health care.

The School of Medicine chapter also welcomed two new faculty sponsors this year in Renee Cation, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, and Beth Rosemergey, D.O., associate professor and director of the Community and Family Medicine Residency program, who have taken on the role previously held by long-time faculty sponsor Carol Stanford, M.D.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Jan. 24th induction ceremony took place as a brief Zoom event led by chapter co-presidents Margaret Urschler and Charles Burke.

2021 GHHS Inductees

5th Year Medical Students:
Jessica Anyaso
Kartik Depala
Jason Egberuare
Annahita Fotouhi
August Frank
Adam Habib
Varsha Kandadi
Morgan Kensinger
Eshwar Kishore
Shruti Kumar
Jordan Longabaugh
Yen Luu
Tayyibah Mahmood
Mahnoor Malik
Madhavi Murali
Caroline Olsen
Nikhila Pokala
Casey Rose
Laraib Sani
Jake Williamson

Residents:
Dr. Rebecca Aguayo
Dr. Apurva Bhatt
Dr. Jasmine Haller
Dr. Gayathri Kumar
Dr. Rebecca Malstev
Dr. Johana Mejias-Beck

Faculty:
Dr. Douglas Burgess
Dr. Kavita Jadhav
Dr. Jennifer McBride
Dr. Judith Ovalle

Student Research Program announces Sarah Morrison Award recipients

UMKC School of Medicine Sarah Morrison student research award winners. First row: Anum Ahmed, Rohan Ahuja, Shiva Balasubramanian, Vijay Dimri. Second row: Nikki Gill, Shubhika Jain, Madhavi Murali, Christian Kingeter. Bottom row: Victoria Shi, Xi Wang, Matthew William.

The School of Medicine Student Research Program announced 11 recipients of the 2021 Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards that includes 10 medical students and one graduate student.

Awards of up to $3,000 are presented annually to School of Medicine students as they become involved in and learn about a wide variety of research activities based on their interests. The research may be in the basic sciences or in clinical medicine.

Students may develop their own hypothesis and work plan or work on an established research project with their mentor. Winners of the awards are expected to present the results of the research at a School of Medicine student research event such as the UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit or a similar venue as recommended by Research Administration.

More than 130 students have received Sarah Morrison awards since the program began in 2013 with more than $270,000 of financial support provided to conduct research projects at the School of Medicine.

All UMKC School of Medicine students with the exception of first-year students are eligible to receive a Sarah Morrison award through the school’s Office of Research and Administration. Second-year medical students must have  approval from the Student Research Committee.

Students interested in receiving a Sarah Morrison award must apply by noon on Nov. 15 to be considered. Applications must include a proposal protocol, budget, letters of reference, transcripts and curriculum vitae of the student. For complete application information, visit the student research website.

Award winners are selected by a panel of more than 25 School of Medicine faculty who review applications for the quality of the proposed research and outcomes, completion of application materials, a detailed project budget and academic achievement.

2021 Sarah Morrison Research Awards
(Recipient / Faculty Mentor / Project Title)

  • Anum Ahmed, MS 4 / Dr. Karl Kador, assistant professor, biomedical sciences / The effect of substrate stiffness on retinal ganglion cell neurite outgrowth
  • Rohan Ahuja, MS 4 / Dr. Michael Wacker, associate professor, vice-chair biomedical science / The effect of trimethylamine N-oxide on epiflourescent calcium imaging of mouse atria
  • Shiva Balasubramanian, MS 3 / Dr. Jignesh Shah, assistant professor of medicine and docent / Radical prostatectomy readmissions: causes, risk factors, national rates, and costs
  • Vijay Dimri, MS 3 / Dr. Seung Suk Kang, assistant professor, biomedical sciences / Effect of 4 weeks of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation on heart rate variability and symptoms in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Nikki Gill, MS 3 / Dr. Paula Nichols, professor, chair biomedical sciences, associate dean research administration / The impact of cannabinoid exposure of glucocorticoid receptor signaling in neural stem cells
  • Shubhika Jain, MS 5 / Dr. Micah Sinclair, assistant professor orthopaedic surgery / Establishing the role of inflammatory markers in the diagnosis and treatment of acute hand infections in the pediatric population
  • Christian Kingeter, MS 5 / Dr. Peter Koulen, professor, director of basic research, Vision Research Center / Does an immune response to viral infection put patients on higher risk for developing age-related macular degeneration? Development of novel clinical diagnostic tools to identify at-risk patients
  • Madhavi Murali, MS 5 / Dr. Adriane Latz, otolaryngologist, Children’s Mercy Kansas City / Immediate recovery room hypoxemia after tympanostomy tube placement in children with PDC
  • Victoria Shi, MS 3 / Dr. Paula Nichols, professor, chair biomedical sciences, associate dean research administration / Transcriptome analysis of response to glucocorticoid treatment for bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Xi Wang, graduate student / Dr. Jenifer Allsworth, associate professor, biomedical and health informatics / Natural language processing of gestational diabetes mellitus management documentation from electronic health records
  • Matthew William, MS 3 / Dr. Xiang-Ping Chu, professor of biomedical sciences / Modulation of heteromeric ASIC1b/3 channels by Zinc

 

 

 

School of Medicine recognizes fall semester graduates

The School of Medicine recognized nearly 30 graduating students who participated in the university’s virtual December commencement ceremony on Dec. 19. Similar to the virtual commencement last May, UMKC worked with friends and supporters across Kansas City to celebrate Fall semester graduates with a spectacular “Light Up the Night” salute, with iconic Kansas City buildings lit up in vivid Roo blue and gold.

This school’s list of participants included 18 students who received their M.D. and 11 who received either a graduate certificate or master’s degree.

“Earning a degree from an accredited research university such as ours is a true achievement, one worthy of celebration,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “In these times, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, our celebrations must be planned with care. The health and safety of our graduates and their loved ones must remain our highest priority.”

In addition to going virtual in December, UMKC announced that it still intends to have an in-person commencement for May and December 2020 grads at some future date but will postpone setting a date until health and safety conditions permit. Earlier in the year, UMKC had hoped to hold that in-person celebration in December.

In a letter to campus, Chancellor Agrawal and Provost Jenny Lundgren said: “Clearly, we do not know when large events will be safe again and cannot realistically set a date at this time.”

But they noted that they “firmly believe that every UMKC graduate should have the opportunity to be personally recognized for the degree they’ve worked so hard to earn in the presence of their loved ones and closest friends and fellow graduates.”

UMKC leaders worked with students to plan the virtual ceremony last spring and consulted with them again on the decision to stay virtual this fall while continuing to plan for an in-person ceremony once it is safe to hold one.

Students earning a Doctor of Medicine
Sarah Atallah
Austin Bachar
Rico Beuford
Jaco Bly
Tom Chen
Julia Clem
Anna Curtis
Manuela Garcia
Nina Govalla
Andrew Jozwiakowski
Connor King
Alex Luke
Michael Manalo
Adiba Matin
Deanne Pisarkiewicz
Kavelin Rumalla
Margaret Urschler
Brandon Wesche

Students earning a Graduate Certificate
Binod Wagle
Tamika Cranford
Sarah Studyvin
Travis Gratton
Bini Moorthy

Students earning a Master of Science in Bioinformatics
Moghniuddin Mohammed
Andy Tran
Yahia Mohamed

Students earning a Master of Health Professions Education
Melanie Camejo
Courney McCain
Joy Solano

 

Med student’s message for those contemplating suicide: ‘Let’s Talk’

UMKC medical student Casey Rose, left, has led a project to promote awareness of help for those contemplating suicide.

Young people face a myriad of stressful events throughout their college years from academic pressures to family and relationship issues. Studies say as many as 20 percent of students will experience suicidal thoughts during college and 9 percent will actually attempt it.

Those facts struck a chord with Casey Rose, a fourth-year medical student at the School of Medicine.

“I was going through my behavioral health class with Dr. Trenton Meyers and he made it evident that suicide is a big problem,” Rose said. “I started thinking that I’ve been doing all this studying and getting prepared for my boards, and the things I’ve been doing are pretty much for myself. I haven’t really put myself out there to help others.”

That is when Rose got the idea to increase awareness of suicide prevention and offer help to students that might be contemplating suicide.

With the support of the medical school, Rose was able to get stickers printed that offer suicide help with hotline numbers. Currently, the stickers are in restrooms throughout the medical school and will be placed in all restrooms throughout the UMKC Health Sciences and Volker campuses.

Rose said Myers, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and course director for behavioral sciences at the School of Medicine, was one his strongest proponents for the project.

“He helped me design the wording for the stickers, using what’s worked for him to help his patients reach out for help when they’ve needed it,” Rose said. “With that and with student feedback, we created these stickers.”

Rose surveyed more than 100 students and used the responses, as well as input from other mental health professionals, to land upon a simple message: “It’s OK to not be OK. Let’s talk.” Included with the message are ways students can get help. Each sticker provides the Suicide Hotline number 1-800-273-TALK and a text option HOME to 741741. Medical students also have access to help through a program called Well Connect with a 24-hour number, 1-866-640-4777, that is included on the decals placed in the School of Medicine.

Myers said suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students today in the United States. He believes the issue flies under the radar because people generally do not like to talk or think about it, or are nervous to speak about it.

“My hope is that when students see these stickers, it will give them the permission they need to spark a conversation with others and openly communicate about it,” he said. “I also hope that it will help those who are silently struggling to know that they are not alone or forgotten.”

For college-aged students, traumatic or difficult to handle events that can cause stress leading to suicidal thoughts can include academic and future career issues, death or other family issues, issues with intimate and other social relationships, personal health problems or even sleep disruptions. And now, these issues may be exacerbated with students returning to campus and dealing with anxieties related to coronavirus.

But Rose said the stickers are not just for those who may be thinking about suicide.

“I’m aware that the chance someone sees a sticker and it saves their life is not exceedingly high,” he said. “But you might see the sticker and remember the number you saw the next time your friend texts you and is like, ‘I’m having a horrible night, having thoughts of being better off dead.’ You could send that number you remember seeing. Maybe the sticker is just the nudge that you need.”

While Rose is quick to share the credit for creating the stickers, Myers finds inspiration in his drive to initiate and see the project through.

“I think Casey’s project speaks volumes about the virtuosity, humanism and caritas demonstrated by our amazing students here at the School of Medicine,” Myers said. “Casey was not looking for any kind of recognition with this project and did this purely with the intention to help those in need. This exemplifies the type of compassion and altruism I wish we could see in all physicians today.”

White Coat Ceremony Signifies Important Next Step for Class of 2024

Her father had the honor of coating third-year medical student Nadie Elkady during the UMKC School of Medicine’s virtual White Coat Ceremony.

The physician’s white coat is one of the most recognizable symbols of the medical profession. It signifies a relationship between physicians and their patients, and the obligation to practice medicine with clinical competence and compassion.

For the class of 125 third-year medical students who took part in the UMKC School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony this year, it also signified an important next step in the journey to joining the rank of physicians.

“Soon, you will be part of this distinctive group,” said Jill Moormeier, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine.

Moormeier served as emcee for this year’s event, which shifted from its usual campus location to a virtual format because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Students participated by watching online with family and friends. In many cases, students traditionally “coated” by their new docent during the ceremony shared that honor with parents instead.

Jennifer Allen, third-year student, in her white coat.

Following the online presentation, the newest students to graduate to the UMKC Health Sciences District campus enjoyed a Zoom reception with new docent team members.

Moormeier explained that the White Coat Ceremony represents a shift in the student’s education from a focus on classroom work to bedside care. She and School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., underscored that transition by reminding the class members of the professional responsibilities they will have as physicians.

Jackson said that six months into the pandemic, as they enter the intensive clinical phase of medical training that includes regular contact with patients, students must embrace those professional and personal responsibilities of health care providers working on the front lines of patient care. That, she said, includes following and promoting the safety precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

Steven Nguyen was all smiles after particpating in the White Coat Ceremony and joining his new docent unit.

She also spoke of the school’s commitment to racial justice in the community and throughout medical care. She encouraged students, as they don their white coats, to embrace the call to action.

“Lessons you learn along the way will guide your path to growing and developing as a healer who cares for patients with compassion and empathy,” she said. “Your white coat is a daily reminder of your commitment to patients, learning and understanding that struggle and reward are an opportunity to grow.”

Also during the ceremony, Jesica Neuhart, professor of pediatrics and pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, was honored as this year’s Outstanding Years 1-2 docent. Each third-year class nominates a Year 1-2 docent for the award based on their teaching pursuit of excellence in medicine.

Third-year student Anna Boda said Neuhart “embodies the qualities of a perfect docent doctor, going above and beyond to provide the best educational resources for her students.” She said this year’s winner also served as a role model for teamwork and respect with all members of the health care team.

After Corrine Workman, also a third-year student, read the Class of 2024 Philosophy of Medicine, Brenda Rogers, associate dean for student affairs announced the new docent team assignments for the 2020-2021 school year.

Jackson said, “Remember, medicine is a team sport and you are part of a team.”

The School of Medicine conducted its first White Coat Ceremony for third-year students in 2003. The program is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to emphasize the importance of compassionate care for patients and proficiency in the art and science of medicine.