Tag Archives: Students

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.

UMKC Student Volunteers Step Up to Help With COVID-19 Testing

Earlier this spring, the Kansas City Missouri Health Department received federal funding to provide COVID-19 testing. What the department lacked was the manpower to support the many testing sites across the city.

It didn’t take long for the UMKC Health Sciences Campus to fill the void. More than 80 students from the schools of dentistry, medicine and pharmacy answered the call for helpers. In May and June, they volunteered 28 three-hour blocks of time at 18 testing locations through the greater Kansas City area. Many of those were at schools and churches.

“This is a great example of a long-running collaboration with the health department,” said Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., director of the Health Equity Institute. “Especially since our students could help expand their capacity to conduct testing in communities hard hit by COVID-19.”

Stefanie Ellison, M.D., associate dean for learning initiatives at the School of Medicine, said students across the campus were eager to help.

“In 24 hours, I gave a group of students the chance to communicate the need across social media sites and get the word out,” Ellison said. “They stepped up to fill in the volunteer spots.”

UMKC students help with COVID-19 testing

The testing was offered at federally qualified health centers such as the KC Care Clinic, Swope Health and the Samuel Rogers Health Center.

Carole Bowe Thompson, project director for the Health Equity Institute, helped organize the volunteer efforts.

While workers at the testing centers did the actual COVID-19 testing, Thompson said the students worked in a supporting role, handling patient check-in and registration, providing patient education, labeling and securing specimen tubes and even directing car and walk up traffic up to the test sites.

“They did the pre-screening, going over COVID-19 symptoms and collecting health and other important intake information,” Thompson said. “The testing centers didn’t have the support they needed for taking care of traffic. They needed the students to help direct traffic.”

Many of the students said the experience helped them realize the importance of working with other health care providers and how community outreach can play a large role in public health.

“I learned that I am in a prime position to assist those in need,” said Rico Beuford, a sixth-year medical student. “I don’t necessarily need a medical degree to open up access to health care resources to vulnerable communities. I think it’s important for each us to realize how much we can impact those who are on the periphery of society and that are largely neglected by it.”

Sixth-year med student Emma Connelly was one of those who helped with the screening process, taking basic patient information and asking those being tested if they had experienced symptoms or been exposed to anyone with the coronavirus.

“Being a medical student, I am not technically on the front lines, so I thought this would be a small way to help out,” Connelly said. “I felt that it was important to help out no matter how small the task was. And if I could help prevent at least one COVID-19 positive individual from spreading it to their family or friends, it was totally worth the effort.”

Ellison said students found a wide variety of other ways to help those in need as well. Some spent time simply talking online with senior center residents to keep them company and help them feel less isolated. Students volunteered to tutor and check on grade school students who were suddenly faced with online school while their parents had to work. Others found their green thumbs to help with gardening, harvesting and distributing produce, while some provided babysitting for health care workers.

“I am so overwhelmed by our students’ efforts to help out,” Ellison said.

Thompson said she hoped the volunteer efforts would continue through the summer and pick up steam when students returned to campus for the fall semester.

“There will be plenty more opportunities,” she said. “The health department is not going to stop doing testing.”

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Charlie Keegan, KSHB-TV, talked with Janette Berkley-Patton and volunteers at a drive-through testing site. Read Keegan’s story and view the video about the testing and the Health Equity Institute.

Support for Emergency Funding Keeps More Than 90 Students Afloat

As the UMKC community began to feel the impact of COVID-19, individual donations to the Student Emergency Fund made a significant difference for students in need.

From fellow students who started crowdfunding projects, to staff members and community donors, UMKC supporters contributed over $70,000 to the UMKC Student Emergency Fund to help students not only stay in school, but pay for housing, food, utilities and other emergency needs.

“We recognize that the effects of COVID-19 are not only physical, but economic. We are grateful to those who were able to step up and lend a hand.” – Jenny Lundgren

“Based on the demand, we were relieved to be able to provide critical assistance to our students in need,” said UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren. “We recognize that the effects of COVID-19 are not only physical, but economic. We are grateful to those who were able to step up and lend a hand.”

Victor is studying electrical and computer engineering. He believes having a college degree will provide a solid foundation for him to build a successful career. Emergency aid kept him on track for completing the academic year and building a brighter future.

“With this act of kindness, I am one step closer in achieving my educational and career goals,” he said. “I plan to always give back to the community as a professional and successful engineer.”

Some students faced broader challenges than solely their academic ones. Denise is raising her children alone while pursuing her graduate degree.

“I had fallen behind on everything,” she said. “I am ever grateful for the blessing that you have bestowed on me.”

While the current crisis will eventually pass, the need for emergency funds will always exist. UMKC Foundation President Lisa Baronio is confident that the community will continue to support students on their paths to graduation.

“We are grateful for those donors who support this fund at every level.” – Lisa Baronio

“We always make the distinction that our donors are supporting people who are working to improve their lives and our communities as a whole,” Baronio says. “But these emergency funds are critical to keeping students in school, and we will always have students for whom relatively small amounts can make the difference between graduating and not being able to continue their education due to small financial constraints. We are grateful for those donors who support this fund at every level.”

UMKC Health Equity Institute Works to Halt COVID-19 Pandemic in KC

Charlie Keegan, KSHB, talked to Jannette Berkley-Patton and volunteers at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site

The UMKC Health Equity Institute facilitated volunteer efforts at drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. The institute was formed four years ago to identify health care problems and offer solutions led by Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D. Read Keegan’s story about the testing site and the Health Equity Institute.