Tag Archives: UMKC

Introducing UMKC’s new chancellor, C. Mauli Agrawal

UMKC chancellor designate C. Mauli Agrawal

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi announced that C. Mauli Agrawal, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been appointed chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, effective June 20.

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Agrawal has agreed to serve as the next chancellor of UMKC, and I’m confident that the university will reach new heights of success in research, education and outreach through his leadership,” Choi said. “UMKC has an outstanding team of administrators, faculty, staff and alumni supporters who will work closely with him to achieve our collective vision.”

David Steelman, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, said, “We had a very strong finalist pool, but what made Dr. Agrawal stand out was his combination of strong academic credentials with proven entrepreneurial skills. He understands the mission of UMKC, but he also knows that mission can only be fulfilled through innovative approaches and risk; he is not a status quo leader.”

Choi will introduce Agrawal to the Kansas City campus at 10 a.m. Friday in Spencer Theatre in the Olson Performing Arts Center. The event will be streamed live at www.umsystem.edu.

“I’m very grateful for the work of the search committee members who spent countless hours reviewing and interviewing candidates,” Choi said. “I’m also extremely appreciative of Dr. Barbara Bichelmeyer, who has made important contributions as interim chancellor and provost at UMKC. Dr. Bichelmeyer will continue in her role as interim chancellor during the transition period and will return to her provost role when Dr. Agrawal arrives in June 2018.”

Bichelmeyer is leading a number of key initiatives that will continue to move forward at UMKC, including academic reorganization, academic portfolio review, strategic plan development and the budgeting process.  She has the full backing and support of Choi to implement changes to achieve UMKC’s goals of excellence in student success, research breakthroughs and effective engagement.

“I will work closely with Dr. Bichelmeyer to make the important and necessary changes during the transition period,” Choi said. “We are indebted to her for her work in continuing to move UMKC forward. She will be a great asset to Dr. Agrawal as he moves into this position.”

Bichelmeyer said she looks forward to working with the new chancellor.

“I’m excited to partner with Chancellor-designate Agrawal and look forward to his arrival in Kansas City,” she said. “His background and experiences complement the mission and vision of UMKC – and together, with all the great partners on this campus and in this metro area, we will keep the momentum going as we grow UMKC into the great university this region needs.”

Before his appointment at UTSA, Agrawal served as vice president for research and dean of the College of Engineering. He also has been a professor of orthopedics and bioengineering at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, one of the largest medical schools in the United States. He obtained a doctorate from Duke University in 1989, a master’s degree from Clemson University in 1985 and a bachelor’s degree of technology from IIT-Kanpur, India.

“I’m very excited to be chosen to help lead this great university. The potential for the University of Missouri-Kansas City is immense and exciting,” Agrawal said. “UMKC has all the elements necessary to make a great university. With strengths in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, business, engineering, arts and theater, the university is an exceptional anchor for economic development in the Kansas City region. I’m looking forward to working with UMKC’s faculty and staff as well as Kansas City’s civic leaders who are passionate about higher education and are constantly working to make Kansas City a great place to live, learn and work.”

During his tenure as dean, Agrawal led the UTSA College of Engineering to a 40 percent increase in student enrollment, a 50 percent increase in faculty, and a 400 percent increase in research funding. In 2010, he worked closely with the city of San Antonio and Mayor Julian Castro to establish the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute at UTSA, which received a $50 million pledge of support from CPS Energy, the city-owned utility operation.

“Mauli is a beloved member of the San Antonio community who has earned admiration and respect from the university community, the business community and civic leadership,” current San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “I certainly wish him the very best at UMKC. You have an absolute gem of a man to lead the university forward. He understands the important role that a university plays in the civic life of a city and has a unique skill set of translating that role into meeting the needs of the university. His skill set is one of a kind.”

Agrawal has served on the editorial boards of various scientific journals, including the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Tissue Engineering, the Journal of System of Systems, and the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.

Agrawal’s research specializes in the area of orthopedic and cardiovascular biomaterials/implants, and he has written more than 300 scientific publications and holds 29 patents. He is a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.  Additionally, he served as president of the Society for Biomaterials in 2006. His bioengineering research group has been responsible for starting three companies in San Antonio.


Students organize third TEDxUMKC event

TEDxUMKC takes place March 14 at the National World War I Museum.
TEDxUMKC takes place March 14 at the National World War I Museum.

Two School of Medicine faculty members will speak at TEDxUMKC, an event organized primarily by medical students.

Independently organized, TEDx events are modeled after and operate under a license from TED, the nonprofit known for its lecture series in which speakers have 18 minutes to present ideas about science, technology, creativity and other realms.

TEDxUMKC will take place March 14 from from 1–5 p.m. in the auditorium at the National World War I Museum. Speakers will include Nicholas Comninellis, M.D. ’82, M.P.H., clinical assistant professor of community and family medicine and founder of the Institute for International Medicine, and Stephen Kingsmore, M.B., Ch.B., D.Sc., professor of pediatrics and director of the Center for Pediatric Genome Medicine at Children’s Mercy.

Tickets for seating in the auditorium are no longer available. Tickets remain for a livestream of the event in the museum’s reception area. Registration information, a full list of speakers and other details are available online.

The March 14 event will be the third TEDxUMKC conference and the first to take place off-campus. Fifth-year medical student Harika Nalluri has served as the head curator of TEDxUMKC since the inaugural conference was held at the Volker campus in the fall of 2012. “It’s been a great way to make connections with people who have made huge impacts in Kansas City,” she said.

Nalluri said she was inspired to put together an event at UMKC after attending the annual TEDxKC conference. She sought the advice of Mike Lundgren, the organizer of TEDxKC, which outgrew a 500-seat auditorium at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and now takes place at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The most recent TEDxUMKC was held in the Student Union Theater. The event sold out, and one video presentation appeared on the TEDTalks YouTube channel. William Black, associate professor of economics and law at UMKC and an expert in the banking industry, gave the talk, which has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Third-year medical student Rahul Maheshwari is the co-curator of this year’s TEDxUMKC. Medical students Max Holtmann, Divya Igwe, Brooks Kimmis, Jacob Lee, Shubhu Sekhon and Ryan Sieli also serve on the board.

“Ditching Dogma” is the title of this year’s event. A statement on the TEDxUMKC website says dogma is embedded into the human condition, continuing:

We are taught what processes worked for our ancestors and we observe those same processes being utilized by others around us. Accordingly, more often than not, we follow suit. Ditching Dogma is about creativity, innovation, and thinking differently: not accepting the notion that we should do things simply because “that’s how they’ve always been done,” rewarding those who take risks while casting away notions of traditionalism.

Sieli said the ditching dogma theme was inspired by Gary Gaddis, M.D., Ph.D., Missouri Endowed Chair for Emergency Medicine, who uses the phrase when he talks about research projects that interest him.


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.”

UMKC appoints Kanter as new School of Medicine Dean

Steven Kanter, M.D.
Steven Kanter, M.D.

Steven L. Kanter, M.D., has been appointed dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Kanter is a neurosurgeon, a career physician-educator, and brings to UMKC a strong foundation in the growing field of medical informatics: the science of using information most effectively to improve the quality and safety of patient care; to analyze data across large blocks of patient populations to identify patterns and best practices; and to collect, analyze, and integrate complex biologic data. UMKC and its local hospital partners are home to several leading researchers in the field, and created a new Center for Health Insights focused on informatics last year to support their work. Kanter is a former Fellow in Medical Informatics for the National Library of Medicine.

Kanter comes to UMKC from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania, where he has been on faculty since 1991 and Vice Dean since 2002. From 2008 to 2012, he also served as Editor-in-Chief of Academic Medicine, the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 2013, he was awarded the Merrell Flair Award, the highest honor awarded by AAMC’s Group on Educational Affairs.

“I hope to focus the considerable talent and energy of the School of Medicine faculty, staff, and students on helping to make Kansas City the healthiest city in America,” Kanter said. “Of course, the best way – and the only way – to do this is to engage with business and community partners, clinical partners, alumni, and neighboring institutions.

“The UMKC School of Medicine is at a pivotal point in its history. It is completing its first half-century and looking toward the next 50 years. I am enthusiastic about beginning a process with faculty, staff, and students to contemplate in what ways the school should build on its existing strengths as it prepares to embark on this next, very important phase of its journey,” he continued. “It is a privilege to be able to serve the Kansas City community in the role of dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. I look forward to working with community members and the school’s partner institutions to ensure that we continue to bring value to the people of this region in the best possible way.”

UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton said important considerations in his decision to choose Kanter were Kanter’s background and interest in both medical informatics and interprofessional education, which involves students from two or more disciplines learning together to cultivate collaborative practice to provide patient-centered care. UMKC’s Schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy, Medicine and Nursing and Health Studies, clustered together on the university’s Hospital Hill Campus, have made interprofessional education a priority.

“Steven Kanter also has experience as a leader in community health and education initiatives at an urban-serving university at the University of Pittsburgh. Like UMKC, Pitt is situated in the urban core and recognizes and lives up to the special responsibility that confers,” Morton said. “The UMKC School of Medicine plays a vital role in the community, and I am confident that Dr. Kanter is the kind of leader who will not just preserve those vital community relationships, but grow and strengthen them.”

Lawrence Dreyfus, UMKC Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development, served as co-chair of the search committee that recommended Kanter.

“We were very impressed with Dr. Kanter’s background as an educator, as a researcher and as a clinician,” Dreyfus said. “It was clear that he understands the vital community role played by an urban school of medicine, and we appreciate the enthusiasm with which he seeks to embrace that role.”

Kanter will begin his work at UMKC Oct. 1. In addition to his position as dean, he is appointed as a full professor with tenure in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics and as Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine. In addition, he will hold the Merl and Muriel Hicklin Foundation Endowed Chair at the School of Medicine.

Kanter has an undergraduate degree from Texas A&I University and earned his M.D. at the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio. He served his residency at the University of Florida. He was on faculty at Texas A&M University College of Medicine before moving to the University of Pittsburgh. He is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association, the World Association of Medical Editors and the Association for Medical Education in Europe, which presented him with the Patil Award for Best Medical Education Research Presentation in 2007.

Kanter will replace Betty Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., as dean. Drees spent 12 years leading the UMKC School of Medicine, during which she strengthened the financial position of the school, established important new partnerships with other academic units, and added new graduate and certificate programs. She will remain on faculty, and plans to work on patient safety and health policy programs as well as teaching and community service.

In addition to applying advanced technology to the practice of medicine, Kanter is also interested in applying the latest technology to instructional practice.

“Many medical schools today are struggling with what to do with classroom time, since learners can watch lectures online at their own pace and in a way that aligns with their own learning styles. The key question that underlies this struggle is not about student attendance, but rather is about how to make the learner-teacher relationship effective for students and rewarding for faculty,” he said. “The UMKC School of Medicine already has made significant strides in this area with its successful docent system.”

Kanter comes from a family immersed in medicine. His wife, Leslie M. Borsett-Kanter M.D., is a pediatrician with expertise in feeding disorders. His son, John H. Kanter, is a third-year medical student at Florida State University. His brother and sister, Roy A. Kanter M.D. and Merrill Kanter Carolin M.D., both are neurologists.

Outside of work, Kanter and his wife enjoy jazz, reading and travel, and show Cardigan Welsh Corgis competitively.

“The UMKC School of Medicine has a number of strengths that position it well for significant growth and development in the coming years,” Kanter said. “The school is situated in a vibrant city that is on the move. It has wonderful clinical partners, excellent neighboring institutions, and is part of a great university. Also, the location and layout of Hospital Hill lends itself to the kind of communication and collaboration that is so important to advancing thinking and practice in health care, research, and education. I am excited about the opportunities to develop interprofessional initiatives in both research and education.”


EMS Field Day provides new experience for emergency medicine residents

School of Medicine residents from the Emergency Medicine Residency program teammed up with emergency medical services personnel from the Grandview Fire Department on July 21 for EMS Field Day, a joint training session in out-of-hospital emergency and trauyma services.
School of Medicine residents from the Emergency Medicine Residency program teammed up with emergency medical services personnel from the Grandview Fire Department on July 21 for EMS Field Day, a joint training session in out-of-hospital emergency and trauma services.

Smoke billowed from the door of a small Grandview, Mo., structure on July 21 as a group of UMKC School of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residents dressed in fire fighting gear ventured inside to rescue a victim. A short time later, they watched from nearby as an emergency medical crew from the Grandview Fire Department worked to extract an accident victim from a crushed vehicle.

Fortunately, the victims were mannequins and the emergencies mere simulations. But for 11 members of the Emergency Medicine Residency program, the School’s first EMS Field Day provided a first-hand look at what takes place with trauma victims outside the hospital setting before they reach the emergency room.

“Emergency medicine is a specialty field that needs to be involved with out-of-hospital patient care,” said Matt Gratton, M.D., professor and chair of emergency medicine. “This field day is a wonderful up-close-and-personal way to show residents this.”

Before the day was over, residents had climbed to the top of the extension ladder on a Grandview fire truck and been introduced to Life Flight Eagle, an air-ambulance helicopter.

The day-long program, including both classroom and hands-on simulations, was a joint training session bringing together Grandview EMS personnel and the resident emergency medicine physicians from UMKC coordinated by the School’s Department of Emergency Medicine, its Emergency Medical Services Program, the Grandview Fire Department and Life Flight Eagle.

“This is kind of an introduction for emergency medicine residents to what takes place out in the field,” said Paul Ganss, M.S., NRP, NCEE, CHSE, the EMS education director and manager of the School’s Clinical Training Facility. “They get to meet some of the out-of-hospital care providers and experience what happens in the field. In the past, emergency medicine physicians might wonder why they didn’t get a piece of information or why wasn’t something done before the patient got to the emergency room. This gives them an idea of some of the things that happen in the field.”

Ganss said the event provided residents with an eye-opening experience.

“They got the opportunity to pick up some background and knowledge,” he said. “We’re looking at doing this again in the future, refining it and making it even better.”


SOM takes part in another successful Hospital Hill Run

A record number of more than 7,500 runners participated in the 40th annual Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City on Saturday, June, 1, including more than 1,600 runners in the UMKC School of Medicine 5K event.
More than 7,500 runners participated in the 40th annual Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City on Saturday, June, 1, including more than 1,600 runners in the UMKC School of Medicine 5K event.

Runners filled the streets of Hospital Hill on Saturday, June 1, for the 40th annual Hospital Hill Run, including more than 1,600 participants in the UMKC School of Medicine 5K event.

Clear skies and mild weather lured a crowd of nearly 7,700 particpants and thousands of onlookers to the event that includes the 5K, 10K, half marathon and wheel chair race. The School of Medicine served as the title sponsor for the 5K run for the seventh straight year, and has been connected with the event since its beginning in 1974.

School of Medicine Dean Betty Drees, M.D., and Senior Associate Dean Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D., manned the finish line banner for the 5K run, won by Derek Lee of Clinton, Mo., in 16 minutes, 17 seconds. Katie Berger of Smithville, Mo., won the women’s race in 20:17.

The half marathon drew nearly 4,300 runners. Josh Baden of Lawrence, Kan., won the race in 1:10:05 and Kimi Reed of Brookline, Mo., won the women’s race in 1:19:21.

School of Medicine faculty, students and staff volunteer each year to serve at first aid stations located throughout the race routes and at the first aid tent. Sports medicine faculty and fellows provide medical services for the entire event.