UMKC Faculty Named UM System Presidential Engagement Fellows

Three University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty members have been named UM System Presidential Engagement Fellows: Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D. and Barbara Pahud, M.D., both of the School of Medicine; and Gerald Wyckoff, Ph.D., School of Pharmacy and School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

The Presidential Engagement Fellows program was established to share faculty accomplishments with Missouri residents in their own communities. It allows faculty to make personal connections and deliver on the mission to disseminate and apply knowledge for the benefit all Missourians.

To participate in the Presidential Engagement Fellows program, faculty members were nominated or self-nominated at the campus level based on their demonstrated excellence as well as their ability to communicate their research to the public. Fellows participated in a training and orientation session and represent the UM System at a minimum of three to five speaking events per year. This program is administered by the UM System Office of Engagement and Outreach.

Jannette Berkley-Patton
Jannette Berkley-Patton

Berkley-Patton is a professor in the School of Medicine Biomedical and Health Informatics Department, the director of the Community Health Research Group, the director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute and adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology.

As a principal investigator of National Institutes of Health- and foundation-funded studies, she uses community-engaged approaches to develop and test prevention, screening and linkage to care interventions focused on HIV, STDs, hepatitis C, diabetes, heart disease and mental health in faith communities. Her research engages faith, community and health agency partners along with students and faculty in implementing these interventions to address health disparities using sustainable methods. Berkley-Patton’s research also extends to working with faith communities in Jamaica, West Indies on diabetes and heart disease prevention. She has been inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame, awarded the University of Missouri System Cross-Cultural Community Engagement Presidential Award and appointed as a University of Missouri System Presidential Engagement Fellow.

Speaker Topics:

  • Sharing your passion with others to expand educational and career opportunities
  • Conducting research in church settings: faith communities empowered to create change
  • Engaging underserved communities in addressing health equity
  • Education and research: Why your voice matters
Barbara Pahud
Barbara Pahud

Pahud is an associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Mercy and University of Kansas Medical Center. She is the associate director of the NIH Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit at Children’s Mercy.

Pahud received her medical degree from La Salle University, Mexico City, Mexico; her master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, New York; and completed her residency in pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Subsequently, she fulfilled a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases from the University of California, San Francisco, followed by a fellowship in vaccine safety from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with Stanford University Medical Center.

Pahud is the principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health Sunflower Pediatric Clinical Trials Research Extension (SPeCTRE) and for the Collaboration for Vaccination Education and Research (CoVER) study, as well as being a co-investigator in an ongoing CDC- and National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases-sponsored surveillance program for acute gastroenteritis and acute respiratory illness in children. She has also presented numerous abstracts and lectured internationally, nationally and locally.

Speaker Topics:

  • Improving the health of our communities through HPV vaccination
  • Overcoming vaccine hesitancy – practical tips for talking to patients and families
  • Prevention of influenza disease and deaths in our community
  • Also able to discuss other vaccine related topics and tailor them to the specific group
Gerald Wyckoff
Gerald Wyckoff

About 30 million people in the U.S. live with a rare disease – about as many as suffer from cancer – but the majority of those 7,000 rare diseases have no cure. Many Missourians, therefore, are affected by a lack of needed treatments. For these desperately needed new drugs to be developed efficiently, we need an integrated, data-driven approach, whether the data comes from a human doctor or an animal veterinarian.

This is the work that Wyckoff came to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to do. Growing up in New York, he earned his B.S. in biology from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life where he learned to calculate trait heritability in cattle, and his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Chicago, eventually studying human genetics. An affinity for computers led him to create complex programs and systems to support his work, starting the 1Data project to help integrate human and animal health data across state lines and institutional boundaries to compile data for more effective drug development.

He has helped develop software applications for biology and chemistry, and this led to his entrepreneurial efforts outside of the academy as a founder of one company and co-founder of another, making use of the resources at UMKC and in the Kansas City region to launch his visions. This makes him keenly aware of workforce development issues and how the UM System helps meet the needs of Missouri small businesses. He has won the Missouri Governor’s Teaching Award in 2018 in part for his ability to take complex ideas and make them relatable to real-world applications and problems.

Speaker Topics:

  • How evolution contributes to our ability to create drugs to target diseases
  • A “one-health” approach to data sharing that integrates data across animals and humans, from farms to pharmacies
  • Precision medicine as a focus for study from bench to bedside