Apr 6, 2015

Answering Opportunity When it Knocks: Reflections on My Investiture as 14th President of KCU

I have been fortunate to have opportunity knock several times throughout my life and career. An early appreciation of the importance of answering those knocks came from my late mother who, during a childhood teaching moment, presented me with a working door-knocker tie tack — a cherished and perennial reminder of the vast possibilities that are revealed when we open the door to opportunity.

I continue to wear that tie tack today — most recently at my investiture as the 14th president of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. It has become a guiding symbol for me personally and, on the March 26 occasion of my formal installation as president, a fitting metaphor for the knock that beckons us to seize the great opportunities that lie ahead for KCU.

In that spirit, I was pleased to make two very exciting announcements that evening: the opening of a new full medical school campus in Joplin, Mo.; and the purchase and planned demolition of the Capri Motel in our Northeast neighborhood (see related blog posts below).

KCU Joplin will be transformative for the region, as well as for our university, and will help address the growing need for physicians in rural America. Locally, the demolition of the Capri Motel is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to improve our community and to return The Paseo Gateway — our neighborhood — to its original splendor.

The ceremony also provided an ideal backdrop for providing insights on three key areas of university investment, which are essential for driving change and advancing our mission to improve the well-being of the communities we serve.

Investments in Collaboration - Our collaborative approach extends across all we do and is reflected in a variety of KCU initiatives, such as partnerships with safety-net providers to deliver much-needed medical care to underserved members of our community, collaboration with Midwest Research Institute (MRIGlobal) to train the next generation of scientists for industry, and a first-of-its-kind musculoskeletal disease research collaboration with the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Investments in Our Campus and Programs - We are investing more than $75 million in both our physical and programmatic infrastructure. Included is the recent completion of a new academic center, current renovations to our administration building, and plans to soon break ground on what will become one of the largest, most sophisticated centers for medical simulation in the world. In addition, we have incorporated new military, rural and global tracks in our medical school and a new scientist track in our graduate school.

Investments in Our Neighborhood - Our students, staff and faculty provide $1 million in volunteer time and donations, including work in our community garden, which produced nearly one ton of fresh food last year for area residents in need.

Indeed, the knock of opportunity is loud and clear for KCU. Our university boasts a number of impressive — and perhaps surprising — accomplishments, which I shared with the audience during my keynote address:
  • KCU is the 10th largest medical school — MD or DO — in the nation and the largest in Missouri and the eight states that surround it.
  • KCU is the second-leading producer of physicians for Missouri and Kansas, as well as for the metro.
  • Overall, applications for the College of Osteopathic Medicine are 35 percent higher than last year; this growth trend is more than double that of the average for all medical schools — DO and MD.
  • Today, there are more than 8,000 practicing physician and scientist alumni from KCU throughout the country.
  • Last year, we graduated our 10,000th physician.
  • KCU has a $141-million annual economic impact in Kansas City and beyond.
  • The clinical operations of our alumni have a nearly $12-billion economic impact across the U.S. and support nearly 82,000 jobs.
I was honored and humbled that evening to be surrounded by many mentors, friends, family members, colleagues, alumni and students, who joined in the formal ceremony.

I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped make the investiture a truly memorable and meaningful event. Be sure to visit our photo gallery for some great shots of the ceremony and post-investiture reception.

Moving forward as the president of this outstanding institution, I remain committed to honoring our osteopathic foundation, to investing judiciously in our people and programs, and to faithfully carrying out our mission to improve the well-being of the communities we serve.

I am proud to serve as the 14th president of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences — a private university with a very public mission.

Apr 2, 2015

KCU Joplin Campus to Open in 2017

The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) has been asked by the Joplin community to open a new full medical school campus in Joplin, Mo. It will become the seventh medical school in Missouri and the first new medical school in the state in nearly 50 years. KCU Joplin will help address the growing shortage of physicians, which is expected to climb to nearly 100,000 in the next 10 years, with primary care specialties and rural areas the hardest hit.
We are very fortunate to have received:
  • a $30-million pledge from the Joplin community to assist in the development of the campus;
  • a $100-million facility gift from Mercy Health System to serve as home to this new medical school; and  
  • a multi-million dollar commitment from Freeman Health System.
Once fully enrolled and operational, the new medical school is expected to have a $111-million economic impact in Joplin and beyond. The 2017 inaugural class will matriculate an additional 150 students. This announcement has garnered significant media attention.

Mar 31, 2015

Demolition of Capri Motel Slated for Spring

We have just completed the purchase of the Capri Motel, with plans to demolish the structure this spring and return the land it sits on to green space. As part of our continued commitment to improve the well-being of the communities we serve, this decision represents a win-win-win for the City, the Northeast Neighborhood and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU).

Mar 30, 2015

Applications Increase Across the Board

We have realized tremendous growth in the number of students applying for admission to all of our degree programs. Overall, applications at KCU are increasing at a rate that is more than double the average of that for all U.S. medical schools — DO and MD.
  • As of March 4, KCU had received 6,004 applications to the College of Osteopathic Medicine — a year-over-year increase of more than 36 percent.
  • The number of applications to the one-year bioethics program has jumped up to 98, compared to just 19 applications last year.
  • Combined applications to both the one- and two-year biomedical sciences tracks in the College of Biosciences have increased more than six-fold since last year, from 158 to 961.

Mar 25, 2015

Magazine Honors Two From KCU as 2015 'Heroes in Health Care'

Two of KCU's own were among those honored March 24 as “Heroes in Health Care” for 2015 by Ingram’s Magazine. Gautam Desai, DO, and Edythe Lindsey were recognized during a reception earlier today at the InterContinental Kansas City on the Plaza Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Desai was honored as a “Hero in Health Care” in the medical missions category. A member of the KCU faculty since 2000, he currently serves as professor of primary care medicine, in addition to leading the University’s new global health honors track. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Desai has participated in more than 15 medical missions through his work with DOCARE International and conservatively estimates that he and other volunteers from KCU have cared for approximately 50,000 patients during that time.

Lindsey was honored as a “Hero in Health Care” in the auxiliary staff category. Lindsey, a building services custodian, has worked at KCU for more than 51 years. During that time, she has witnessed the growth of the University and experienced its many changes. She has remained loyal and dedicated to the University, she says, thanks to her love for the people at KCU, especially the students.

Mar 10, 2015

Donor Support Remains Strong for KCU and Our Students

The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) is proud to offer our students high-quality educational experiences, the latest technology and state-of-the-art facilities. However, we can’t do it alone.

Philanthropic support of the University is critical to the future success of KCU and our students. With the generosity of our alumni and friends, we will:
  • Build one of the largest centers for medical simulation, transforming our ability to provide advanced training to meet the health care needs of the future.
  • Provide additional scholarship support to help make medical and science education for our students more affordable.
  • Increase opportunities for research activities, expand scientific experiences and drive intellectual curiosity.
We, therefore, gratefully acknowledge the following recent gifts of $50,000 or more:
  • William T. Kemper Foundation, $250,000 for the Center for Medical Simulation
  • J.E. Dunn Construction, $250,000 for the Center for Medical Simulation
  • Terrence P. and Peggy Dunn, $100,000 for the Center for Medical Simulation
  • Marc B. Hahn, DO, and Robin K. Hahn, $100,000 for capital needs
  • Claire Giannini Fund, $63,000 for Score 1 for Health
  • Larry L. Odekirk, DO (COM ‘63), and Gerry Odekirk, $100,000 IRA estate gift intention forming an endowment for scholarships and other needs
  • Reach Healthcare Foundation, $66,300 for Score 1 for Health
  • Victor E. Speas Foundation, U.S. Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, $82,000 for research equipment
For more information about how you can support KCU, please contact the Advancement Office at 816-654-7280 or alumni@kcumb.edu.

Make Plans Now to Attend Homecoming 2015 and Take Advantage of Free CME Credits

The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) – now more than ever – is committed to promoting lifelong learning for our students and alumni. As evidence of that commitment, we announced last year that we will offer all KCU-College of Osteopathic Medicine alumni free CME credits for life in conjunction with future Homecoming events.

Make plans now to take advantage of this special offer for the first time during the 2015 KCU Update in Medicine, scheduled for Sept. 17-19, during Homecoming. Watch your inbox for more information and registration details coming soon!