Aug 2, 2014

A New Era Begins with Academic Center Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Faculty, staff, students and community leaders gathered Aug. 2 for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of our new Academic Center.

The Academic Center, nestled between the D’Angelo Library and the Student Activities Center, is a state-of-the-art facility housing two large lecture halls, as well as rooms for smaller breakout sessions and training. It is the start of KCUMB’s five-year, $60 million Campus Master Plan, which will create a state-of-the-art medical and health sciences campus for the future. View our photo gallery.

The Academic Center is the first of several initiatives to improve our campus and realize KCUMB’s vision to become the most student-focused medical university in the nation. It is one of many steps we are taking to improve our campus, provide our students with the best training facilities, and make a visible and significant commitment to our Northeast Neighborhood.

By renovating the former Weaver Auditorium space, KCUMB was able to complete the Academic Center for approximately $4 million less than the cost of new construction. A wall in the Academic Center will soon recognize donors to the building, and plaques from the original Weaver Auditorium seating are now affixed to students’ desks in the Academic Center.

In addition, 93 percent of the materials used in the original building were repurposed to ensure minimal waste was sent to landfills. Helix Architecture and Design, along with general contractor McCown Gordon, accomplished sustainability goals by sending original auditorium seats to other academic institutions, recycling wood for use throughout the building and reclaiming other building materials.

As a result of these efforts, the Academic Center is poised to become KCUMB’s first LEED-certified building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices, based upon four levels of certification. KCUMB has submitted the documentation necessary to apply for a LEED Silver rating.

For more information or to see progress on other portions of the Campus Master Plan, visit

KCUMB Welcomes the Class of 2018 with Community Service, Traditional White Coating

KCUMB welcomed 275 incoming first-year osteopathic medical students the week of July 28-Aug. 2 with a variety of orientation activities designed to both acclimate them to the curriculum and inform them of important policies and procedures for a successful University experience.

Among the highlights:
  • We Care Community Service Day: On Thursday, July 31, our students partnered with 15 area organizations to provide needed services, such as gardening, cleaning, painting, cooking and preparing school supplies. For more than 18 years, the annual We Care Community Service Day has been a great introduction to our mission of “improving the well-being of the communities we serve.” View our photo gallery.
  • School Picnic: After a productive day serving others, new students and their families gathered for a picnic at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. Faculty, staff and their families also enjoyed the picnic, which both welcomes students and thanks employees for their commitment to student success. After enjoying barbecue under a tent, we moved inside to watch the Royals earn a hard-fought win over the Minnesota Twins. View our photo gallery.
  • White Coating Ceremony: Our 275 incoming osteopathic medical students donned the traditional white coats of physicians for the first time Aug. 2 during the annual White Coating Ceremony at The Music Hall in Kansas City, Mo. Members of the Class of 2018 also recited the Osteopathic Oath. The touching ceremony, which emphasizes the importance of both scientific excellence and compassionate care for patients, featured a keynote address by Eugene Oliveri, D.O. (COM ’64), a member of our Board of Trustees, during which he talked about the many responsibilities inherent with wearing a physician's white coat. Other speakers included: Marshall Walker, D.O. (COM ’72), chair of KCUMB's Board of Trustees; Marc B. Hahn, D.O., president and chief executive officer; Bruce Dubin, D.O., J.D., executive vice president for academic affairs, provost and dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine; Janis Strickland-Coffin, D.O. (COM ’98), president of the Alumni Association; and Justin Penny, president of the Student Senate and a second-year osteopathic medical student. View our photo gallery.

Aug 1, 2014

University Names New College of Biosciences Dean

Please join me in congratulating Robert White, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and medical genetics, on recently being named as the new dean of KCUMB’s College of Biosciences. Dr. White had served as associate dean for the College of Biosciences since 2012.

He replaces Douglas Rushing, Ph.D., who stepped down as dean of the College of Biosciences on June 30. Dr. Rushing remains a full-time professor of biochemistry at KCUMB through the end of 2014. At that time, he will transition to a part-time role, with his primary responsibility being his work overseeing the University’s recently formed strategic leadership teams.

Dr. White trained at The Jackson Laboratory at Boston College, where he earned a doctoral degree in biology. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital in Boston. Before coming to KCUMB in 2010, he served as the director of the Mouse Genetics Research Laboratory at Children’s Mercy Hospital for 17 years.

Dr. White is the author of more than 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, Genomics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA and Nature Genetics. He has been the recipient of several extramural grants, including a large grant from the March of Dimes. He was also the recipient of the Kansas City Science Pioneer Award from the March of Dimes in 2004.

We look forward to continuing to grow our College of Biosciences programs with Dr. White’s leadership.

Jul 23, 2014

The Kansas City Star Newspaper Publishes Our Op-Ed on Access to Health Care, Physician Shortage

As we are all aware, the United States is currently facing a shortage of physicians that contributes to difficulties patients face in accessing health care. It is a problem that will only worsen over time, unless we address the cap on graduate medical education (GME) funding.

The Kansas City Star published an article July 22 in its “As I See It” column that I submitted on behalf of our University regarding access to health care and the looming shortage of physicians, especially in primary care.

Medical schools can address the initial education of physicians, as we have already done by increasing the size of incoming classes at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Our College of Osteopathic Medicine will welcome 270
first-year students next week, making it the largest class size in the region.

GME is primarily funded through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). A report on GME governance and funding is due from the Institute of Medicine in the next few weeks, and will likely make some difficult recommendations.

Solving the problems that have plagued our GME system for nearly two decades will take a team effort. The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences stands ready to assist in making the changes necessary to help our own graduates fulfill their career goals, while also increasing patients’ access to health care in the future. Please consider what you can also do to become part of the solution.

Jul 21, 2014

Unified GME Accreditation System Offers New Opportunities

During its annual meeting July 19 in Chicago, the American Osteopathic Association’s House of Delegates voted to endorse the AOA’s decision to pursue a new, single accreditation system for graduate medical education (GME) in the United States. This is important news that marks a milestone for the future of osteopathic medicine and for graduates of our College of Osteopathic Medicine.

When fully implemented in July 2020, the new system will allow graduates of osteopathic and allopathic medical schools to complete their residency and/or fellowship education in programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and to demonstrate achievement of common milestones and competencies.

The historic vote by the AOA’s House of Delegates, which represents approximately 104,000 osteopathic physicians and osteopathic medical students, comes after an announcement in February that the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), the AOA and the ACGME had reached an agreement to work together to prepare future generations of physicians.

This can be viewed as a win for the public, as well as for graduates in training. All will benefit from a single, standardized system to evaluate the effectiveness of GME programs for producing competent physicians. The new GME accreditation system will recognize the unique principles and practices of the osteopathic medical profession and its contributions to health care n the United States through osteopathic-focused residency programs.

Although there is much to be done to effectively usher in this new accreditation process, the opportunities this will present to our graduates will be limitless.

Read the statement released by the AOA. Read the statement released by the ACGME.

KCUMB Earns Media Coverage

Our dedicated University faculty, staff and students have garnered media coverage this past month for a variety of ways we are “improving the well-being of the communities we serve.”

KCPT Coverage of Medical Student for a Day Program
KCPT, Kansas City’s public TV station, covered KCUMB’s “Medical Student for a Day” program in a story that first aired July 17. KCUMB hosted more than 60 students from area high schools Feb. 21 as part of the program. KCPT’s segment features interviews with students, staff and others who made the event successful.

KCALSI a Part of World’s First Academic Research Exchange
The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute (KCALSI) recently announced a partnership with Assay Depot Inc. to build the world’s first academic research exchange, which will allow researchers to more easily collaborate. KCUMB is one of 10 key stakeholders in KCALSI.

Doctors’ Emotional Intelligence Impacts Patient Satisfaction
James Dugan, Ph.D., director of counseling and support services, wrote an article, “A Longitudinal Study of Emotional Intelligence Training for Otolaryngology Residents and Faculty,” which was published online July 10 in JAMA Otolaryngology.

Score 1 Nurse in KC Star’s Civil Rights at 50 Section
Mary Grimaldi, a registered nurse for KCUMB’s Score 1 for Health program, and her family were featured in a special "Civil Rights Act at 50" section recently in The Kansas City Star.

Jul 20, 2014

AOA Installs KCUMB Alum as President for 2014-2015

As late New York Yankees great Yogi Berra might say, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

That’s because when Robert Juhasz, D.O. (COM ’81), was officially installed as president of the American Osteopathic Association on July 19, he became the fourteenth AOA president from KCUMB – the second from his class, even.

Dr. Juhasz serves as president of South Pointe Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and as associate dean of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Cleveland Clinic Extension Campus.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Juhasz on this important leadership role.