May 30, 2014

KCUMB Continues Efforts to Share Our Story

Kansas City Business Journal, May 30, 2014
With so many positive things going on at KCUMB, those outside the University are beginning to take notice.

On May 30, the Kansas City Business Journal featured KCUMB and our plans for the future in an article in their annual health care edition.

This recent article in the Kansas City Business Journal is just one of many positive articles about your KCUMB that have been published in the past year. Our successes have also led to positive mentions of KCUMB in The Kansas City Star, Ingram’s Magazine, The D.O. and even USA Today.

Sharing our story has been one of my main goals during the past year. We have a lot to be proud of. It’s gratifying that people in our community and around the nation are beginning to understand what our KCUMB is really about.

Read about KCUMB in the May 30 online edition of the Kansas City Business Journal (subscription required; free full PDF coming soon).

Read stories about your University in the KCUMB In the News section of our website.

May 27, 2014

Rushing Steps Down as Dean of the College of Biosciences

Douglas R. Rushing, Ph.D.
One of our KCUMB legends will soon close a chapter in his life as he steps down as dean of the College of Biosciences and transitions to a part-time faculty position at the University.

Douglas R. Rushing, Ph.D., has been dean of the College of Biosciences since its inception in 2005, but his journey with KCUMB began 42 years ago when he joined the University as assistant professor of biochemistry.

Since that time, Dr. Rushing has been a constant presence and a positive force in the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Biosciences, helping train more than 7,800 physicians, scientists and bioethicists from our University.

Even as he prepares for a future filled with the things he loves outside of teaching – reading, theater, film, music and his family – he is dedicated to helping KCUMB build an important new initiative to help us realize our goals as an institution.

For this initiative, Dr. Rushing has led the formation of Strategic Leadership Teams, diverse groups of administrators, faculty and staff from all areas of the organization, to develop expertise and recommend metrics across KCUMB’s Strategic Plan. Dr. Rushing will continue to spearhead this grassroots effort throughout his transition.

It is truly remarkable to realize the expansive impact one individual has had on so many aspects of our University. We are thankful to have had Dr. Rushing as professor, chair and dean, and wish him well in this next phase of his life.

May 25, 2014

KCUMB Welcomes New Board of Trustees Members

Howard Kesselheim, D.O.
During our May Board of Trustees meeting last week, we welcomed two new members: Kevin Hicks, MBA, M.S., chief executive officer of Overland Park (Kan.) Regional Medical Center, and Howard Kesselheim, D.O. (COM ’74), a physician board certified in medical oncology and hematology.

Howard Kesselheim, D.O.

Dr. Kesselheim is a senior oncologist at the Center for Cancer and Hematologic Disease in Cherry Hill, N.J. He currently holds an academic appointment as a clinical assistant professor for the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Dr. Kesselheim earned a bachelor of science in psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a doctor of osteopathic medicine from Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1974. He completed an internship and residency training at Cherry Hill Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in clinical oncology/hematology at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York.

Kevin Hicks
Kevin Hicks
As CEO of the Overland Park Regional Medical Center, which is a part of the HCA Midwest Health System, Mr. Hicks oversees a 350-bed acute-care hospital, as well as a regional trauma center and accredited chest pain center. He has been with HCA since 1987, beginning his career with the organization in El Paso, Texas, where he worked until 1993. He also previously served as CEO of Overland Park Regional Medical Center from 2003-2006 and as CEO of Research Medical Center from 2006-2014.

Mr. Hicks has more than 30 years of experience, including a decade at the multi-facility level. He earned a master of hospital administration and a master of business administration in 1980 from the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as a bachelor of science in business administration in 1978 from the University of Kansas.

KCUMB Updates COM Curriculum to Application-Based Model

The number one goal of KCUMB's Strategic Plan is to enhance student success.  While we are proud of the accomplishments of our students and graduates, we recognize that all leading medical schools must always strive to improve the quality of their academic programs.

Beginning this fall with our incoming first-year class, we will launch a modified-systems, application-based curriculum. This curriculum model has proven to be extremely successful in preparing students for the practice of osteopathic medicine in the 21st century. In addition, this curricular model has positively impacted student performance on COMLEX board exams, as well as assisting with residency placement.

Our new curriculum is based on adult learning theory and has a significant focus on problem solving and medical informatics. These changes will move us away from a knowledge-acquisition model of learning, which consists of traditional lectures and slide-based learning, and toward more interactive teaching and learning.

The COM is also adding new military and global medicine tracks beginning this fall.

May 21, 2014

KCUMB Celebrates the Class of 2014 and a Special Milestone

Graduates recite the Osteopathic Oath
With family and friends watching from the audience, members of the Class of 2014 officially received their degrees during Commencement ceremonies May 17 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

The ceremony also marked a significant milestone for KCUMB as the University conferred the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree on our 10,000th graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. I was pleased to recognize Rex Farrer, Jr., as the 10,000th graduate at the ceremony.  He was also recognized with a plaque during a special graduation breakfast.

Rex Farrer, Jr., the 10,000th graduate
Among those earning degrees from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Biosciences:
  • 235 earned doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees, including 10 who concurrently earned a master of arts in bioethics and 21 who concurrently earned a master of business administration in healthcare leadership through KCUMB's innovative partnership with Rockhurst University
  • 34 earned master of science in biomedical sciences degree
  • 4 earned master of arts in bioethics degrees
  • 7 new osteopathic physicians were commissioned as officers in the U.S. Air Force, four in the U.S. Army and eight in the U.S. Navy

    During the ceremony, KCUMB conferred an honorary doctor of human letters degree on Terry Dunn, our former chairman of the Board of Trustees and chief executive officer of J.E. Dunn Construction. The honorary degree is our highest tribute and is awarded to an individual for his or her contributions to the betterment of all humanity.

    Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., vice president of health sciences and medical affairs at the New York Institute of Technology, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Ross-Lee is a trailblazer for her achievements in medicine, health policy and education. She overcame many obstacles not only in her journey to become an osteopathic physician, but also to become the first female African-American dean of a U.S. medical school in 1993.

    Dr. Ross-Lee encouraged graduates to recognize that becoming a physician is not just a career choice, but a part of who they now are.

    "It is a high calling with awesome responsibilities, but it’s also something else," she said. "From this day forward, those of you who are receiving your D.O. degree today will need to understand that being a physician is now an immutable part of who you are and who you will always be. It’s very much like your race, ethnicity or gender. It will be how you think of yourself and how others will think of you. Because, being a physician not only describes what you will do, but who you are. No other profession is so honored."

    The joint ceremony marked the first time that the College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Biosciences have conferred degrees on graduates together.

    View the Commencement photo gallery.

    May 16, 2014

    KCUMB Honors Class of 2014 with Commencement Celebration Luncheon

    KCUMB honored the graduates of the Class of 2014 with a Commencement Celebration luncheon and awards presentation that took place Friday, May 16, at the Muehlebach Tower of the Marriott Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.

    Marc B. Hahn, D.O., and Terry Rosell, Ph.D., pose with award
    winner Victoria Kay Zbikowski and her family at the luncheon.
    More than 1,000 individuals, including graduates and their families, faculty and administrators, attended the luncheon. We celebrated this class’s achievements in academic and clinical performance, research and scholarly activity, leadership on local, state and national levels, and accomplishments in serving others through countless hours of community service.

    The University recognized individuals who received Latin Honors designations, membership in honorary fraternities and awards in a multitude of achievement areas. We spotlighted eight distinguished award recipients, including:

    •    Christopher  Charles  Sutton, Dean's  Award
    •    Mark  Joseph  Bieszka  II, President's  Award
    •    Kameelah  Ameerah  Rahmaan-Russell, Medallion  Award
    •    Benjamin  Harold  Roth, Silver  Stethoscope
    •    Greg  Daniel  Rice, Gold  Stethoscope 
    •    Benjamin  Matthew  Skoch, Student  D.O. of  the  Year
    •    Victoria  Kay  Zbikowski, The  Sir  William  Osler  Outstanding  Student  Award  for  Bioethics
    •    Sonya  Parash, Biomedical  Sciences  Student  of  the  Year  Award

    May 12, 2014

    KCUMB Medical Students Participate in Organ Transplantation Lecture

    KCUMB was fortunate to host the Colby Cassani Endowed Lecture Series on May 12.

    According to The Colby Foundation, there are currently more than 122,000 on the waiting list for organ transplants. Eighteen people die each day waiting for a transplant. One donor may save up to eight lives and improve the lives of up to 50 people.

    Starla Cassani and her husband, John, an osteopathic physician, established The Colby Foundation in 1995 to educate the public about organ, eye and tissue donation, two years after the death of their son, Colby, in a tragic accident.

    Starla shared her family's personal story and spoke to KCUMB's first-year osteopathic medical students about the importance of organ donation. Other speakers included Mark Reintjes, M.D., medical director for the Midwest Transplant Network (MTN); Chris Bryan, M.D., chief of lab services at MTN; and Ray Gabel, community education coordinator at MTN. KCUMB's bioethics staff also discussed potential ethical issues involved with organ, eye and tissue donation.

    Learn more about The Colby Foundation at

    May 9, 2014

    Faculty, Staff Get First Glimpse of New Academic Center

    An artist's rendering of the renovated lobby of the new Academic Center.
    An artist's rendering of a completed lecture hall in the new Academic Center.
    Employees tour one of two large lecture halls under construction.
    Several KCUMB faculty and staff members gathered May 8 to tour the University's new Academic Center, which is scheduled to open in July.

    The Academic Center, formerly Weaver Auditorium, features two large lecture halls, as well as several smaller breakout rooms for study sessions. Renovation of the existing facility cost the University approximately half of what an entirely new facility would have.

    The Academic Center is a key component 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. Among many improvements, the plan also includes:

    • Renovations to the Administration Building
    • A new Center for Medical Simulation
    • A new Health and Wellness Center

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

    May 5, 2014

    KCUMB Faculty, Alumni and Students Honored at MAOPS

    Dr. Bruce Dubin honors newly installed MAOPS
    President Lee Parks, D.O., with a proclamation.
    The Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS) honored several KCUMB faculty, alumni and students during the Missouri Osteopathic Annual Convention (MOAC) at the Chateau on the Lake in Branson, April 30 - May 4.

    MAOPS installed Lee Parks, D.O. (COM ’84), as president of the association. Dr. Parks, a family medicine specialist at Crider Health Center in Union, Mo., is the fourth female ever to be elected to the position of president in the Association’s history spanning nearly 12 decades.

    During the President’s Banquet on May 3, MAOPS honored the following individuals with distinguished awards:

    Wilbur T. Hill, D.O., F.A.C.O.F.P., Distinguished Service Award
    Dr. Mike Johnston (COM ’73) – Vice Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine
    G. Michael Johnston, D.O.
    Kevin Hubbard, D.O.

    Physician of the Year
    Kevin Hubbard, D.O. (COM ’86) – Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine

    Memorial Designation
    Ronald Hubbard, D.O. (COM ’61) – American College of Osteopathic Surgeons

    Osteopathic College Medallion Award
    DOCARE International at KCUMB

    Public Medallion Award
    Marilyn DeGeus – Director and Instructor at KCUMB’s D’Angelo Library

    Professional Medallion Award
    Douglas Rushing, Ph.D. – Dean of the College of Biosciences and Professor of Biochemistry

    Wetzel Scholars
    Charles Graham, MSIII student

    KCUMB also hosted an alumni luncheon in conjunction with MAOPS on Thursday, May 2. Bruce Dubin, D.O., provost and dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, provided a University update to the more than 80 alumni in attendance, sharing information about new academic initiatives and progress related to the campus master plan.

    May 2, 2014

    Annual Gift Body Memorial Service a Celebration of Hope and Heart

    KCUMB hosted the 23rd Annual Anatomical Memorial Service on Friday, May 2, honoring those who donated their bodies to be used for study by osteopathic medical students.

    Families of donors gathered with first-  and second-year medical students, faculty and staff to honor those who gave so that others might learn.

    Jim Mitchell, keynote speaker and long-time resident of Kansas City, emphasized the magnitude and impact of the gift by those who gave their bodies for the purpose of teaching.

    Jim has delivered the keynote address for every memorial service since KCUMB began the annual tradition in 1991. He says it is a supreme honor, yet a bittersweet experience. His wife of 55 years was honored two years ago when she passed away and donated her body to KCUMB. Read more.