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 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.