Aug 23, 2016

Dr. Anne VanGarsse Profiled in The Catholic Key

KCU Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Anne VanGarsse, MD, recently shared her story — both personal and professional — with The Catholic Key, the newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph. The profile highlights Dr. VanGarsse's formative years in Kansas City, touching on her pursuit of Jesuit education and early interest in pediatric medicine, as well as her pediatrics residency in St. Louis and private practice in Lawrence, Kansas.

Dr. VanGarsse moved back to Kansas City with her family, where she has been a valued member of the KCU faculty since 2013. She was recently named chief medical officer for Health Partnership Clinic of Johnson County. (read the article)

KCU Students Organize "Day of Solidarity" to Speak Out on Physician Suicide

Studies indicate that physicians have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession, due in part to extreme stress and burnout. And, it's no secret that medical students face similar challenges themselves, often dealing with depression and anxiety. Indeed, the national rate of medical school students who report experiencing these problems stands at 54 percent. Yet, physicians and medical students are typically among the last people to ask for help when it's needed.

In order to shed light on these important topics, on August 21, students at KCU organized a "Day of Solidarity" through Care2 network, part of a national campaign to prevent physician suicide. Attended by students, medical professionals, faculty and staff, the forum openly discussed physician and student/resident suicide and urged that action be taken on the parts of academic governing bodies. Ten other cities hosted similar talks.

Although there have been no suicides at KCU, the University maintains a proactive stance in protecting the mental health and well-being of its students. A psychologist is on staff, and the administration is organizing a dedicated team — including a psychologist and other students — to check on students for signs of struggling. The team also will conduct quarterly student surveys to identify anyone who should be offered individual help.

Read the Kansas City Star's coverage of KCU's "Day of Solidarity."

Aug 12, 2016

KCU Hosts Symposium Addressing Gun Violence and Public Health

KCU, in collaboration with the Center for Practical Bioethics and St. Joseph Medical Center, co-hosted the 22nd Annual Rosemary Flanigan Lecture and Symposium, "Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue," April 10 - 11. The lecture also served to kick off KCU's "Current Issues in Bioethics" speaker series — part of the Bioethics II course for 2nd-year COM students.

This year's symposium featured plenary speakers Dr. Daniel Webster, professor of public health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Lance Stell, professor of philosophy, emeritus, Davidson College; professor emeritus, Carolinas Medical Center.

Open to the public, the gathering encouraged courteous listening and civil discourse on this critical issue, which continues to impact public health in our country. As an important part of the medical community, KCU has a role in promoting constructive dialogue on matters that affect the health and well-being of the communities we serve.


KCU Administration Building Brings Home the Gold in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

KCU's Administration Building has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its energy-efficient, high-performing design and construction. The University partnered with Kansas City, Mo.-based Helix Architecture + Design on the renovation as part of our five-year Campus Master Plan. J.E. Dunn served as general contractor on the renovation.

The Administration Building occupies what was once Children's Mercy Hospital, built in 1916. As the KCU campus has grown and been transformed into a cutting-edge academic center, careful planning and thought was given to the complete renovation of the historic building. The University, mindful of its role as an environmental steward and ambassador of its Historic Northeast Neighborhood, maintained the character of much of the building, while transforming it into a progressive academic administrative hub.

The building was certified in part through adaptation of the building's urban environment into the overall plan. Careful thought went into public transportation access, walkability, proximity to dining and amenities, and maximizing the green space around the building.


Aug 11, 2016

Science Blog Highlights Paper Co-Authored by Dr. Barth Wright


KCU Associate Professor of Anatomy Barth Wright, PhD, is one of the co-authors of "Human Feeding Biomechanics: Performance, Variation and Functional Constraints." The study, which was recently published in PeerJ, an open access, online journal serving the biological and medical sciences, is discussed in a recent posting on ScienceBlog. 


The study found that as early humans developed processing techniques that softened food and reduced food particle size, there was less environmental pressure to maintain the higher bite forces of our ancestors and primate relatives.

However, the resulting increased efficiency to the muscles involved in biting and chewing comes at a cost. The research supported the finding that, while humans have a high biting leverage, they are also at risk of dislocating the jaw joint during powerful molar biting. The study suggests that human craniofacial evolution, while efficient, is poorly suited to produce large biting forces because of a limitation in the jaw joint. (read the blog) (read the full paper)

Royals GM Dayton Moore Shares Inspirations With KCU Community

Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore came to KCU on August 9 to speak with medical students, faculty and staff about creating a winning culture.

Drawing a parallel between building a World Series Championship team and the rigors of medical school, Moore challenged student doctors to hold themselves accountable and be the best every day as they face the stress, competition and pressure of medical school.

Moore's message also hit home with faculty and staff, as he spoke about personal responsibility as a secret to success. He concluded his visit to the KCU campus with a signing of his book, "More Than a Season: Building a Championship Culture." (read more)

Aug 8, 2016

COB Students Reach Out, Give Back to Others On 'WE CARE' Day

Incoming College of Biosciences (COB) students, faculty and staff were out in full force for WE CARE Day on August 5, giving back to the community as part of new student orientation week.

One hundred twenty KCU volunteers partnered with five non-profit agencies to provide more than 350 hours of community service in a single morning — the largest WE CARE effort to date for the COB since the service day began in 2014. Volunteer activities included lunch service preparation at Episcopal Community Services, sorting food donations at Harvesters, and shelter beautification projects at Newhouse Shelter.

KCU's annual WE CARE Day has been a tradition for the last 19 years, when it first began as a part of orientation week for the University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). Today, incoming students from both the COB and the COM participate in two, massive outreach efforts involving more than 400 volunteers and resulting in more than 1,300 hours of community service. WE CARE is one of many ways KCU inspires new students to improve the well-being of the communities they serve.

Aug 5, 2016

Pinning Ceremony Welcomes Incoming COB Students

More than one hundred men and women, representing the KCU College of Biosciences (COB) Class of 2017/2018, participated in an inaugural pinning ceremony on Aug. 4. This new convocation ceremony celebrated entry of these new students as scientists into the field of biomedical sciences.

Students, their families and guests were welcomed by Dr. Robert White, dean of the COB, and Dr. Marc Hahn, KCU president and CEO. Dr. Nathan Hall, a graduate of the first COB class in 2006 and a 2010 graduate of the KCU College of Osteopathic Medicine, delivered the keynote address.

Comprised of both 1- and 2-year track students, this class joins the largest COB class in the program's 12-year history. The COB's dramatic growth since its inception in 2005 confirms the growing demand in the fields of biomedical research and the life sciences. Students in these courses of study are critical to advancing KCU's mission of "improving the well-being of the communities we serve."

Aug 4, 2016

"KCU Celebrates a Century" Now on YouTube

Highlights of KCU's rich history have been captured on a new video in recognition of our centennial. Spanning an impressive 100 years, the University's story, "KCU Celebrates a Century," documents the school's beginnings in Kansas City's Historic Northeast Neighborhood and provides a glimpse into its focus on research, student development and expansion into Joplin, Missouri. Professionally produced, this video is now available for viewing on YouTube.

Aug 2, 2016

Fundraising Efforts Reach New High

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the KCU Office of Institutional Advancement is pleased to report fundraising results for FY2016 of $3.28 million. This total is more than double that for any of the past 12 years and surpasses the University's goal of $3.25 million for the fiscal year. The fundraising total includes cash, new pledges and planned gift expectancies.

As an independent, private institution, KCU relies on vital philanthropic support to advance our mission of "improving the well-being of the communities we serve" and provide the resources necessary to ensure excellence in medical education and student success. We extend our sincere appreciation to the individuals and organizations that have provided their financial support to KCU during the past year.

Aug 1, 2016

KCU Receives NIH Grant to Study Causes of Microvascular Defects in Heart Disease

Eugene Konorev, MD, PhD, KCU associate professor of pharmacology and microbiology, was awarded a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health for his ongoing studies related to cardiovascular disease. Specifically, Dr. Konorev's research looks at ways to stimulate new myocardial blood vessel growth in response to heart failure resulting from cancer therapeutics. Students will work alongside Dr. Konorev to identify ways to lessen the toxic side effects of the drug doxorubicin and to understand other causes of heart failure as well. (read more)

White Coating Ceremony Welcomes New Student Doctors

Two hundred seventy-nine men and women, representing KCU College of Osteopathic Medicine's Class of 2020, walked across the stage at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts July 30th to accept their symbolic white coat and take the osteopathic oath. Presentation of this traditional vestment acknowledges the beginning of students' journey to become osteopathic physicians.

Incoming students, their families and guests were welcomed by President and CEO Dr. Marc B. Hahn and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. John P. Smith. Additional dignitaries and guests offered their congratulations and words of encouragement, along with Dr. Molly Menser (COM '07), who delivered a heartfelt and inspiring keynote address.

The white coating ceremony represents a literal and symbolic gesture representing each student's acceptance into the practice of medicine and dedication of service to humankind. In honor of KCU's 100th anniversary, students also received a special lapel pin distinguishing them as the incoming class for KCU's centennial year.

Watch the video of our 2016 white coating ceremony.