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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2006    #089
Contact: Noemi Rojas, UMKC public relations
(816) 235-1520

UMKC poised to start anesthesiologist assistants program No other program like it west of the Mississippi River

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) is poised to be the first in Missouri and west of the Mississippi River to offer a Master of Science in Anesthesia (MSA).

Last month, the Missouri legislature agreed to give $750,000 to UMKC to support start up costs. The Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists Educational Fund has also given funds supporting the program planning.

Approval by the UMKC Board of Curators is the final step still needed before the medical school can launch the MSA program.

If approved, the UMKC MSA program will produce highly skilled medical professionals called anesthesiologist assistants. AAs are licensed to work under the supervision of anesthesiologists to provide various anesthesia services in hospitals, surgery centers, and other health-care environments.

This program is an important and practical solution for the shortage of anesthesia care providers locally and nationally. Currently, there are four AA educational programs operating in the U.S., all east of the Mississippi River. Sixteen states, including Missouri, allow AAs to practice.

“An anesthesiologist assistants school in Missouri will help solve the shortfall of anesthesia providers in the state,” said Jim Kelly, M.D., anesthesiologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital. Kelly has been active in legislation allowing AAs to practice in Missouri.

Because Missouri’s surrounding states have not yet passed legislation to license AAs, many believe the majority of UMKC’s graduates will stay in Missouri to practice.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists is working with the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants to increase the number of practicing AAs in the country.

“As a public medical school, we feel a responsibility to respond to the health care workforce needs in Missouri,” said Betty Drees, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. “By partnering with the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, we are able to provide an innovative and high quality education program, which is of benefit to our community.”

The UMKC MSA program will be housed in the School of Medicine, with clinical training at regional hospitals. The School of Medicine currently manages a residency program in anesthesiology for physicians.

Student demand for the AA program is expected to be high. The initial class is projected to start in the summer of 2007. Initially, 10-15 students will be admitted, with the entering class size eventually growing to 20 per year.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine offers a combined baccalaureate/doctor of medicine degree program that admits students out of high school. The program provides students with early and ongoing clinical experience through teams of students, physicians and other health-care providers. The UMKC School of Medicine also offers residency training in 14 specialties and 25 subspecialty residency programs. The school partners with Children's Mercy Hospital, Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City, Truman Medical Centers, Western Missouri Mental Health Center and the Kansas City VA Hospital. For more information on the UMKC School of Medicine, visit www.umkc.edu/medicine.

UMKC, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban affairs.

www.umkc.edu – “A UNIVERSE OF KNOWLEDGE IN A CITY OF OPPORTUNITY.”

This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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