August

  • Ricky Kidd walks Out of Prison After 23 Years Following Judge's Ruling He's Innocent

    Media report on the release of Ricky Kidd from 23 years of wrongful imprisonment with the help of UMKC School of Law Professor Sean O'Brien
    Read the KMBC Article: Man Walks Out Of Prison After 23 Years Following Judge's Ruling He's Innocent Read the Fox4KC Article: Ricky Kidd Celebrates With UMKC Law Students Who Helped Him Walk Out Of Prison After 23 Years Aug 30, 2019

  • 2019 Women Who Mean Business: Meet The Honorees

    The Kansas City Business Journal reports on the 2019 Women Who Mean Business Honorees including UMKC Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara ...
    Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer is named a 2019 Women Who Mean Business Honoree. She and her other awardees were recognized with newspaper profiles and a celebratory luncheon.  Aug 30, 2019

  • Cultural Competency in Health Care

    UM System grant funds speaker series
    The UMKC Health Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Council is hosting a cultural competency in health care speaker series through October. With financial support from a University of Missouri System Inclusive Excellence grant, sessions are free and open to students, faculty, staff and the community. The council found topics that will be especially beneficial to those at all four UMKC health professions schools: School of Dentistry, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Health Studies and School of Pharmacy. “One of our goals is to provide educational programming that can make an impact on knowledge, self-awareness, attitude and cross-cultural skills,” said Tamica Lige, a staff member at the School of Pharmacy and chair of the council. Sessions are held in the UMKC Health Sciences Building, 2464 Charlotte St. Registration is encouraged for space considerations, but not required to attend. Maternal  Mortality Rate in African American Mothers Sept. 4, noon to 12:50 p.m., room 5301 Traci Johnson, M.D., UMKC assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is leading the session. Creating Safe and Inclusive Spaces for the LGBTQIA Community: Session One – The Basics Sept. 25, noon to 2 p.m., room 4301 Kari Jo Freudigmann, M.S., assistant director, UMKC LGBTQIA programs and services, and Kimberly Tilson, B.S.N., R.N., nurse care manager, TMC Behavioral Health Community Access Program, LGBTQIA patient care advocate, are leading the session. Creating Safe and Inclusive Spaces for the LGBTQIA Community: Session Two – Application and Skills Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to noon, room 3301 Henry Ng, M.D., a public health LGBT health physician leader and advisor, will facilitate a panel of members from the LGBTQIA community and clinicians in a question-and-answer session followed by breakout sessions with video vignettes and small-group discussions. Biodiversity and the Medicines from Nature  Oct. 30, noon to 1 p.m. Cesar Compadre, Ph.D., professor in the department of pharmaceutical sciences and director of the Biomedical Visualization Center at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, is speaking about ethnopharmacology, the study of medicinal plant use in specific cultural groups and the study of differences in response to drugs by different cultures. Aug 30, 2019

  • Bloch Foundation Donates $21M to UMKC

    Media report on the Bloch Foundation gift to the UMKC Henry B. School of Management
    Read the Kansas City Star Article: More Money For UMKC's Bloch School: Foundation Donates $21 Million Read the Kansas City Business Journal Article: Bloch Foundation Donates $21M to UMKC Read the Associated Press Article: Foundation Gives $21 Million to Missouri-Kansas City School Aug 29, 2019

  • Crocodiles Don't Need To Floss; They Just Grow New Teeth

    New York Daily News reports on new research about the ability of crocodiles to grow new teeth
    Current UMKC School of Dentistry student Brianne Schmiegelow is quoted on this topic and speaks about the implications it can have for the future of dentistry. Researchers at MU also contributed to this research.  Aug 29, 2019

  • Project UK banks $50K JPMorgan Chase Foundation Investment Via 'United Effort' With UMKC Innovation Center

    Startland News reports on the $50K investment made to the UMKC Innovation Center
    The $50,000 investment from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation was awarded to the UMKC Innovation Center, which partners with Project UK to deliver programming, resources and develop curriculum, said Sarah Mote, marketing director for the center. Aug 29, 2019

  • Two-Time Alumna on Her Path to Community Service

    Maggie Green's journey from pre-med to city government
    It’s apparent when meeting Maggie Green (B.S. ’12, M.P.A. ’17) that cycling and community are important to her. In fact, she biked through the rain to get to talk with us about her new job at Kansas City, Missouri Public Works serving the community. Green came to the University of Missouri–Kansas City as a student in the six-year medical school program. After a couple of years, she realized she was more interested in the public health part of medicine than being a doctor. Around the time she graduated with her degree in biology, Green began volunteering at a community bike shop in Kansas City, 816 Bicycle Collective. Going to the bike shop on the weekends and fixing bikes for people with no other means of transportation had a profound effect on her and sparked her drive to give back. She also began volunteering with BikeWalkKC, a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization. Soon, her one-day-a-week volunteering became a full-time position as director of programs. Left: Green in front of her office building, City Hall. Right: Yes, she rides her bike in heels! Photos courtesy of Maggie Green. “I was at a place at BikeWalkKC where I was really interested in learning more about nonprofit organizational theory and organizational management,” Green says of her decision to pursue a master’s of public administration degree at UMKC. She completed the program in a year and a half and learned about the importance of cross-sector collaboration. “I can’t underestimate how important it is for local government to work with nonprofits and vice versa,” Green said. “I’m proud of the work BikeWalkKC is doing and still care about the cause but I’m seeing a different way my work can have an impact in Kansas City and that’s exciting.” —Maggie Green Equipped with newfound knowledge, Maggie was ready to find a new way to serve the public. Her M.P.A. gave her a solid foundation to step into the position of public information officer for KCMO Public Works. The Public Works Department maintains public infrastructure by ensuring safe transportation for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. In her new role, she serves as the link between the Kansas City community and the city’s engineers and crews. And she still bikes to work regularly. “I’m proud of the work BikeWalkKC is doing and still care about the cause but I’m seeing a different way my work can have an impact in Kansas City and that’s exciting,” said Green. Aug 28, 2019

  • UMKC Featured in Walmart Promotional Video

    Two Roos get dorm room makeovers
    Walmart is releasing a new "Transform Your Dorm" video series on social, featuring three colleges across the U.S.--one of those being UMKC!  The filming took place this summer at the Hospital Hill Apartments and two students received dorm room makeovers. Grace Stohs, a studio art student, was featured in the first UMKC video released. Another video featuring Jacob Sumner, a nursing student, was released soon after.  The video producer, Brandon Lingle is a UMKC alum and thought it would be great to add his alma mater to the list of universities for Walmart to consider. And UMKC was chosen! UMKC Roos are Everywhere! Here are some of the behind-the-scenes shots from the video shoot.  Jacob Sumner, an accelerated track nursing student, is interviewed at the Hospital Hill Apartments. Behind-the-scenes with alumnus and producer Jacob Lingle.  Outside the video shoot at the Hospital Hill Apartments on a beautiful summer day. Aug 28, 2019

  • UMKC Vice Chancellor of Diversity Honored in Kansas City Statue

    Susan Wilson listed among contemporary icons of the African American community at sculpture site
    The plaque below the sculpture is emblazoned with the names of giants, 18 in all, including  Lucille Bluford, Julia Hill, Mamie Hughes, Leon Jordan, Ollie Gates, Bruce Watkins — and UMKC Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Susan B. Wilson, Ph.D. The plaque accompanies a statue, "Phoenix Rising Out of the Ashes," erected earlier this year at the redeveloped Linwood Shopping Center at the intersection of 31st Street and Prospect Avenue. Created by sculptor Ed Dwight, the artwork is a tribute to the perseverance and resiliency of the people in the surrounding neighborhoods, and their effort to overcome generations of oppression and neglect. Several plaques surround the sculpture; the one that includes Wilson is a salute to “the contemporary contributors to the progress, the legacy, the culture and the economic viability of Kansas City.”  There was no blue-ribbon committee appointed to choose the individuals to be honored. The artist made the decision on his own. “I looked for people who struck a chord within me,” as he did his research for the statue, Dwight said. He grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, but left decades ago and is a longtime resident of Denver. He combed through the Black Archives of Mid America, seeking inspiration. Wilson “teaches people the value of diversity and inclusion,” Dwight said. “That’s what I do through my art, and as I read about her, I felt some kinship with what she was doing.” Wilson has a long history as a diversity advocate, psychologist and educator. In her work as a community mental health director, she sought to bringing culturally competent care to central city African Americans. She led the implementation of Jackson County‘s first-ever mental health court, working with municipal court to divert non-violent individuals with mental health issues to treatment, not jail. She has served as a treating clinician for the Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League. A UMKC vice chancellor since 2014, Wilson implemented a comprehensive, campus-wide plan for diversity and inclusion, built diversity and inclusion training programs and led efforts to conduct a climate survey. She has also worked with numerous school districts and community organizations to advance diversity and inclusion. Wilson had no idea the honor was coming. Dwight did not reveal the names of honorees in advance of the unveiling. “A friend texted me from the unveiling,” Wilson recalled. “I was shocked. It is very flattering to be on a plaque with some of the great leaders of Kansas City. With the kind of work I do, people don’t often know what kind of impact I make.”  Wilson said her post at UMKC is just one example of the university’s close ties to the metro Kansas City community. “Some universities can be like ivory towers on a high hill above their community,” Wilson said. “UMKC’s practice of hiring people with community connections is a real plus.”   Aug 27, 2019

  • Highlights from 2019 Week of Welcome

    Some great photos of our new Roos' exciting introduction to campus life
    A busy Week of Welcome officially kicked off the fall semester for our new Roos.  We welcomed newcomers to campus with some exciting events. Students received new UMKC gear and learned the fight song at Convocation. They learned how to start off on the right foot academically with an info session on campus resources. They also got to meet fellow students in Roo Groups at Unionfest. Then they cheered on our KC Roos during a double-header soccer match, and did so much more! Here are a few of our favorite photos from the week's activities. Aug 26, 2019

  • UMKC Student President Means Business

    With his eye on the Missouri governor’s mansion, Justice Horn has big plans to improve life on campus and beyond
    Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Justice Horn ’21Hometown: Blue Springs, MissouriHigh school: Blue Springs High SchoolDegree program: Business Administration  Justice Horn went from being a transfer student to UMKC Student Government Association’s first black and openly gay president in one semester. A former college athlete, whose coming out received national attention, he has shifted his focus and determination to serving the UMKC and Kansas City communities.   You started college at Northern State University in South Dakota as a wrestler and transferred to UMKC after your first year. How was the transition, and how was being a transfer student different than your experience as a freshman? I don’t feel as if I was treated differently when I came to UMKC even though I didn’t start as a freshman. I’m living proof that new people — black, white, Christian, Muslim — all over campus are accepted. I think that that is something that really makes us different from other schools. That’s why I’m happy to represent the university. There are so many examples of inclusion across campus. Are you a first-generation college student? I am not a first-generation college student, but my mother is. She returned to college at UMKC to finish her undergrad degree when I was in elementary school. I remember playing on the campus green with my dad and siblings while waiting for her to get out of class.  Your mother was the sole financial support for your family because of your father’s seizure disorder. How did growing up with the uncertainty of his health affect you? It was a really interesting environment. There was always some anxiety – you never knew what would happen next, or if this seizure would be the last one. But it gave me a constant feeling of understanding that you never know what people are going through. It made me aware of the need to always be kind.  “I’m living proof that new people — black, white, Christian, Muslim — all over campus are accepted. I think that that is something that really makes us different from other schools.”   Why did you choose UMKC? I chose UMKC for a couple of reasons. I had a life-changing experience that made me revaluate what would truly make me happy and I realized that I need to serve others. Last fall, I lost my friend and teammate, Curtis LeMair. This changed my life and pushed me to reevaluate what I was doing. I woke up one day and thought, “is being involved in wrestling really giving back to the world? Is that what I want to be remembered for?” That led me to UMKC. Do you miss wrestling? I do miss wrestling and I've been grappling with that for a couple of weeks. I miss the camaraderie of my teammates and my coaches, especially because they really gave me the faith and the strength to come out.   You’ve said that you were inspired by Michael Sam, who played at the University of Missouri and was the first openly gay NFL player, when you were considering coming out. While it’s impressive to be so open in such traditionally male, heterosexual environments, do you ever wish that someday sexual orientation won’t be of note?  I have been the first at a lot of things, but I’m aware of the shoulders I stand on and how my actions affect the people who come after me. That’s why I do it. I wonder when we will get to a day that it’s not a big deal, but that only happens when someone is first. We don’t talk about who the first woman student body president was here because it happened. It was a big deal! But now it’s the norm. We have to move through these firsts and it does take time. How does being back in Kansas City feel? It feels great, but also like a responsibility. I feel as if I need to set an example. I don’t want to compare myself to President Obama, but a lot of people have stereotypes about what a gay, lesbian or transgender person is like. It’s almost like being an ambassador for my community to break those old stigmas. That goes for me being in the LBGT community, but also being a person of color.   “I have been the first at a lot of things, but I’m aware of the shoulders I stand on and how my actions affect the people who come after me. That’s why I do it.” Scrolling through your Twitter and Instagram feeds it almost looks as if you were embedded in the Kansas City mayoral election. Rather than aligning with one candidate you were able to interact with several of the candidates. Was that intentional? Yes. During the election I knew that I wanted to run for student body president. There were people who wanted me to make an endorsement, but the city will be looking at transportation – including the new street car extensions – and housing around campus. I like getting involved, but I took a back seat and watched so that I would be better prepared in this role no matter who our next mayor was.    Do you see UMKC playing a role in the growth of the city? It seems like everyone is buying in at the same time. We have a new mayor and a new chancellor. We have a new athletic director, head basketball coach and Roo. The provost is launching her new student success plan. The best thing we can do is support each other and just – I’m not saying do nothing – but ride the wave.  Visit Campus  Aug 24, 2019

  • Why Supplemental Instruction Is For You

    An easy, friendly way to get help with classes
    Sitting in a huge lecture room crammed with 200+ students can be a bit overwhelming. Leaving that lecture completely confused about what the professor talked out about is an even worse feeling. But don’t fret, that’s what Supplemental Instruction is for! Supplemental Instruction (SI) consists of student-led, free, weekly sessions where you can review the material that was covered in lecture. Here are the top four advantages of being in SI: 1. Student-to-student interaction SI is a great way to meet students in your classes and get interaction that you may not receive if you just go from the lecture hall to your dorm room to study. Each SI session is led by a student who’s been through the class and done well. They’ll lead a group of students like you are currently in the same course and you’ll work together to excel! 2. Higher Grades=Higher GPA It has been statistically proven that attending SI sessions greatly improves test scores, resulting in an overall higher grade in the class. So if you need a higher GPA to get into your major program, apply to graduate school or maintain your scholarships, attending SI sessions can help with that! 3. Less stress No one likes stressing the night before the exam, trying to cram five weeks’ worth of material into one night. Instead of sacrificing your sleep, start reviewing early by attending weekly SI sessions. Your SI leader has taken the class before and knows the professor’s teaching and testing style well. They are there to help you succeed! Their weekly sessions are designed to review the material in a fun way so you are fully prepared for each exam. 4. Become an SI leader After you’ve attended SI sessions and performed well in the class, you can apply to be a leader! Being an SI leader is a great way to get involved at UMKC (especially since UMKC is the International Center for SI) and help other students, just like your SI leader helped you. Through being an SI leader, you gain leadership and people skills, a relationship with the professor, and additional review of the material that will be covered on any professional school tests you may take. I cannot thank the SI program enough for helping me grow as a person and gain so much experience along the way. I think a lot of leaders can agree that it’s one of the most rewarding experiences at UMKC. We are always here to provide support to our fellow students and UMKC community! Aug 23, 2019

  • Changing The World Starts Here

    Innocent man’s freedom won by law students, professors
    University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law students, professors and members of the Kansas City community gathered Aug. 22 to celebrate the exoneration of Ricky Kidd. He was incarcerated for 23 years for a double homicide he did not commit. UMKC professors Sean O'Brien and Lindsay Runnels, along with as many as 50 different students from the UMKC School of Law, have worked on Kidd’s case since 2005.  “In law school classrooms, we can teach about law and procedure. But it’s when you have a client that you learn what it means to be a lawyer. What our students have learned working with Professor O’Brien and Ricky Kidd is how to have faith in a system that has been faithless and how to have hope in a situation that seems hopeless,” said Barbara Glesner Fines, UMKC School of Law dean. O’Brien, who graduated from the UMKC School of Law in 1980, has been dedicated to justice since his early days as an attorney. He enjoys working with like-minded people, many of whom were and are UMKC students. They share a passion for seeking the truth and righting wrongs when they occur. “This mission is about love. It takes a village. The people who work behind the scenes, such as the law students, don’t receive recognition. Ricky is meeting people who have worked on his case for the first time. They all work behind the scenes. The Midwest Innocence Project gave their best people to work on the case.” – O’Brien Over the years, Kidd and O’Brien experienced many highs and lows. Kidd lost his case 11 times. “Make no mistake, the past 23 years has been a severe challenge for my family and I. But today, I am much better. When you have strangers and volunteers dedicated to fighting for you, anything can happen. I feel like we were all exonerated. We kept on pushing. Everyone working on my case, and these law students, made the impossible possible." - Ricky Kidd O’Brien was present last week when Kidd met his daughter Jasmine for the first time as a free man. She was five years old when he was incarcerated. Watch the emotional reunion, recorded by O’Brien’s wife.   Aug 23, 2019

  • UMKC School of Pharmacy Awarded Grant to Prevent Opioid Misuse

    Collaborative Missouri task force to explore optimal opioid prescribing practices
    Once again, the University of Missouri-Kansas City is leading the fight against opioid misuse. With a grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation, the UMKC School of Pharmacy is partnering with the Missouri Pharmacy Association and St. Louis College of Pharmacy  to improve prescribing practices for pain management throughout the state of Missouri. The $120,000, two-year grant was awarded as part of the Cardinal Health Foundation’s new, nationwide Optimal Prescribing in Pain Management initiative. The initiative pairs schools of pharmacy with state pharmacy associations to develop strategies to drive the optimal prescribing of pain medications and the appropriate use of opioid medications in their states. In addition to Missouri, the other collaborators are from Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The Cardinal Health Foundation, in partnership with the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), is the national convener of the program. “We are honored to be a leader in this initiative, and feel fortunate we can canvas such a big area of the state,” said Heather Lyons-Burney, clinical assistant professor at the UMKC School of Pharmacy and the principal investigator on the grant. The UMKC School of Pharmacy features three campuses: in Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield. “Opioid misuse is not just an urban problem or a rural problem, it’s an everywhere problem. One thing is not going to fix this. We have to attack it from different angles.” Using the grant funds, Lyons-Burney will lead a task force that develops a “Training of Trainers” curriculum using current guidelines, evidence-based practices and proven intervention strategies for optimal prescribing practices. Following the curriculum development, faculty will deliver the program to pharmacists across Missouri through live trainings and virtual conferencing software. Trained pharmacists will then use strategies learned from the curriculum to educate prescribers on optimal pain management to improve patient health. “Opioid misuse is not just an urban problem or a rural problem, it’s an everywhere problem. One thing is not going to fix this. We have to attack it from different angles.” - Heather Lyons-Burney The goal is to help reduce long-term opioid dispensing rates in Missouri, increase the use of the prescription-drug monitoring program by pharmacists and health-care providers to identify those at risk and strengthen relationships between health professional organizations in the state through the support of joint educational and legislative efforts. “We are grateful for our partnership with the Cardinal Health Foundation, the Missouri Pharmacy Association and St. Louis College of Pharmacy,” said Russell Melchert, dean of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. “We have expert faculty leading the way.” UMKC has ongoing experience with preventing and assessing opioid misuse at national and local levels: The Collaborative to Advance Health Services at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, in partnership with the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, was awarded a two-year, $8 million federal grant in 2018 to address workforce capacity issues. The funding goes toward providing training and assistance to build the capacity of physicians and counselors to provide treatment. The Collaborative also started the KC Perinatal Recovery Collaborative in 2018 to improve family-centered addiction care for pregnant and parenting women and their families in the Kansas City metro area through cross-systems partnerships. The need is there: Missouri had a 358 percent increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome— called NAS — in just five years, between 2011 and 2016. NAS occurs when a mother uses drugs while pregnant or passes the substance through breast milk or the placenta. Infants born with NAS might experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms including mild tremors and irritability, fever, excessive weight loss and seizures. Maureen Knell, a clinical associate professor in the School of Pharmacy, analyzes data from about 690 million outpatient clinic visits by patients who suffer from chronic pain not related to cancer. She and collaborators research opioid prescriptions to better determine what’s happening across the country. Aug 22, 2019

  • Catch Up On These 4 Big Campus Updates

    New faces, construction, major gift announcements and name changes reflect growth
    UMKC is constantly evolving, even in the quiet months of summer. Here’s what you might have missed while you were away. 1. Building for Success: Campus Expansions and Major Gift Announcements Hang on to your hardhats! Several buildings on campus have seen changes and more updates are on the horizon. While the infrastructure for the basement of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center next to the School of Computing and Engineering’s Flarsheim Hall was visible last May, now the building is well above ground level. We look forward to watching construction throughout the year. Scheduled completion is 2020. The Marion and Henry W. Bloch Foundation has committed $21 million to support the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. The gift will be used to support the Henry W. Bloch School of Management via programming enhancements, expansion and renovation of Bloch Heritage Hall, and support programs that will help students during pivotal times in their university careers.Several buildings on both campuses will receive updates, thanks to a $15 million multi-school gift from the Sunderland Foundation. Flarsheim Hall will add a virtual reality lab, a clean room and other state of the art technologies that will bring it in line with the Plaster Center.  Henry W. Bloch School of Management will receive funds to renovate and update technology in Bloch Heritage Hall.  University Libraries will renovate the Miller Nichols Library third floor for a digital humanities and digital scholarship center and in preparation for the planned relocation of the State Historical Society of Missouri.  The School of Law will renovate classrooms to better accommodate the more interactive experiences between professors and students. The School of Dentistry will renovate the pre-clinic laboratory and include replacing dated equipment with state-of-the-art technology. 2. Haven't We Met? New UMKC Athletics Identity New look, new Roo. UMKC Athletics announced a new brand identity that features a fierce “fighting Roo.” While Walt Disney’s smiling original is beloved, this new Roo reflects the strength, determination and pride of Kansas City. A bold, new basketball court design features the Roo and the Kansas City skyline, showing our unfailing hometown pride. Kansas City pride shines through in a new interlocking “KC” mark. Shirts and hats featuring the new logos are available online and the full collection will be in the bookstores soon. 3. What’s In A Name? Academic-Unit Mergers The UMKC Department of Theatre, which attracts national talent and graduates outstanding theatre performers, designers and technicians, merged with the school formerly referred to as the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. The new name of these wildly successful and creative entities is the UMKC Conservatory.  While the School of Biological Sciences and the department of chemistry had been neighbors and collaborators for years, they joined forces this summer as the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.  4. Welcome To The Troop! Key Administrative Hires UMKC was thrilled to welcome two outstanding new members to our executive team this summer.  Lisa B. Baronio, EMBA, has joined UMKC as the president of the UMKC Foundation and chief advancement officer. She will lead corporate and foundation relations, major gifts and gift planning programs, endowment, capital campaigns, stewardship and advancement services. Yusheng (Chris) Liu, Ph.D, is the new UMKC vice chancellor for research. Liu brings more than 20 years of experience in working for public research universities as an educator and chief research officer, and he also served as a program director at the National Science Foundation, based out of the Washington, D.C., area. Aug 15, 2019

  • Bloch Family Foundation Makes $21 Million Investment in UMKC

    Gift to UMKC Foundation will be divided among three major initiatives
    The Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation is donating $21 million to the University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation. The gift will be used to support the Henry W. Bloch School of Management via programming enhancements, expansion and renovation of Bloch Heritage Hall, and support programs that will help students during pivotal times in their university careers. This $21 million gift will be shared by three major initiatives: $11.8 million for programming within the Bloch School of Management; $8 million for infrastructure improvements to and expansion of the Bloch Heritage Hall building; and $1.2 million to support RooStrong, the university’s new program for increasing student retention, six-year graduation rates and career outcomes. This new gift comes less than a year after the announcement of a new $20 million scholarship program funded by $10 million from the Bloch Family Foundation and the H & R Block Foundation and $10 million from UMKC and the University of Missouri System. About 800 students will benefit over the next nine years from the earlier scholarship gift. “My parents believed in Kansas City, and they believed in UMKC as a key engine for progress in the community they loved.”— Tom Bloch “The commitment of the Bloch Family to Kansas City and to Kansas City’s university has been steadfast, highly impactful and beyond generous,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “This gift honors the memory of Marion and Henry Bloch by building upon the legacy they created with the Henry W. Bloch School of Management as the provider of premier business education that Kansas City needs and deserves.” Tom Bloch, chairman of the Bloch Family Foundation, said the gift demonstrates the continuing legacy of Marion and Henry Bloch.  “My parents believed in Kansas City, and they believed in UMKC as a key engine for progress in the community they loved. The Bloch Family Foundation has consistently supported growth through access to high-quality business education in greater Kansas City, and we are confident that the initiatives supported by this gift will advance that goal,” Bloch said. A portion of the generous gift will go toward the renovation and expansion of Bloch Heritage Hall. Lisa B. Baronio, EMBA, president of the UMKC Foundation and chief advancement officer of UMKC, added: “With two significant investments in UMKC immediately prior to the beginning of a new academic year, it is clear that the community recognizes the effect that UMKC has on transforming lives. The excitement is everywhere and it is contagious. The $21 million gift from the Bloch Family Foundation, and the $15 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation announced in July, demonstrate the commitment of Kansas City’s philanthropic community and their high regard for UMKC.” The entrepreneurial engine of the Kansas City region is fueled by graduates of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Kansas City’s Business School is inspired by the innovative and civic mindset of its namesake. Henry W. Bloch co-founded the tax empire H & R Block and is considered one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. He embodied the philosophy of working hard, generating success and completing the continuum by giving back to the community through philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. Aug 13, 2019

  • UMKC Faculty Awarded High-Priority Research Grants

    Five professors to participate in UM System’s Excellence through Innovation Program
    Five University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty members have been chosen to participate in innovative, high-priority research projects funded with more than $20 million in investments from the UM System and its four universities. System President Mun Choi, along with the four university chancellors and the system’s vice president for research and economic development, announced the series of investments Aug. 8, as the first stage of the system’s Excellence through Innovation research program. Participating UMKC faculty members are Praveen Rao, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; Zhu Li, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; Viviana Grieco, Associate Professor of History & Latin American and Latinx Studies; Tony Luppino, Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law; and Douglas Bowles, Professor of Economics. The system-wide research investments support the UM System’s vision to advance opportunities for success and well-being for Missouri, the nation and the world through transformative teaching, research, innovation, engagement and inclusion. Choi has identified research as a key investment area along with areas such as affordability. Growing the research enterprise helps to attract research dollars, distinguished faculty members and students, many of whom engage in research as undergraduates. “Within the UM System, we have an outstanding group of faculty members who are committed to research excellence,” Choi said. “It’s our job as academic leaders to provide them with the opportunities and resources to significantly grow research efforts that are bold and transformative, especially as it pertains to our highest priority, the NextGen Precision Health Initiative and Institute. These projects will be critical to catalyzing the collaboration and infrastructure investments that are needed to grow extramural funding for our universities.” The invested funds will help train the next generation of leaders to meet workforce needs, create breakthrough discoveries to improve the human condition and convey the benefits of teaching and research to Missouri communities.  This year, there are 19 innovative research projects that will receive funding from the UM System and its four universities. The projects include research supporting the core instruments and infrastructure of the NextGen Precision Health Institute; research advancing the systemwide NextGen Precision Health Initiative; and research serving other key priorities of the System’s four universities. The selection of the 19 projects was the result of a formal proposal process with more than 115 proposals submitted. These projects will be funded up to $20.5 million, with $11 million from UM System and the remaining funds from the four universities. These strategic investments will achieve excellence in research and provide meaningful economic and workforce development to Missouri and beyond. The projects in which UMKC faculty are participating are listed below. The full list of 19 research projects is available online. Establishment of the NextGen Data Analytics Center Primary Investigators: Praveen Rao, UMKC; Prasad Calyam, MU Co-PIs: Zhu Li, Viviana Grieco, UMKC; Peter Tonellato, Deepthi Rao, Prasad Calyam, MU; Sanjay Madria, Missouri S&T; Timothy Middelkoop, Kannappan Palaniappan, Satish Nair, Ye Duan, Trupti Joshi, MU University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Praveen Rao and MU’s Prasad Calyam are leading a project to develop a hyper-converged computational hub that will be capable of analyzing and storing massive datasets to support the NextGen Precision Health Initiative as well as other collaborative research projects across the UM System. They are joined by Zhu Li and Viviana Grieco with UMKC; Peter Tonellato, Deepthi Rao, Timothy Middelkoop, Kannappan Palaniappan, Satish Nair, Ye Duan and Trupti Joshi with MU; and Missouri S&T’s Sanjay Madria. In the coming months, university leaders will coordinate with Rao and Calyam and other faculty colleagues to leverage this investment to develop the NextGen Data Analytics Center with donors and industry partners. Building a Convergent Research Community for Smart City Center Procurement PI: Bill Buttlar, MU Co-PIs: Tony Luppino, UMKC; Bimal Balakrishnan, Tojan Rahhal, Enos Inniss, MU; Kamal Khayat, S&T       This project seeks to advance system-level efforts to build a convergent research community around the concept of Future Urban Infrastructure, Integrating Smart Materials and Architecture – as envisioned in a National Science Foundation initiative backed by more than $50 million in funding. The goal of this proposal is to build and strengthen UM System research teams that can successfully compete for funding in this major national initiative, as well as gain support from industry and other agencies. Building Research Capacity for Geospatial-Enabled Data-Driven Discoveries (GED3) PI: Chi-Ren Shyu, MU Co-PIs: Douglas Bowles, UMKC; Eileen Avery, Grant Scott, Lincoln Sheets, Henry X. Wan, MU; Stephen S. Gao, S&T Geospatial information, such as data used to map health disparities, crime density, environmental exposures and countless other datasets, is foundational to developing solutions to our greatest challenges. However, time and effort are often wasted reorganizing and reanalyzing the same public sources of information. This highly collaborative proposal aims to create innovative tools to efficiently organize geospatial resource data in a community-based repository for use across the UM System and beyond. Aug 09, 2019

  • Companies Use Latest VR Tech To Train Employees

    KCTV5 featured the UMKC Augmented and Virtual Reality Lab to show how VR tech can help train employees.
    Educators at UMKC have taken note. In the spring 2019 semester, the college unveiled a facility dedicated to VR job education and training at the School of Computing and Engineering. Kevin Truman, the dean of the school, said the university is already planning on expanding the facility.  Aug 09, 2019

  • Sunderland Foundation Awards $15 Million To Fund Five UMKC Projects

    Media report on the Sunderland Foundation gift that will impact hundreds of students
    Read the Kansas City Star Article: $15 Million Donation Will Fix Up Classrooms And Labs On UMKC's Campus Read the Philanthropy News Digest Article: Sunderland Foundation Awards $15 Million to UMKC For Renovations Read the Kansas City Business Journal Article: Sunderland Foundation Will Give $15M To Five UMKC Projects Aug 09, 2019

  • Undergraduate Research Provides Foundation for Future M.D./Ph.D.

    Joseph Allen follows his passion for medicine and research
    Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Joseph Allen, ’20 Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico Degree program: Biology with an emphasis in biomedical sciences and a minor in Chemistry Why did you choose your field of study? I have always dreamed of being a doctor. The idea of being a part of something that has such a profound effect in peoples’ lives, inspired me to start on this challenging yet rewarding path. I chose biology and chemistry in order to obtain the foundation needed for a career in medicine. Shortly after my first semester, I was given an incredible opportunity to work as an undergraduate researcher in the School of Biological Sciences. I soon discovered that I had a passion for both medicine and research, so I decided to pursue both. With the education and training I am receiving at UMKC, I feel prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. How has your college program inspired you? Every day we hear stories about someone who is doing extraordinary things to help their community, the environment, and people around the world. I wanted to make a difference as well, but I wasn’t sure how to start being that kind of person and doing those kinds of things. I’ve now realized that all it takes is recognizing that something could be better, a commitment to see it changed, and a determined persistence to follow through. College has inspired me to have the confidence to not just dream of a better world but to make it a reality. "With the education and training I am receiving at UMKC, I feel prepared for the challenges that lie ahead." — Joseph Allen What extracurricular activities are you involved in at UMKC? I am the editor-in-chief of Lucerna, the UMKC undergraduate research journal. I lead the honors discussion sections for General Chemistry I and II, am on the Pre-Medical Society leadership board, and this semester I have been working with organizations across campus to start the first collaborative blood drive at UMKC this spring. Have you had and internship or job shadow? What did you learn? The past few years I’ve been studying the molecular basis of neurodegenerative disease in Dr. Ryan Mohan’s laboratory. Before coming to UMKC, I never thought I would have the opportunity to be engaged in leading-edge research, yet here I am. Being a part of this lab has taught me so many things. I’ve learned to think about problems in a different way, have confidence in my ability to understand and describe complex concepts, and never allow an experiment that didn’t work to hold me back. What are your lifelong goals? After graduating from UMKC, I plan to attend medical school and attain an M.D.-Ph.D. with the goal of becoming a neurosurgeon. This path allows me to combine my interest in medicine and research, and hopefully will give me the opportunity to be involved in some incredible things. In his free time, Joseph enjoys painting and drawing. He even considered pursuing a fine arts degree. Images courtesy of Joseph Allen. What do you do in your free time? I enjoy hiking, fishing, cooking, playing piano, or sitting down to a good book and a cup of coffee. Most people don’t know this, but I paint and draw quite a bit. I considered pursuing a degree in fine arts yet decided to keep it as something I could relax and enjoy doing in my free time. Visit Campus Aug 08, 2019

  • Debut Poet, Seasoned Fiction Writer Win 2019 BkMk Press Book Prizes

    Winners include Dara Yen Elerath of New Mexico, Scott Nadelson of Oregon
    BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City announced the 2019 winners of its book prizes for poetry and short fiction. Dara Yen Elerath of Albuquerque, New Mexico, won the 20th John Ciardi Prize for Poetry for her manuscript The Dark Braid. Finalists included Brad Buchanan, Fay Dillof, Peter Krumbach, Emily Schulten, Emily Tuszynska, Roy White and Helen Wickes. “What makes these poems so engaging is the way the poet constructs them from contradictory elements. The works feel both personal and mythic,” said prize judge Doug Ramspeck. Scott Nadelson of Salem, Oregon, won the 18th G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction for his manuscript One of Us. Finalists included Corie Adjmi, Naira Kuzmich and Amy Foster Myer. “These stories challenge the ways we identify in terms of nation, race, class and religion; and ask readers to consider who really belongs,” said prize judge Amina Gautier. Each author will receive $1,000 plus book publication in fall 2020 by BkMk Press. The John Ciardi Prize for Poetry was founded in 1998 to honor the legacy of Ciardi, who taught for a time at UMKC and was a poet, translator and editor at The Saturday Review, and a commentator on NPR. BkMk Press founded the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction in 2001 in memory of Chandra, who was an author and professor of English at UMKC. Previous winners of BkMk’s annual writing contests have gone on to receive wide literary acclaim. A full list of past recipients, as well as information on submitting to the 2020 contests, can be found online. Aug 08, 2019

  • UMKC Faculty Named UM System Presidential Engagement Fellows

    Will make personal connections with Missouri residents statewide
    Three University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty members have been named UM System Presidential Engagement Fellows: Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D. and Barbara Pahud, M.D., both of the School of Medicine; and Gerald Wyckoff, Ph.D., School of Pharmacy and School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. The Presidential Engagement Fellows program was established to share faculty accomplishments with Missouri residents in their own communities. It allows faculty to make personal connections and deliver on the mission to disseminate and apply knowledge for the benefit all Missourians. To participate in the Presidential Engagement Fellows program, faculty members were nominated or self-nominated at the campus level based on their demonstrated excellence as well as their ability to communicate their research to the public. Fellows participated in a training and orientation session and represent the UM System at a minimum of three to five speaking events per year. This program is administered by the UM System Office of Engagement and Outreach. Jannette Berkley-Patton Berkley-Patton is a professor in the School of Medicine Biomedical and Health Informatics Department, the director of the Community Health Research Group, the director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute and adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology. As a principal investigator of National Institutes of Health- and foundation-funded studies, she uses community-engaged approaches to develop and test prevention, screening and linkage to care interventions focused on HIV, STDs, hepatitis C, diabetes, heart disease and mental health in faith communities. Her research engages faith, community and health agency partners along with students and faculty in implementing these interventions to address health disparities using sustainable methods. Berkley-Patton’s research also extends to working with faith communities in Jamaica, West Indies on diabetes and heart disease prevention. She has been inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame, awarded the University of Missouri System Cross-Cultural Community Engagement Presidential Award and appointed as a University of Missouri System Presidential Engagement Fellow. Speaker Topics: Sharing your passion with others to expand educational and career opportunities Conducting research in church settings: faith communities empowered to create change Engaging underserved communities in addressing health equity Education and research: Why your voice matters   Barbara Pahud Pahud is an associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Mercy and University of Kansas Medical Center. She is the associate director of the NIH Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit at Children’s Mercy. Pahud received her medical degree from La Salle University, Mexico City, Mexico; her master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, New York; and completed her residency in pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Subsequently, she fulfilled a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases from the University of California, San Francisco, followed by a fellowship in vaccine safety from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with Stanford University Medical Center. Pahud is the principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health Sunflower Pediatric Clinical Trials Research Extension (SPeCTRE) and for the Collaboration for Vaccination Education and Research (CoVER) study, as well as being a co-investigator in an ongoing CDC- and National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases-sponsored surveillance program for acute gastroenteritis and acute respiratory illness in children. She has also presented numerous abstracts and lectured internationally, nationally and locally. Speaker Topics: Improving the health of our communities through HPV vaccination Overcoming vaccine hesitancy – practical tips for talking to patients and families Prevention of influenza disease and deaths in our community Also able to discuss other vaccine related topics and tailor them to the specific group   Gerald Wyckoff About 30 million people in the U.S. live with a rare disease – about as many as suffer from cancer – but the majority of those 7,000 rare diseases have no cure. Many Missourians, therefore, are affected by a lack of needed treatments. For these desperately needed new drugs to be developed efficiently, we need an integrated, data-driven approach, whether the data comes from a human doctor or an animal veterinarian. This is the work that Wyckoff came to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to do. Growing up in New York, he earned his B.S. in biology from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life where he learned to calculate trait heritability in cattle, and his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Chicago, eventually studying human genetics. An affinity for computers led him to create complex programs and systems to support his work, starting the 1Data project to help integrate human and animal health data across state lines and institutional boundaries to compile data for more effective drug development. He has helped develop software applications for biology and chemistry, and this led to his entrepreneurial efforts outside of the academy as a founder of one company and co-founder of another, making use of the resources at UMKC and in the Kansas City region to launch his visions. This makes him keenly aware of workforce development issues and how the UM System helps meet the needs of Missouri small businesses. He has won the Missouri Governor’s Teaching Award in 2018 in part for his ability to take complex ideas and make them relatable to real-world applications and problems. Speaker Topics: How evolution contributes to our ability to create drugs to target diseases A “one-health” approach to data sharing that integrates data across animals and humans, from farms to pharmacies Precision medicine as a focus for study from bench to bedside   Aug 05, 2019