• Nursing Student Determined to Improve Care for Minorities

    Dominique Nichols, undaunted by pandemic challenges, finds inspiration in others
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Dominique Nichols Anticipated graduation: Spring 2023 Academic program: Pre-licensure BSN Hometown: Belton, Missouri  Why nursing? I want to make a difference in the way minorities are treated in the health care system. I want to be an advocate for them and provide culturally congruent care to all of my patients. My mother has been an emergency room tech. What are the benefits of the program? One is to be exposed to many learning opportunities through labs and clinicals, such as my current work at North Kansas City Hospital in the dialysis unit. The professors and administrative staff are also open to hearing students’ perspectives and concerns. And nurses are always in demand; I'll have a job when I graduate. How has your program inspired you? It has made me excited to build relationships with patients and care for those who are in need. I have also been inspired to set an example as a biracial woman in a prestigious field. This is such an important aspect of providing care to minorities. Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself? I have learned that I do not have to be perfect at everything. It is unrealistic, and it only causes more stress. I have been trying to focus on doing my best, even if it means cutting myself some slack for my own mental health. What do you admire most at UMKC and why? I admire the different types of people I see on campus (and on Zoom). There are people from many ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures. I think it is important to appreciate that we all have a multitude of things to bring to the table and everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. I love hearing other people’s experiences and perspectives on certain topics. They provide many learning opportunities and space for growth. "I want to make a difference in the way minorities are treated in the health care system." - Dominique Nichols Do you have any scholarships? What do they mean to you? I am a proud KC Scholar. To me, this scholarship means everything. If it weren’t for this scholarship, I would have thousands of dollars in student loan debt like everyone else. This scholarship allows me to save money and spend it on other important things like my apartment, my car, food, gas and clothes. I will forever be grateful for the Kauffman Foundation for providing this scholarship to students like me. In the future, I plan on becoming a donor to give back and to help other students reach their goals, too. Have you had an internship or job shadow? I job-shadowed a nurse practitioner last fall. I learned how to communicate with patients, how to manage time, and how to document important information. I also got to observe a few surgeries on the skull and vertebrae. It was an awesome experience! I will have a formal internship during my senior year.  What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your career? I hope to treat all people as individuals with their own lives and backgrounds that may or may not be the same as my own. I want to be non-judgmental and open minded as much as possible. I also want to be an advocate for patients and do what is best for them. What is one word that best describes you and why? Determined. I am determined to be the best version of myself that I can be. I am also determined to make a difference in how minorities are treated in the health care system. It is important to me that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.   Jan 08, 2021

  • Kansas And Missouri Universities Could Face Tough Financial Choices In 2021

    Shawnee Mission Post article includes UMKC
    There were furloughs and reduced hours for some employees, and cutbacks in major purchases and travel, said Stacy Downs, UMKC spokesperson. The administration made across-the-board salary cuts in the first quarter for employees making more than $50,000 a year, but it has been able to end those, she said. Read more. Jan 04, 2021

  • Your Questions About The Coronavirus Vaccine Answered

    Mary Anne Jackson was a guest on Up to Date.
    Mary Anne Jackson, professor and dean of the UMKC School of Medicine, was a guest on KCUR. She answered questions about the coronavirus vaccine. Jan 04, 2021

  • Missouri Saw Deadliest Year Ever For Gun Violence In 2020, Made Worse By Pandemic

    Local media interviews Ken Novak about gun violence and homicide rate in 2020
    “I would be shocked if it’s not also the deadliest year in Missouri’s history, we are seeing increases in three cities, how is it not possible for this to be the deadliest year,” said Ken Novak, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Kansas City Star (subscription required), KCTV5, Kansas City Magazine. Jan 03, 2021

  • Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor With Passion For Helping Others Dies Of COVID-19

    JoEllen Engelbart was a UMKC alumna
    Assistant prosecutor JoEllen Engelbart earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the UMKC Bloch School and a law degree from the UMKC School of Law. Read the Kansas City Star article. (subscription required) This story was also covered by KMOV. Jan 03, 2021

  • The Benefits of Sticking to New Year’s Resolution To Work Out More

    The Wall Street Journal article cites a study that included UMKC as a collaborator
    The study, a collaboration by researchers at California State University, University of North Carolina, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., was published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Public Health in 2019. Read the full article. (subscription may be required) Jan 01, 2021

  • As The Pandemic Continues, Musicians Wait In The Wings

    UMKC Conservatory student featured in Columbia Missourian
    Nina Lee Cherry, 20, is a percussionist, singer and arranger from Lupus pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music theory at the UMKC Conservatory. Read the article. Dec 31, 2020

  • There May Be Links Between Menopause, Severe Coronavirus Symptoms, Study Suggests

    Forbes publishes an article featuring an interview with a School of Medicine professor
    James O’Keefe, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, told the Guardian, “We can strongly suspect that the estrogen is protective because we know from other studies that estrogen helps to improve some aspects of immunity.” Read the full article. Dec 29, 2020

  • Kansas Among Worst States For Surprise Medical Bills. Congress Just Banned Them

    Kansas City Star interviews Christopher Garmon
    A bill approved by Congress includes arbitration provisions in the event that insurers and providers can’t agree on costs, as well as a 30-day period before arbitration to encourage negotiations. “That’s what should happen. They should get together at a table and figure out what the fair price should be,” said Christopher Garman, an assistant professor of health administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the full article from The Star. (subscription required) Dec 23, 2020

  • UMKC #Classof2020RooStrong Honored and Inspired

    Actor and native Kansas Citian Don Cheadle delivers virtual address
    More than 1,100 UMKC graduates celebrated their achievements in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended any sense of normalcy. Along with university leadership and local celebrities, actor and humanitarian Don Cheadle recognized the enormity of these graduates’ accomplishments. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal lauded the students for their ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and continue to excel academically. “This time last spring, we hoped to be at a point where we could celebrate you in person, but we are still immersed in a persisting pandemic,” Agrawal said. “However, the pride I have in congratulating you not only remains; it has increased.” Recognizing the unprecedented demands, Agrawal emphasized the graduates’ success. “By no means has it been an easy semester. A lot has been required of you in the final stretch of this race. You had to dig deeper to see it through, however, your tenacity together with your growth and determination should give you a heightened sense of accomplishment this weekend. You made it! “You are ready - ready to take on the world.” - Mauli Agrawal You made the most of every opportunity and overcame every challenge to get the hands-on experience you need to be prepared for the workforce and benefit your communities. You are ready, ready to take on the world.” Mun Choi, University of Missouri president, recognized the newest graduates for their ability to look beyond their own needs. “Your success comes during a year like no other. On top of your coursework and activities, you stepped up in our fight against COVID. You supported our health care effort and tackled food insecurity. And all of you have done your part to protect your campus and community. We’re so proud of you!” “UMKC will be with you every step of the way.” - Mun Choi Choi welcomed the new graduates to the UMKC alumni network that is over 125,000 strong. “UMKC will be with you every step of the way,” he said. Provost Jenny Lundgren regretted the missed opportunity to shake graduates’ hands as they crossed the stage, but in the spirt of “commencement” focused on a brighter future ahead. “The world needs you, and I can’t wait to see the impact you’ll make in the years to come,” she said. Lundgren introduced commencement speaker, actor and humanitarian activist, Don Cheadle. Cheadle is a native Kansas Citian and his uncle and three of his cousins attended UMKC. He recognized this year’s graduates for their perseverance, but also acknowledged the critical role they can play in their next steps. “It will take everything in you to move forward, to find your level to continue to grow, but you’ve already demonstrated that you have what it takes,” Cheadle said. “This moment is not bigger than you. You will be instrumental in shaping where we all go from here as you support and supplant the old guard and put each of your individual stamps on the world. We can’t wait to see what change you will initiate, and it can’t come soon enough.” “The world needs you, and I can’t wait to see the impact you’ll make in the years to come.” - Jenny Lundgren Cheadle encouraged graduates to be open to different perspectives. “Please remember that there’s more than one right in almost all situations and you only become seriously wrong when you harden your heart and determine that your right is singular and correct,” he said. “That doesn’t mean don’t listen to yourself, it means listen even more closely with your good brain and good heart and try to put yourself in another’s shoes and then act accordingly.” “It will take everything in you to move forward, to find your level to continue to grow, but you’ve already demonstrated that you have what it takes.” - Don Cheadle In closing, Cheadle expressed his appreciation for the graduates’ perseverance. “Thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for showing up and showing out, and congratulations UMKC’s graduating class of 2020. You did the damn thing!” Graduating Roos received congratulations from many regional leaders including U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri; U.S. Rep. Sharice Davis of Kansas; and Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas. Alumni offering congratulations included Esther George (EMBA ’00), president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; and Dana Tippin Cutler (J.D. ’89) and Keith Cutler (J.D. ’89), hosts of the television show “Couples Court with the Cutlers.” Community leaders Mayra Aguirre, president of the Hall Family Foundation; and Jeff Jones, chief executive officer of H&R Block; extended their best wishes as well as Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes and player Graham Zusi and retired Kansas City Royal Alex Gordon. Notable local celebrities actor Tuc Watkins, musician David Cook and KSHB news anchor Dia Wall joined in the celebration. Dec 21, 2020

  • 2020 Top Legal Innovations: Anthony Luppino

    Missouri Lawyers Media names Anthony Luppino
    When former business and tax lawyer Tony Luppino made the move from UMKC School of Law adjunct professor to full-time faculty nearly two decades ago, he quickly realized that the gap between his new home and the adjacent business school was far greater than the campus walkway separating the next-door academic neighbors. Read more. Dec 21, 2020

  • Sins Of Omission: Too Often, Kansas City Star Editorial Board Has Been Silent On Race

    Newspaper cites Ken Novak
    Apologizing to minorities for decades of mistreatment isn’t a novel concept, said Ken Novak, a professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the full article from the Kansas City Star. (subscription required) Dec 20, 2020

  • Charlie Parker? Jackie Robinson? For The Star, Kansas City Black Culture Was Invisible

    UMKC's Chuck Haddix weighs-in
    “They didn’t cover jazz much outside of the Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra,” Chuck Haddix, co-author with Frank Driggs of “Kansas City Jazz, From Ragtime to Bebop,” said of the two daily papers and the city’s signature white jazz orchestra. Haddix is also curator of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the Kansas City Star article. (subscription required) Dec 20, 2020

  • Surprise Medical Bills Cost Americans Millions. Congress Finally Banned Most of Them.

    New York Times interviews Christopher Garmon
    “If this bill will force them to come to the table and negotiate a solution, it will be a definite win for everybody,” said Christopher Garmon, an assistant professor of health administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who has measured the scope of the problem. Read the full article. Dec 20, 2020

  • With KCPD Union Contract Up For Negotiation, Police Shooting Rule Is Under Scrutiny

    KC Star interviews UMKC law professor
    Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon’s inconsistent statements about the self-approved reports were troubling, said retired chief public defender and University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor Sean O’Brien, who reviewed the internal affairs documents at The Star’s request. (subscription required) Dec 18, 2020

  • Student Design for Combined Bookstore-Residence Wins Helix Prize

    Linh Phan drafted plan to fit mixed-use urban environment
    Linh Phan, a student in the Architecture, Urban Planning + Design program, is the winner of the 2020 Helix Prize. Every fall, Helix Architecture + Design sponsors the Helix Prize, a competition and scholarship for UMKC second-year Architectural Studies students. Professor John Eck teaches the studio, and faculty and members of the architectural professional community judge the competition. This year, the competition challenge was to design a (fictional) live-work bookstore in the Columbus Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. This small bookstore would be located at the southeast corner of 5th and Harrison, and would have an attached residence for the store owner. Eck explained the concept behind the assignment. “Most of us grew up with the notion that ‘work’ happened in one place, ‘home’ happened in another, and a car ride happened in between,” he said. “This is a fairly recent phenomenon; however, one that could only happen with the advent of affordable automobiles in the 1940s and ‘50s. This spurred the growth of the suburbs and the ever‐increasing distances between places of work and places of residence. Prior to this time, most people living in cities relied on public transportation or simply walking; commuting distances were negligible compared to today.” “The people with the shortest commute were those who owned small private businesses, especially retail,” Eck said. “Restaurateurs and shop owners often lived over or adjacent to their places of business, allowing them a short trip down the stairs or across the alley to open up each morning. But thanks to the expansion of the suburbs, this economical and efficient way of living and working essentially disappeared in most American cities by the 1970s. In the past decade, however, the appeal of this way of life has experienced a resurgence, bolstered by concerns about pollution and time wasted by daily commutes.” The competition judges named Phan and student Wyatt Beard as finalists. Judges cited Phan’s entry as “a very clear courtyard-type plan … transformed to suit its site and the unique problem of a retail space directly adjacent to a residence. There is a suitable separation between the two; the line is there, but it is a blurred line. The quality of light, both through the courtyard and the fritted windows, would make the bookstore feel open, welcoming and warm.” The overall simplicity of the scheme, they felt, would create a contemplative “quiet” in the bookstore, while still very clearly being a retail establishment. The Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design is part of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. Dec 17, 2020

  • EEOC Updates Guidelines To Address COVID-19 Vaccine And Anti-discrimination Laws

    KCTV5 interviews School of Law associate professor
    “It’s a brand-new world I think for employment lawyers,” said Mikah Thompson, an associate professor at the UMKC School of Law who specializes in employment law. Read the story and watch the newscast. Dec 17, 2020

  • UMKC School Of Medicine Is Expanding With New St. Joseph Campus

    Media outlets cover news of UMKC School of Medicine expansion
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine announced it is expanding its program to St. Joseph to help address the state’s rural physician shortage. Read the stories by News-Press Now Opinion, News-Press Now Letter, St. Joseph Post, KQ20 and News-Press Now. Dec 16, 2020

  • KC Native Don Cheadle To Speak At UMKC Commencement Ceremony

    Fox4KC covers news of UMKC commencement speaker
    Kansas City native Don Cheadle will speak to graduates at the University of Missouri Kansas City during a virtual ceremony this week. Read the story and watch the newscast from Fox4KC.  Dec 16, 2020

  • Congratulations to the Fall 2020 Honor Recipients

    Six students honored for academic excellence, leadership and service
    Six Roos will be honored as Dean of Students Honor Recipients this fall.  Graduating students who have excelled in both academic achievement and service may be nominated for the honor. This program recognizes the exceptional students who maintain high scholastic performance while actively participating in university and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom.  Elizabeth Beavers, School of Law, nominated by Sean O’Brien and Ellen Suni Leigh Blumenthal, College of Arts & Sciences, nominated by Jacob Wagner Alejandro Cervantes, College of Arts & Sciences, nominated by Janet Garcia-Hallett Connor King, School of Medicine, nominated by Betsy Hendrick Abida Matin, School of Medicine, nominated by Cary Chelladurai Brandon Shuey, Bloch School of Management, nominated by Katie Garey Dec 14, 2020

  • Top Photos of 2020

    Spirited resilience in a year of uncertainty
    If pictures could tell the tale of a year unlike any of us could ever fathom, these images by UMKC photographers definitely do. 2020 began full of promise and possibilities, starting with a significant Roo season on the basketball courts. And then the pandemic changed everything for all of us. These photos show that even though we are masked and socially distanced, we are adapting, learning and moving forward on campus and in our community. See our story. 2020 Vision Mujahid Abdulrahim, a professor in the School of Computing and Engineering, flies his plane toward downtown Kansas City. The school's faculty includes several pilots, and the school features a flight simulator. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Drenched in Victory UMKC Women's Basketball players celebrated their first ever conference victory by pouring water on their coach, Jacie Hoyt. As a Divison I team, this win meant an automatic seat in the NCAA tournament, which was later cancelled due to COVID-19. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Communications Classroom Discussion: Coronavirus In the last day of in-person classes in March, Steve Kraske talks to his journalism students about COVID-19. The whiteboard behind the associate teaching professor says 'corona.' Photo by Brandon Parigo   Celebrating Commencement in a New Way In May, Kansas City celebrated its university's graduates with blue fountains and illuminated buildings. This Country Club Plaza tower was lit in Roo blue and gold as was Durwood Stadium ion campus in the background. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Masked Move-In With Temperature Checks Move-in days for fall semester meant making appointments, limiting movers, wearing masks and taking temperature checks. Photo by Brandon Parigo   First Day of Class on the Volker Campus Yes, classrooms were larger and furniture was sparser and spread apart during fall semester to promote social distancing. Photo by John Carmody   Getting Catty on the Health Sciences Campus There was a little levity in the form of feline wall art during the first week of classes on the Health Sciences Campus. Photo by John Carmody   An Adaptation UMKC Conservatory dance classes included physical distancing and instruction via Zoom. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Chilling on Campus Masks and social distancing aren't going to stop students from connecting with each other and enjoying the UMKC campus. Photo by Brandon Parigo   A Practice in Perseverence Women's Basketball Coach Jacie Hoyt, center, leads the Roos in the 2020-21 season. Photo by Brandon Parigo Hope on the Horizon This sunset view of the UMKC quad on campus showcases the city skyline in the distance. The final days of 2020 include the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine on the way. Photo by Brandon Parigo Dec 14, 2020

  • 3 Sweet Recipes From Associate Dean and Professor Beth Vonnahme

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. Beth Vonnahme, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of political science, loves to bake. "Baking relaxes me," she says. "Creating something so tasty from simple ingredients brings me a lot of satisfaction. I also enjoy the smiles on my kids’ faces when they try one of my tasty treats." Vonnahme enjoys baking sweets of various sorts, but cookies are her favorite. She loves chocolate chip cookies, but also has a lemon cookie recipe that have proven popular for special occasions including birthdays, baby showers and holidays.  “Creating something so tasty from simple ingredients brings me a lot of satisfaction. I also enjoy the smiles on my kids' faces when they try one of my tasty treats.” - Beth Vonnahme "I made them last year for the College of Arts and Sciences bake-off," she says. "Unfortunately, I was a judge so my entry was disqualified." Fortunately for us, Vonnahme is sharing the Glazed Lemon Hearts recipe as well as two she offers up during election season that are winners no matter the time of year: Celebrate! Chocolate Cake and Consolation Chocolate Chip Cookies. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.  Lemon-Glazed Hearts Makes about 72 cookies Lemon Cookies 3 cups all-purpose flour3 tablespoons cornstarch3/4 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened (do not use margarine)1 cup confectioners' sugar1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel1 1/2 teasponns lemon extract1/4 teaspoon almond extract Lemon Glaze 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar4 to 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare cookies: In medium bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch and salt until blended.  In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until blended, occasionally scraping bowl. Divide dough in half. Between two 20-inch sheets of waxed paper, roll half of dough 3/8-inch thick. With floured 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible. With floured 3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut and remove center from cookies. Reserve centers and trimmings to reroll. With lightly floured wide spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets. (If dough becomes too soft to transfer, freeze 10 minutes.) Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15 to 16 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare glaze: In small bowl, with wire whisk or for, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel until blended. Dip top side of each warm cookie into glaze. Place cookies on wire racks set over waxed paper to catch any drips. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough, reserved centers, trimming and glaze, adding a little water to glaze if it begins to thicken. Store cookes, with waxed paper between layers, in an airtight container up to 5 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Celebrate! Chocolate Cake 2 cups sugar1 3/4 cups flour3/4 cup cocoa1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda1 teaspoon salt2 eggs1 cup milk1/2 cup vegetable oil1/2 teaspoons vanilla1 cup boiling water Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two round pans. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, except water. Once mixed, add boiling water. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Consolation Chocolate Chip Cookies 2 1/4 cups flour3/4 cup brown sugar3/4 cup sugar2 eggs1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon vanilla1 cup butter2 cups chocolate chips (Beth prefers mint chocolate chips) Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs. Add flour mixture. Add chips.  Bake on ungreased sheets 8 to 10 minutes. Dec 14, 2020

  • Pre-Med Biology Student Publishes Article in Scientific Journal

    Emily Wesley founded a peer-mentoring group and landed internship at Stowers Institute
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Emily Wesley Anticipated graduation: 2021Academic program: BiologyHometown: Elkhart, Kansas; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma   Emily Wesley has always been fascinated by science. Some of her most vivid childhood memories are of reading infographic books about the human body and creating quizzes for her parents from her nature encyclopedia. “Finding joy in learning science combined with my desire to make a difference inspired me to pursue a degree in biology,” Wesley says. “I knew that I could pursue many paths with this degree, such as becoming a scientific researcher working on curing disease or a compassionate physician focused on healing others. The opportunities are endless, and I knew that I couldn’t go wrong by studying something I loved.” Wesley lost both her parents at a young age; her mother died from brain cancer when she was 8 years old and her father died from a stroke when she was 15. While she says she still struggles with grief, she was inspired by one of the doctors who was caring for her father while he was in the hospital. “One of my dad’s doctors was always making sure that I was OK,” she says. “If he noticed I hadn’t eaten he would ask, ‘What do you want from Wendy’s?’ Or he would stay late to let me know what the next steps would be.” This human component of her experience furthered her interest in studying medicine and science. An Oklahoma native, she decided to go a little further from home when she was looking for the right college. “During my time at UMKC I have learned that success is obtained through hard work and determination.” - Emily Wesley “Kansas City seemed like such an exciting city,” she says. “There were so many opportunities.” While the city seemed big to her in the beginning, she says the longer she’s in Kansas City the smaller it feels. At the same time her opportunities are expanding, largely through her own initiative. “The thing that I admire most about UMKC is the inclusive and welcoming environment on campus. I think that so much is gained from having individuals from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and experiences at the table, and it’s clear that UMKC embraces this.” Wesley chose to study biology at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences because of the opportunity to study alongside the six-year medical students. But she developed a strong support system and broadened her interests. “One of the best aspects of the biology program is the tremendous support that we feel from our professors” Wesley says. “Our professors care about our success. Many take time out of their schedule to meet one-on-one with each student, ensuring that we have all the tools we need to perform well. It’s very inspiring to receive this sort of care and support from professors and to always have someone rooting for us and our success.” To further this spirit of connection, Wesley founded the Pre-Med Peer Mentoring Program, which connects UMKC freshman and sophomores with junior and senior mentors who are pursuing medical school. While she thought meeting regularly would be a great way to connect underclassmen with upperclassmen so they could have a real-world view of preparing for medical school, she was unsure of the response because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was hoping to get 20 participants in the program. One hundred and twenty signed up.” Members have one-on-one meetings by Zoom monthly. “The thing that I admire most about UMKC is the inclusive and welcoming environment on campus. I think that so much is gained from having individuals from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and experiences at the table, and it’s clear that UMKC embraces this.” - Emily Wesley Wesley counts the mentoring relationships she’s developed as part of her success. “Tara Allen is so inspiring,” Wesley says. “As soon as I entered the program she made a point of getting to know me. Allen, a teaching professor and academic advisor in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, says Wesley made a strong impression in their first meeting. “I was not surprised to learn that she had developed a student-led premedical mentoring program,” Allen says.  “She saw a way that she could help others and brought that idea to fruition, even though her schedule was already busy. I am deeply grateful to her for creating a program to help students navigate the difficulty journey of preparing for medical school.” Beyond UMKC, Wesley has developed strong connections through her internship at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. After hearing Scott Hawley, Ph.D., investigator and American Cancer Society research professor, speak in one her classes, she researched his work and then emailed him about opportunities. She has been working in his lab for the last two years. Hawley thinks being in the lab is the best way to understand what science is about. “You get used to failure,” Hawley says. “You learn the discipline of being careful and record keeping. You learn that sometimes results don’t make sense. That’s the way I like to do science. You don’t learn to ice skate by sitting on the sofa and watching ice skaters. You have to ‘do’ science.” I’ve recommended maybe 500 students over the last 45-50 years. She’s in the top ten.” - Scott Hawley, Ph.D. Wesley has been doing. Recently, she was first author on a paper in Chromosoma, a research magazine, a significant achievement for an undergraduate researcher. “Emily has the skills to be accepted to a first-rate medical school, if that’s what she chooses to do,” Hawley says. “It’s more than intelligence or even creativity. It’s a passion to succeed. I’ve recommended maybe 500 undergraduate students over the last 45-50 years. She is among the very best.” Wesley doesn’t think her success is due to talent. “During my time at UMKC, I have learned that success is obtained through hard work and determination. I’ve reached out to people who have been willing to mentor me and I’ve learned that I can use my time and energy to help others. I struggle with grief daily, but I find meaning through the struggle and tackle every day with the passion and strength that my parents instilled in me.” Get to Know Emily What is one word that best describes you? I think the word that best describes me is “persistent.” One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I lost my mom to brain cancer at age 8 and my dad to a stroke at age 15. All my goals, motivation and hope for my future are focused upon making them proud. What’s your favorite social media channel? While I am not active on any social media, I have recently been enjoying TikTok, like many of my peers. The creativity that I have seen on this app is astounding, and I have surprisingly learned a lot from the educational videos! What’s your favorite spot to eat in Kansas City? I enjoy getting a burger and pie from Town Topic with my friends. We like taking our burgers and pies to-go so that we can enjoy our food while overlooking the Kansas City skyline near the World War I Memorial. Where’s your favorite place to visit Kansas City? Before the pandemic, I enjoyed spending time at the Oak Park Mall. While I’m not exactly a shopaholic, I enjoyed checking out the various clothes and items they have in the stores every week. When I lived in Elkhart, the nearest mall was two and a half hours away! I think this I why I enjoy the mall so much now. What’s your favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is the fourth floor of Miller Nichols Library. This is the silent floor with lots of desks for studying. It’s the perfect place for me to “zone in” and be productive.   Dec 14, 2020

  • Top Stories of 2020

    UMKC achieved much in a year of adversity
    It was a year like no other, for the world, and for UMKC. During 2020, our university community weathered the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, while setting new records for research grants and philanthropic gifts, raising graduation rates and participating in a nationwide awakening to our longstanding national failure to achieve racial justice. Here is a look back over a year that will be long remembered. COVID-19 The numbers are difficult to comprehend: COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 280,000 Americans, more than 1.5 million worldwide. The arrival of the pandemic in our region led to a sudden shift to all-online instruction in March, and significant changes to the way we teach, learn, work and live on campus ever since. Roos rose to the challenge, embraced best practices and kept the number of cases on campus significantly lower than in the surrounding community. A Record for Research UMKC achieved a major milestone in fiscal year 2020 by winning the highest amount of grant funding in its history: $48.9 million. The record coincides with the first year at UMKC for Chris Liu, the vice chancellor for research. New Height for Philanthropy The UMKC Foundation accomplished a year of record giving with significant increases in both contributions and donors. This year’s donations are 35% greater than the previous record year, with gains in all areas of giving. Lighting Up the Night Spring commencement 2020 was the first graduation ceremony in UMKC history conducted virtually. While faculty, staff, students and loved ones missed the opportunity to celebrate together in person, the city’s civic and business leadership showed its appreciation for Kansas City’s university with a video featuring athletes, entertainers and other celebrities with ties to Kansas City, and lighting up buildings, fountains and more in Roo Blue and Gold. Delivering on the Mission UMKC recorded important gains in some key indicators of student success this fall, including graduation rates, improvements that positively impacted students across the spectrum, including underrepresented minorities. Advancing Leadership in Data Science Former UM System president Gary Forsee and Sherry Forsee have committed $2 million to support the NextGen Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center, or dSAIC, based at UMKC. The dSAIC research will provide data analytics to power the NextGen Precision Health initiative and other precision health research across the University of Missouri System’s four universities. Taking Thoughtful Action on Systemic Racism Roos Advocate for Community Change is a new campuswide effort addressing systemic racism on an array of fronts on campus and in our community, launched in June as a significant component of the UMKC response to the tragic death of George Floyd and the vital national conversation on racism it has spawned. One of the first initiatives was to institute mandatory professional development training on unconscious bias for all UMKC faculty and staff, along with a social media campaign focused on awareness and Critical Conversations, a series of frank conversations on racial issues.  A Championship Season The UMKC Women’s Basketball team won the first conference title and automatic NCAA Tournament placement in basketball in the university’s history as a Division I program. Head coach Jacie Hoyt and her team had to forego their hard-earned participation in March Madness when the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. Addressing Racial Health Disparities Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., has dedicated her career to addressing the unequal prevalence of health issues, and lower availability of health care, in minority communities. As director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute, the School of Medicine professor has brought more than $5 million in federal grants this year to UMKC to address racial disparities in incidence and treatment in diabetes and COVID-19 by partnering with African American faith communities. Through religiously tailored strategies, she and her teams also work to prevent and provide care for HIV/AIDS, heart disease and mental health. Classical Music Returns to the Airwaves The long absence of classical music from Kansas City area radio ended when 91.9 Classical KC began broadcasting June 30. The music service also can be streamed through a new website at The station is an enterprise of KCUR 89.3, Kansas City’s public radio station, an editorially independent community service of UMKC. Introducing a New Department: Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies A department of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, REGS’ interdisciplinary curriculum teaches critical thinking through an examination of historical and contemporary problems and offers minors in three interest areas: Black Studies; Latinx and Latin American Studies; and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Expanding the Reach of Health Care in Missouri The UMKC School of Medicine will expand its program to St. Joseph, Missouri, to address the state’s rural physician shortage. UMKC received a $7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to start the new program in January 2021. Typically, physicians remain to practice in the areas where they go to medical school. Building Student Success in Urban Schools The Institute for Urban Education within the UMKC School of Education is committed to improving student success in urban schools. Community leaders Leo Morton and Jerry Reece are leading the campaign to expand the program’s capabilities and ultimately long-term student success. Dec 14, 2020

  • A Martellaro Family Favorite

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. John Martellaro, director of strategic communications, is a former food editor for the Kansas City Star. Here’s a recipe that has become a post-holiday staple for his family. Do you enjoy cooking/baking? Why? I was food editor and restaurant critic for the Kansas City Star for about a decade, back in the 20th century. Over the years, it has morphed from a hobby, to a profession and back to a hobby again. It’s an opportunity to be creative in a way that is very different from writing. And I love the complements.  What’s a dish you enjoy making this time of year? The cranberry chutney is a Thanksgiving staple in our family, and the spoonbread a favorite use for leftover turkey. Using the chutney as a topping on the spoonbread is a delightful combination. Another post-Thanksgiving tradition for us is a big steaming pot of turkey noodle soup. The wings and the stripped leg and thigh bones go right into the stockpot as I’m carving.   Do you have any stories attached to this particular recipe? As a food editor you collect recipes from all over the place and I frankly do not remember the source of the chutney recipe; the photo is the recipe cut out from the newspaper and taped to an index card. We keep it mild to please everybody, but those who prefer spicy can up the pepper-sauce content to their liking. The spoonbread is from an old Butterball pamphlet. It works with any poultry. This year we only had three at the table so we roasted a capon instead of a turkey; the spoonbread came out just fine with those leftovers. One of these days I am going to try it with duck. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.  Cranberry Orange Chutney 4 medium oranges½ cup orange juice1 pound fresh cranberries2 cups sugar¼ cup crystallized ginger, diced½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce1 whole cinnamon stick1 medium clove garlic, peeled¾ teaspoon curry powder¾ cup raisins Pare zest from oranges. Slice ¼ cup thin slivers of zest and reserve. Completely peel oranges, leaving no white pith. Slice oranges crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices and then cut slices into quarters, Set aside. Combine zest, juice, cranberries, sugar, ginger, hot sauce, cinnamon, garlic and raisins in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and cranberries pop open. Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon stick and garlic clove. Add orange pieces and mix lightly.  Turkey Spoonbread 2 cups chopped cooked turkey3 cups milk, divided1 cup yellow cornmeal¼ cup butter1 Tablespoon sugar1 ½ teaspoons baking powder¼ teaspoon salt¼ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper1 cup corn kernels, thawed and drained½ cup finely chopped green onions4 eggs, separated  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cornmeal and 2 ¼ cups of the milk in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in remaining ¾ cup milk, butter, sugar, baking powder, salt and red pepper. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In separate bowl, beat yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Stir 1 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture into the yolks, then combine with rest of cornmeal mixture in saucepan. Stir in turkey, corn kernels and green onions. Gently fold egg whites into mixture. Turn into well-greased 2-quart soufflé dish or casserole. Bake 1 to 1 ¼ hours. Serve with cranberry chutney. Dec 14, 2020

  • An Agrawal Family Favorite

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. Sue and Mauli Agrawal and their children, Serena and Ethan Pumpkin-butternut squash soup is a traditional holiday and cold-weather favorite for the Agrawal family. Sue Agrawal, wife of Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, shared the recipe for the soup that was handed down from her mother. Do you enjoy cooking or baking? Why?   I do enjoy cooking and baking, mostly because I am usually doing it for people I care for. We have always made having a family dinner a priority, and it’s nice to sit down to a home-cooked meal together. When our son and daughter were in college, I had fun sending them care packages of homemade cookies, brownies, and granola bars. Plus, I have a sweet tooth, so eating the batter is a plus. What’s a dish you enjoy making this time of year? We don’t have many specific winter baking traditions, but always make decorated sugar cookies in December. For savory food, we like pumpkin-butternut squash soup. Do you have any stories attached to this particular recipe? My mother started a tradition of serving a pumpkin squash soup for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners when I was a child.  I don’t necessarily make the soup for a holiday meal, but I do make it more often in the winter. We like the warm spices and usually make a big pot so there are leftovers. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.  Gingered Pumpkin-Squash Soup 2 Tablespoons oil1 large onion, cut in 1-inch pieces1 teaspoon ginger¼ teaspoon cinnamon½ teaspoon salt¼ teaspoon pepper½ teaspoon ground cumin1/8 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper¼ teaspoon mace or nutmeg6 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped2 ½ cups pumpkin¾ cup parsnips, peeled and chopped5 (14 ½-ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth1 cup milk Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and all spices/seasonings and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Add vegetables and broth, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let cool slightly, then puree soup in batches in blender or food processor. Return pureed mixture to pot, stir in milk and heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Dec 14, 2020

  • A Scientific Snickerdoodle Recipe

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. Baking is a well-known hobby for civil and mechanical engineering professor Megan Hart, who has a scientific take on treats. Here's insight into why she bakes and the latest recipe she's developed. Do you enjoy cooking or baking? Why?  I love to bake! Baking for me is cathartic, because in the end I usually have something I can share with people I care about and it provides nourishment for their body and soul. In my extended family we tend to stress bake. For me, it is also procrastibaking – putting off what needs to be done with the excuse of needing to bake something. Most of my department knows when I have a big project due or proposal going in because they are treated with something sweet in the faculty kitchen. Since COVID hit, I have had to change from random stress baking products delivered to the faculty lounge, to a baked good that goes over well with my COVID “bubble.” What recipe do you enjoy making this time of year?  With the change in seasons, I tend to change to baking more traditional holiday spiced goods. I think cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg along with fruits and nuts. My colleagues enjoy my rum cake the best and I love to play with flavors in my rum cake such as a pumpkin spice variation, pina colada, and chocolate or Mexican hot chocolate variations. Do you have any stories attached to the snickerdoodle recipe you're sharing?  I love to bake for my graduate students, but my current graduate student is allergic to gluten. Most of my recipes are developed using whatever I have in the house but I did not always have gluten-free flour, so I made my own from basic components. These snickerdoodles taste just like my original snickerdoodles with minimal variations in texture or taste. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.    Graduate student Hannah McIntyre snacks on delicious gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies with Hart's children. Hart's Gluten-free Snickerdoodles 20 min prep, 1 hour baking time, yields 48 cookies Cookies:   3/4 cup sugar1/2 cup butter, softened1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Gluten-Free Flour Blend1 large egg1 teaspoon cream of tartar1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla1/8 teaspoon salt  Cinnamon sugar mix:  3 tablespoons sugar1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon  1. Heat oven to 400°F. 2. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and butter in bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed. 3. Combine all cinnamon sugar ingredients in bowl; mix well. 4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. 5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Dec 14, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Students Help Play Vital Role in COVID-19 Immunizations

    Just as they do with flu vaccines, they will help pharmacies
    Distribution of the coronavirus vaccines is expected to begin soon. For community pharmacies that provide immunizations, that means business is about to become extremely busy. UMKC School of Pharmacy faculty member Sarah Oprinovich, Pharm.D., is also a practicing community pharmacist in Kansas City. Just like with the annual flu shots, she said community pharmacies will be a major area where people come to get their coronavirus vaccines. “This vaccine is going to hit and people will still need their medications, so it's going to be an additional workload,” Oprinovich said. “We normally staff up for flu season, so it's kind of that staffing up, except we figure that this is going to be a very concerted effort, very quickly.” To meet the additional staffing demands, Oprinovich says student interns will be a valuable resource. Each year, third-year pharmacy students at UMKC participate in a pharmacy practice experience that includes becoming certified to administer immunizations. This year’s class participated in 160 immunization events at clinics and pharmacies to administer more than 5,500 flu shots to Missouri patients. That experience will be invaluable as the coronavirus immunizations begin. Oprinovich said she will be requesting the third-year students who worked with her earlier this year during the flu shot season to help again with the coronavirus vaccine because they’ve already been through the process of setting up and operating vaccine clinics and know the workflow. “To be honest, every organization under the sun is saying we need help, so they’ll be busy,” Oprinovich said. Len Sapp, Pharm.D., a 2007 graduate of the UMKC School of Pharmacy, is the pharmacy manager for a Kansas Cityarea  Walgreens store. Since August, his pharmacy has administered more than 1,500 flu shot vaccines as well as several hundred non-flu vaccines. With the coronavirus vaccines, Sapp says his store and pharmacies like his that offer vaccinations will need additional staff to meet the expected demands. “New technician and intern staff will be vital in the entire process from patient registration to vaccine administration, as well as operating the regular retail pharmacy business,” he said. How much additional staff pharmacies will need is still up in the air without knowing what the actual vaccine distribution will look like. But Sapp said stores like his are already being encouraged to hire and train new staff members. “The bulk of our flu vaccines are given from September through December, making this our busiest time of the year,” he said. “Walgreens is projecting a greater demand for the coronavirus vaccine, therefore requiring increased staffing levels above our normal peak season needs.” Oprinovich said that it’s not just pharmacy student interns who can make a difference. Those without a pharmacy background can also work as technicians, helping in areas such as working behind the counter as cashiers or helping with paperwork. All that is needed is to pass a background check. “Anybody could do that,” she said. “You don’t have to be in pharmacy school. My message to the rest of the student body is we can use your help and you can be a part of this public health effort.” As with the flu shot vaccine, health care workers are exploring other avenues such as mobile immunization sites, Oprinovich said. “We're looking at things like whether the university will potentially be a site for vaccinations as well,” she said. “So, there’s just a lot of potential for where we're going to be able to use those students and move them around.” When the vaccines do arrive, Oprinovich said the immunization process will be an interdisciplinary effort to ensure they are available to everyone. There’s also the logistics of ensuring the vaccinees are stored properly and being administered within the proper time limit, in some instances as short within hours of being thawed. “The nursing school is involved in this. The medical school is involved,” she said. “We're trying to work together so we don’t end up targeting the same population and leave one population out. That's another big discussion, how do we make sure that we're covering, especially those that fall between the cracks very often. How do we make sure that they have not fallen into the cracks here? “Pharmacy is just one piece of the puzzle. Just like with the flu shots, our goal is to increase the accessibility of these vaccines.” Dec 11, 2020

  • Donation Process During UMKC Campus Closure

    Here’s how to give
    While the UMKC campus is closed during Winter Break, it’s still easy to make a year-end gift by observing the following guidelines. UMKC offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 25 through Friday, Jan. 1. All gifts must hit UMKC Foundation accounts by Dec. 31 to receive tax credit for the 2020 calendar year. Checks and cash need to be postmarked on or before Dec. 31. Credit card and stock gifts must hit the UMKC Foundation accounts by Dec. 31 to receive tax-credit for the 2020 calendar year. Checks and cash need to be postmarked on or before Dec. 31 The date UMKC receives and processes checks and cash from the mail has NO impact on a donor’s taxable year contributions. The “gift date” for the IRS is the date the donor relinquished control, not the date the gift is processed. Availability & Contacts The Office of Gift Processing will be available Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 30-31 from 8 a.m. to noon to accept year-end gifts. The Office of Gift Processing will be closed during the remainder of winter break and will re-open with regular business hours on Monday, Jan. 4. The UMKC Foundation Office will be closed during winter break. A few staff will be on rotation remotely during the period. Should you have any inquiries during that time, please call 816-235-5778 and someone will return your call. For any stock gifts or wire transfers, please contact Katherine Walter at Inquiries about all other year-end gifts can be directed to Sara Hampton at 816-235-5329 or via email to The Office of Gift Processing will also be taking calls at 816-235-1566 during the office hours listed above. Gift Timing Checks must be in an envelope postmarked prior to Dec. 31, 2020 to be credited in the 2020 tax year. If the envelope received is postmarked after Dec. 31, it will be counted as a 2021 gift. Donors should send their checks to the address below: UMKC Office of Gift Processing 112 Administrative Center 5115 Oak Street Kansas City, MO 64112 Checks dated prior to Dec. 31, along with postmarked envelopes, should be received in the Office of Gift Processing on or before Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Gifts received after that point will not be automatically included in processing for the annual tax receipt. For stock gifts, please contact Katherine Walter for the transfer form and DTC instructions. Stock gifts must be received into the account on or before Dec. 31 in order to be reflected in 2020 tax period, per the IRS. In order to liquidate the stock gift, it is required to provide the donor’s name, number of shares, security, expected date of transfer and area for where the gift is intended. This information can be completed on the transfer form or sent via email. Stock gifts will not be liquidated until confirmation of this information is received. Mutual funds take an additional 3-5+ business days before posting to our account. Please advise your donors to have their brokers initiate any mutual fund transfers no later than Dec. 21. Regular equity stock takes 24 hours to post to our account. Credit card transactions must be received by the Office of Gift Processing by noon Dec. 31 to run that day and count as a year-end gift. Credit card gifts may be made online through the UMKC Foundation website until midnight on Dec. 31 to be reflected as a 2020 gift. Any online credit card gifts received after midnight Dec. 31t will be dated in January. Gifts received after hours may be deposited in the night deposit box located beside the Cashiers Office at Admin Center 112 and will be processed the following business day. Credit card gifts received through the lockbox will be dated the following business day. Pursuant to Curators Rules 208 and  212, all gifts should be transferred, with original documentation (including postmarked envelopes), to the Gift Processing Office within 24 hours of their arrival to any school, college or department. Dec 11, 2020

  • Nursing Grad Student Recognized as a Women's Health Leader

    National honor enhances Meghan Brauch's learning and networking as she pursues her passion through the School of Nursing and Health Studies
    While earning her nursing degree, Meghan Brauch realized her calling was women’s health. Now she pursues her passion as a graduate student in the UMKC Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. To top it off, her dedication was recognized this fall by the national Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health organization, which chose her for its Nurse Leader program. “I received my bachelor of science in nursing in 2016 at the University of Missouri-Columbia,” Brauch said. “When I attended Mizzou, I discovered the Women’s Center," which provided a welcoming gathering place and support for many activities around gender and social justice issues. "I was able to learn so much about myself and those around me. I also went on spring break trips with a focus on women’s health and projects at two other women’s centers. And I volunteered with Planned Parenthood throughout undergrad and loved it.” When she graduated, Brauch went to work at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in its neonatal intensive care unit. “I met so many amazing families who told me their stories,” she said. “I am inspired by my patients and their families every day. Everything clicked, and I knew what I needed to do.” She chose UMKC for her graduate studies, she said, because she wanted to stay in the University of Missouri system, “and UMKC has an amazing women’s health program. It’s highly ranked for its online graduate program, and I was inspired by the UMKC goal to build an inclusive, diverse and respectful learning environment while focusing on furthering the field of nursing through research and innovation.” Having an online program allowed her to stay in St. Louis, where she lives with her husband and two dogs, and keep working at St. Louis Children’s. “I have been a nurse there for four and a half years and have loved every minute of it,” she said. “I am working part-time because of being so busy with grad school.” “I have been able to network with some amazing women’s health nurse practitioners ... and students who share many of the same passions as I do. We had so much to talk about regarding school, women’s health and our future goals.’’  — Meghan Brauch Brauch is on track to earn her advanced degree from UMKC in December 2021 and then, she hopes, work at an obstetrics and gynecology office in St. Louis. “I want to use my education to provide high-quality, evidence-based health care,” she said. “I also have another goal of providing birth control and sexual health education to young women in the St. Louis area.” Having good leadership in women’s health is also important to Brauch, which is why she applied for the Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health program. As one of 14 student leaders chosen nationwide, she said, she attended the organization’s national conference, held virtually this year. “I have been able to network with some amazing women’s health nurse practitioners,” she said, and other students “who share many of the same passions as I do. We had so much to talk about regarding school, women’s health and our future goals. We even set up a GroupMe so that we can contact each other easily.” Does Brauch have any advice for others particularly interested in women’s health? “I highly recommend any students in the Women’s Health program at UMKC to apply to be a Student Leader next year. The national association provides a wonderful networking and learning opportunity, and it is constantly working to improve women’s health everywhere.”     Dec 10, 2020

  • KCUR Talks To Kansas City Political Scientists About Discord

    Beth Vonnahme weighs-in
    Trump will leave the White House in January. But even as the democratic process continues to unfold at a slower pace than usual, his refusal to accept the results of the election is worrisome, said UMKC political science professor Elizabeth Vonnahme, who argues that this rhetoric is mostly isolated to Trump and his administration. Read the article from KCUR. Dec 09, 2020

  • In Depth: How A Bill That Helped Hospitals Merge Could Cost Patients

    Christopher Garmon lends expertise to Texas Standard
    “I would bet anything this is what’s going to happen: The parties are going to merge here. They’re going to combine their assets in such a way that you can’t undo the merger. And then once they do that, they’ll unilaterally end their COPA, as they’re allowed to under Texas law. And then there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” Christopher Garmon, assistant professor of health care administration at the UMKC Bloch School, said. Read the full article. Dec 08, 2020

  • The Ethics of Vaccine Distribution And Holiday Season Giving

    Clancy Martin was a guest on KCUR
    Clancy Martin, Philosophy professor at UMKC and professor of Business Ethics at the Bloch School of Management, was a guest on All Things Considered. Dec 08, 2020

  • UMKC Commencement Features Kansas City Native and Actor Don Cheadle

    Celebrating graduates Dec. 19
    This winter more than 1,100 UMKC graduates will celebrate their achievements with star power. Kansas City native and acclaimed actor Don Cheadle will give the commencement address to students who completed their degrees amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s summer and winter graduates will be recognized in a virtual ceremony for their academic and community achievements on December 19. Graduates will continue their celebrations with recognitions from the individual academic units the same day. Beyond his connection to Kansas City, Cheadle has personal ties to UMKC; his uncle and three of his cousins attended the university. Don Cheadle, photo Chris Pizzelo Cheadle has had a broad career in television and movies. He’s received two Academy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Grammy Award. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Cheadle is a global and community activist. The United Nations Environmental Program and the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have recognized Cheadle for his work to end genocide in the African country of Darfur. “We know that our students are remarkable,” says UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren. “We see that every day. But we are inspired by our recent graduates’ tenacity and commitment to completing their education and focusing on future success despite the challenges that the last several months have presented.” “We are inspired by our recent graduates’ tenacity and commitment to completing their education and focusing on future success despite the challenges that the last several months have presented.” – Jenny Lundgren Chancellor Mauli C. Agrawal salutes recent graduates for the commitment to keeping each other safe. “The UMKC community should be proud of our students’ diligence and commitment to abiding by guidelines in order to keep themselves and each other healthy and safe,” says UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We salute their dedication to our community and their education. Though they will no longer be students, they will always be Roos.” Graduates will receive celebratory packets that will include honor cords, a traditional Roo pin and other surprises. The virtual ceremony will be available for graduates, family and friends 10 a.m. Saturday, December 19. At sunset that day, celebrating Roos will get the opportunity to take photos among blue and gold lights - and around the famous Country Club Plaza holiday lights, too. Here's where Light the Night will be: Volker Campus Durwood Stadium, 5030 Holmes St.James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St. Downtown Kansas City Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St.KCMO City Hall, 414 E. 12th St. Dec 07, 2020

  • $3.8 Million Grant to Help Innovative Center Enhance Peer Recovery Services

    Enhancing peer recovery support services by expanding access to training and technical assistance services across the country
    The new Peer Recovery Center of Excellence, housed at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, is the first of its kind. UMKC, in partnership with the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Council for Behavioral Health, is leading the effort, funded by a four-year grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The center will have a diverse steering committee made up of national thought leaders who have personally recovered from a substance use disorder. The center aims to enhance the provision of peer recovery support services through expanding access to training and technical assistance services to peers, organizations and communities across the country. Here’s more about the effort from Callan Howton, M.P.H., the principal investigator for the grant, who leads the new center. What’s the idea behind the center? Peer recovery support specialists — people in recovery themselves from substance use disorder — can use their life experiences to help others achieve and maintain recovery. This is the first federally funded initiative to focus on enhancing peer recovery support services. We provide training around integrating peer services into non-traditional settings such as labor and delivery units, local libraries, shelters, and primary care clinics; recovery community organization capacity building (guidance and technical assistance to community centers around sustainability, effectiveness, outcomes tracking, funding capacity to name a few examples); and workforce development (strengthening the understanding of peer supports, providing a state-by-state analysis of credentialing practices, bolstering peer support supervision methods). We also will make research and other information on best practices more widely available through accessible and useful toolkits and online resource libraries. Peer support services can extend support beyond the treatment setting into everyday environments where people work and live. This is especially important because while people reach recovery through various pathways, they sustain and maintain recovery in their communities and homes. Who can access the center’s services?  Our team at UMKC’s Collaborative to Advance Health Services will coordinate national efforts and training opportunities for individuals, communities, organizations, states — anyone at all — seeking guidance and growth opportunities regarding peer support services. Services are free to any organization that requests assistance or training, which is a huge victory for smaller, grassroots efforts that do incredible work and often are unable to access this caliber of training and technical assistance. Every request submitted will receive a tailored response and have the opportunity to received individualized assistance from highly respected subject matter experts across the country. It sounds as if having people in recovery inform the center’s efforts was important to you, too. The center is advised by a steering committee of diverse people in recovery, which was a must in designing the center. When designing programs or processes that focus on peer recovery support services, we would be remiss to not include the voices of those in recovery. You have years of background in supporting peer recovery. Tell us about that. I’m a big believer in Recovery Community Organizations, which are local, grassroots organizations created by people in recovery to provide advocacy, support and services.  In St. Louis, I founded a recovery community organization, Haven Recovery Services, as well as five nationally accredited Recovery Housing locations for those in early recovery. Before joining the collaborative at UMKC, I directed Engaging Patients in Care Coordination, a Missouri peer driven overdose response project. Through my program development firm, I have also provided consultation and management in a variety of substance use prevention, treatment and recovery work at the local and state level. I am excited to bring my experience to start this new center and look forward to what lies ahead in the field of peer recovery services. Those interested in learning more about the center’s services should contact: Callan Howton, principal investigator, Cindy Christy, project manager, Dec 07, 2020

  • Local Media Tap School of Medicine Dean

    Mary Anne Jackson weighs-in about COVID-19 and vaccine distribution
    UMKC School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson has been interviewed by local media about COVID-19 and vaccine distribution. These are some of the news outlets: KCUR, WKU, WFPL, Fox4KC and KCUR. Dec 07, 2020

  • UMKC’s Top Student Entrepreneur Has A Not-So-Secret Play: Startups Are A Team Sport

    Starland News interviews Jonaie Johnson
    “I grew up having an innovative mindset — always looking to solve problems or find the next best thing to improve the lives of people,” said Johnson, founder of Interplay and senior at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the full article. Dec 07, 2020

  • Excavating the History of Steptoe, Westport’s Lost Black Neighborhood

    Flatland asks Jacob Wagner to weigh-in
    Jacob Wagner, director of urban studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, recommends starting with cultural heritage groups first. “I think historic preservation has tried to become more aware of ethnic history, but I think that work predominantly comes from people in urban or social history,” Wagner said. Read the full article. Dec 07, 2020

  • Are Cities a Safe Place to Live During a Pandemic?

    New York Times interviews UMKC associate professor
    Dense urban centers were vilified when the pandemic struck, rekindling the age-old town vs. country debate. The New York Times asked seven experts if the backlash was warranted. Jenifer E. Allsworth, associate professor, Department(s) of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the UMKC School of Medicine, was interviewed. Dec 07, 2020

  • How I'm Planning to Finish the Semester Strong

    Helpful tips to maintain stamina and find success as we head into the final weeks
    As we finish off the final weeks of a difficult year, we owe it to ourselves to end the year as strong as we started it. Here are some tips and encouragement for my fellow Roos as we strive to finish the semester well. The holidays may be extra stressful this year, but that doesn’t mean finals have to be. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when needed; you are not alone in this. Everyone is struggling in their own way, whether it be financially, academically, mentally, physically or emotionally. Just getting to this point has been an accomplishment for all of our hard-working students, faculty and staff; let’s keep it up as we approach the end of the year. We encourage our community to take the steps needed to ensure we finish the semester strong, together.  Staying physically and emotionally healthy means more than just avoiding the virus. Monitor your sleep and eating habits and always make sure you are setting aside time for yourself. If you need food assistance, check out the Kangaroo Pantry, a free resource for UMKC students, faculty and staff. Stay connected relationally with friends and family through text, phone calls, FaceTime, emails, and Zoom/Skype when you can.  Reach out to your advisor, instructor or Counseling Services if you are struggling or need assistance — they are here to help! Don’t give up this late in the game after you’ve come so far! Think of all the hard work you’ve put in already and let those thoughts drive you to finish strong.    Always reach out to your advisor and ask for assistance before you decide to drop a class. There are resources and help available; don’t waste credits and money when you don’t need to!  Go easy and don’t stretch yourself too thin with your academic workload. Don’t take on extra tasks if you’re not able to. Meeting deadlines, studying and making time for yourself are your priorities, so cancelling other plans if necessary is perfectly okay.   We all know this time of year can be difficult, especially during the pandemic, but no need to get down. Keep pushing through and the end of the semester will be here before you know it!  Once you have powered through, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back because even through these unprecedented times, you stayed the course.  Keep calm, stay positive, get plenty of rest, eat well, wash your hands, mask up, and let’s #RooUp to tackle these finals together!  Dec 04, 2020

  • Student Success Efforts Are Paying Off

    Graduation, retention rates are rising
    UMKC recorded important gains in some key indicators of student success this fall, improvements that positively impacted students across the spectrum, including underrepresented minorities. UMKC leaders see these gains as early evidence that its continued investment in student success is bearing fruit. The university is devoting significant resources, talent and effort to improve retention and graduation rates, overall and among targeted student groups. Despite this significant progress, leaders acknowledge much work remains. The overall six-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time college students for the Fall 2014 cohort – students who enrolled as freshmen in fall semester 2014 – is up 4.2 percentage points over the previous year. Specific rates for African American, Latinx and low-income students are also on the rise. The overall one-year retention rate – the percentage of enrolled students who return for another year of school – decreased 1.4 percentage points from fall 2019 to fall 2020, which the university attributes to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, our one-year retention rate increased 2.9 percentage points from fall 2018 to fall 2019. “We are pleased with the progress, but we are not celebrating yet,” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said. “This progress must continue, and in fact, accelerate. But for now, it is clear that our strategies and the hard work of our faculty and staff is having a significant impact.”  The UMKC mission presents special challenges for retention and graduation. As an urban-serving public university, UMKC takes great pride in providing a high level of access to our community and region. Providing opportunity to those who must overcome obstacles on the path to a degree – people with great drive, intelligence and talent, but whose success is by no means guaranteed – is a core value. “As our student body becomes more diverse – more students older than 25, students who are parents, who are more likely to be employed and a growing proportion of historically underserved groups – we need a broader, more holistic approach,” said Kristi Holsinger, Ph.D., senior vice provost for student success. “We need to address students’ basic needs like food, shelter and safety; and understand their work and family demands, financial challenges, psychological well-being, engagement and sense of belonging. These are all predictors of retention and completion.” “At UMKC we are making a commitment to help all admitted students graduate, despite the barriers they may face.” Improving student success is the first of five pillars in the UMKC Strategic Plan adopted in 2018. Recent initiatives stemming from that commitment include launching the Roo Rising Transfer and Adult Learner Center, expansion of the First Gen Roo Program and First Gen Forward initiative, implementation of a new model of Centralized Advising and a program providing microgrants to students close to degree completion who had exhausted their financial resources. Dec 03, 2020

  • African American Churches Team Up With KC Health, UMKC Researchers In Response To COVID-19

    National and local media cover research by Jannette Berkley-Patton and news of her latest grant funding
    Jannette Berkley-Patton, a professor at the UMKC School of Medicine, is the principal investigator of a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. News of her research has been covered by KRMS, MSN-Australia; Lincoln Journal-Star; Rolla Daily News; Missouri Independent; ExBulletin; Yahoo News; KSHB; Fox4KC; KCTV-5; KCUR; Houston Style Magazine; Wiser Conversations, Women in Science, Entrepreneurship and Research podcast; Kansas City Star; KSHB; and KFVS. Dec 03, 2020

  • Key Transition Aides Are Biden’s Likely Picks To Lead Pandemic Response, HHS

    Washington Post taps UMKC political science professor
    Max Skidmore, a political scientist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who has studied presidential leadership during previous pandemics, said that selecting a competent team with experience in dealing with public health crises is “absolutely essential given the seriousness” of the coronavirus’s toll. Read the full article. Dec 03, 2020