We are #RooReady for fall semester classes. Learn more about the UMKC response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and get the latest updates and safety information from the CDC.

May

  • 14 COVID-19 Myths and Misconceptions

    Dean of UMKC School of Medicine separates facts from fiction
    Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, is an infectious disease expert. Also an alumna from the UMKC School of Medicine’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program, she served as one of six physicians statewide advising Missouri Governor Mike Parson about COVID-19, and was recently named senior advisor of public health in a five-member volunteer group on how Jackson County should spend its $122 million in CARES Act funding. On numerous media appearances, Jackson has answered questions about evidence-based practices in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Here are just a few examples she’s dispelled of legend and lore about COVID-19: 1. A chiropractor has been publicizing an IV vitamin C product as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Anything to that? Jackson: While there is biologic plausibility based on the hypothesis that when an individual suffers a severe infection, vitamin C which is necessary for cellular and tissue function, is depleted, there is no scientific evidence to support the use of vitamin C in the management of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. There is no data to support its use as prophylaxis that would be given in a chiropractor’s office. One study registered at clinicaltrials.gov, will investigate the use of IV vitamin C in SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients in China using a randomized control trial protocol. The randomized control trial using a standard control group receiving placebo vs. the treatment group excludes bias and allows the outcome variable to be clear. This is especially important for COVID-19 where we know many cases spontaneously improve.  There have been two recently published studies that are “open label” (no control group) to study the use of vitamin C in non-SARS-CoV-2 infections where individuals suffered from shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Neither showed clear evidence of benefit. What is interesting is that anti-vaxxers appear to be circulating information on social media to drive the unproven messaging around vitamin C. For treatment of disease, trust a well-trained healthcare professional who practices evidence-based medicine and has extensive clinical experience. 2. Does heat kill the coronavirus? For example, the sun? A hot bath? Drinking hot water? Jackson: There is no evidence of a benefit to flushing the virus from your system by drinking hot water or taking a hot bath. Drinking water will keep one hydrated and that is recommended for all. The concept that heat can affect the virus is one worth discussing. The virus that causes COVID-19 is an enveloped virus, and enveloped viruses do generally demonstrate sensitivity to temperature and therefore may be more likely to appear or disappear during certain seasons related to temperature. Research on other enveloped viruses suggests that this oily outer coat makes the viruses more susceptible to heat than those that do not have one. In colder conditions, the oily coat hardens into a rubber-like state, much like fat from cooked meat will harden as it cools, to protect the virus for longer when it is outside the body. Many viruses wax and wane in seasons. Influenza typically arrives with the colder winter months. So does norovirus and RSV. Measles cases drop during the summer in temperate climates, and increase when schools are in session. But we have no information about how the virus that causes COVID-19 will change with the seasons. For one thing, pandemic viruses often don’t follow the same seasonal patterns seen in more normal outbreaks. Spanish flu, for example, peaked in the summer, while the typical seasonal flu peaks occur during the winter. Even if COVID-19 does show some seasonal variability, it likely will persist to some degree and not totally disappear in the summer. A dip in cases will bring benefits, however. If it decreases in the summer, it is likely to re-emerge again in the fall. But there will be fewer susceptible individuals at that point, too, so potentially fewer cases-depending on how much of the population remains susceptible after the first wave. 3. If there has been a day of rain followed by sunshine, is playground equipment safe from COVID-19? 4. Jackson: As the weather warms, people will want to be outdoors and I’ve seen more people in our community outdoor walking and running in neighborhoods and in areas of parks and trails. It’s important to be outside to keep healthy, physically and mentally. And I especially like that I’ve seen families outside with their kids, who need to be active especially since they have no school and can’t be out with friends. CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been emphasizing that to control the COVID-19 epidemic, we must “flatten the curve” — that is, reduce the amount of transmission of the virus. We know that one proven way to accomplish this is by physical distancing — keeping six feet or more from other individuals and taking precautions to wash hands, refrain from being in enclosed spaces with other people, disinfect surfaces and other precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. But do not take the kids to public playgrounds—you’ll find that all are cordoned off so that equipment can’t be accessed. Not only would open play areas encourage the kind of close contact we are trying to limit, but also, contaminated surfaces have been found to have detectable virus—including plastic and stainless steel. The duration that virus could exist on wood is not clearly known. There is no good evidence that following rain and with a day of sunshine, the playground is safe. There is no present guidance from CDC on how best to manage these spaces, including recommended cleaning and disinfection for outdoor equipment to prevent transmission of the coronavirus. Bottom line: Avoid the playground (and play dates) for kids while you are social distancing unless it is the playground in your own backyard for your family. 4. Should you consider deliberately exposing yourself to inoculate yourself?  Jackson: In the past, some parents participated in “chickenpox parties” to intentionally expose their unvaccinated children to a child with chickenpox in hopes that they would get the disease. CDC strongly recommends against hosting or participating in these events because serious complications and even death can follow infection and one cannot predict how severe the disease will be. Now the same bad idea has emerged related to COVID-19. On March 24, it was announced that an individual in Kentucky tested positive for the novel coronavirus after they attended a "coronavirus party" for people in their 20s. Young people are less at risk of developing serious complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but they may still require hospitalization for serious symptoms. And even someone who only contracts a mild case of the disease can spread it to vulnerable people. We need to wait for the vaccine—and until then continue social distancing. 5. Can livestock pass COVID-19 on through our food supply? Jackson: There are some food products that can be contaminated and pose a risk for transmission to humans—like E coli, norovirus and hepatitis A. That is why there is emphasis on food preparation safety in general. The bacteria and viruses that are transmitted by food products are those that cause gastrointestinal infection. SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus and there is no known foodborne risk for transmission. There is no evidence that livestock or any other food product in the U.S. is a vector for transmission of the virus, and there is no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging to be associated with disease transmission. There is no risk of food product recalls, and the U.S. food supply is safe. 6. Will drinking lots of water wash the virus down to your stomach where it will be killed by stomach acid? What about drinking bleach? Can you ward off the virus by eating food with higher PH level? Jackson: Washing the virus down the esophagus will not reduce the risk of coronavirus and the virus is resistant to the diluted acid in the stomach Gargling with water or with an antiseptic solution, compared to doing neither, did reduce reports of respiratory symptoms in a study from Japan. However, the findings don’t necessarily apply to COVID-19 – and it’s dangerous to assume that they do. The main risk is from breathing in tiny droplets containing thousands of viral particles after an infected person coughs or sneezes within 6 feet from you. The overwhelming evidence suggests that the best approach remains avoiding unnecessary social contact and washing your hands. So, put down the water and pick up the soap instead. Drinking bleach is not a cure and is dangerous—it can result in vomiting, diarrhea and liver failure. Some bleach-based cleaners, however, are helpful for keeping surfaces virus-free. 7. Pets cannot spread the coronavirus, can they? Jackson: This virus is thought to have jumped from animals to humans, but there is no evidence that it is spreading among pets or from cats and dogs to their owners. Cats have been infected, both at the zoo and in homes-but there is no evidence that cat to human transmission is a significant concern. There was one instance in Hong Kong where a dog tested positive, but the dog was well, and it was thought contaminated by secretions from the infected pet owner. The CDC suggests letting family members without symptoms take on pet care and recommends that people with symptoms should avoid close contact such as “petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.” When you care for your pets, wash your hands before and after handling and feeding. 8. Does ibuprofen make COVID-19 symptoms worse? Jackson: I first heard of the ibuprofen alert after a report from the French health minister, Olivier Véran, identified that it could be a factor in worsening the infection based on anecdotal reports from physicians treating patients in that country. Then there was a letter that was published in the British medical journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine where it was hypothesized that ibuprofen could make it easier for the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, to enter cells. The theory is that ibuprofen could increase the levels of ACE2, which is a protein that the coronavirus uses to enter cells and might therefore increase the risk of serious infection. However, there is no evidence that ibuprofen raises ACE2 levels. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says more research is needed, but right now, there is “no evidence that ibuprofen increases the risk of serious complications or of acquiring the virus that causes COVID-19.” There are reasons in general to avoid ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (NSAIDs) because they are known to have gastrointestinal, kidney and cardiovascular side effects, which may be especially dangerous in very ill or elderly patients or in those with preexisting conditions. 9. Does putting petroleum jelly in your nose prevent the virus from getting into pores? Will rinsing your nose with saline prevent the virus? Jackson: In the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, it’s natural that we’re looking for ways to stay healthy. Washing your hands and practicing social distancing are two proven pieces of advice that are more important than ever. A dry nose can make one more vulnerable to viruses and certainly is an irritant for those who suffer allergies. A water-based product can help. Using saline or saltwater nose rinses will not prevent the virus, but in certain people with asthma for instance, who also have nasal and sinus symptoms, a saltwater nasal wash, or nasal irrigation, can help reduce nasal symptoms that can aggravate asthma. According to National Jewish Health, a nasal wash: Cleans mucus from the nose, so medication can be more effective Cleans allergens and irritants from the nose, reducing their impact Cleans bacteria and viruses from the nose, decreasing infections Decreases swelling in the nose and increases airflow But do not use tap water for the nasal wash. Do not use well water. Only use distilled or sterilized water for nasal rinses. And follow the CDC water preparation guidelines for proper preparation. Avoid petroleum jelly in the nose—it can be inhaled and cause lung injury called lipid pneumonia. Don’t use antibiotic ointment either—that type of ointment does not fight viruses. 10. Can kids die from COVID-19? Jackson: While children have been generally spared from COVID-19, pediatric cases requiring intensive care have occurred within our state and there are rare child deaths. The burden of disease is far less for children than influenza though. A new syndrome, recently described, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). MIS-C is an inflammatory response with organ dysfunction, thought to be triggered by prior exposure to SARS CoV-2. On May 14, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control issued a health advisory, to alert providers to this condition, which has now been identified in at least 19 different states and Washington DC. Parents should report to their pediatric provider if their child develops fevers especially associated with a rash. While the prognosis is good, children have suffered shock and required intensive care—the syndrome is extremely rare and we are still learning more about it.  11. If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds, does that mean you don’t have the virus? Jackson: It is true that those with serious lung disease of many types, such as emphysema, may not be able to hold their breath for 10 seconds. Many respiratory viral infections make it difficult to hold your breath because the airway is irritated.  The inability to do so does not identify those who have COVID-19.  This false claim was first attributed to someone at Stanford University Medicine—and the spokesperson at Stanford denies it came from them, and on March 12, they posted on social media that this was misinformation. The only way to know if one is infected by SARS-CoV-2 is by testing secretions obtained by a swab placed in the nose/throat and having the specimen tested in a laboratory. 12. Is cupping a treatment for COVID-19? Jackson: Cupping is a process whereby the skin is bruised using a suction cup over the skin, and is used in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments. It is being studied in a Chinese population convalescing from COVID-19, but there is no evidence that it is beneficial at this point. 13. Is proning a treatment for COVID-19? Jackson: There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and we currently rely on supportive intensive care including oxygen, IV fluids andmechanical ventilation. Of specific therapies targeting SARS-CoV-2, none have been adequately studied, but there are some encouraging reports. Prone positioning of those with respiratory failure, meaning having the patient on a ventilator lay face down, was shown in a small study to result in better lung function with better oxygen levels and this treatment is being incorporated into care now. Other therapies which are being examined include the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug which was shown to inhibit virus in a small study when paired with an antibiotic called azithromycin. We now know that there is no data to support its efficacy and individuals accessing chloroquine products and suffering life-threatening toxicity. There are a couple broad-spectrum antiviral agents (one used in Ebola called remdesivir) that are being studied. Remdesivir is an intravenous drug used for those with serious COVID who require hospitalization and treated patients have shown a shortened course of disease. Drugs that modify an inflammatory over-response seen in COVID-19 appear promising. These agents inhibit IL-6, an immune modifier, and are also being studied in severe cases of COVID-19. 14. Even though COVID is here to stay, at least for the next six months to a year, is it okay for me to go out into the community now? Can I go to the doctor for my routine care? Jackson: We have successfully flattened the curve here in Kansas City, but COVID is continuing to circulate. The chance that you’ll be exposed to SARS CoV-2, is related to three factors: what activity you are involved in your proximity to others the duration of exposure Risk is greatest for indoor exposure where individuals are in close quarters with a large group of people. After a choir practice that took place in Washington on March 17, 2020, among 122 choir members, 87% of the group became infected from one infected member—it appears the act of singing amplified the spread of the virus. In contrast, if one is outdoors for a limited time, and can socially distance from others, the risk is very low. In terms of going back to your doctor for routine appointments, every provider in our community is prepared to care for patients even while the virus is still circulating. It is especially important that infants and children visit their pediatrician and get their immunizations on time. Many pediatricians are asking parents to call on arrival to the office, and the provider will text when the office is ready to place the patient directly into an examination room. We don’t want a measles outbreak in our community while we’re still tackling COVID! May 28, 2020

  • UMKC Announces Plan to Repopulate Campus

    Three-phase process will run June 1 through August 24
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will begin to repopulate its two Kansas City campuses in June, using a phased approach designed to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors. Phase 1 of the plan runs June 1 to July 5 and will include a small group of employees engaged in critical operations that support the university’s core mission and who must be physically present to effectively complete their work duties. Phase 2 runs July 6 to August 2 and brings back to campus senior administration and departmental leaders heavily engaged in student services and academic roles preparing for the fall semester. Phase 3 runs August 3 to August 24. During this period, all remaining faculty, staff and students will return to campus, except for those with individual medical exemptions. The plan includes guidelines encouraging people to wear face coverings on campus. Masks may be essential under certain work/educational conditions which preclude adequate social distancing. The university plans to return to in-person classes in August but will monitor the public health situation closely and constantly, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local guidelines, and make changes to steps, timelines and requirements in the plan as needed. UMKC is #RooReady to begin classes in the fall, no matter what that looks like, whether it’s in person, online or a mix of both. “The time has come for us to prepare in earnest to return to campus,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We will do so carefully and flexibly, because the health and safety of our community is our highest priority. We will continue to be team players in the overall effort to both reduce the impact of the virus and rebuild and restore our economy and our society. ” May 28, 2020

  • Alumni Physicians Help Chiefs, Blues to Championships

    School of Medicine classmates celebrated their teams' super seasons
    What a difference a few months can make. In February, team physician Michael Monaco (B.A. ’84, M.D. ’87) was holding the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl trophy. Now, he has a new granddaughter he hasn’t held yet, to keep her from any possible coronavirus exposure. And last June, orthopedic surgeon Matt Matava (B.A. ’86, M.D. ’87) was tending to the St. Louis Blues as they won their first-ever National Hockey League championship. Now, he’s slowly reviving his regular surgery practice and wondering whether the rest of the hockey season will be canceled.  Both savor the camaraderie and association with elite athletes that make being a team physician special, and the particular joy of being part of a championship. But they also confront the challenges and uncertainties, personal and professional, that the pandemic has put front and center for everyone. The peak  They didn’t complete the big touchdown pass or make the winning slap shot, but Monaco and Matava did their part to make their teams champions in the past year. In February, Monaco was the senior physician on the sidelines with the Kansas City Chiefs when they won the team’s second NFL championship, 50 years after their first. “I have been with the team 26 years,” Monaco said. “When I realized we were going to win the Super Bowl, I got a little teary-eyed.” It was much the same feeling for Matava the previous June, when the Blues took the Stanley Cup. “In 23 years with the Blues, my most memorable experience was being in Boston for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals,” Matava said. “I got to hold the Stanley Cup overhead on the ice and drink champagne out of the cup in the locker room during the player celebration.” Getting to the top, though, took years of effort, starting at the School of Medicine. Matt Matava in his office with the Stanley Cup. The long climb Matava played basketball for UMKC while he was in medical school, and he wanted to be a surgeon. That focus turned to orthopedic surgery for athletic injuries when a torn ACL (a knee ligament) knocked him off the basketball court. He experienced first-hand the important process of recovering from a serious injury. “Though I wasn’t drawn to internal medicine, my docent was Marjorie Sirridge, an excellent internist,” Matava said. “She taught us the importance of being thorough in the evaluation of patients … of sitting down when speaking with patients to let them know that you are taking time specifically for them. Doctors in general and surgeons in particular have a reputation for paying more attention to lab tests and imaging studies than to the patient themselves. No one should underestimate the importance of the physical exam.” When he returned to his native St. Louis after a sports medicine fellowship in Cincinnati, it didn’t take long to find work with sports teams to go along with a private practice. He became a team physician for Washington University, a job he still holds along with being a professor of orthopedic surgery. He also worked for the St. Louis Rams for 16 years, until the franchise moved back to Los Angeles. That’s in addition to serving the Blues, a position he’s held since 1997. The clock is always running But for all the excitement of being part of sports, being a team physician also means hard work, long hours and performing under intense pressure. “Hockey season involves up to three games a week from October to April for the regular season and into June for a deep run in the playoffs,” Matava said. “When I finish my regular clinical duties, I head to the games.” Add in his 25 years serving Washington University’s sports teams — along with football games each fall weekend during the years he was with the Rams — and Matava has spent a lot of time in locker rooms and away from his family. “In 23 years with the Blues, my most memorable experience was being in Boston for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals."—Matt Matava “But the most challenging aspect of being a team physician or surgeon,” Matava said, “is having to ‘bat 1,000’ in the care of every player, considering the scrutiny of the public, media, team administration, agents and other team members.” In Monaco’s situation, being the Chiefs’ head medical team physician is a year-round job. “From the end of July when training camp begins until the exit exams after our last game, two days after the Super Bowl this past season, there are daily issues: medication changes, illness evaluations, exams for new players acquired.” He’s also involved in the preparation for the NFL Combine each February, a weeklong showcase for possible pros coming out of the colleges, and the NFL draft in April.  “I also have a full-time internal medicine concierge practice with my partner of more than 20 years,” Monaco said. “He’s been very supportive, which makes doing both possible.”  Monaco with internal medicine and Matava with orthopedic surgery exemplify the two main types of medicine for sports teams. And they both will tell you it’s about a lot more than operations to mend broken bones or reconstruct damaged joints.  According to Monaco, his medical team handles various types of injuries, such as chest and abdominal problems. In a given week, they might take care of more players than the surgical and rehab staff, keeping players hydrated and managing their electrolytes if there’s a bug going around. Quickly isolating a player with the flu, for instance, can protect the rest of the team. “I have been with the team 26 years, when I realized we were going to win the Super Bowl, I got a little teary-eyed.”—Michael Monaco Working and waiting When the NHL season was suspended, Matava noted, “the team was in first place and expecting the return of Vladimir Tarasenko, our star goal scorer, whose shoulder I fixed earlier in the year.” Now, he said, he can see the players if they are injured or require rehabilitation, but the training facility, practice rink and weight room have been off-limits across the league. Whether the season resumes or is canceled remains up in the air.  For several weeks at his other practices, Matava said, “Washington University and Barnes Hospital were on a strict lock-down with all non-emergency surgeries and procedures cancelled to treat COVID-19 patients. The most COVID patients we have had at our hospital was 95. We are now allowed to return to 50 percent of our normal duties.” Monaco, far right, with students from the UMKC School of Medicine. For many years, Monaco was a supervising physician, known as a docent, for a group of first- and second-year medical students. For Monaco, coping with the pandemic has meant focusing on safety for his staff and patients, and for Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas, where he is on the Medical Executive Committee. Precautions have worked to reduce the pandemic’s effects, but they can’t be eliminated.  “After my first positive COVID-19 in the office, I have been doing all testings outside in the parking lot using personal protective equipment,” he said. “I am doing this to protect my staff, others in the office and all those who come into our medical building.” One picture in particular, of a tent attached to the hospital, haunts Monaco: “Family members of COVID-19 patients cannot be allowed in the hospital, but we placed a tent next to the window of one dying patient in the intensive care unit to allow the family to be with and grieve for their loved one.”  Personally, Monaco said, precautions have meant he has yet to hold his third granddaughter, born just a few days before the pandemic was declared. And his son, Nicholas Monaco, a 2017 graduate of the six-year medical program at UMKC, is serving his internal medicine residency in Georgia, where the incidence of coronavirus cases is high. “I would say this virus has had a definite impact on my life professionally and personally, like so many other health care workers,” Monaco said. Monaco also is in touch with other Chiefs physicians, and infectious disease specialists across the country, as the team moves toward possibly reopening some facilities. Resuming sports would provide a great emotional outlet for fans, he said, but there’s no telling when that might be possible safely. “Unfortunately, I do not see it going away soon,” he said. “I can only hope we come up with more and improved testing to give us the data that we need to make better decisions, better treatment protocols to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with this virus, and eventually a vaccine to once and for all give the global community enough herd immunity so we can get back to work and life again.”  May 27, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Gayle Levy and Whitney Terrell

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    Gayle Levy and Whitney Terrell are working at home as their two sons go to school via Google Classroom and their cat, Dusty, composes signs in order to get some sleep. The advantage for married UMKC professors Gayle Levy, associate professor of French and director of the Honors College and Whitney Terrell, associate professor of English, is that they have a keen understanding of each other’s jobs. They start each day working in their own offices, while their two sons, Moss (15) and Miles (10) attend school online. While Levy moves from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting, Terrell is finishing up his new novel, “The Crossroads.” “Miles has made silly signs that we put up on our doors when we can’t be disturbed,” Levy said. Her sign reads, “Do no desturb! Kat uzally zweepin.” "We're getting a puppy!" - Miles Terrell While the family is mostly finding their greatest joys being with each other, they are indulging in some distractions. “Moss has online piano lessons and drama classes through the Coterie,” Levy said. “Miles practices soccer online, which he does in the living room.” But some activities are less demanding. “Miles spends some time on House Party (a social media app) and playing Pictionary with friends,” Levy said. “Moss is generally Snapchatting with friends.” While Levy is missing her students and the boys are missing their friends, the Levy-Terrell clan is welcoming a big dose of joy. “We’re getting a puppy on Sunday!” Miles proclaims. What are you reading?  Levy: Nana by Emile Zola Terrell: MFA theses Miles: Wings of Fire books by Tui T. Sutherland Moss: Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream - for school  What are you watching?    “Miles watches 3-4 Simpsons episodes PER DAY!” Levy said. “I’m just thankful that the show has been on for like 30 years! Moss watches “Gossip Girls” and I’ve been watching “This is Us.” As a family most recently we have watched “Blazing Saddles,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” and “Rocky.” Terrell and Moss just finished “The French Connection” and “Breathless” and I showed Moss “Harold and Maude”—my favorite!” What are you eating?    “Great food!” Levy said. “Moss cooks a few times a week. Tonight, we had miso chicken but he has also prepared shakshouka, curried shrimp, Mediterranean lamb chops and a three-berry pie. I made Guinness cake for Moss’s 15th birthday, which was last week, and lots of banana bread.” May 27, 2020

  • Three UMKC Faculty Receive Fulbright Scholar Awards

    Brian Frehner, Ph.D., Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., and Charles Inboriboon, M.D., will use the awards during the 2020-2021 academic year.
    Three University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty members, Brian Frehner, Ph.D.; Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D.; and Charles Inboriboon, M.D.; have received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational program. Award recipients teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad in a program designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and other countries. Frehner, associate professor in the UMKC History Department, received an award to Germany where he plans to teach and conduct research for three months. Much of his time will be spent working with colleagues at the University of Hamburg to expand upon an online course that examines themes in transatlantic history and German migration from Hamburg to St. Louis, Missouri.. He will also travel to Munich to review documents in the Deutsches Museum relating to the acquisition of oil exploration technology related to geophysicial oil exploration. The research is for a book he is working on that details the science and technology of exploration geophysics that seres as the basis for oil discovery throughout the world. Irazábal-Zurita, director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies program and professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, received an award to lecture and conduct research at the Universidad de Costa Rica. She will focus on selective (dis)affiliations and (sub)urban implications of middle-class Venezuelan migration to Costa Rica. The project is an extension of her study of migration and urban planning in U.S. Latinx/immigrant communities and in Latin America, including Costa Rica and Venezuela. Irazábal-Zurita plans to conduct her work in Costa Rica during the summers of 2021 and 2022. Inboriboon, director of International Emergency Medicine Programs at the School of Medicine and associate professor of emergency medicine, received an award to Thailand where he plans to spend six months teaching at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. His project will enhance emergency medicine education by incorporating active learning into the didactic curriculum. He will also be developing online learning resources and enhancing individual learner feedback. Inboriboon has led several programs in Thailand during the country’s transition to competency-based medical education. Fulbright award recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. Funded through the U.S. Department of State, the program is also supported by and operates in more than 160 countries throughout the world. May 26, 2020

  • Two of Five Advisors on Jackson County COVID-19 Funding Group are UMKC Faculty

    School of Medicine dean and director of Latinx and Latin American Studies will help guide $122 million in CARES Act spending
    Two of the five advisors named to help guide Jackson County on spending CARES Act funds from the federal government are top UMKC faculty members: School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., and Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies program and professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design. The county received about $122 million under the federal government’s CARES Act to aid the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the volunteer advisory group will provide recommendations to County Executive Frank White Jr. and the legislature on how to allocate funding consistent with CARES Act restrictions to have the greatest and most direct impact for the community. Joining Jackson and Irazábal-Zurita on the advisory group are former Kansas City Mayor Sly James, former Kansas City Mayor Pro-Tem and Councilwoman Cindy Circo and accountant Rachelle Styles. Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine Jackson, who is also an alumna from the UMKC School of Medicine, will be the senior advisor on public health. In addition to her role as dean, she is a pediatric infectious diseases expert, affiliated with Children’s Mercy and internationally known for her research. She is widely recognized for developing one of the nation’s leading and most robust pediatric infectious diseases programs. She serves as a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, at the direction of the United States Assistant Secretary of Health, to provide recommendations for ways to achieve optimal prevention of human infectious diseases through vaccine development. During the current COVID-19 crisis, Jackson has served as one of the six physicians statewide advising Missouri Governor Mike Parson. She also continues to be a frequently sourced expert for the media and national publications. Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies program and professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design Irazábal-Zurita will be the senior advisor on community development and humanitarian response. Before joining UMKC, she was the Latin Lab director and associate professor of urban planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York City. In her research and teaching, she explores the interactions of culture, politics and placemaking, and their impact on community development and socio-spatial justice in Latin American cities and Latino and immigrant communities. May 22, 2020

  • UMKC, Full Employment Council Partner to Create a 21st Century Workforce

    The FEC Coding Academy at UMKC offers two classes for displaced workers
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering and Full Employment Council created a partnership to deliver a 21st century workforce in Kansas City. The FEC Coding Academy offers two classes – Web Developer Fundamentals and Full Stack Web Developer – for displaced and incumbent workers to move up in their careers. These courses provide an opportunity for attendees to learn to build websites from scratch with no prior experience necessary and tuition assistance for those who qualify. “The Full Employment Council is interested in connecting Missouri residents who have lost their jobs to industry-informed training opportunities that result in industry-recognized portable credentials. Our ultimate goal is rapid reentry into the workplace,” said Shelley Penn, senior vice president and chief operations officer for the FEC. Through the Coding Academy, instructors will equip attendees with marketable skills to forge ahead into the exciting world of coding. They’ll also be working on individual and team projects to build a portfolio to showcase to prospective employers and/or potential clients, as well as working with resume coaches from FEC to prepare for job applications processes and interviews. “This is a fast-track option for those who want to develop skills in technology,” said Christina Davis, director of continuing education at the School of Computing and Engineering. “Given the current state of the economy, the FEC Coding Academy is a great resource for displaced workers to gain skills that translate into positions in high demand.” The 16-week Full Stack Web Developer Course, beginning Thursday, June 4, will introduce attendees to building entire web applications using MongoDB, Express, Angular and Node.js. Throughout this course attendees will focus on how to use each of the technologies in the stack, and how to use them together. The dealine to register is Friday, May 29. The eight-week Web Developer Fundamentals Course, set to begin Monday, July 6, will introduce attendees to the aspects of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, the core building blocks of websites. The course is meant for anyone who wants to learn how to build websites from scratch. Prior programming or markup experience is not assumed, however an aptitude for programming will go a long way in being successful in this course. The deadline to register is Friday, July 3. Basic requirements for these courses include: The ability to pass an aptitude test for programming Proof of birth, residence, authorized work Must live in Jackson, Clay, Platte, Cass or Ray Counties High School/GED with an aptitude for programming The student will need a laptop computer running Windows OS. Motivation to succeed Though the cost of tuition for each course is $3,495 and $6,495 respectively, tuition assistance is available for qualified applicants through the Full Employment Council. Visit the School of Computing and Engineering online for more information on the Coding Academy and registering for classes.   Learn more about the FEC Coding Academy May 21, 2020

  • New Micro-grant Competition Awards $30,000 in Total Prizes To Local Entrepreneurs

    UMKC Innovation Center's Dare To Venture competition supports entrepreneurs in Kansas City's urban core
    Sixteen Kansas City, Missouri entrepreneurs recently took home cash prizes as part of a new Dare to Venture micro-grant competition hosted by KCSourceLink. At a time when small businesses need the most support, the program offered a total of $30,000 in microgrants to entrepreneurs starting or growing businesses in the city’s urban core. Funded by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and supported by the UMKC Innovation Center, Dare to Venture was open to any entrepreneur currently living or working in Kansas City, Missouri, who had completed one of the 30-hour-plus entrepreneurship classes offered as part of the center’s Urban Business Growth Initiative. The Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC administers the UBGI courses and provides each participant with business coaching. “This is the beautiful thing about collaborations: UBGI’s partner programs unite to offer many levels of support and expertise to UBGI businesses, helping them get the skills, expertise and learning to succeed,” said Carmen DeHart, senior director of entrepreneurial education at the UMKC Innovation Center and regional director of the Missouri Small Business Development Center. “Thanks to funding from the City, the UBGI suite of classes is helping local entrepreneurs and business owners discover the next great innovation, create new jobs, grow their operations and elevate the local economy. And now, these micro-grant awards are continuing to help them push forward during the most challenging time for any business.” Participants submitted video pitches for their businesses and were judged by fellow graduates of UBGI courses who’ve shared their journey of entrepreneurship and education. The following businesses received the most votes: Finalists for top prizes: 1st ($5,000) Reda Ibrahim – RK Contractors – construction venture [Watch the RK Contractors video] 2nd ($4,000) Tate Williams – CoBuild – construction venture [Watch the CoBuild video] 3rd ($3,500) Carlanda McKinney – Bodify – tech venture [Watch the Bodify video] 4th ($3,000) Erin Bopp – Lightwork DJ Mobilverse – new venture [Watch the Lightwork video] 5th ($2,500) Juaquan Herron – 2923 Comics – tech venture [Watch the 2923 Comics video] 6th ($2,000) Brandy Archie – AccessAble Living – growth venture [Watch the AccessAble video] Each honorable mention will receive $1,000: Maggie Bentley – Good Vibe Brows KC – new venture [Watch the Good Vibe Brows video] David Biga – ParticleSpace – tech venture [Watch the ParticleSpace video] Jillian Carlile – TravelHive – tech venture [Watch the TravelHive video] Shelly Cooper – SureShow – tech venture [Watch the SureShow video] Kashif Hasnie – Air Traffic Awareness – tech venture [Watch the Air Traffic Awareness video] Patrick Hosty – Dynamhex – tech venture [Watch the Dynamhex video] Lydia Palma – Pirate’s Bone Burgers – growth venture [Watch the Pirate’s Bone Burgers video] Sheante Thornton – ASAP Neighborhood Resource – new venture [Watch the ASAP Neighborhood Resource video] Karissa Todd – Sugar Cookie Bliss – new venture [Watch the Sugar Cookie Bliss video] AY Young - Battery Tour received the $1,000 Super Supporter Award given to the alumni who voted in the most rounds. Dare to Venture amplifies the already substantial commitment from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, to provide entrepreneurs with the tools, connections, education and coaching they need to build their business savvy, launch companies and create jobs in Kansas City’s economically distressed neighborhoods and beyond. “The micro-grant competition is an idea generated through startup community participation in the City Budget Speakeasy public input sessions. It’s exciting to see this come to fruition through our partnership with the UMKC Innovation Center,” says Rick Usher, assistant city manager of the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Apply for Upcoming UBGI Scholarships, Courses Through UBGI, the city currently provides scholarships that cover nearly 90% of the tuition for UMKC Innovation Center’s multi-week entrepreneurship courses. To date, UBGI has issued 548 scholarships, and its graduates have created a total of 75 business, 455 jobs, $55 million in revenue and $18 million in capital investments. Apply for the next round of UBGI scholarships (offered at a more than 88% discount), starting with NEW Venture, which kicks off July 28. Explore the course offerings below, and apply for a scholarship here to take the multiweek courses at an 88 percent discount. ELEVATIONLAB NEW Venture: July 28 - August 25 Entrepreneurial Mindset Training: September 16 - November 11 ELEVATIONLAB TECH Venture: September 17 - November 12 GROWTH360: September 18 - November 20 Social Media Road Map for Business: September 1 Reading and Understanding Financial Statements: September 8 Learn more about Innovation Center resources May 21, 2020

  • UMKC Self-Help Legal Clinic Moving Online

    Law school providing legal assistance when community needs it most
    The Self-Help Legal Clinic at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law has earned a national award for community engagement and is preparing to reopen on an online basis in 2020. The pro-se clinic is a partnership between the law school’s Leon E. Bloch Law Library and Legal Aid of Western Missouri. It is staffed by volunteer retired attorneys and judges, assisted by law students. The clinic provides advice and materials so clients can change their names, secure title to their cars, pursue small-claim actions in consumer matters, understand rights and obligations as tenants, or address simple family law concerns. Though some matters may require clients to pay court costs or filing fees, the clinic attorneys work free of charge. As part of the project, the Bloch Law Library also provides legal resources and database access to public patrons. The American Association of Law Libraries recently honored the clinic with its 2020 Excellence in Community Engagement Award. “Our jury felt that this project reaches people in your community at their point of need with practical information, and that it is an inspiring example for law librarians elsewhere of what can be done to engage with a community,” said Clanitra Stewart Nejdl of Vanderbilt University, jury chair for the 2020 Excellence in Community Engagement Award. The clinic opened in April 2019, and has since served more than 700 clients unable to afford legal representation any other way. Prior to the COVID-19 campus shutdown in March, the Self-Help Clinic occupied a permanent physical space in the law library, with regular office hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Together, School of Law Dean Barbara Glesner Fines and Latricia Scott Adams, director of Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s pro bono program, took the lead in bringing together the various parties and planning to make the Self-Help Clinic a reality. The library and clinic’s director of public services, Staci Pratt, is a law librarian with an active Missouri attorney license. She supervises the law students and facilitates cooperation with Legal Aid. Ayyoub Ajmi, associate director of the law library, was another driving force behind the creation of the Self-Help Clinic. “Staci Pratt, Ayyoub Ajmi and the volunteer attorneys and students have created an infrastructure and training that will allow the clinic to re-open virtually, just when the public will be needing this the most,” Glesner Fines said. The virtual clinic will run on Level 3 Zoom, which has a significantly higher level of security than the free version of Zoom. The software is designed to be phone-friendly, recognizing that many indigent clients do not own computers or tablets while most have mobile phones. Law student Montanna Hosterman said working at the clinic has multiple benefits for her legal education. “It’s an opportunity to earn hours for the school’s pro bono honors program,” Hosterman said. “We get experiential learning working side by side with experienced lawyers, right here in the School of Law building. Students also get mentorship and networking opportunities with the volunteer attorneys, and research and legal writing experience in a variety of areas of law.” Going forward, law students will also qualify for internship credit through work with the clinic.  Many of the clinic’s referrals come from the Jackson County court system, said Adams, who oversees the volunteer attorney project for Legal Aid. “From the court’s perspective, the clinic is a benefit to them,” Adams said. “People come into court with questions, and often the court personnel are not permitted to answer them, so they refer people to the clinic.” Pratt said the need for the clinic is “profound.” According to the 2019 Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) survey, she said, three out of five people in civil cases go to court without a lawyer. The Legal Services Corporation reports that 86% of civil legal problems experienced by low-income Americans received little or no legal assistance. This is particularly troubling given that 71% of low-income Americans experience at least one civil legal problem in a year. The UMKC School of Law Self-Help Clinic serves residents of the state of Missouri. Callers who live in Kansas are directed to similar programs available in that state. May 20, 2020

  • KCUR Selected as Key Station for NPR’s New Midwest Enterprise

    Public radio service operated on UMKC campus
    NPR has chosen KCUR 89.3 to help lead a new Midwest regional news hub that will create a greater capacity for investigative reporting in the Kansas City metro area. The station is operated as an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. KCUR – along with St. Louis Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio and NET in Nebraska – will play a major role in bringing the regional newsroom to life, ensuring the Kansas City community will be well-served by the reporting produced through this new collaboration. The Midwest regional hub is made possible through a $3 million grant to NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network by philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt. An additional $1.7 million will go toward an existing regional newsroom in California, NPR announced today. Through the Midwest hub, public radio stations in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska will coordinate and expand their local and regional reporting, providing content to national news programs and digital platforms. The 25 public radio stations serving the four-state region will have access to stories produced by the Midwest newsroom. The startup investment by the Schmidts will allow KCUR and its partners at the three other stations to launch the hub and develop it into an essential contributor to the NPR network. “This incredible decision to support local journalism is an exciting opportunity for KCUR,” said Sarah Morris, KCUR’s interim general manager. “The new collaboration not only will boost our own coverage of issues affecting Kansas City and the region, but also will allow us to bring more Midwestern voices to the rest of the nation.” The Midwest hub is NPR’s fourth regional news collaboration, joining regional newsrooms already operating in Texas, California and the Gulf States of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. With a focus on in-depth reporting, the new Midwest team will include a three-person investigative unit and two editors, as well as a coordinating producer based at NPR in Washington, D.C. The team will bring public service reporting to a region dominated by rural news deserts as local publications have fewer resources for extensive projects. KCUR is no stranger to the concept of collaboration, having built a national reputation for developing and sustaining multi-station partnerships. Harvest Public Media, a four-state partnership that covers issues related to food and agriculture, started at KCUR more than 10 years ago. The Kansas News Service, a collaboration of four public radio stations from Kansas City to Garden City, is based at KCUR. And KCUR is the lead station for America Amplified, a national elections project focused on community engagement. May 19, 2020

  • Kansas City Goes All Out for UMKC Graduates

    Landmarks don the blue and gold while KC influencers share wisdom with graduates
    We are in awe of how Kansas City came together to celebrate the accoplishments of our new graduates. We saw you, #Classof2020RooStrong. We saw you celebrate UMKC commencement like never before because these are times like never before. We saw you, #KC. We saw you go #RooBlue and Gold like never before, and we are humbled and honored by your strong show of support and love for Kansas City’s university. Together, we have triumphed over adversity with our #RooStrong spirit and are #RooReady to overcome challenges and defeat obstacles. Because #RoosAreEverywhere, we all win. More than 2,000 UMKC graduates were honored in Commencement ceremonies this weekend. Here are some memorable moments from our community. First, we sent packets of school spirit out to our seniors to help them celebrate at home.    We spotted some of you taking some social-distanced senior portraits. Demarkus Coleman, MBA, took a few senior photos outside the Bloch School.   Then, many of our city's beloved landmarks lit up blue and gold to support graduates of Kansas City's university. Our neighbor, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, donned blue and gold. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, at which many of our Conservatory students perform, showed its support for UMKC Roo grads this weekend.   Alumni and faculty wrote messages of congratulations and encouragement.   You shared your virtual commencement celebrations on social media.    And well-known Kansas Citians shared words of wisdom with our graduates.  Thank you for making this a Commencement to remember.  May 18, 2020

  • UMKC Honors Top Class of 2020 Graduates

    Seniors recognized through social and multimedia in lieu of annual commencement events
    Each year as the semester begins to wind down and seniors prepare for commencement, one of the biggest moments of their lives, academic and administrative units host breakfasts and ceremonies honoring the academic accomplishments of their graduates. This year, however, things are very different, because of the novel coronavirus and related social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Still, UMKC faculty and staff are finding other ways to virtually recognize honors seniors through social and multi-media. Dean of Students Honors Recipients Dean of Students Honors Recipients are nominated each semester by faculty and staff for their commitment to academic success while actively participating in leadership and service to the community and our university outside of the classroom. Nominators and students recorded videos reflecting on this semester’s honors. See what they had to say: “You are an exceptional group of people. Despite the demands of family, work and studies, you made time to give back to the community. When you saw a need, you worked to fill it. You are humanitarians, leaders and philanthropists and you should rightfully be proud of yourselves,” said Interim Dean of Students Chris Brown. Afaq Alabbasi – School Pharmacy [watch the video]Nominated by Cameron Lindsey, interim chair of the Division of Pharmacy and Practicum [watch the video] Priyesha Bijlani – School Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick, academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video] Hannah-Kaye Carter – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Carla Mebane, director of the UMKC High School/College Dual Credit Partnership [watch the video] Austin Dada – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences [watch the video]Nominated by Ryan Mohen, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology [watch the video] Morgan Dresvyannikov – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy, senior academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video] Sierra Duncan-Sonich – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Tammy Welchert, director of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Enrollment, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video] Jorden Erskin – School of Nursing & Health Studies [watch the video]Nominated by Corinna Beck, academic advisor, School of Nursing and Health Studies [watch the video] Elsa George – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video] Thomas Haferkamp – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West, academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video] Chizitam Ibezim – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Alyssa Jones – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Susana Chavez-Bueno, associate professor of pediatrics [watch the video] Anusha Kodidhi – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Christopher Kurian – School of MedicineNominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Nuvia Lemus-Diaz – School of Dentistry [watch the video]Nominated by Richie Bigham, assistant dean for student programs, School of Dentistry [watch the video] Rmaah Memon – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Pooja Menon – School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video]Nominated by Lawrence Dreyfus, associate vice provost of faculty development and research [watch the video] Emily Oliver – School of Pharmacy [watch the video]Nominated by Roger Sommi, associate dean and professor, School of Pharmacy [watch the video] Anthony Oyekan – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Jayanth Rao – School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video]Nominated by Tara Allen, teaching professor, School of Biology [watch the video] Nicole Rogers – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video] Subhjit Sekhon – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Mehr-Zahra Shah – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Saumya Singh – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Garima Thakkar – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video] Sarah Towakoli – College of Arts & Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Ken Novak, professor, criminal justice [watch the video] Rachel Zender – School of Law [watch the video]Nominated by Molly Wilensky, director, Professional and Career Development Center [watch the video] Undergraduate Research Fellows Eleven May graduates earned the Undergraduate Research Fellow honorary transcript designation by demonstrating deep involvement in research process—formulating a research question, identifying an appropriate method to investigate the question, carrying out the project, and publication or presentation of the results beyond the classroom or research group. Jerrah Biggerstaff – B.S. Physics/Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences Jaime Crouse – B.S. Biology; double minor in physics/astronomy and chemistry Austin Dada – B.S. Biology Lauren Higgins – B.S. Physics/Astronomy Brandon Landaverry – B.S. Environmental Sciences  Andy Leon – B.S. Biology Pedro Morales-Sosa – B.S. Biology Minh Nguyen – B.S. Biology Bwaar Omer – B.S. Biology Annie Spencer – B.A. English and History Sarah Towakoli -- B.A. Criminal Justice & Criminology and Political Science College of Arts and Sciences Graduates with Distinction The College of Arts and Sciences’ Graduation with Distinction luncheon, hosted by the College of Arts & Sciences alumni board, brings together graduates with Latin honors, and their families, in celebration of academic success. Guest speakers offer words of congratulations and advice for the future and scholars are presented medals to wear during commencement. Here is a list of graduates with distinctions Summa Cum Laude – the highest praise – and Magna Cum Laude – with great praise. Honors College Sarah F. Towakoli | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated | Undergraduate Research Fellow University Honors Kamariah Al-Amin | Magna Cum Laude Anticipated Cemile Arabaci | Magna Cum Laude Anticipated Abigail Birkner | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated Zonara Nawaz | Magna Cum Laude Anticipated Erica Sullivan | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated Sarah Towakoli | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated | Undergraduate Research Fellow   May 18, 2020

  • Students, Faculty Honored at National Level

    UMKC Enactus gains national recognition in business pitch competition
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Enactus team from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management took second place, out of more than 400 teams, at the 2020 Enactus USA National Exposition, held virtually May 6-14. In addition to being among the top two teams in the nation, UMKC Enactus won the audience-voted Enactus Excellence Awards in all three categories – Most Passion, Most Innovation and Most Collaboration. The team also won first place and $7,500 for the Menasha Future of Employment Project Accelerator, which focused on providing employment for underserved communities. Individual awards were presented to students Alessandra Brandolino, the Jules and Gwen Knapp Enactus Ambassador Scholarship ($10,000); Lindsey Temaat, Enactus USA’s Marketing Leader of the Year; Hieu (Peter) Trinh, Project Leader of the Year; and Emily Testerman, finalist for Membership Leader of the Year. UMKC Enactus Advisor Benjamin Williams also received the Jack Kahl Entrepreneurship Leadership Award for the Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow of the Year, a first in UMKC history. The award, presented at the competition every year, honors an Enactus advisor who has done the most to advance the Enactus organization during the current academic year, exemplified leadership, made a direct impact on Enactus students, and helped students with career placement. The 2020 award to Williams adds to a tradition of excellence among UMKC Enactus advisors. The team’s founding advisor, Cary Clark, was inducted into the Enactus USA Sam Walton Fellow Hall of Fame in 2014. Clark served as advisor from 2005 until his retirement in 2015. Erin Blocher, who teaches business communication at the Bloch School, joined Williams as a co-advisor in 2018. Enactus is a global organization for college students who volunteer to develop projects that create positive change through entrepreneurial action. Students describe their projects in multi-media presentations for the competition. While the team is headquartered at the Bloch School, it draws students from across campus, an example of how UMKC emphasizes entrepreneurship and innovation campus-wide. “This organization has changed the way I view the world,” said UMKC Enactus President Salem Habte, senior, B.B.A. Entrepreneurship. “I'm grateful to have been a part of it for all four years of college. Finishing second in the nation made history and proves that our students are capable of anything with hard work and a lot of hope.” “I am truly at a loss for words right now,” said Brandolino, vice president of Projects and president-elect, junior, B.B.A. Entrepreneurship. “When I joined this team three years ago, I never imagined that we would be the second most impactful Enactus team in the United States. Each person on this team contributed to this win in unique ways and I am so thankful to be a part of such an incredible team.” For this year’s competition, UMKC Enactus presented the projects Feed KC and Generation Green. In total, the team took home $8,300 to put toward their projects and operations. This year alone, the UMKC team has impacted the lives of more than 7,000 people and introduced projects that range from providing sustainable and convenient transportation to low-income commuters to recycling plastic waste into durable classroom tools for teachers. The UMKC students on the presentation team were: Ahmed Boukhousse, Nicole Dover, Hannah Case, Riddhi Sharma, Hieu N. Trinh, Kelly V. Nguyen, Lindsey Temaat, Salem M. Habte and Brian Bartenslager. Members of the UMKC Enactus Executive Board are Salem M. Habte, Alessandra Brandolino, Emily Testerman, Tony Jordan, Hieu N.Trinh, Sydney Steehn, Hannah Case and Lindsey Temaat. May 15, 2020

  • Telehealth Program Recognized for Serving Missourians with Disabilities

    Missouri health administrators praise UMKC Institute for Human Development’s innovative approach
    The escalated need for emergency care resulting from possible COVID-19 concerns can be especially challenging for people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. Recently, the UMKC Institute for Human Development (IHD) received recognition in a National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities podcast for its outreach efforts to connect people with disabilities to newly available telehealth medical evaluations.  “The goal of the telehealth initiative is to help people with developmental disabilities avoid unnecessary emergency room visits that can be unduly stressful for them and their caregivers. We had begun establishing the program prior to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Michelle Reynolds, associate director, individual and family support for IHD. “Because we had already laid the groundwork, the state was able to speed up the launch.” “The people who are in the trenches already trust us.” - Michelle Reynolds In the podcast, directors from the Missouri Department of Mental Health Gary Schanzmeyer, deputy director, administration and Wendy Witcig, (BA, psychology ’90) deputy director, community operations, both recognize IHD’s critical role in bringing this valuable service to Missourians in need. “It relieves anxiety for families by having help just a phone call away,” Witcig said. Station MD is a HIPPA-compliant, online resource designed to serve vulnerable populations. The service allows caregivers to connect with a licensed physician by video call to assess symptoms and determine if an emergency room – or even regular doctor’s visit – is necessary. The staff at IHD was interested in bringing this innovative approach to Missouri to better serve people with disabilities. Reynolds notes that in many ways, the anxiety in evaluating these possible emergency situations is not different from what any caregiver may feel. “All of us have situations with ourselves and our children where we are second guessing the need to go to the emergency room. This decision is even more crucial if you are supporting a person with a developmental disability” Reynolds said. “This provides a reliable, less expensive and stressful service for everyone involved, including the medical professionals.” If an emergency room visit is necessary, the medical professional contacts the emergency room or care provider and apprises them of the medical situation and any other factors that may help in serving the individual client. “While we initiated this program pre-COVID, with the spread of the virus, we could see that we needed to speed things up,” Reynolds said. “We wanted to make sure there was a safety net for people with developmental disabilities and keep them out of emergency rooms for non-emergency health needs.” Reynolds says that IHD’s established relationships and reputation allow them to provide quality support systems regardless of crisis. But situations filled with uncertainty, like the current pandemic, underscore the immense value of earned confidence. “We have maintained strong partnerships and institutional knowledge,” Reynolds said. “This enables us to shift in a crisis, rather than having to start an initiative from scratch. The people who are in the field already trust us.” May 15, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Brandon Parigo

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    Brandon Parigo is at home with his wife, Nicole, and his two daughters, Simone, who is 10 years old, and Juliet, who is 6.  Parigo, UMKC staff photographer, is accustomed to a calendar over-flowing with events, portraits, photo editing and creating and editing video. With campus closed and social distancing in place, his duties have shifted. “Lately, my primary roles at work have been online coaching and planning for video work as well as photo archiving, organization and support for our other teams. That may sound simple, but we have a lot of irons in the fire at all times. A lot of projects are being planned for when we are able to make them happen. If I do my job right, we are going to be 100% ready for everything that comes at us once we are allowed back on campus.”   While Parigo does freelance photography and video work during his time off, that work also is on hold. “Thanks to COVID, we’ve had to be creative in how we are trying to find ways to make up that income. I’ve been dabbling in game design and my wife has been doing some work from home for a local factory, sorting parts for shipping. I have a backlog of wedding editing that I’m working on also.”  His girls are attending online school at home and his oldest has kept up her ballet practice with Kansas City Ballet online as well. Parigo’s commute to work is an hour each way. He’s finding the best part of being at home is having more time to spend with his family. “We have picked up a pretty hard-core LEGO-building habit and have been having fun creating together.” This time at home has also reinforced how much his work at UMKC sustains him. He’s found it’s challenging to be without it. “Being around people, supporting them doing good work and supporting the students in their journey was a calling I never thought I’d enjoy so much. While the work I’m doing from home is still a part of that, it doesn’t feel as meaningful and I find myself suffering for it. I thrive on doing my work.”  What are you reading? I’m reading a bunch of roleplaying game books at the moment. My last big push on fiction reading before that was pretty much every book by Bernard Cornwell, recently known for writing the books the show “The Last Kingdom” is based on. My be time routine is to read to Simone (while Nicole reads to Juliet) and we are slowly making it through the “Keeper of the Lost Cities” series by Shannon Messenger. What are you watching? My nights are pretty packed with family and my backlog of editing, but I tend to squeeze in one show right before bed. I’ve watched “Waco” on Netflix because Tyler Kitsch is in it, and he was one of my favorites on “Friday Night Lights,” which is one of my top five all-time favorite shows. I’m also watching “Homeland,” just burned through “Star Trek Discovery” and “Picard.” (Was “Star Trek” always that good? Probably not.) I’m eagerly awaiting the next season of “The Last Kingdom.”  The current TV obsession of my daughters is “LEGO Masters.” What are you eating? Anything bad for me that I can find! In all seriousness, my house is pretty much gluten-free and organic. Lucky for us, Nicole makes the best gluten-free apple cake on the planet. I’m a sugar junkie but we don’t keep much sugar in the house, so that’s always a treat. Mexican-derived food is always top of the list at our house, and there’s a variation of the idea of what Mexican food should be on our plates for what seems like every other meal. I probably need to just devote a whole cabinet to salsa jars.   May 15, 2020

  • Video Resources for Coping with COVID-19

    Sanvello app offers new digital wellness content
    The Sanvello app, which is free for anyone with a UMKC email account, has recently added video resources for coping with the coronavirus pandemic. They address topics such as social distancing, job loss and fear and managing immunity and symptoms. Access to Sanvello is free for anyone who has a UMKC email address.  It offers on-demand help for stress, anxiety and depression and has a range of features including mood tracking, coping tools, guided journeys and community support to promote healthy habits and behaviors. Here are the new video resources for help coping with COVID-19: Managing family and friendships Coping with the media Virtual care and therapy during the crisis Volunteering and support Managing immunity and symptoms Controlling our impulses during COVID-19   More mental health resources at UMKC May 13, 2020

  • Kansas City Lights Up the Night for UMKC Grads

    Union Station, City Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and other landmarks brandish blue and gold to honor graduates of Kansas City’s un...
    The city of Kansas City will be ablaze in Roo Blue and Gold beginning the evening of Thursday, May 14, in honor of the Class of 2020 of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Buildings to be lit in UMKC colors for the Roo Blue KC celebration include Union Station, City Hall, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Downtown Marriott Hotel. The Downtown Marriott's animated lights featured a bouncing Roo and words of congratulations. Festivities will not be confined to the evening hours. By day, multiple fountains across the city will flow in bright blue to honor UMKC grads, courtesy of the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. More than 2,000 UMKC students will receive degrees through a series of online commencement ceremonies, organized through individual academic units, Friday, May 15 through Monday, May 18. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts featured blue and gold lights. The Art Deco Power and Light building in the foreground and City Hall at right. Illuminated Landmarks Union Station City Hall Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Downtown Marriott Durwood Stadium on the UMKC Campus Our neighbor, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Fountains and Parks Dyed or Lit Blue Concourse Fountain Northland Fountain  Waldo Water Tower Meyer Circle Sea Horse Fountain The Northland Fountain was dyed Roo blue. May 13, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Student Organization Wins Top National Award - Again

    Outstanding community service and leadership
    The legacy of outstanding student service and leadership continues at the UMKC School of Pharmacy. Student pharmacists at UMKC have once again been recognized as recipients of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists Chapter of the Year award. It is the third time in the past nine years that the UMKC chapter has received the highest national award. Each year since 2012, UMKC student pharmacists have been recognized as one of the organization’s top chapters in the country. Typically announced at the organization’s annual meeting in March, this year’s awards were announced through a Facebook Live presentation because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Awards program honors schools and colleges of pharmacy in the United States and Puerto Rico. More than 140 chapters compete for the honors that recognize superior programming to create opportunities for student participation and set standards for leadership, professionalism, patient care and legislative advocacy among student pharmacists. In addition to national Chapter of the Year honors, UMKC students were also second runner up for the organization’s Generation Rx Award for creating public awareness of prescription medication abuse. "This award is only possible because of the student pharmacists who are active members of APhA-ASP at UMKC," said Jordan Thoman, who served as UMKC chapter president. "It says a lot about their passion and excitement for pharmacy and helping the community. APhA-ASP has a wide variety of opportunities for students in areas such as heart disease, diabetes, mental health and policy. It was fun to see our students dive into areas that they really love." The awards recognized the combined efforts of students at the UMKC School of Pharmacy’s three campuses in Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield.  “We are super proud of them and proud of all their advisors who have worked hard guiding and mentoring them,” School of Pharmacy Dean Russell Melchert, Ph.D., said. Faculty sponsors of the UMKC chapter are Cameron Lindsey, Kathryn Holt and Jordan Rowe of the Kansas City campus; Angela Brownfield and Sarah Cox of the Columbia campus; and Lisa Cillessen and Heather Taylor of the Springfield campus. "This really reflects on the great guidance and support we get from the School of Pharmacy faculty and staff," Thoman said. "We have some incredible APhA-ASP advisors across all three campuses, and I will be forever grateful for all that they did for us over the year. We have the perfect combination of excited, passionate student pharmacists and supportive, impactful advisors and faculty." In the past reporting period, UMKC’s APhA-ASP chapter reached more than 228,205 individuals through social media alone, increasing education and awareness on a wide variety of health- and pharmacy-related topics. The student organization led two large projects, Operation Self-Care and Operation Immunization, that reached large numbers of patients. "Student pharmacists at UMKC are passionate about giving back to the community and making a difference," said Afaq Alabbasi, a May graduate of the School of Pharmacy. "Our chapter organizes a variety of events that reach out to different patient populations, from the elderly to children. When we plan our events, we focus on the quality of the events rather than the quantity. Our main goal for each event is to reach patient populations that will benefit the most from our services, even if that means reaching out to only 10 people."  Operation Self-Care partnered with the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) to create a new mental health screening protocol. The questionnaire included screenings for anxiety and depression. Operation Self-Care reached 10,625 patients through public relations and patient care events. Operation Immunization saw students across the three campuses participate in 58 events in which they provided influenza immunizations for more than 800 patients and immunization education to 5,412 patients. Students also made 18 Generation Rx presentations, reaching and educating nearly 3,000 people about prescription drug abuse, proper medication storage and disposal. Generation Rx partnered with FirstCall to provide drug disposal kits to patients at DEA Drug Take Back Days across the state. More than 8,000 pounds of unused/unwanted prescription medications were collected. Generation Rx also reached nearly 16,000 individuals through public and media relations initiatives.   UMKC School of Pharmacy APhA-ASP Winners 2020 APhA-ASP Chapter of the Year (No. 1 in the U.S.) 2019 APhA-ASP 1st Runner Up in Chapter Achievement (Top 7 in the U.S.) 2018 APhA-ASP Chapter of the Year (No. 1 in the U.S.) 2017 APhA-ASP 1st Runner Up in Chapter Achievement (Top 7 in the U.S.) 2016 APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Award (Top 4 in the U.S.) 2015 APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Award (Top 4 in the U.S.) 2014 APhA-ASP 1st Runner Up in Chapter Achievement (Top 7 in the U.S.) 2013 APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Award (Top 4 in the U.S.) 2012 APhA-ASP Chapter of the Year (No. 1 in the U.S.) May 07, 2020

  • For UMKC Medical Student and Entrepreneur, Health Care Connects It All

    Fahad Qureshi combines medical and engineering interests to create innovative solutions
    Driven. Creative. Optimistic. Curious. Determined. Smart. Happy. These are common traits found in successful entrepreneurs. All of them are found in Fahad Qureshi. A third-year medical student at UMKC, Qureshi took third place in the UM System Entrepreneurship Quest Pitch Competition, where 20 student teams from across the four campuses presented innovative business ventures. Qureshi is the founder and creator of Vest Heroes, which uses a system of pulleys and levers in the operating room to relieve surgeons from bearing weighted lead X-ray skirts and vests during long procedures. Wearing the vests are required by law and protect health care professionals from radioactive exposure. But they are heavy – between 30 and 69 pounds – and can hinder mobility.  Qureshi wasn’t nervous during the final rounds of competition, as he’s had the idea for a long time and knows the product well. In fact, his invention is patent-pending, and he’s launched a company to fulfill orders for 100 vests that will be used throughout the country. “I strongly believe in the idea,” he said, “and it was great to get affirmation from the judges. To know it’s real and it’s working – I feel good about that.” As a child, Qureshi had a good friend who died during an operation following a bad accident. He heard the surgeon say that wearing his 60-pound vest made it hard for him to make movements during his friend’s operation – and that’s something he never forgot. While finding a way to reduce the weight of these vests has been in his head for a long time – “10 to 12 years, maybe more” – he didn’t have the background needed to solve it … until medical school. Once at UMKC, he gained academic understanding, expanded his medical knowledge, got into the operating room and participated in an engineering apprenticeship, completely independent of the School of Medicine. “Just because you are practicing medicine doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for credit, I was looking for knowledge.” He also found a local engineering firm to help out. “When you have an interdisciplinary approach, that’s when you can really solve problems. Without medicine, I wouldn’t know what to build,” he said. “Without engineering, I wouldn’t know how to build it.”  In addition, Qureshi reached out to various physicians to get their opinions – how to improve the vest, how to grow consumer interest, what did and didn’t work well. His biggest support has come from Bogdan Derylo, M.D., a nephrologist from his hometown of Chicago and Akin Cil, M.D., UMKC professor and the Franklin D. Dickson/Missouri Endowed Chair in orthopaedic surgery. “All of the feedback received was terrific,” Qureshi said. “The final model is a culmination of all the suggestions they provided.” Qureshi, who worked minimum-wage jobs to fund the company so he can retain full equity, says mass distribution is his ultimate goal. He’s currently working with a Chinese manufacturer to help produce large numbers of the Vest Heroes, although that is sidelined now due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Any doctor or health care professional that uses radiation has a need for this,” he said. “There’s really no downside to using it – it’s a necessity, as I see it.” There’s no doubt that Qureshi’s entrepreneurial spirit motivates him, but he sees health care connecting it all. As for his future, he plans “100 percent to practice medicine.” And part of that plan includes research, his company and teaching the next generation of doctors. “When you choose what you do every day, it should be something that makes you happy. Going to work shouldn’t be scary or dreaded. If your work makes you happy, you’re doing something right.” In addition to Qureshi, the UMKC teams presenting pitches during the final competition were Greyson Twist, Ph.D., bioinformatics and computer science major presenting his Genalytic project; and Kyle McAllister, business administration graduate student presenting his company Compost Collective KC. May 06, 2020

  • Congratulations, Class of 2020

    Messages for recent graduates from UMKC alumni
    Alumni from across our campuses submitted messages of encouragement and well wishes for the Class of 2020. These are just a sampling of the heartfelt notes for the most recent graduates of UMKC. You are poised to accomplish wonderful things! This has been a learning year for all of us: for our mentors, our bosses, our colleagues and our families. Please take this year and its lessons and know that this has been challenging for every single person. You are not alone, you are not forgotten. You are in this with the entire world and you too can come out on the other side of this if you put your values, your lessons, and your creativity to use. We're here for you, Class of 2020 — best wishes! —Elizabeth McClain (MBA ’17) Congratulations Class of 2020!! You did it! We are all so proud of your resilience, strength and selflessness during these tough times … I know you definitely did not get the moment you all deserve, but if anything, I have only learned how sanguine you all are throughout this experience. Enjoy every moment, remember that you accomplished all of this and continue to be proud of yourself. I wish you all the best. Congratulations, Roos! —Sabat Ameen (B.L.A. ’16, M.D. ’19) Congratulations on your graduation! You’ve reached a major milestone in your life, and I couldn’t be happier for you. I hope you’ll take this time to celebrate. Celebrate all of the hard work it took to get here. Celebrate the friendships you’ll take away with you. Celebrate all the possibilities of your next adventure. I know commencement isn’t happening the way you hoped and planned. But I want you to know that the entire UMKC family is still with you, cheering on your huge accomplishment. We can’t wait to see what you do next. —Mary Daly (B.A. '85) Dear Class of 2020, congratulations on your great achievement. You have shown perseverance and commitment and this is your time to shine! There will indeed be challenges, and undoubtedly there will be uncertainty, but you will also learn how to adapt, take initiative and prosper. And when you look back, the Class of 2020 will be known for having foresight to navigate tricky waters and to reach your goals every time! Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and successful future ahead!  —Fahim Siddiqui (M.S.C.S. ‘93) Congratulations, Class of 2020! Your hard work for this achievement has finally been realized. Though the celebration of your completed degrees and certificates will look different this year, that makes them no less important. Some advice that was given to me when I entered UMKC, I wish to impart to you: College does not complete you — it only compliments what you bring to the table. Continue to bring your inherent, authentic self into everything you do. Allow what you've learned at UMKC and these honors you've achieved to compliment who you are. Be true to who you are. Congratulations, graduates! —Angela Sander (B.A. ’17) This unprecedented time will pass and cannot diminish that your graduation is a source of great pride. And now, you're on your way to new adventures, on your way to the future. May you follow your dreams and your heart. Best wishes as you graduate. —Debbie Brooks (J.D. ’01) Dear graduates: This was not the ending you planned. It certainly is unlike anything any of us expected. A spring quarter full of promise and celebration, in a matter of weeks, has become a source of grieving. Any words of consolation I could try to offer would fall flat. But we still need to celebrate milestones that were a lifetime in the making. We are all trying to find the positives during this trying time so embrace your degree and all the hard work that went into it. Know that you will be able to make a huge difference in the world you are graduating into. Also know that we are proud and celebrating for you at this time even if there is not an official ceremony to mark this passage. Best of luck Class of 2020! —Sue Garnett (B.S.P. ’82) Congratulations! I am so very proud of all you have accomplished in the past four years! It was a long, hard road and you did it!! I know this is such a difficult time since your celebration will not be what you deserve, but just know there are so many of us rooting for you (even all the way out here in Hawaii!) and wishing you all the best life has to offer from here on out!  —Tina Mukai (B.A., D.D.S. ’07) May 05, 2020

  • Tips for Job Hunting During a Pandemic

    Tactics, tips and resources to help you navigate the job market
    Currently on the hunt for a job? We caught up with Tess Surprenant, director of the Bloch Career Center and interim director of UMKC Career Services, to get her best tips for graduating students currently looking for a job. Here is a wrap-up of what we learned. Tried and True Job Hunting Tactics 1. Network, network, network We all know that networking is an important part of job hunting. Now, with the potential for fewer jobs and higher applicant numbers, building connections will be more important than ever. Luckily, the new virtual working world has made it easier to get in contact with people. Don’t be afraid to share your goals with others. You might be surprised how quickly people will get on board with your dreams and cheer for you.  2. Start with Roos to build your network What if you don’t have many people to network with? Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Some of the best places to start looking for new connections are to follow up with any guest lecturers from classes, connect with UMKC alumni on LinkedIn, or search for Facebook groups specific to your industry or location. Scheduling an informational interview with someone is a great way to learn about their career path, their current work and their industry as a whole. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Remember, that UMKC Career Services can also connect you with dozens of industry professionals and alumni that are happy to network with UMKC students.  3. Do your research Whether you are about to reach out to a new contact or apply for a position, do your research. Researching for a networking opportunity allows you to ask more specific and thought out questions which will impress your contact and allow them to provide you with more helpful information. Researching each job and company before applying will also help you tailor your resume to that position, something that Surprenant stressed as absolutely vital when applying for multiple jobs at once.  4. Apply on company websites Surprenant cautioned against applying for positions through recruiting websites like LinkedIn unless you want to tailor your profile each time you apply for a job. Platforms like LinkedIn are great places to find jobs, but applicants should look for the same job posting on the company’s website and submit applications there.  Tess' Nuggets of Wisdom "Keep all your options open for as long as possible and do what is right for you." 1. Know your industry's recruitment schedule If you are seeking to join an industry that follows very specific recruitment schedules and you are not sure how COVID-19 may have impacted those schedules, reach out to UMKC Career Services. They can help you decide which steps make the most sense for your overall career goals. Not sure if this is you? Contact Career Services as well! 2. Questions to ask in interviews during this new normal It is perfectly normal to have concerns about the working world and wonder how COVID-19 may have impacted the company you are about to join. It is important to ask the questions that matter to you so you can be as informed as possible when you make your final decisions, but you still want to remain respectful. Surprenant laid out two ways to ask potential employers about COVID-19 related concerns.  If you are worried about beginning a job remotely, you can say: “I am anxious to be successful here, so I am wondering what tools you have available to employees to help them transition to online work.” If you are worried about the stability of the company, you can ask: “How has COVID-19 changed your business’s culture?” 3. On accepting offers you might not love Surprenant acknowledged that fear might make it easy to rush into accepting an offer that is not the right fit. She also said it is perfectly okay to accept a job in order to remain financially stable. It is important to understand yourself, your timeline and your finances. Keep all your options open for as long as possible and do what is right for you. She noted that you don’t need to accept the first offer you are made, especially if you have other interviews coming up. Reach out to the recruiters from the other companies to let them know you have been made an offer, but you want to be able to fairly consider all your options. Then inquire about moving your interview up.  4. Do something rather than nothing If you find yourself in a position where you take a job outside of your desired field, make sure you keep making forward progress. Reach out to companies and ask if they have any micro projects in your desired field that you can work on. Connect with your professors to see if you can assist in a research project. Volunteer with an organization that is related to the work you someday hope to do. It’s important you continue to learn. Now is a great time to utilize free online learning tools. You can learn to code, master excel, learn a new language or even join a writing group to keep those skills fresh.  Overall takeaway Know yourself and your needs. No one knows the future you want to have better than you. Put yourself out there and share your dreams with others, especially those who have a little more job experience. When in doubt, connect with UMKC Career Services. Bring your questions, your resume and your goals. They can help you along the way, even after you graduate and join the working world. UMKC Career Services May 05, 2020

  • KCUR Flattens the Curve with Spanish COVID Blog

    Coverage supported by America Amplified
    Kansas City’s public radio station, KCUR 89.3 FM, with support from America Amplified – a national public media coalition funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to provide election coverage for 2020 – is working to flatten the curve with its new Spanish-translated COVID-19 blog. KCUR announced its America Amplified initiative in partnership with eight other public media networks across the country as part of its $1.9 million Election 2020 grant from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting to cover the presidential race. With the fast outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the program made a shift to cover the global pandemic. “We realize that we have a substantial Hispanic community in Kansas City with a large Spanish-speaking population,” said Director of Broadcast Operations Ron Jones. “This is a great opportunity to provide a public service and ensure that everyone is informed about the pandemic.” The station is also partnering with Kansas City Hispanic News on a 60-day agreement to help spread the word about its new initiative to keep the community informed. In turn, the paper will gain access to the station’s English digital content and publish a print a translated version for its readers Kansas City Hispanic News reaches a market of nearly 200,000 Hispanic residents expanding from the greater Kansas City metropolitan area to Topeka, Emporia and Wichita, Kansas. The paper has an average readership of 35,000 each week. KCUR will be regularly updating its Spanish coverage of the coronavirus in Kansas City through its FAQ and live blog pages. The station is operated as an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.   Follow KCUR’s Spanish Coverage May 05, 2020

  • 4 Ways I’m Considering Celebrating My Graduation

    Creative ways to commemorate this major accomplishment during COVID-19
    No doubt, COVID-19 has created complex circumstances for many across the world. If you’re a spring semester graduate like me, you may feel the need to tie up loose ends before virtually walking across the stage. But with stay-at-home guidelines, the options for celebrating look different than normal. Still, it’s important to bask in the glory of such a tremendous milestone. Virtual ceremonies just might not feel like the real thing, or even feel like enough of a commendation for the hard work put into the years of such a valuable journey. So, it’s important to reflect and think about what could help you, individually, celebrate and be proud of your place in the class of 2020. A Visual Walk Down Memory Lane So, remember that concert you went to or your spring break trip and how you flooded your social media feeds with photos and probably a few Instagram slideshows? Try doing the same to highlight some of your favorite memories throughout your college experience. Get creative and create an actual visual timeline starting from your freshman year to now and what it has meant to you to make it to the finish line. Revisiting times that made you stronger, or that you simply enjoyed, are great for realizing this moment still matters and there’s much more to come. A big moment for me came in December 2019, when I visited New York City after I was selected to attend the IRTS Multicultural Career Workshop for student journalists across the country. Fun fact: I had made it a goal to visit NYC before the end of my senior year, and I did it. Super cool experience!   Be a Creative Director for a Day Lately I’ve been extremely inspired by the talent on display on social media. More so, through aspiring photographers and individuals who are creating home photo shoots for fun, while at the same time boosting their portfolio. From bed sheet backgrounds to home gardens or impressive shoe collections, these folks are creating full-blown shoots that could honestly be placed in our mainstream magazines. You can do the same! If you’re one of the many who couldn’t schedule graduation photoshoots with your cap and gown or put your respective themes to the test, use this time at home and your environmental surroundings to do so. Throw on your cap and gown and take advantage of nature and all it has to offer. Art supplies are collecting dust in your bedroom closet, so get your Dave LaChapelle on! I've been really impressed by the people creating their own photo shoots at home. Photo by Amanda Vick   Party for 10 (or fewer) Staying within social distancing rules, groups of 10 or less is enough for an intimate gathering. Make it even better by hosting a small party with just your immediate family. Also, consider using video chat platforms such as Facetime, Zoom, Skype and the live feature through Facebook and Instagram to connect with family and friends who aren’t able to be there. Take advantage of Amazon Prime for 2020 graduation-themed decorations, in addition to food, games and a playlist of some of your favorite songs you’ve curated from your undergraduate or graduate years. Everyone loves a good karaoke session! Grab some treats and your favorite tunes and make it a fun day with your family. Photo by Brooke Lark   In the words of Parks and Recreation’s Donna, “Treat Yo Self!” (or let others do it for you) Having you been eyeing a pair of shoes, some new tools for a favorite hobby or something else? Feel free to get a congratulations gift for yourself — or make a wish list for others, just like birthdays, baby showers and wedding receptions. After all, you deserve to be celebrated, and if people are asking you if there’s some way they can help you celebrate, don’t feel bad about sharing that list. Or maybe you want to start a cash gift “Recent College Graduate Fund.” Whatever it is, don’t feel bad if people who know and love you — including yourself — want to celebrate with a gift. On the other side of the spectrum, you don’t at all have to spend money to celebrate. After months — no, years — of studying and finals, you deserve to spend some quality time relaxing. Treat yo self. On your graduation date, cook your favorite foods, get dessert and binge your favorite series or film franchise. I already have my corny rom-com list lined up.   Vacation Countdown Within the next couple of months, or maybe throughout the rest of the year, traveling won’t be the first thing most people think to do after the lockdown is lifted. However, there’s always next year with the hope that conditions have improved. So, with the time you’ve got during quarantine, use it to plan a vacation as a treat for earning your degree. Create a group chat for any friends you would want to invite and start brainstorming destinations and travel details. Aim for somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and let yourself consider the possibilities. Maybe a weekend at the cabin transforms into an entire week on an island. Anyone else feel like celebrating with tropical treats and swimming with the dolphins? Anyone else feel like they need a vacation after all this? Photo by Tim Foster Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you do something to mark this incredible accomplishment. The #Classof2020 is strong and resilient and has a lot to be proud of! May 05, 2020

  • Faculty, Alumni Appointed to KC Health Commission

    UMKC experts will help commission charged with improving community health
    Three members of the UMKC community with expertise in emergency medicine and public health have been appointed by Mayor Quinton Lucas to the Kansas City Health Commission. Erica Carney, M.D., was appointed co-chair of the commission, which provides oversight for the city’s Community Health Improvement Plan and fosters collaborative community efforts in the wider metropolitan area. Carney is a graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program, an assistant professor in emergency medicine, an emergency care physician at Truman Medical Centers and the medical director of emergency medical services for the City of Kansas City. Lucas said Carney's work had been instrumental in the city's response to COVID-19 and collaboration with area health providers. Carney said her areas of interest included improving survival rates for out-of-hospital heart attack patients from lower socioeconomic ZIP codes and improving public safety, including response to disasters and special situations such as COVID-19. “The best defense to the unknown is a united front in the name of public protection, and I truly feel that our region is leading the way,” Carney said. The mayor also appointed to the commission Joey Lightner, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor and director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, and Austin Strassle, a housing stabilization specialist at Truman who earned his bachelor’s degree in urban studies/affairs from UMKC in 2016. Lightner has helped launch the School of Nursing’s undergraduate public health degree and worked to involve undergraduates in innovative research bringing fitness and nutrition programs to area schools. “It is an honor to be appointed to the Health Commission,” Lightner said. “I hope that over the next three years, we can work to reduce health inequality that is prominent in Kansas City.” In his research and outreach, Lightner has collaborated with community groups and institutions including Kansas City schools and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Health Department. “I hope that over the next three years, we can work to reduce health inequality that is prominent in Kansas City.” -- Joseph Lightner Strassle, who also has a master’s in city/urban, community and regional planning from the University of Kansas, has worked for three and a half years at Truman as a mental health caseworker. He also was the leader of a successful community campaign to get the Kansas City Council to ban the use of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical practitioners. The mayor, in making his appointments, said it was important to have “experts in outreach to at-risk communities” on the commission, along with “medical professionals with specialties in trauma, infectious disease treatment, pediatric and prenatal care; supporters for survivors of domestic violence; advocates for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; educators; long-time community health reformers; and more.” May 04, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Tammy Welchert

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    Tammy Welchert is sheltering in place with her husband, Dave, who is retired from the Kansas City Fire Department, her son Hunter, who is finishing his senior year of high school and Mr. Diggity, their 3-year-old toy poodle. “Right now, my number one responsibility is to prevent COVID-brain,” Welchert, associate teaching professor, director of student affairs and academic advising research areas at School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, says. “This can take many forms, but my top priority is just remembering what day it is.” Currently, she is teaching four classes and helping with advising. “And I’m helping to plan the most awesome virtual graduation ceremony ever!” While Welchert’s focused on helping students, she’s aware that balance is key. “I feel compelled to be at the ready all the time, to take care of students needs as they indicate them. I’m trying to remember that I am important and need to make time to take care of myself so I can take care of them!” Welchert is known for her exuberant spirit, so it’s no surprise that she’s finding joy, too.  “I love watching the pictures come in from our graduating students and assisting the Life Sciences 202 students as they prepare to submit applications to professional healthcare programs this summer! And being able to pet Mr. Diggity and have lunch every day with Dave on the deck!” What are you reading? I have three books on my nightstand, “Hag-Seed” by Margaret Atwood that we are using in the first-year seminar course this fall with UMKC Essentials, “Every Breath” by Nicholas Spark and “A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago.”   What are you watching?   We just finished “Ozark” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” Both were amazing! We are getting ready to start the newest season of “Billions” and of course don't miss an episode of “Survivor”!  What are you eating?   Yum, I just shared this recipe with a couple of our advisors. It’s the best ramen I have ever eaten. I found the recipe on Pinterest which is where I find almost everything! We’d love to know how you’re sheltering in place! Contact Patricia O’Dell if you want to share your story. May 04, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Student Participates in Local COVID-19 Response Team

    Melinda Johnson helped develop plasma treatment protocols for coronavirus patients
    Travis Kremmin (Pharm.D. ’11) is a clinical pharmacist at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, a hospital in Merriam, Kansas. In March, the pandemic was just ramping up in the Kansas City area and Kremmin was looking to establish a COVID-19 response team of pharmacists when he received a text message. A fourth-year student at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, Melinda Johnson, had made a lasting impression on Kremmin six months earlier while working together during a clinical rotation at the hospital. She had a general question for him about his specialty, infectious diseases. Kremmin had a question of his own – would Johnson consider coming back to join his team? “It’s a very fast-moving environment right now with tons of literature and data to sort through both good and bad,” Kremmin said. “I was familiar with Melinda and the work she’d done with me before. I requested that she join my team. I knew when this was going on that not only could we help her gain experience, but we could utilize her skills. It was an ideal matchup.” Johnson spent the month of April working as part of Kremmin’s team. She was largely responsible for helping develop the protocols for a convalescent plasma treatment program in partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Working in coordination with local blood banks and those in New York, plasma is received from New York patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus. Antibodies from those plasma sources are extracted and then used to treat the most severely ill COVID patients. “This was a totally new concept, especially for a student being on a rotation. I don’t think we really knew what to expect going into it, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.” – Melinda Johnson Johnson was tasked with reading and understanding the Mayo Clinic’s institutional review board (IRB) treatment protocols for the procedure, and then develop a treatment plan for the Shawnee Mission hospital. That included developing the necessary checklists to ensure the required documentations were in place. On April 10, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission was the first hospital in Kansas City to use the treatment. The procedure is now being used across the 49-hospital AdventHealth system under Johnson’s designed protocol. Facilities throughout Kansas City have shown interest in the hospital’s convalescent plasma program as well. “It was a team working on this,” Johnson said. “Travis initiated the process and we came up with the protocols. We were looking every day at patients to see if they would be candidates for the treatment at our facility. I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to work with AdventHealth and all the preceptors there.” COVID-19 patients, particularly those on ventilators, have unique drug requirements. One of Johnson’s roles was to review emerging trials and data to calculate how much drugs are needed for the average patient to ensure that the hospital would have an adequate supply on hand. “With all the information emerging for COVID, it’s almost a constant blast of information,” Johnson said. “I was sorting though what was most relevant, most important, and analyzing things to see what’s actually strong data versus studies that have come out that have been a little bit skewed.” She also explored treatment options in light of caution flags that have raised of potential future drug shortages resulting from a coronavirus pandemic’s disruption of supply chains. “I did work on potential treatment options, proposed treatment options” Johnson said. “I was looking at data for anything else beyond what are our first-line agents. Sometimes, we went down to our sixth and seventh options.” Throughout April, Johnson and Kremmin met online daily for as long as two to four hours at a time to review the day’s patient consultations list and discuss the information being released on COVID-19. Kremmin said Johnson was instrumental in analyzing and deciphering the waves of data in order to develop treatment and dosing algorithms for COVID patients locally and across the AdventHealth network. Twice a week, she and Kremmin met with physicians and pharmacists to discuss patient needs and the latest developments surrounding the virus. The process of working remotely worked out better than they imagined, Johnson said. “This was a totally new concept, especially for a student being on a rotation,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we really knew what to expect going into it, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.” May 04, 2020

  • Commencement Celebration and Ceremony Reimagined

    A look into visualizing a virtual event to honor this year’s graduates
    Graduation is a joyous affair. After years of work and investment, students and their families have the opportunity to celebrate the graduate’s new beginning. While this year’s virtual commencement event will be different, the achievement and excitement will be the same. “Once we realized the significance of the pandemic and the likelihood of its duration, our students’ graduation experience became a priority,” said Curt Crespino, vice chancellor of external relations and constituent engagement. “It was a difficult decision, but in the interest of everyone’s health, the chancellor and the provost made the final decision that virtual graduation this spring was the best approach. Also, graduates will have the opportunity to walk in December.” As leadership formed a committee to determine what virtual graduation would look like, they engaged student leadership in the planning process. “We wanted students’ perspective on what would make the ceremony meaningful,” Crespino says. By the Numbers 12           School ceremonies2,100+   May graduates2020      #Classof2020RooStrong Emma Weiler, who will be graduating with her Bachelor of Science in nursing, served on the planning committee for graduation. Weiler is the Student Government Association speaker of the senate, and was familiar and comfortable representing students on administrative committees. “My biggest concern with the virtual graduation process was allowing family and friends of graduates to be able to view and feel a part of the ceremony,” Weiler says. “I really felt for first-generation college graduates, although I am not one, for not being able to celebrate their accomplishment in person with their families.” "We made it a priority to find a balance between a traditional ceremony and a celebration.” - Jenny Lundgren The committee sent out a survey to students to identify what was important to them. They used that feedback to plan the event. “We realized that some people may only want an in-person ceremony, but there are others who need the opportunity for closure and to see their classmates, even virtually,” Crespino says. Once the committee had responses from students, they could envision an engaging plan. One thing seemed certain: Honoring the original date and times of the ceremonies was important, as well as recognizing the students’ affinity to the schools with which they are affiliated. “Our students tend to be strongly aligned with their academic units, so we knew there would need to be a strong unit flavor to the event,” said Jenny Lundgren, provost and executive vice chancellor.  "We made it a priority to find a balance between a traditional ceremony and a celebration.” Weiler felt the administration was responsive to student feedback. “I think it is very important to allow those who graduate in May the opportunity to walk in December if they want too, and they were very responsive to that,” she said. “The virtual commencement will still be a great way for me and my family to celebrate my accomplishments.”- Emma Weiler, senior In addition, the committee felt it was critical to touch each student personally. The team developed celebratory packets that will include honors cords and a traditional Roo lapel pin along with a few other surprises. “We understand this is a very significant moment for our graduates and their families,” Lundgren says. “We’ve also created a commencement book that will be a commemoration of the unique experience of the class of 2020. We wanted it to reflect that.” While Weiler is disappointed about waiting until December to walk, she is determined to make the best of the situation. “The virtual commencement will still be a great way for me and my family to celebrate my accomplishments,” she says. “I think it is great that the university is doing what they can to make this a special experience for students. You are never going to make everyone happy, but they are really trying hard to make this special for all the graduating seniors.”  Commencement schedule May 04, 2020

  • Regnier Venture Creation Challenge Awards Announced

    Student entrepreneurs receive awards, experience at annual pitch competition
    The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management held the Venture Creation Challenge virtually on Friday, May 1 and selected winners in the annual pitch competition. “All of the competitors involved in this year’s challenge have demonstrated qualities that set innovators and entrepreneurs apart,” said Jeffrey S. Hornsby, Regnier Institute director. “We are grateful that they have shared their efforts, their drive, their inspiration and their creativity with us. These are the qualities that bring us together today, and that define the Regnier Institute.” The Regnier Venture Creation Challenge is about more than money. During the competition, students test their ideas in a supportive environment of educators, mentors and staff who want to see them succeed. To do this involved the support from more than 60 mentors, advisors and community partners, who volunteered to serve as judges throughout the rounds of the competition.  “This was an outstanding class of individuals,” said Bob Regnier, naming benefactor and founder, executive chairman and CEO of the Bank of Blue Valley. “It’s the process that’s important. As entrepreneurs, we deal with disruption all the time. When you open people’s mind to what’s new, you open up the sweet spot for an entrepreneur.” Innovation Award Special Needs Identification App (SNidAP), $500Special Needs Identification App is the smart wearable that keeps you, your loved one, and the public safety community connected. Specialty Awards Outstanding Undergraduate Generation Green, UMKC and UMKC Enactus, $1,000Generation Green is focused on repurposing old plastic waste into dry/wet-erase boards, creating new products that help teachers engage students in interactive learning. Linda Tong Planners, Iowa State University, $1,000Linda Tong Planners is a business that provides completely handwritten and personalized planners that are customized to each individual person.  Outstanding Social Venture Dart, UMKC, E-Scholars and UMKC Enactus, $1,000Dart gives old bikes new life by repurposing them into affordable, high-quality e-bikes. Outstanding Creative Enterprise Vivas y Muerto, Kansas City Art Institute, $1,000Vivas Y Muerto is a sustainable and eco-friendly jewelry line. Outstanding High School Venture MARGOLOH, Blue Valley CAPS, $1,000MARGOLOH is a hologram that uses water vapor diffusers and fans to create a tornado-like shape in an oval shaped structure. General Track Awards Calving Technologies, Mizzou, $5,000Calving Technologies is an animal agriculture startup, providing monitoring and predictive sensory technology for producers to track the health of their livestock. Their first product is a multi-sensory collar that measures various biomedical parameters of late-gestation cows, predicting the timing of calving events hours in advance - ultimately decreasing calf mortality rates and increasing producer margins. ChordaWorm Lures, LLC, Iowa State University, $4,000ChordaWorm Lures, LLC solves one of the largest problems in the fishing industry. The current soft plastic fishing lures on the market are not durable and they are easily ripped off the hook by fish. These lures only last for two to four fish catches each. Interplay, UMKC and E-Scholars, $3,500Interplay is working toward automating pet interaction by providing dog owners with an automated dog crate that will allow them to operate it from their smart phone. With the Interplay dog crate, dog owners will be able to see and talk to their dog, dispense food and water to their dog, and open and close the crate from their phone while they're away from home. Jensen Applied Sciences, Iowa State University, $3,000Jensen Applied Sciences provides Cloud Technology Solutions to local communities, currently focused on the craft brewing industry. JAS provides plug-and-play devices for craft breweries, as well as custom solutions to any industry.  Community Business Award Kanbe's Markets, UMKC alumnus, $5,000Founded in 2016, Kanbe's Markets is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that developed an unmatched food distribution model in the Kansas City region. Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Awards WartPatch, UMKC, $5,000WartPatch is an immunotherapy-containing dissolvable microneedle patch for the treatment of viral warts. Flyover Counseling, E-Scholars, $1,000Flyover Counseling is a telehealth agency providing mental health counseling currently serving Kansas and Missouri. Norah Health, Mizzou, $1,000Norah Health developed a patent-pending, AI-powered software solution to improve the patient experience. Striae Away, Missouri Science & Technology, $1000Striae Away, utilizes bioactive glass and its scar-free healing properties in order to treat striae marks post-pregnancy. Striae gravidarum are stretch marks that occur during pregnancy. The GuideLine, Missouri Science & Technology, $1,000The GuideLine is a first-of-its-kind device to improve upon the still relatively primitive lumbar puncture (LP) technique.  The Regnier Venture Creation Challenge, is a University of Missouri-Kansas City business plan and pitch competition promoting entrepreneurship. The Regnier Institute received 50 applications from 7 universities from the Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska region, the UMKC Bloch School E Scholars program and the first-ever high school applicant. A pool of more than 40 reviewers helped narrow the applications down to 10 ventures who were selected to compete on May 1. New this year was a community business award in the general track competition to show support to small businesses in light of COVID-19 challenges. Monetary awards were made possible through donations from the Regnier Family Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. Regnier Venture Creation Challenge benefactors include the Regnier Family Foundation; The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, sponsor of the Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize. This annual event is made possible through the support of Bob Regnier and the Regnier Family Foundation, in addition to the Kauffman Foundation and the Bloch Family Foundation for their support of UMKC entrepreneurship programs. May 04, 2020