March

  • Bloch School of Management Professor Explores Gap Insurance

    Larry Wigger, UMKC assistant teaching professor of supply chain management, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, is an expert contributor to Wallet...
    His recent WalletHub article explores the benefits of gap insurance and discusses which buyers should purchase gap insurance, the best resources from which to purchase this insurance and how to determine when a driver no longer needs it.  The complete article is available here. May 11, 2022

  • Reputable Family Includes Generations of Roo Graduates

    UMKC Alumni Association honors the North/Cheadle Family with the 2022 Legacy Award.
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. UMKC is honoring the North/Cheadle Family with its Class of 2022 Legacy Award. The North/Cheadle family's UMKC legacy dates back to the 1960's. Basil North Jr. (B.A. '61, J.D. '71) and his brother-in-law Donald Cheadle Sr. (M.A. '70) were the first in their family to graduate from Kansas City's university and laid the path for many generations that followed to become Roos. Currently, 14 members of the North/Cheadle family have graduated from or are currently attending UMKC, including Basil North Jr.'s wife, Loretta North, who both attended UMKC and taught in the School of Nursing. Not only have members of this family graduated and/or attended UMKC, but each selected different academic degree paths also demonstrating excellence across several schools on campus. The family is very committed to public service, with many participating in numerous and impactful volunteer initiatives. Below is an interview with some members of the North/Cheadle family: What role did your family's legacy at UMKC play in your choice to study here? Basil North Jr.: My older sister, Sandra L. North and my cousin, Bertha Joyce Graham both attended UMKC. I attended on a Victor Wilson scholarship which provided academic scholarships for talented young males in Kansas City who attended either the University of Kansas City or Yale University. Sheryl North (B.A. ’82, M.D. ‘82): It is special to be able to attend the same university where my mother and father studied. Knowing they walked the same campus and maybe even took classes in some of the same buildings is incredible. How did your family shape your dedication to education and your chosen profession? Maria North Morgan (J.D. ‘91): My mother was a teacher and always stressed the necessity of education to create self-sufficiency.  After my mother’s death, when I was 23, my sister Sheryl and I decided to move back to Kansas City to help my father finish raising my younger sister Dayna. My mother’s death was such a life-altering event for me that it changed my career goals. I’d grown up fascinated by watching my father build a career as a well-known civil rights and business attorney, but I was hesitant to choose the same career and live in his very large shadow, however, the pull towards a career in civil rights was too strong, and I decided to apply to law school. Evelyn Clark (D.D.S. ’88): It came from my family’s dedication to educational excellence. This dedication spanned over a half-century. The examples were set not only by my college education grandmother Bertha Graham and her sister Louie North in the 1920s but also by my mother Mary Graham in the 1930s and ’40s, followed by my aunt and uncle in the 50s and 60s. How has activism made an impact on your professional careers? Basil North Jr.: My professional career, practicing law, is, itself activism. I have represented many individuals who have been discriminated against in their employment. I have also been active in the Jackson County Bar Association, both sponsoring leaders and having been president of the association. When I first began practicing law, some judges called African-American lawyers "boys." Through the Jackson County Bar Association, we assisted in ushering such practices out of existence. Sheryl North: I was very fortunate to attend UMKC Medical School which was always attentive to equity and diversity.  50% of my medical school class was female. Evelyn Clark: Activism has undoubtedly made a marked impact on the dental profession.  Historically the profession has been predominately male.  But the gender face has changed.  I witnessed it first-hand. In 1984, 25 percent of my entering doctorial class of 120 was female. Currently, female enrollment in dental schools outnumbers male student enrollment. What professional and personal experiences have most impacted your life? How has your education informed those experiences? Maria North Morgan: My work in the fields of education and health care field helped to shape a passion for the necessity of building equity into every aspect of our laws and policies in this country. Our laws are built based on our values - so many of the laws created during the 20th century were not designed to benefit all citizens. I took civil rights courses while in law school to learn the history of civil rights. I have spent my legal career working to help people overcome the institutional barriers that prevent them from living a healthy, happy life. About the Alumni Awards Join us in honoring the North/Cheadle Family and other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Mar 28, 2022

  • Schools of Law, Medicine Advance in National Rankings

    U.S. News & World Report recognizes excellence in primary care, trial advocacy and legal writing
    The UMKC professional schools of Law and Medicine achieved high rankings in the 2023 graduate school rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The School of Law was ranked among the nation’s best in two key legal education categories: Trial Advocacy (no. 31) and Legal Writing (no. 21). The School of Medicine was ranked no. 52 in the nation for Primary Care, up 12 places from last year’s rankings. The 2023 rankings list was released March 29. The Trial Advocacy ranking came in 23 places higher than last year; Legal Writing was up 13 places. Overall, the School of Law was ranked no. 114 nationally. “Trial Advocacy is more than just public speaking in the courtroom – it is a skill that requires understanding and translating a client’s story into a persuasive narrative that must fit the constraints of the formal rules of evidence and procedure,” said Barbara Glesner Fines, dean of the UMKC School of Law. “Legal Research and Writing is a foundational skill for all attorneys. Attorneys communicate in writing to their clients, public, courts, companies – it’s all writing, all the time and the formats vary significantly across the audiences. UMKC is proud of its record of educating our students to be excellent professional writers in all these settings.” In addition to its overall ranking, the School of Medicine ranked No. 29 in the nation for graduates practicing in healthcare shortage areas. “The UMKC School of Medicine opened its doors more than 50 years ago on our Health Sciences District campus with a commitment to serve the people of Missouri,” said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. “We are leading the way as we provide the highest quality programs to educate our next generation of outstanding healthcare professionals and provide the highest quality of care to our community and beyond.” Jackson noted that UMKC medical program is built on the enduring vision of Dr. E. Grey Dimond. Students experience an innovative curriculum, care for patients in clinical settings from day one, and learn in small teams led by docent physician mentors, who emphasize a humanistic approach to medicine. And now UMKC’s model takes place not only on the Kansas City campus but in St. Joseph, Missouri, serving a more rural population. Earlier this year, in its annual ranking of online graduate programs, U.S. News ranked the online graduate nursing program at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies among the nation’s top 50 for the tenth consecutive year.  Mar 28, 2022

  • UMKC Celebrates the 2022 Staff Award Recipients

    The awards recognize staff excellence and milestone achievements
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City recognized more than 240 employees at the 2022 Staff Awards ceremony in March. The annual event is an opportunity for UMKC to celebrate staff members who have achieved personal and professional milestones, shown extraordinary commitment to service and ethics and championed the university’s commitment to student success, diversity and inclusion, engagement and outreach, and research and discovery. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first time in two years that UMKC staff could join together for an in-person celebration. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. recognized the original COVID-19 tracing team at the awards. The team includes Obie Austin, Robin Hamilton, Dea Marx, Chris Popoola and Jill Reyes.The Chancellor praised the staff for all the work they have done to go above and beyond, even when faced with challenging circumstances of the pandemic.“Our staff members are the heartbeat of this university,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “Every year, I am overwhelmed by our staff’s dedication and accomplishments.” The 2022 Awards were held in person for the first time in two years Congratulations to the 2022 awardees: 20 Years of Service Amir AyoubRebecca BergmanRichard BighamTyrone BleaMatthew BrownVerna CrowderMary FloresRobin HamiltonDavid LucasTanya MooreDeloris PhelpsKimberly RudolphLaura RuppRobert SmithJane VoglAnthony WescottKaren WilkersonMarie Winzer 25 Years of Service Patrice AdamsSelena AlbertJames BradleyAndrea DiRaimoDarren HerseyJames HoltNancy KunkelLyndsey MagroneKeivan MoghadamNghi PhanEarl ReedSteven StonerAnjing Xu 30 Years of Service Lena JonesKristen Temple 35 Years of Service Michael BongartzCara BradleyBarbara Glesner FinesJames HavnerShelly JanaszDavid JohnstonJonathan Shroyer 40 Years of Service Doretta KiddJennifer Underwood Marilyn Turbush, front row second from right, celebrates her award with the External Relations and Constituent Engagement staff    Staff who graduated with a UMKC degree in Spring 2021, Summer 2021 or Fall 2021 Olivia BrownLauren CrusoeDestiny Delgado PetersonJocelyn GarciaRoland Hemmings Jr.Chante KellerKelly McDonaldLeta MolerEmma SatterfieldHannah ShacklesJulie SmithSuman SumanStephan Young Supervisory Development Series Graduates Wayne NagyAnna Zimmerman Dr. Elson S. Floyd Administrative Leadership Development Program Nate AddingtonMatthew BrownKatie GareyRosa NatarajTammy Welchert Series on Leadership Essentials Program Nancy BahnerRebecca BergmanErin BumannGina CampbellBrenda CindrichRob DurhamJames HavnerDanita JohnsonCamille Johnson-ArnoldCaitlyn MapelAdrena MasonChristen MelvinLiz MuleskiPatricia MullinWayne NagyJessie RiggsJames ShackelfordEmily Strayhall Living the Values Award Cynthia BeardMatthew BrownLauren ButlerDiane ElliottCollin FosterMichael GravesKendell HaleRobin HamiltonAlia HerrmanErika HollidayShelly JanaszCamille Johnson-ArnoldJulie KohlhartMousami MohantyLora OwensBarbette RoachMyisha SimsTess SurprenantElizabeth ValleKaitlin Woody Krystal Olmos-Romero, front left, celebrates her award with co-workers from the School of Nursing and Health Studies Staff AwardsStaff Council Dedication Award Julie Myer, Senior Student Services Coordinator, International Student Affairs Excellence in Student Success Chelsey Butts, Student Support Specialist II, College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Research and Creative Works Chris Winders, Director Research Activities, Office of Research Services Excellence in Engagement and Outreach Marilyn Turbush, Office Specialist, External Relations and Constituent Engagement Excellence in Multiculturalism, Globalism, Diversity and Inclusion Makini King, Interim Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion, Division of Diversity and Inclusion Excellence in Planning, Operations and Stewardship Sandy Wilson, Finance and Accounting Manager, Office of Research Services Rising Star Krystal Olmos-Romero, Senior Office Support Assistant, School of Nursing and Health Studies Chancellor’s Staff Award for Extraordinary Contributions Liz Hoffman-Shrout, Director II Student Support Services, UMKC Campus Recreation Mar 28, 2022

  • Community Leaders Taking Nominations for Prestigious Starr Women’s Hall of Fame

    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes Kansas City women of distinction
    Every two years, an independent panel of Kansas City community leaders selects local women of significance for the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame. This year, the panel is once again seeking nominations for women with noteworthy ties to the Kansas City area who have historically or more recently made important and enduring contributions in their fields of work. The nomination form and full directions for making a nomination are available at https://www.umkc.edu/starrhalloffame/directions.asp. The deadline for submitting a completed nomination packet is June 30. The Hall of Fame has inducted 37 Kansas City women, half of them posthumously. Members of this select group include philanthropists, business executives, women’s and civil rights activists, political leaders and more. The list of inductees and their bios can be found at https://www.umkc.edu/starrhalloffame/hall.asp. The Women’s Hall of Fame is named after Martha Jane Phillips Starr. A Kansas City philanthropist and women's rights leader, Starr was one of the first women to serve on the UMKC Board of Trustees. She played an important role in establishing the university’s Women's Council and the Graduate Assistance Fund, which today provides financial assistance to female students. UMKC’s annual Starr Symposium is named after and endowed by her. Starr died in 2011 at the age of 104. The Starr Women's Hall of Fame is funded by her family, the Starr Education Committee and the Starr Field of Interest Fund. It is also supported by 26 leading women’s organizations throughout Kansas City. Mar 28, 2022

  • UMKC Conservatory Celebrates GRAMMY® Nominations

    2022 GRAMMY® nominations include Roo faculty and alumnus
    The UMKC Conservatory is well represented at this year’s 64th annual GRAMMY® Awards with faculty members who comprise Sandbox Percussion and alumnus Andrés Salguero, (DMA ’11) and his wife Christina Sanabria receiving recognition for outstanding work. Sandbox Percussion is a quartet of Conservatory faculty Jonathan Allen, Victor Caccese, Ian Rosenbaum and Terry Sweeney. The group was nominated in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance and Best Contemporary Classical Composition categories. Trumpeter Kevin Noe, visiting professor and director of orchestras at the Conservatory, encouraged the ensemble to come teach at UMKC. “Kevin told us that UMKC was looking to hire a percussion professor and he thought it would be great if the school would consider thinking outside the box and consider all four of us as a teaching unit,” says Rosenbaum. The world premiere of the GRAMMY® nominated composition, “Seven Pillars” was supposed to take place in April 2020 but was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The cancellation was one of the hardest to handle. We had been developing this piece for years,” Rosenbaum says. Sandbox Percussion But the cancellation and the ensuing free time allowed the quartet to focus on the recording. They devoted a year to recording the album and creating 11 films to accompany it. They were together in a meeting when they received the news of the GRAMMY® nomination. "If it had to happen to one project that we were involved with, we are so glad that it is this one!" — Ian Rosenbaum “We paused our meeting for a second as they announced our categories – and then we completely lost it. We knew how proud we were of this album and this work, but we never imagined that it could get recognized in this way,” says Rosenbaum. “We're also just so thrilled that these two nominations recognize not just Sandbox, but also Andy Akiho and his incredible work as a composer. If it had to happen to one project that we were involved with, we are so glad that it is this one!” Salguero and Sanabria are “123 Andres,” a duet who focuses on children’s music. They received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Children’s Music Album for “Activate,” their latest release, conceived to encourage children and families to be active. Salguero said he was too nervous to watch the GRAMMY® nomination livestream. “Christina and I were home and my phone started buzzing and I was receiving text messages from friends. We were so surprised,” Salguero says. “We are so excited to celebrate!” — Andrés Salguero The couple had been working on the album for the last three years. They were already collaborating with other musicians long distance. “Each musician was recording in their own studios. When the pandemic struck, we simply continued working this way.” Salguero and Sanabria will be in Las Vegas for the ceremony April 3. “We are so excited to celebrate!” he says. Mar 25, 2022

  • Housing Activist Dedicated to Support Fellow Veterans

    Bryan Meyer honored as UMKC Alumnus of the Year
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The university and the association are honoring Bryan Meyer (B.A. ’11, M.P.A. ’15, J.D. ’15) with the Alumnus of the Year Award. Meyer is a co-founder of the Veterans Community Project at 89th and Troost in Kansas City, an innovative non-profit that provides housing for homeless veterans in a tiny home village. The idea arose from meetings he convened among numerous local veterans like himself who wanted to do something to address homelessness and other problems in the veteran community. Today, under Meyer’s leadership as CEO, the VCP also provides wrap-around support services and emergency assistance. Buoyed by the VCP’s local success, Meyer was inspired to take the concept nationwide. In 2019, he brought on fellow veteran and former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander to lead the expansion campaign. Using Kansas City as the blueprint, VCP has officially begun its expansion launching its first satellite location in Longmont, Colorado. What personal experiences drove you to pursue a law degree and M.P.A.? When I began at UMKC, I didn’t have a plan to pursue a particular degree because I didn’t know what my long-term goals were. Instead of pursuing a degree, with the intent to secure a particular job, I pursued subjects I found interesting. Those interests eventually lead me to an understanding of my desire to assist those around me. I know the knowledge gained from an M.P.A. and law degree have been instrumental in my ability to provide a benefit to my community.   What has been the greatest challenge in launching the VCP?  The greatest challenge was taking something from a good idea to an actuality. Veterans Community Project is a great idea, but even the best ideas aren’t enough, it’s the ability to implement ideas that makes a difference. What do you hope for in the future for yourself and Veteran’s Community Project? I hope Veterans Community Project reaches every community across the country. There is a need for this programming everywhere. The scale of it may change but the need is everywhere. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? For anyone trying to create a solution to a problem, I would tell them to listen to the stakeholders. Don’t assume your solution is correct without first discussing it with those who will be impacted by it. What is your favorite UMKC memory? On the first day of law school all the first-year students were gathered in the same room. Students were asked to stand when certain phrases applied to them. For example, “stand if you have more than 5 siblings” or “stand if you own a pet.” Eventually, we were asked to “stand if you don’t even know if you want to be a lawyer”, so I stood up. I was the only person standing. Apparently, most people don’t attend law school without the intention to be a lawyer.  How did UMKC prepare you for/contribute to your success? UMKC consistently reminded me there is always more to learn. For example, while in  pursuit of my Masters, I took a class in leadership. I served five years in the Marine Corps and lead other Marines in two different combat deployments, I attended the first day of class confident there wasn’t anything I could learn on leadership from a classroom I didn’t already know from personal experience. I was wrong. The class remains one of my favorites, and I still revisit some of the material for a refresher. About the Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Meyer and the other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Mar 25, 2022

  • UMKC to Receive $15.5 Million to Improve Rural Health Care Access

    UMKC School of Medicine to expand St. Joseph campus
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will receive $15.5 million to help expand rural access to health care as part of the $1.5 trillion federal government spending measure signed into law last week. "UMKC has a strong culture of care and we are proud to help provide access to quality health care for all Missourians," said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. "Like many areas of the country, the state of Missouri is facing a physician shortage in rural areas, leaving people in those communities vulnerable to negative health outcomes. We are grateful to Senator Roy Blunt for introducing this funding into the spending legislation, and to Congress for their support as we strive to meet that need and improve the lives of millions of people here in Missouri and across the U.S." The appropriation will fund the expansion of the UMKC School of Medicine campus in St. Joseph, Missouri, at a cost of $13 million. The St. Joseph campus, located at Mosaic Life Care, opened in January 2021 to help address the state's rural physician shortage. The campus is quickly outgrowing its space. The funds provided by Congress will go toward constructing additional classroom and laboratory space. “The appropriation allows us to support our students on their medical journey with creation of physical learning space to encourage collaboration, exploration and discovery,” said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. In addition, $2.5 million will help the UMKC School of Medicine expand behavioral health medical training at the St. Joseph campus. This experiential training is designed to improve access to behavioral health services in underserved areas, such as rural and low-income communities. Blunt said the UMKC School of Medicine health care training programs in St. Joseph will be a benefit statewide. “Our state is facing a severe physician shortage, creating major challenges for our rural communities and the more than one-third of Missourians who live there,” said Blunt. “As the top Republican on the appropriations subcommittee that funds health programs, I’ve been a strong advocate for the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus expansion and its important work in training physicians who will be uniquely qualified to provide care where it’s needed most. This includes enhancing physician training in behavioral health care. I appreciate UMKC’s commitment to strengthening our rural communities, and I’m grateful to all the physicians who will bring quality care to families in underserved areas across the state.”It's not the first time Blunt has championed resources for the UMKC School of Medicine. A longtime champion for health care, Blunt also played a pivotal role in establishing grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration to start and continue the program in St. Joseph. "Senator Blunt has been a strong partner for our medical programs to help us meet the needs of our community. I commend Senator Blunt for his leadership in addressing health care needs for all Missourians," said Agrawal. In addition to the contributions by Blunt, Missouri State Rep. Brenda Shields was instrumental in the creation of the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus.“The passion and enthusiasm for our mission from Senator Blunt and Representative Shields has been invaluable to us and ultimately will serve the rural residents of Missouri as our students graduate and continue their careers serving the people in the northwest region of our state,” said Jackson.The UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph partner, Mosaic Life Care, is one of the largest private rural primary-care networks in the United States and a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. UMKC has a strong history of expanding access to rural health care education programs in Missouri. In addition to the School of Medicine program, the university operates satellite campuses for the UMKC School of Pharmacy at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Missouri State University in Springfield. Mar 24, 2022

  • Brad Starnes Honored for Developing Splitsy

    2021 Student Entrepreneur of the Year recognized for creation of payment-sharing app
    Splitsy founder Brad Starnes (BIT ’20) knows from experience that sometimes waiting is a good thing. After all, it was waiting for his friends to pay him back for a dinner that inspired him to create the payment-sharing app in the first place. Splitsy, which allows each person in a group to pay their portion of bills directly, earned Starnes the distinction of the 2021 Student Entrepreneur of the Year award, but he had to wait for his accomplishment to be announced. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony to commemorate his achievement was canceled, but despite the delay, he was eventually able to receive the award recognizing his innovative payment solution. We spoke with Starnes, who is currently seeking his master’s in business administration, about his inspiration for Splitsy, how UMKC helped him take his idea from concept to business and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. What is Splitsy? We’re a mobile application that allows roommates or shared households to share automatic payments. Currently, we partner with 15,000 billers nationwide. Users sign in to our application and set their predetermined splitting preferences. Then, every month when we receive that bill, we charge each person their individual portion and consolidate those into one payment to the biller. What inspired you to create Splitsy? One of my co-founders, Joe, and I have been friends since seventh grade. He went to UMKC as well, so he and I moved into the dorms together and then we decided to get an apartment. We had some problems sharing some bills. We had some other incidents that happened, too. We went on a group trip to Chicago and it was like 12 of us and we ordered a deep dish pizza. It’s super expensive for a deep dish in Chicago. We went to go split the bill at the end of the night and the restaurant didn’t split bills. I was the only one who had a credit card at the time, so I was able to put the purchase on the card and have everybody send me money back, but it took me almost three weeks after that trip to finally get all the funds back.That exact issue would be replicated and a lot of those pieces meshed together and got me to do it. Now I see so many people going through the same problem that I know it can be stopped. You got your bachelor’s degree in information technology from UMKC. How did that help you with starting an app-centered business? In the IT program, you have to do a bit of programming. You have to know how to manage databases. Those kind of things have really helped me now. We outsource most of our app-building, but I have taught myself how to code in a lot of the programming languages we use and I will hop in and do some of the smaller tasks so our developers can focus on more critical pieces of the platform. I wouldn’t have been able to that without the course work at UMKC. It also helped me understand the overall architecture of things, which really helped me conceptualize how technology can be connected. What does this award mean to you? It’s an award that has my name on it, but I see it as all-encompassing of everyone who has been involved. Not only was I being rewarded, but so were my cofounders who have been here along for the ride with me. Also, family and friends who have been supportive from the beginning. It was nice to be able to share that with the individuals who have helped us for so long. Just to be able to tell them thank you was really important to me. As an entrepreneur, what are you most proud of? I’m most proud of what I, and the people around me, have accomplished so far. The things that I have learned, just in this last 13 months doing this, is probably more than most people who go into the corporate world learn in the first three or four years in the job. I’m just proud of all of the knowledge that I’ve gained so far and where we’ve come. At this point, no matter if Splitsy works or not, I've gained the knowledge and expertise to prepare me for what's next. What advice would you have for others looking to create a startup? It is a fun ride being an entrepreneur, but it has its ups and downs. Just be open and ready to execute your idea and go forward with your dream. Also whether things do well or things get tough, plug yourself in the right ecosystem, like I have here in Kansas City. There’s always people who you can count on. About the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which are sponsored by the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management, recognize innovative and creative accomplishments of entrepreneurs. The 2022 recipients will be honored at a ceremony Oct. 12, 2022. Mar 24, 2022

  • Answering the Call to Dentistry and Public Health

    Jo Ann Weatherwax receives School of Dentistry-Dental Hygiene Alumni Achievement Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The School of Dentistry is honoring Jo Ann Weatherwax (B.S.D.H. ’06, M.S. ’12) with its Class of 2022 Dental Hygiene Alumni Achievement Award. Weatherwax served as the founding dental program director for the Volusia County Health Department in Daytona Beach, Florida and has dedicated her career to help solving the national issue of access to oral health care services. As the first dental hygienist to serve as a dental director at a county health department in Florida, Weatherwax developed a clinical program, added an additional clinic to serve the western area of Volusia County and established a county-wide school sealant and oral health education program. Her dedication to the health department and safety net programs in Volusia County has resulted in the delivery of oral health care services to countless children and families. Along with her work in public health, Weatherwax has served in numerous leadership roles including most recently as the President of the Florida Dental Hygiene Association. What inspired you to address oral health care by establishing a dental health program for the Volusia County Health Department? In 2008, Volusia County had a very large population of Medicaid children. The county had unsuccessfully tried to establish a dental program. The children were suffering, families were frustrated and community trust was being tested. While my love has always been for dentistry, my passion has been public health. This was an opportunity to put into action my love, my passion, my education, my grass roots training and serve the most vulnerable of Volusia County. How did your career begin? Where do you see it going? My desire for a career in dentistry began in my teenage years when my orthodontist encouraged me to consider working in the field. I was amazed at the positive changes taking place in my oral health. If this could happen to me, then I wanted to help others have the same experience. At the age of 17, I jumped at the first opportunity at employment in the dental field and it was the best career decision I could have ever made. As time marched on, I found myself wanting to do more. I started my formal education in dental hygiene and while in school we were required to rotate through a public health dental program. One of my professors and my public health mentor (also a UMKC alumni), Dr. Mike Allen, encouraged all students to consider serving in public health. For me, it was a perfect fit. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? Search your soul, your heart and your motivation. Becoming a community dental director takes additional education, experience, perseverance and don’t forget prayer. Do not let yourself or others limit you. Look to the dental community for a mentor who is willing to invest in you. This may require moving and it may require more formal education but you can do it. What drew you to UMKC? I actually live in Florida but attended UMKC remotely. The UMKC School of Dentistry stood out for its high quality and respect in the dental community as well as the caliber of educators. While my professors challenged me, they also supported me and wanted me to be successful. What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishment is achieving my master’s degree from UMKC as I am the first in my family to go to college. While my journey was long and challenging, the final walk across the stage with four grandchildren and my husband in the audience was a very proud moment. About Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Weatherwax and the other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Mar 24, 2022

  • Spring Break Fun in KC for Under $20

    Some of the best local attractions and activities to visit without breaking your budget
    Who said you need to travel to the beach to have an exciting Spring Break? Here are some local favorites to help you enjoy your well-deserved week off. Food and Drink Spring is in the air, which means it's time to get outside and enjoy the new weather! North Kansas City’s Iron District is a great place to dine al fresco from a variety of different vendors—from burgers and street tacos, to vegan and Thai cuisine, there are options for everyone. If you’re looking for somewhere to go during the weekend, check out the Farmers’ Market in City Market, open Saturdays in March and Saturdays and Sundays in April. The Farmers’ Market is where you can get fresh, healthy food from all over the world. For more fun, hop on the free KC Streetcar and go urban exploring! And for those days that you’d rather stay indoors, consider going on a Roasterie tour. At only $5 per person, you can tour The Roasterie Coffee Company’s factory and get a behind-the-scenes look at how their delicious, sustainable coffee is made. City views can be enjoyed atop the Liberty Memorial tower or on the terrace below Art and Museums Who said Spring Break can’t be educational? At the Liberty Memorial Tower, which honors those who fought in World War I, you’ll be able to experience its history while getting to look out on Kansas City at over 200 feet high! If getting to spend hours in a museum is more your style, then check out the American Jazz Museum for only $10 and learn why Kansas City is one of the greatest places in the country for jazz. If you’re looking for something near campus check out the Toy and Miniature Museum! With free admission for students with their ID, this museum will make you feel like a kid again with its whimsical exhibits and collections. Our next-door neighbor, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, also offers free admission and is Kansas City’s premier art museum, with some of the world’s greatest paintings and an outdoor sculpture park. Finally, experience the incredible magic of live theatre by planning a visit to KCRep for All. This program travels across Kansas City, offering free theatre to anyone and everyone. Whiskers Cat Cafe partners with KC Pet Project to offer adoptable cats Furry Friends Sometimes the best way to spend the break is de-stressing, and spending time with an animal friend is a great way to do that. If supporting small businesses while surrounding yourself with cats sounds fun, then make your reservation at Whiskers Cat Cafe. At just $12.50 per person, you can spend an hour with adoptable cats while sipping on a warm cup of coffee. You can also try painting, yoga or playing bingo with cats! Another option for animal lovers is the Kansas City Zoo! With admission as low as $9-10 for Jackson and Clay County residents, the zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals from all over the world. Located behind the Lakeside Nature Center, Fox Hollow trail in Swope Park stretches two miles Hiking Just because we are in a big, metropolitan city doesn’t mean there aren’t great spots for hiking. Swope Park is a local favorite and it’s only 10 minutes from campus, and if you want to venture a little further, Shawnee Mission Park is one of the largest in the area with multiple attractions and activities including numerous trails, shelters, picnic areas and an archery range. There is also Parkville Nature Sanctuary located less than 30 minutes from campus with over three miles of hiking trails that run through 115 acres of nature and all its beauty. A great multi-use 8.4-mile trail and bike path for hikers and bikers specifically, is Line Creek Trail in Platte County in the heart of the Northlands. Looking to stay in the city? Start at The Union Station or River Market area and anywhere in between to ride on the Streetcar for free along Main Street to see sights throughout the Crossroads district and downtown for some urban hiking. The museum offers traditional and interactive exhibits about the Negro Leagues in KC and beyond Sports Whether you like to watch or play, there’s something for everyone. Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for only $10 and travel back in time at 18th and Vine and then stick around for a Roo softball game, free with your student ID, at the Urban Youth Academy. If you’re looking for something a little more laid-back, play some disc golf at Rosedale Park, just down the street from the original gas station Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Chicken and Pickle has a unique indoor and outdoor experience in North Kansas City less than 20 minutes from campus. They have pickleball courts, yard games, and delicious food and drink for all ages. Go with a group and split the $20 court fee or get beginner lessons on the first Saturday of the month for only $10! Mar 22, 2022

  • UMKC Reports Close to $600 Million in Economic Impact

    University supports and sustains more than 7,000 jobs
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City generated $597.2 million in overall economic impact in Missouri during fiscal year 2021, according to a study conducted by Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized firm that has completed more than 500 economic impact studies for clients across the globe. According to the study, academic medicine at UMKC generated $231.4 million in economic impact and supported and sustained 2,435 jobs, while UMKC research activity generated $186.3 million in economic impact and supported and sustained 1,300 jobs. Athletics generated another $23.1 million in economic impact, including 259 jobs. Overall, UMKC generated $33.4 million in state and local taxes during FY21, while 44,043 UMKC alumni living and working in Missouri generated $7.8 billion in overall economic impact. “Our impact through workforce development and community engagement is already well known. Through this study we now demonstrate that UMKC is a powerful economic engine in its own right,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. The $597.2 million total represents the direct impact of UMKC spending in the state ($186.6 million) and the indirect spending that occurs as a result of the university’s presence ($410.6 million). UMKC directly supported 3,540 full-time and part-time jobs throughout the state, the study found, while UMKC spending on capital projects, development and planning projects and suppliers supports additional indirect jobs throughout Missouri. In total, the university’s presence supports 7,291 jobs in Missouri. The Tripp Umbach report on UMKC  is a component of an overall report on the University of Missouri System. That report, released last month, found a $6.5 billion economic impact on the state of Missouri by the UM System and its four universities, MU Extension, athletics and academic medicine. For the study, Tripp Umbach measured the economic value generated by the UM System’s research, operations, service and expenditures throughout the state of Missouri in Fiscal Year 2021, which ran from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. “Economic impact studies often capture only the impact that can be assigned a quantitative number, but the qualitative value and impact of UMKC goes far beyond its annual multimillion-dollar economic impact,” the study found. “UMKC provides countless opportunities for faculty, staff and students to service the community through institutional partnerships, programs and service-learning projects that deliver a significant impact to the community … on a daily basis, the lives of those in the surrounding communities are significantly enhanced by its presence in a multitude of ways.” In addition, UMKC faculty, staff and students donated $1.3 million to local charities, plus an additional $1.1 million in value of volunteer time. Those figures are not included in the $597.2 million economic impact total. To view the complete report, click here. Mar 18, 2022

  • Match Day Fills UMKC Medical Students With Thrills, Excitement

    UMKC med students fill residency positions across the country in more than 20 specialties
    A few minutes before 11 a.m. on Friday, UMKC School of Medicine student Pradeep Kandula stood and paced anxiously in front of a table full of family and friends. “I’m nervous, but also very excited,” Kandula said as he waited for the Match Day letter that would reveal where he will spend the next three years doing his medical residency training. Moments later the nervous tension building throughout UMKC’s Swinney Recreation Center exploded into cries of joy and elation. Among those cheering was Kandula, who discovered he had matched with his first choice of residencies, a position in internal medicine at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. “I’m so excited right now for everyone,” he said. “I’m excited for all of my friends.” From anesthesiology to urology, nearly 100 UMKC students matched in 21 different medical specialties. More than a third of the class elected to go into one of the primary care specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, medicine/pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology or pediatrics. Internal medicine was the most popular specialty with 19 students matched, followed by anesthesiology, general surgery, psychiatry and preliminary medicine, each with eight matches. The class will also be spreading out across the country going to 24 different states from California to New York, Florida to Michigan. Thirty-nine graduates will remain in Missouri and 22 will be staying in Kansas City for their training in UMKC residency programs. Throughout the United States, graduating medical students learned their residency fates at the same time on Match Day, filling more than 36,000 first-year residency positions. “There is no more memorable day for medical students than Match Day,” said School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., a 1978 graduate of the medical school. “This is the most exciting day for you, your staff and faculty. The wait is over. This next phase defines the rest of your lives.” For the first time in the school’s 50 years, the School of Medicine’s Match Day event was moved from the school’s UMKC Health Sciences Campus location to the Swinney Center on the university’s Volker Campus. This allowed all of the participating students’ family and friends to take part in the celebration in a single indoor location. In one corner of the crowded room, Sejla Turnadzic proudly held up a cardboard sign that said she had matched in anesthesiology and would be heading to Stanford for residency training. “I can’t put it into words how happy I am right now,” Turnadzic said. This was a special time for Turnadzic and the family members with her. Born in Bosnia, Turnadzic moved to the United States with her parents when she was just a year old to escape the war-torn country. Many of her family members remain in Bosnia. “I’m going to the be first doctor in my family,” she explained. “This is a very big day for us.” Next to Turnadzic stood Kaylea Gunn, who also matched in anesthesiology and will be going to Vanderbilt University for her residency. The two have been roommates for six years, since the beginning of med school. Gunn was particularly thrilled with the day because her brother Brady, a graduating student at A.T. Still University osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri, had just matched as well and attended the Match Day festivities with his sister in Kansas City. “I didn’t get any sleep last night,” Gunn said. “It has all been so exciting.” Mar 18, 2022

  • Doctoring With an Entrepreneurial Spirit

    Lucky Chopra receives School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The UMKC School of Medicine is honoring Dr. Lucky Atul Chopra, (M.D., ’92) with its Class of 2022 Alumni Achievement Award. Lucky Atul Chopra, M.D., a 1992 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine, is a radiologist and entrepreneur who has created successful medical service companies. During his radiology residency at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, Dr. Chopra started a mobile imaging service using a converted milk truck to transport a portable X-ray machine. Contracting with nursing homes, he provided imaging services on site so patients would not have to travel. Four years later, he opened an independent, physician-led medical facility in east Houston that specializes in spinal and orthopedic surgical procedures. Today, he is the chief executive officer of Advanced Diagnostics Healthcare. How did your idea for a mobile radiology service come about? A significant amount of my residency training was in the trauma and emergency center. I recognized many patients were from long-term care facilities and other institutions for diagnostics and possible intervention. The diagnostics often proved to be normal, making the trip to the emergency/trauma center avoidable if diagnostics were available on site. Providing quality on-site diagnostics reduced the need for patient transport, created value to all stakeholders, and provided a much faster turnaround time for results. How do you see the improvements you have made in the field of radiology impacting lives and outcomes for patients? We have raised the bar for patients in long-term care facilities and other institutions in providing quality and credible on-site diagnostics. The technology and software that we implemented in this space has set the standard of care. We are proud of patient-centric innovations outside of the radiology space, which is improving outcomes for patients that have been involved in serious trauma. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? I encourage all students to be focused on ethics, compliance, and understand the regulatory climate. In the course of business, outside parties will attempt to encourage physicians to engage in profiteering, which can provide a short-term gain, but also creates many long-term issues. All new graduates need to be wary of these parties as many are very convincing and provide false assurances as to compliance and legalities.   How did UMKC prepare you for/contribute to your success? The hands-on clinical experience UMKC provided proved to be valuable throughout my residency and beyond. I didn’t fully recognize or appreciate the full value of UMKC’s positive academic and cerebral environment until I graduated and joined other institutions. What is your proudest accomplishment? Our companies have remained private, not dependent upon cash infusions from private equity or other outside sources. Staying this course has been challenging at times, but it has allowed us to maintain our independence. At a time when over 50 percent of all physicians are employed, I am proud that we support those physicians that value their independence. Where can you be found on the weekends? What are your hobbies? I enjoy visiting our vacation home on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, whenever possible. A weekend of being on boats and watercraft with my family is the most relaxing. I also enjoy working out and mountain biking. About the Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Chopra and the other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Mar 16, 2022

  • Leading the Fight Against COVID

    Janelle Sabo receives School of Pharmacy Alumni Achievement Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The UMKC School of Pharmacy is honoring Dr. Janelle Sabo (Pharm.D. ’00) with its Class of 2022 Alumni Achievement Award. Janelle Sabo, Pharm.D., R.Ph., M.B.A., is a 2000 graduate of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. An executive leader in clinical research design, development and delivery, she joined Eli Lilly and Company shortly after earning her degree at UMKC. She is currently vice president of clinical capabilities, serving as the global head of clinical innovation, system and clinical supply chain at Eli Lilly and Company. She has accountability for the overall development, registration and launch of anti-COVID-19 therapeutics across the globe. In her role, Sabo places an emphasis on deeply understanding science, the patient and leaning into innovative strategies to accelerate development. She led the COVID-19 Therapeutics Platform that delivered multiple neutralizing monoclonal antibodies that are widely used in the global fight about the virus. She was also integral in establishing one of the first drive-through testing clinics, which became the gold standard. Sabo also uses her vast experience as a pharmaceutical industry leader to serve her alma mater as a member of the School of Pharmacy Dean’s Advisory Council, providing expert guidance on curriculum and programmatic offerings. What led you to pursue a career in pharmacy? I have always loved science and helping people. In high school, I did a few rotations with different health care professionals in my hometown and found that ideal intersection of chemistry, biology and helping people was possible in pharmacy. Tell us about your work fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has changed your professional life. We worked on a study in one of the most impacted patient populations, nursing homes. Our team developed a mobile research unit that can go to rural and urban communities quickly as COVID outbreaks occurred. This approach continues to be utilized to create excellent clinical research in populations and therapeutic areas underserved and underrepresented in clinical research. One of my most important experiences has been finding new ways to rapidly bring clinical research into communities, including those that are underserved and underrepresented. Continuing to expand access to clinical research across the globe remains a key priority for me.  What advice do you have for students who would like to follow your footsteps? Pharmacy is an outstanding foundation to support a career in discovering and developing new medicines for patients with few or no options for treatment. Drug development requires taking your education and clinical experience, translating it to designing clinical studies to develop the data, insights and information that will be needed to help clinicians know how to use the new medications in their patient population and what to expect in terms of benefits and risks. Where can you be found on weekends? What are your hobbies? Most weekends are spent at volleyball, basketball, and flag football games and tournaments with my girls. In my free time, I love to cook, hike, spend time at the beach or at the pool and with family and friends. About Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Sabo and the other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Mar 14, 2022

  • New UMKC Student Support Center Opens

    Move to Student Union allows easier access to critical resource
    The new UMKC Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal Care Center opens in the Student Union May 4, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. with a ceremony to celebrate enhanced access to support services for the university community. “The Chancellor’s Food Security Task Force that was formed in 2020 recommended that we expand pantry operations and eliminate barriers to pantry use,” Anthony Maly, senior manager student support services, says. “One of the task force’s long-term goals in relation to both of those recommendations was to move the current pantry location from 4825 Troost to a more central location on the Volker Campus.” The Roo Pantry will be located on the first floor of the Student Union in the new Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal Care Center, which will provide a variety of support services to students, faculty and staff in areas such as housing and financial insecurity. The more centralized location will enable students to visit the pantry when they are on campus for classes, as well as coordinate with other student services within the care center. “We hope that this more centralized location will help further destigmatize the use of the food pantry by placing it in the same building as a variety of other student services,” Maly says. “It will also help us coordinate services students may need with other offices that are closer to the new location.” Maly is hopeful that when faculty and staff are aware of students in need, they will refer them to pantry in its new location. “They may even be able to walk with them directly to the pantry when an immediate need is identified,” he says.   Maly says the demand for support services from the UMKC community has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  Fortunately, the pantry has been able to meet those needs. “We continue to serve a much larger population than we did prior to the onset of the pandemic, and we do not anticipate that need changing in either the short or long term,” Maly says. “We have expanded the amount of food we are acquiring and the hours of availability each academic year to meet that need.” The establishment of the Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal Care Center was made possible through donations received to the Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal Memorial Fund established December 2020 and a personal donation made by Sue and Mauli Agrawal to create an endowment. The fund recognizes and honors the life of Chancellor Mauli Agrawal’s mother, who was an educator and grateful for the opportunity to engage with the many generous friends and alumni of the university and cheer on UMKC students.   Mar 14, 2022

  • UMKC Faculty Emerita Chronwall Creates Scholarship for Undergraduate Research

    Saper Vedere provides opportunities for undergraduates
    Bibie Chronwall, Ph.D., UMKC faculty emerita, has created an award in memory of her husband, Stephen J. Morris, and in honor of her uncle Al Osten to support undergraduate research in biology at UMKC.  The award is one component of the revived Saper Vedere Undergraduate Research Program at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBC). The program will provide second, third and fourth year students support for engaging in research with faculty and staff. “Leonardo da Vinci referred to his visualization process as ‘saper vedere,’ or ‘knowing how to see,’” Theodore White, dean of the school of biological and chemical sciences, says. “That is the inspiration behind the Saper Vedere program. Many students see undergraduate research as a critical focal point of their academic training.” Each year, students will be selected into the program based on academic achievement, including a GPA above 3.2.  The students will participate in the biology seminar series, meet with visiting scholars and have informal lunches and formal gatherings of the Saper Vedere students and faculty. In addition, students will participate in the UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit and the Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship. “These opportunities will provide undergraduates with hands-on experience as they prepare for graduate or professional training,” White says. “Outstanding programs and mentors abound at UMKC, providing students meaningful opportunities as they begin to sample possible career paths. These students will be encouraged to join their mentor in presenting their work at local, national or international scientific meetings, either as a poster or oral presentation.” The school plans to award the first research awards in fall 2022 and expand the program over the next few years. “We are grateful to Dr. Chronwall for her generous support,” White says. “The program and our students’ undergraduate experience will be benefit from this expanded research opportunity.” For more information on making a donation to the Mr. Al Osten, Dr. Stephen J. Morris and Dr. Bibie M. Chronwall Scholarship to support undergraduate research, please contact Melissa Ford, director of major gifts by email or call 816-235-1277. Donate to the Scholarship Today Mar 14, 2022

  • Conservatory Costume Design Named Among Top 10 Programs

    The program was ranked by The Hollywood Reporter
    UMKC has been ranked among the top ten best programs for costume design according to The Hollywood Reporter. "That UMKC Conservatory’s costume design program continues to be recognized nationally is no surprise to those of us who get to see the extraordinary work our students produce," said Andrew Granade, interim dean of the Conservatory. "Kansas City’s thriving theatre community combines with our outstanding faculty to produce an educational experience second to none, and I’m pleased the Hollywood Reporter recognizes our program’s excellence." "Talk about well-rounded resumes. Students at UMKC are assured of graduating with a working knowledge of costume design's major construction areas (millinery tailoring, wig ventilation, mold making and casting)," the article said. "Third-year costume designers also benefit from an 'assist in New York' program creating costumes for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre while working in New York (or Chicago or L.A.)." The Hollywood Reporter also cited the new Innovation Studio in the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center as a benefit to students. "Historically, we've been a very traditionally-based program and very successful," said Ken Martin, chair of the theatre division in the Conservatory. "As we move forward, one of the things we're looking to do is use the innovation studio to develop costumes in the 3D space and do costuming for gaming, immersive theatre and augmented reality, as well as use it for rendering techniques for theatre that are traditionally based." UMKC was ranked among the UCLA School of Theater, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. To see other schools on the list, click here.  Mar 14, 2022

  • UMKC to be Paid by State to Study Small Business Disparities

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will be paid by the state to study if Missouri is failing to equitably employ minority-owned and women-owned...
    As a part of the $500,000 study, UMKC will hold public meetings and invite firms, stakeholders and organizations to attend. The first meeting is scheduled for March 16 at 10 a.m. in Jefferson City. The UMKC team will be asking attendees to help identify barriers to earning state contracts. Previous studies cited several challenges, including late payments, bonding and insurance issues, harassment and retaliation.  Read more about the study here. Mar 10, 2022

  • Theatre Student Earns National Playwriting Recognition

    Hieu Bui is a national semi-finalist in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival playwriting competition
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Hieu Bui is a writer, director and performer, and he chose to attend the UMKC Conservatory to help him hone those crafts. Bui says that his time here has given him the confidence and skills to succeed on his own terms. “The most important thing I’ve learned at UMKC is that you must make your own work, especially if you aren’t given opportunities. Most plays and stories don’t have faces like mine, aesthetic like mine and cultures that are mine. I realized that no one else will write these aspects that are me,” he says. Bui is already making a name for himself with an original work titled, “Blanket,” about siblings struggling to adjust to life in a new country after moving from Vietnam. Bui entered his play into the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) national playwriting competition in the ten-minute play category. “Blanket” placed first regionally, is a national semi-finalist and was recognized for Outstanding Play. Approximately 70 ten-minute plays were entered in the regional festival. Bui’s play is one of 16 semi-finalists nationwide. Of those, four will be selected to be performed at the national festival in April. “The most important thing I’ve learned at UMKC is that you must make your own work, especially if you aren’t given opportunities." In addition to writing “Blanket,” Bui directed and acted in the video reading for the competition. Bui’s friends and fellow UMKC students helped plan and direct the shoot, as well as acted in it. They did one reading over Zoom and filmed in Grant Hall on campus. This is Bui’s second time entering the KCACTF. Last year, he was one of three finalists in the one-act play competition. Bui says this year’s work, “Blanket” was inspired by a reading in his playwriting class. “Playwriting, acting and poetry are some of my favorite classes that I’ve taken. My professors’ passion for storytelling and their support gave me what I needed to build this play and enter the KCACTF. This is only the second competition I’ve entered my work in, but it won’t be the last.” Mar 10, 2022

  • Transfer Student Combines Art with Business

    Lindsay Doyle is taking part in two unique UMKC programs to help turn her passion into a business
    Lindsay Doyle is a senior studying studio art with an art entrepreneurship certificate. She is also in E-Scholars, a Henry W. Bloch School of Management program, which helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses. After graduation, Doyle plans to teach K-12 art and run her jewelry business. And here’s what she had to say about being a Roo. Name: Lindsay DoyleAnticipated graduation year: Summer ‘22 UMKC degree program: Studio Art B.A., Art Entrepreneurship CertificateHometown: Torrance, CA Why did you choose UMKC? I moved here a year ago and I wanted to finish my degree, so I transferred to UMKC. I thought it was the best school in the area for me. The art program here is really great and the instructors are very knowledgeable.   Doyle receives feedback on her painting from a graduate assistant. What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC? I like the support. Especially in the art department, I just feel very encouraged to pursue my passions. What are the benefits of the program? I like how the Bloch School of Management has an arts entrepreneurship program, which bridges the business side and the art side together so I can form a business. There’s a lot of opportunities here and there’s great leadership. Doyle is starting an enameled jewelry business, with help from the E-Scholars program. You mentioned you’re also in the E-Scholars program, do you want to start a business? That’s what we’re doing right now-from start to finish. I’m starting an enameling jewelry business. It’s going to be mostly online, selling at makers fairs, stuff like that. What does it mean to you to have support from professors? It’s really encouraging and a confidence builder. It’s great to have someone steer you in a direction they think would be best for you. Mar 10, 2022

  • UMKC Agrees to Joint Resolution

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has reached a resolution in response to a claim
    UMKC agrees to resolve lawsuit filed by Professor Richard Arend Professor Richard Arend and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) have agreed to resolve his claims and issue the following Joint Statement:  UMKC acknowledges that Professor Arend did bring genuine problems and issues to the media's attention. Further, UMKC acknowledges Professor Arend's academic contributions to the University during his tenure at UMKC. UMKC has agreed to pay Professor Arend $625,000 to settle his lawsuit. The parties thank each other for working together to resolve this matter and have agreed to not make further comment.  Mar 09, 2022

  • Radiology Professor Discusses Effects of Delayed Breast Screenings Due to Pandemic

    Dr. Amy Patel talks with medicine website about outreach and more
    Amy Patel, medical director of the Breast Care Center at Liberty Hospital and professor of radiology at the UMKC School of Medicine, sat down for an interview with Diagnostic Imagine about the aftereffects of delayed breast cancer screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among topics discussed were keys for improving outreach to underserved communities, legislative wins and challenges and coalition building to educate and encourage women to resume regular breast cancer screening exams. As we being to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic, significant challenges for radiologists are coming to light, Patel said. But there are also new opportunities to save lives. The entire interview can be found here. Mar 09, 2022

  • Conservatory Professor’s Concert Highlighted by Iowa Television Station

    UMKC Professor and Chinese-American Chen Yi’s concert was called “very and rhythmic.”
    Conservatory Professor Chen Yi’s concert series was highlighted by WHBF-DAV in Davenport, Iowa.   The station’s anchor called Yi, “a wonderful composer and her music is very vibrant." He went on to say, "You really hear her Chinese culture coming out through the performance, it's very beautiful.”  The complete segment can be found here. Mar 09, 2022

  • Lucerna Symposium Features UMKC Undergraduate Research

    New issue of Lucerna is the 16th volume of the UMKC interdisciplinary research journal
    The UMKC Honors Program celebrates the latest volume of Lucerna, featuring undergraduate research in the sciences and humanities. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and Gayle Levy, Ph.D., director, UMKC Honors Program, will celebrate the latest issue of Lucerna and the work of the students who submitted their research for publication during an online symposium March 17. Lucerna, the UMKC interdisciplinary research journal produced by the Honors Program, accepts submissions from UMKC students enrolled in any program. Research from all disciplines is welcome, and previous issues have included original work from students in a variety of programs, including history, economics, engineering and dance. Lee Francis, Lucerna editor-in-chief, sees value in research beyond knowledge itself. “I think everyone should participate in undergraduate research because it can change the way that you consume information for the better,” Francis says. “The more someone reads and participates in academic research, the better they become at recognizing what makes a study and evidence more supportive of a theory than others.” Lee Francis, Lucerna editor-in-chief  Beyond expanding a student’s knowledge, Francis notes that research provides students the opportunity to conduct interviews, determine what to ask and have the opportunity to engage with the people they interview. “Digging deeper on a subject has the benefit of building the student’s knowledge, but it also allows the student to evaluate a variety of sources and work in a field that they have a passion for,” Francis says. Anuhya Dayal, Lucerna managing editor, agrees with Francis on the value of the experience. Anuhya Dayal, Lucerna managing editor  “Completing a research project gives insight into the heart of a problem and develops critical thinking skills that enable an in-depth analysis of a specific process and allows a student to think in many different directions to get to one destination,” Dayal says.  “Then, in classwork or careers, they can apply this thinking to analyze the problem from multiple angles or solve a problem in different ways.” Levy said undergraduate research gives students the opportunity to put their studies into practice. “Not only does it allow them to finally be the creators of knowledge after years as consumers but engaging in research allows students to experience the joys and frustrations of coming up with questions and trying to answer them, deviating sometimes and then finding another path to new questions,” Levy says. “Undergraduate research allows students to begin their journey to changing the world through their hard work and creativity.”   Mar 09, 2022

  • Dental Screening Event Helps Roll Out Reopened Dental Clinic

    From kindergarteners to high school seniors, it was all smiles at University Academy
    The UMKC School of Dentistry closed out February’s Children’s Dental Health Month strong, screening about 900 students at the University Academy, a Kansas City school serving K-12 students. More than 30 dental and hygiene students volunteered to provide care along with four faculty from the school. The screenings are part of the lead up to reopening the dental clinic housed within University Academy. Opened in 2012, the dental clinic was temporarily shut down due to the pandemic. School of Dentistry faculty and students that provide care at the clinic say they are looking forward to reopening the clinic. Hayley Ferris, an instructor who works with dental hygiene students in the clinic, said the screening event played a critical role in the getting the clinic up and running again. “This all-school screening will give us a baseline of where the population sits right now,” she said. “That way, we have an idea of what the needs are for these students before we go in with our preventative care.” Dental hygiene instructor Hayley Ferris Dr. Megan Wendland, associate professor in the Department of Dental Public Health and Behavioral Science at the UMKC School of Dentistry, said additional funding from the state of Missouri was critical to the reopening of the dental clinic at University Academy. “Our department is all about preventative care and preventing dental caries (cavities),” Wendland said. “The state had funding from the CDC to promote dental sealant programs and they said they would absolutely help with this.” Ferris is returning to UMKC within the public health department to help manage the University Academy clinic. She helped established a similar clinic in the Olathe, Kansas, School District with Dr. Melanie Simmer-Beck, a professor and chair of the department. That program ran from 2007-2014. The clinic at the University Academy is part of the dental school’s mission to provide health care in-house to students attending the school. UMKC will provide the oral health care in partnership with Children’s Mercy Kansas City, which manages the health clinic within the school. The dental clinic will be staffed by a UMKC dental hygienist and hygiene students who will provide preventive care, assessments, cleanings, fluoride, varnish and sealants. “Right now, tooth decay is the number one childhood illness that causes kids to miss school,” Ferris said. “It’s extremely important that they have these resources available right there in the building so parents don’t have to take time off of work and kids don’t have to take time off from school.” The experience is also beneficial to the participating third-year dental students, exposing them to a population they don’t get as much experience with, at least not 900 children at once. “This is a great opportunity for them to see children in that mixed phase of having both permanent and primary teeth,” Ferris said. “And with pandemic restrictions, there aren’t as many of these outreach opportunities available to them so we filled up our sign ups in a matter of minutes.” Children’s Dental Health Month is an initiative by the American Dental Association that promotes the importance of good oral health to children, their teachers and parents. The emphasis for this year’s campaign was on dental sealants for children. That is a welcomed focus for Wendland. Wendland’s research focuses on disparities in health care and improving health outcomes in diverse populations. Sealants are an area she and the school focus on as a first line-of-defense in achieving those improved oral health outcomes. Sealants consist of a thin plastic coating that is placed on the back teeth, where a majority of cavities form. Wendland the sealants can prevent 80 percent of cavities. “At University Academy, as well as our mobile clinic at Gladstone Elementary, we’re part of a big push to raise the national average for sealants,” said Wendland. “That average nationally is about 37 percent with the goal to push it above 40 percent. However, Missouri is at about 19 percent, which is obviously far and away from where we want to be.” Wendland came to UMKC from Chicago where she was a clinician at a Federally Qualified Health Center. While there she experienced the scope of what a fully comprehensive program is capable of. The Chicago Department of Public Health partnered with the public school district to provide a universal sealant program to all K-12 schools. “That program would see more than 120,000 kids a year,” Wendland said. “Currently, there isn’t anyone doing that kind of broad sealant program in Kansas City but having come from that model, ideally that’s what I would want to see.” Assessing 900 children at the University Academy was a good start. Mar 04, 2022

  • A Heart for Rural Health Care

    Leslie Luke receives School of Nursing and Health Studies Alumni Achievement Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is honoring Leslie Luke (M.S.N. ’00) with its Class of 2022 Alumni Achievement Award. For Leslie Luke (M.S.N. ’00), independence, family, rural health care and getting to know her patients have been the driving forces behind her unique health care career. You’ve forged your own way in nursing opening your own practice, what drove you down this unique path? I was inspired to form my own practice, the Care Clinic in Maryville, Missouri, after several years working as a nurse in hospital settings and private clinics. I earned a master’s degree in the UMKC Family Nurse Practitioner program, which helped provide me with the breadth of experience needed to run a comprehensive clinic. Through the Care Clinic, I’m able to provide a wide variety of services to the rural community. I treat infants to seniors for any number of health care concerns from diagnosing sore throats and ear infections to anti-aging and nutrition options. Your practice is in rural northwest Missouri, why was it important for you to provide more health care options to that area? It was important for me to provide my rural community with an independent health care option outside of the larger group networks that were available. In a rural area, you need to be able to see anyone that walks in the door. I wanted to bring that option to patients in my area. It’s the closeness I have with my patients that makes rural health care unique for me. You really get to know the patients, their families and lifestyle. What are your proudest accomplishments and what challenges have you encountered along the way? The longevity of the Care Clinic is one of my proudest accomplishments as a practitioner, with the clinic going on 15 years providing care to the Maryville community. I also appreciate being my own boss, but that didn’t come without its challenges. My greatest challenge was learning the business side of things. But my greatest reward was the flexibility to stay involved in many of my children’s activities. What words of advice would you provide other nursing students interested in following your path? If you have an independent spirt and may want to branch out on your own as well, make the most of your education. Make sure to take some business classes and get a wide variety of nursing experience. I enjoyed the flexibility of the online aspect of the program but it was also very meaningful when we were able to come to campus once each semester. That was one of my fondest memories about my time at UMKC. I loved meeting all the other FNP students with our in-person classes. About Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Luke and the other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Mar 03, 2022

  • Pre-Med Society President Escalates Opportunity, Connection

    Student organization offers community and support
    Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Izzy DaabAnticipated graduation year: 2023UMKC degree program: B.S. biology, pre-medical emphasis, Honors ProgramHometown: St. Charles, MO Pre-med Society president Izzy Daab has her sights set on becoming an orthopedic surgeon. As a former athlete – competing in  basketball and cross country in high school – she has had a lot of experience in orthopedic medicine from the patient’s perspective. Someday she’d like to work with athletes and inspire patients to take care of their bodies as her doctors took care of her.   Izzy Daab, center with Pre-med Society members Toluwa Balogun, Madi Sweeney, Sonya Ahmad and Diego Silva Daab’s main objective as Pre-Medical Society’s president is to grow a strong connection with the community and build a solid support system that will help all of the members achieve their individual goals. Outside of studying and helping run the chapter, Daab enjoys exploring Kansas City and enjoying all the city has to offer. Why did you choose UMKC? I chose UMKC because I knew the programs, faculty and students would challenge me to grow as a person and prepare me for my journey following graduation. Additionally, I was immediately attracted to the campus location. Living in Kansas City has enriched my college career with new experiences and opportunities in all aspects of my life. What are the challenges and benefits of the program? Being a pre-medical student requires a lot of hard work, time and dedication. The biggest challenge I have encountered is finding a balance. It is so important to take care of yourself and to experience life outside of studying. The UMKC faculty does a great job ensuring you are ready to succeed in post-graduate studies and in your career. I have developed amazing relationships with faculty on campus and believe these have largely contributed to my success at UMKC. Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself? I have learned that staying true to myself is the best thing I can do as I navigate college and all it has to offer. UMKC has allowed me to push myself beyond my limits and outside of my comfort zone. I’ve learned that I am capable of more than I have ever imagined. The most important thing I have learned is that through everything college will throw at you, staying true to yourself and your aspirations will get you far in life. How did you get involved in the Pre-Med Society? I got involved in Pre-Med Society as a freshman. I was looking for a group where I could meet pre-medical students just like me, and Pre-Medical Society was a perfect place to start. After being a general member for my freshman year, I served as the medical school liaison for my sophomore year, and then was elected to be president for this current school year.  What have the benefits been? The top benefit has definitely been meeting all of these amazing people. I’ve met most of my closest friends through Pre-Medical Society. As someone who has been a part of the group through COVID-19 and in-person, I’ve had the opportunity to help rebuild the pre-medical community and strengthen my ties to UMKC. What are the meetings like? We focus on providing a strong foundation of support for pre-medical students on campus. We provide knowledge and advice to students by bringing in physicians and speakers from the healthcare field who can share their wisdom and experiences with us. What are your individual goals? I hope to attend medical school following graduation and become an orthopedic surgeon. I have always been inspired by the sports medicine field, especially as a retired athlete who has a lot of experience being on the patient side of sports medicine. So, I hope to someday be an orthopedic surgeon that can primarily work with athletes and inspire patients to take care of and heal their body like my own doctors did for me. What is one word that best describes you and why? Tenacious. I have always been the type of person who never stops working hard until I reach my goals. My determination and grit have always made me who I am. I do not give up until I accomplish what I am pursuing. Mar 02, 2022

  • UMKC Partnering with Amazon for Career Choice Benefit Program

    Tuition reimbursement benefit now available in Kansas City area at UMKC
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City is partnering with Amazon to offer the company's hourly employees full tuition through Amazon’s Career Choice education program. The program provides full tuition and course fees for Amazon employees who enroll in degree programs or industry certification programs designed to lead to in-demand jobs. Amazon employees began  enrolling at UMKC in January. The company has several thousand hourly employees within a 100-mile radius of UMKC who are eligible to participate. First step is to visit this page to find easy step-by-step instructions and sign up for contact with an admissions counselor. This makes the Career Choice program available in the Kansas City area for the first time for in-person classes at an accredited university. UMKC also offers online options. The company launched the benefit program in 2012 and it is available to employees in 14 countries. According to Amazon, more than 50,000 employees around the world have participated since inception, and more than half of Amazon Career Choice participants identify as Black, Hispanic or Native American. “We are excited and proud to partner with Amazon to help their employees build a better future,” said Jennifer Lundgren, Ph.D., UMKC provost and executive vice chancellor. “Tuition reimbursement benefits are a highly effective path to upward financial mobility and participating in such programs is integral to our mission as a public university.” UMKC offers more than 125 degree programs and has extensive experience in serving non-traditional students (other than recent high school graduates enrolled full-time). “We’re looking forward to UMKC coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” said Tammy Thiemann, global program lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program. “We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere. We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, more than 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives.” Learn more about Amazon Career Choice at UMKC Mar 02, 2022

  • Improving Patient Lives Through Patents

    School of Biological and Chemical Sciences selects Joseph Lambing (Ph.D., '90) to receive 2022 Alumni Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences is honoring Joseph Lambing (Ph.D. ‘90) with its Class of 2022 Alumni Achievement Award. Joseph Lambing, Ph.D. worked for 30 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, primarily focused on cardiovascular disease. During his extensive career, he guided numerous drug discovery programs from early leads through clinical development and contributed to multiple investigational new drug and new drug applications for more than a dozen new chemical entities. Lambing is the author of several patents and publications and was involved in building multiple successful biotechnology companies. He recently retired from Bristol Myers Squibb, formerly MyoKardia, where he was the Senior Vice President of Nonclinical and Pharmaceutical Development. What inspired you to work in your field? I was interested in life sciences early in my undergraduate chemistry years, but I ended up in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical business by serendipity. After my post-doc at UCSD, I took a job in a small custom peptides company applying the skills I learned at UMKC and UCSD. After a few years, I was recruited to a company called COR Therapeutics in San Francisco. This turned out to be a good fit for me and it really set me on the path of working in cardiovascular drug discovery and connected me with the professionals that I would continue to work with at different companies throughout my career. Tell me about one of your favorite or most interesting work projects. Two projects come to mind. One is the work we did on Mavacamten at MyoKardia. That is a drug developed for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Until Mavacamten, these patients had no drugs developed specifically to treat their disease. After a trial, it was found both safe and highly effective, making a real breakthrough for these patients. The second is my work at Portola Pharmaceuticals on Andexanet Alpha, a modified form of Factor Xa that is an antidote for small molecule anticoagulants and is used when patients have life-threatening bleeding complications. This was a very unusual and challenging project that has now been approved and helped save many lives. What is your proudest accomplishment? My marriage to Rebecca, who I met during my time at UMKC, and our two beautiful children who have grown up to be an engineering and a neuroscientist. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? Find an area you are passionate about pursuing. For me, working in pharmaceuticals gave me a purpose because I always felt like I was working for patients. It’s also important to surround yourself with intelligent and passionate people that you enjoy working with. About the Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Lambing and other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Mar 01, 2022

  • Haag Hall Mural Inspires Fascinating Research, Mentorship Opportunity

    Dynamic Duo explores historic art fixture in the heart of UMKC campus
    The heart of UMKC is our campus community. With lots of research opportunities, it’s easy to develop mentorship teams. And these rich relationships—our Dynamic Duos—are some of our best success stories. UMKC senior Victoria Dominguez is roughly three months away from her college graduation. But instead of coasting to the finish line, she’s knee deep in a research project that will have lasting impact at UMKC. “The murals in Haag Hall are really fascinating and not a lot of students I’ve talked to are aware that they’re here on campus,” Dominguez explained. The mural, located on the second floor of Haag Hall, was painted by Spanish artist Luis Quintanilla in 1941. Quintanilla came to the forerunner of UMKC, the University of Kansas City (UKC) in 1940 to serve as its first artist-in-residence at the invitation of UKC President Clarence Decker. “Part of my research focuses on how Dr. Decker broadened the academic scope of the university by bringing in displaced scholars like Quintanilla,” said Dominguez. There’s much more historical significance to these paintings than a casual glance reveals. Viviana Grieco, PhD., professor of History, had worked with Dominguez on a separate research project, and presented her with the opportunity to do an independent research project related to the murals. Dominguez was immediately intrigued, and the mentor relationship deepened. Victoria Dominguez “To me as a historian, the most interesting part is that President Decker was able to position this young and unknown university at the level of more prominent universities that were applying for aid through the Rockefeller Foundation, to bring in displaced scholars and scientists. This was during the depression and the university was only five years old at the time, so it was very impressive to get an artist of that caliber here. It was a huge win that deserves recognition,” said Grieco. The mural was painted to reflect the theme, “Don Quixote in the Modern World.” It features many people and animals, but up until now, the identities of those depicted in the mural remain unknown. Victoria says she’s spent hours combing through various sources, with the help of Grieco, in hopes of identifying the people in the mural. She’s used university archives, old yearbooks, viewed a number of special collections, consulted the Rockefeller Foundation archives and the New York Public library to get information. “The mural includes illustrations of Dr. Decker and his wife, Luis Quintanilla and his whole family, Alexander Cappon who was part of the UKC English Department. It features staff members, professors and students. They’re all depicted in different images across the murals,” Dominguez explained. Dominguez says she loves the spark that comes with each new identification and deeply appreciates the guidance and mentorship she’s received from Grieco throughout this process. “Not only is Dr. Grieco inspiring, but she pushes me to my full potential. I don’t think I would have done any of this research work if it wasn’t for her. She has helped push me past my comfort zone and challenged me to think more deeply about topics. This research opportunity has really enhanced my university experience,” said Dominguez. Grieco has been equally inspired by the fascinating project. “We’re having fun. When we discover something new or a new detail that fits into the bigger picture of our research, we get excited. I enjoy getting immersed into her project and helping guide her.” The pair has built a strong bond through working together on this project and they’ve noticed a few similarities between their work and the work of the muralist they’re studying. Viviana Grieco, Ph.D. “Our mentor/mentee experience parallels that of Quintanilla and UKC’s students. Despite not speaking fluent, English Quintanilla was able to connect with the students on campus and work with them as subjects for his mural. Still today it remains true that these unique mentorship and student engagement opportunities can help students take the most out of their university experience,” said Grieco. Dominguez urges anyone considering research to take a chance and connect with a mentor who can serve as your guide. “It’s one of the best experiences and opportunities I’ve had during my time here at UMKC. If you are offered a research opportunity, just take it because it’s vastly different from other coursework and research is a unique opportunity that could help you find passion and figure out what you want to do after college.” She plans to present her research findings during Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City this spring. Dominguez hopes this project brings renewed attention and respect to this campus gem. “The interest in these murals and the artist has faded and I really hope my research helps shed more light on both, because the artist’s work is a huge part of our university and I think a lot of students should know more about it.”   Mar 01, 2022