As he tackles the task before him, Todd Christensen’s endgame is this – to put in place at the medical school what will be a national model for comprehensive mental health education for police officers, EMS and other first responders.
“A big part of educating folks on mental illness is stigma reduction,” said Christensen, who is the program coordinator for the Michigan Crisis Intervention System, a program that is the result of a two-year, $500,000 grant awarded to WMed in November 2016 by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. “That’s why stigma reduction of mental illness is our first topic in everything with MI-CIS. We have to get rid of the stigma before we can talk about the illness, get rid of the fake and talk about the real.”
In the months since the grant was awarded to the medical school, Christensen and others at WMed have been hard at work reviewing mental health education best practices from across the country, as well as Australia and the United Kingdom as part of creating a curriculum for MI-CIS that will be a “total package.”
For first responders, the program will offer several training options and components, including an online training platform and reality-based training that will rely on the use of MILO Response and MILO Range, two immersive simulation systems that can replicate use-of-force scenarios and behavioral health emergencies requiring verbal de-escalation. The program, Christensen said, moves beyond basic classroom training and lecture to hands-on training that is more beneficial to first responders when they’re ever faced with a volatile situation on the job.
“It brings the classroom to life,” Christensen said of the MILO systems. “It bridges the gap from complacency to readiness, it reinforces the dangers and the realities of the job and it provides situational awareness.”
A third part of the MI-CIS program is an advanced training that will include a “train the trainer” component that will be vital in implementing the program across the state and in communities outside of Michigan by arming first responders with the tools they will need to coordinate and run their own local trainings.
“We want to a national model where agencies from across the country see what we created and utilize the program or replicate it to enhance their own training systems,” Christensen said.
The creation of MI-CIS in 2016 stemmed from what the Michigan Health Endowment Fund identified as a need for improved training for first responders who deal regularly with people and patients in the field with acute behavioral conditions. With the implementation of the grant, Christensen and others hope to improve the safety of first responders and citizens, and diverting those in need of mental health treatment from incarceration.
The grant is part of a collaborative effort by WMed, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Kalamazoo County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Christensen said collaboration with the county’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has been critical to the implementation of MI-CIS and the agency is providing funding to reimburse police and EMS personnel who are set to take part in MI-CIS reality-based training this fall.
MI-CIS training for police and EMS personnel, including the web-based component and reality-based training, is set to begin in September and October, Christensen said. Training for emergency dispatchers, correctional officers, hospital employees and school personnel will be implemented next year, he said.
Additionally, Christensen said cadets at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College police academy will take part in the web-based training and reality-based MI-CIS training in December and officials from the Chicago police and fire departments plan to visit Kalamazoo in November to learn more about the web-based training module and reality-based training component for possible use within their agencies.
During the work week, Deirdre Moore spends her days at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus helping students navigate the complexities of financial aid for medical school.
But when the weekend comes Moore, WMed's Director of Financial Aid, makes the drive from Kalamazoo to her home in Dearborn where she immerses herself in Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan, an ancient martial art that, for Moore, has become a passion – and a pathway to a healthier life – over the past 13 years.
“I was looking for something to help with stress management,” Moore said of taking up tai chi in 2004. “Tai chi is described as meditation in motion, it promotes focus and it has a meditative aspect to it, in addition to being good for managing stress, blood pressure, breathing and circulation.
“There are all kinds of benefits to it.”
While the health benefits of tai chi are unquestionable for Moore, her decision to pursue the martial art and become a certified Wu Style Tai Chi instructor has opened doors for her, including the opportunity in May and June to compete in the Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan tournament in Singapore and take part in celebrations of the 80th anniversary of Wu Style Tai Chi in Hong Kong and the 60th anniversary of the Jien Chuan Tai Chi Chuan Physical Culture Association in Singapore along with Wu stylists from all over the world.
During the competition in Singapore, Moore competed in the 54-form of Wu Style on May 27. The 54-form, which encompasses a sequence of 54 continuous tai chi movements, was among several events held during the competition at a large convention center in Singapore.
While it was daunting to compete with the finest tai chi practitioners in the world, Moore expressed her appreciation and gratitude for the founders of Wu Style Tai Chi, as well as the current Grandmaster, Eddie Wu Kwong Yu.
“I think the best thing about competition is that you spend a lot of time training seriously,” Moore said. “It gives you great motivation to improve as much as you can before a competition … I think it challenges you to do your best tai chi and you get the appreciation of seeing other people who are world champions. There’s really a supportive network of practitioners and instructors.”
Moore said tai chi helps her manage day-to-day stress and when she first gave the martial art a try in 2004 she was looking for a physical activity that would provide her relief from chronic back pain caused by injuries she suffered in a car crash.
Lucky for her, Moore said she began her journey into tai chi with an excellent instructor, Sifu Genie Parker, who runs the Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan Academy in Ann Arbor and is a disciple of Grandmaster Eddie Wu Kwong Yu.
On the weekends, Moore assists Parker in teaching tai chi at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Classes are also held there on Tuesdays.
Moore said the popularity of tai chi is on the rise and it has proven to be beneficial for many individuals, including senior citizens with arthritis. The Saturday classes in Dearborn, which typically draw 20 to 25 people, have included attendees with diabetes and chronic pain. Parker also teaches sitting tai chi classes for people dealing with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
At WMed, Moore has done tai chi workshops for students as part of the medical school’s wellness elective and she said she would be interested in starting a tai chi class at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus.
“I got into tai chi for the health benefits,” Moore said. “It’s called a soft martial art because it’s internal. You’re generating internal energy and you’re using physics as a way to drive movement. The saying in tai chi is ‘If you don’t move, I don’t move. If you move, I move faster.’”
As she looks to the future, Moore said she will go back to Singapore and Hong Kong to compete again. “It’s motivating to see I’ve got higher levels to achieve,” she said. “Tai chi really is a lifelong commitment if you want it to be. It’s a continual improvement process and you’re never done learning.
“Like any art form, you’re never done mastering your craft.”
A peer-review team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will visit Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed) in Kalamazoo, Michigan on September 25-26, 2017. The HLC is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the US that accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions. As a new medical school, WMed is currently a candidate for accreditation with the HLC. During the two-day visit, the team will complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether the medical school is ready to be granted early initial accreditation. In preparation for the visit, the public is invited to submit written comments that address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its medical education program. Information on how to submit comments is available on the WMed (new node) and the HLC websites.
Since 2011, during the earliest days of the new medical school’s planning, Dean Hal Jenson, MD, along with medical school leadership, faculty, and staff, have been preparing for accreditation by the HLC as well as accreditation for the medical school’s MD degree program by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). In June 2016, WMed was granted accreditation, provisional status, by the LCME. On October 15-18, 2017, the medical school will host an on-site visit with peer reviewers from the LCME for full accreditation.
Accreditation involves a review of an institutional or program using a defined set of standards. For both HLC and LCME accreditation, the medical school completes a self-assessment process based in standards, submits documentation related to the self-assessment findings, and hosts on-site visits with peer reviewers who are responsible for a comprehensive evaluation. The peer-review teams prepare a recommendation for accreditation status that is finalized by decision-making bodies at the HLC and the LCME.
In an effort to improve its appearance, structure and functionality, the medical school’s website has gotten a much-needed makeover.
Our redesigned website at med.wmich.edu officially launched Friday, July 14, 2017, with a new look that is colorful and clean, and easy to navigate. The site also boasts fresh content with a focus on the needs of our users, whether they be prospective and current learners or faculty and staff.
The new website is the result of a planning process that began in May 2016 and involved engagement and input from across WMed, including faculty, residents, students and staff.
Newhall Klein, a Kalamazoo-based marketing agency, designed our new website and a web team from the Office of the Dean and the departments of Communications and Information Technology spearheaded development and content creation.
The work by our web team and Newhall Klein has led to a new website that is fluid and responsive, and designed for compatibility with all devices and browsers. It supports the WMed brand and will serve as a communication tool to buoy the medical school’s mission, vision, values and achievement of institutional strategies and goals.
For Dr. Richard Lammers, the goal is simple – mold and develop more physicians capable of using simulation as a tool in medical education and, in turn, improve medicine and patient care.
That is the focus for Dr. Lammers, the medical school’s assistant dean of Simulation, as WMed this month unveiled a new, one-year simulation fellowship.
“Simulation has become a key component in the curriculum of the medical school and medical education at all levels and not many people have had training experience and formal education in delivering simulation or using simulation as an educational tool,” said Dr. Lammers, who is director of the fellowship. “When they’re done, our fellows will be able to become a director of any simulation center in the country.”
Recruitment for the new fellowship at WMed is underway with the hope of welcoming one or two fellows in July 2018. The new fellowship is the result of a process that Dr. Lammers said took 18 months.
The new fellowship is among more than 50 that currently exist across the country, Dr. Lammers said. All of the fellowships, at this point, are non-accredited fellowships, he said, because they are all still “too new.”
The fellowship is designed for physicians who have graduated from an ACGME residency in any specialty. At WMed, Dr. Lammers said fellows will be immersed in an intensive and guided experience to develop them into experts, leaders and scholars in the field of simulation-based medical education.
Additionally, Dr. Lammers said fellows will have the opportunity to learn and work in the Simulation Center at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, a 24,000 square-foot facility that is the largest regional academic simulation center in Southwest Michigan. They will teach and work with the medical school’s students and residents, practicing physicians and other medical providers pursuing certification in basic and advanced life support, as well as pediatric advance life support.
The Simulation Center features, among other things, a 13-bed virtual hospital with a large operating room and three debriefing rooms, a 12-bed ambulatory clinic, two large control rooms and two procedure labs.
“They will have a beautiful facility to work with, they will work alongside talented and industrious people at WMed who are faculty and directors and managers in the Simulation Center, and they will gain invaluable insights from our track record in simulation research,” Dr. Lammers said.
Once at WMed, fellows will receive a faculty appointment as a clinical instructor and spend half of their time on fellowship-related activities in the Simulation Center at the Upjohn Campus and the WMed Simulation Center at Borgess Medical Center. The remainder of fellows’ time, Dr. Lammers said, will consist of clinical practice in their respective specialty.
Dr. Lammers brings years of experience in simulation-based education to bear on the new fellowship. In addition to his duties as an assistant dean, he is a professor of Emergency Medicine and has published extensively on procedural training and performance assessment using simulation. In 2000, he introduced WMed’s Emergency Medicine residency to simulation and, since then, he has expanded the use of simulation throughout the medical school’s graduate medical education program.
He also played an integral role in designing the Simulation Center at the Upjohn Campus before its opening in 2014.
“If there is a difficult procedure or challenging case, the first exposure occurs in the Simulation Center,” Dr. Lammers said. “The Simulation Center is a bridge between the classroom and the clinical setting.”
In addition to Dr. Lammers, fellows will work with:
- Dr. John Hoyle, a dual-boarded Pediatric Emergency physician and professor of Emergency Medicine whose current research interests include pre-hospital drug dosing errors in pediatric patients and procedural sedation protocols. Dr. Hoyle has numerous publications on a variety of topics in Pediatric Emergency Medicine.
- Dr. Tom Melgar, a professor of Medicine and Pediatrics who has numerous years of experience conducting simulation-based procedural skills and ultrasound training sessions.
- Dr. Diane Peirce, an assistant professor of Internal Medicine and scholar advisor in clinical skills for WMed medical students, who has experience in OSCEs and debriefing skills.
- Vicki McKinney, PhD, an assistant professor and member of the medical school’s Department of Medical Education, who has more than 20 years of experience in teaching, technology and research in medical and business education. Dr. McKinney specializes in curriculum development and assessment.
- Sylvia Merino, MBA, MPH, the medical school’s administrative director of Simulation, who has been working in healthcare delivery and education environments for more than 30 years. Merino has expertise in business administration, accounting, and educational and computer technology.
- Constance Worline, RN-BC, MEd, the medical school’s clinical director of Simulation, who came to WMed in 2013 after retiring as a Captain/USN after 26 years in Navy medicine. Worline leads the Simulation Center’s Standardized Patient Program and and standardized educational courses.
Given his years of experience in simulation-based education, Dr. Lammers said he is excited about the opportunity – through the new fellowship – to train a new generation of physicians to use simulation as an educational tool.
“Any teacher is excited about training people who will follow in their footsteps,” Dr. Lammers said. “That certainly applies here.”
How to Apply
The application for the new simulation fellowship is now open. Interested applicants can send their curriculum vita or summarized educational portfolio, one letter from their residency program director and one additional letter of recommendation, and a cover letter describing their professional interests, experience with teaching and/or simulation, and future career goals to Dr. Lammers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What was once a plain, white wall outside the auditorium at WMed’s W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus was transformed recently into a bright, living reminder of the historic moments that led to the birth of the medical school.
The new timeline wall, which is 10 feet tall and 43 feet wide, was installed in late June by Agio Imaging and recaps the rich history and legacy of educational excellence, health care, research and life science exploration that provided the foundation for WMed.
As faculty, residents, students, staff and visitors pass the new timeline wall, they’re treated to bright photos and a quick history lesson about the moments that marked the journey of the medical school evolving from the vision of Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn in 2007 to reality in 2014 with the opening of the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus in downtown Kalamazoo.
“It’s important for us as an institution, as we continue to grow and advance, to never forget about our roots, about everything – and everyone – that helped make WMed possible,” said Michele Serbenski, associate dean of Planning and Performance Excellence, who led efforts for the installation of the timeline. “This timeline wall accomplishes that by serving as a daily reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re headed.”
The timeline wall, which will grow in size after the medical school’s inaugural Class of 2018 graduates in May, currently includes nine key historic moments, beginning with March, 22, 2011, the day an anonymous $100 million gift to WMU was announced to serve as the foundation funding for WMed.
The timeline, for now, concludes with September 17 and 18, 2014, which were marked by the White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2018 and a Grand Opening Celebration at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus that was attended by more than 1,500 people.
Sprinkled in between March 2011 and September 2014 are other important milestones for the medical school, including December 8, 2011, when William U. Parfet, the great-grandson of Dr. W.E. Upjohn and then the chair and chief executive office of MPI Research, donated the seven-story, 330,000 square-foot building to WMU that became the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus.
Also included on the wall is July 1, 2012, when Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies merged into WMed. By October 12, 2012, ground was broken on the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus and one year later, on October 2, 2013, the “Topping Out” ceremony for the new $68 million addition to the medical school building was held.
In March 2014, three months before the opening of the downtown campus, came the announcement of the WMed’s namesake, Dr. Homer H. Stryker. The naming fulfilled the wishes of the donors of the $100 million foundational gift – Stryker’s granddaughter, Ronda Stryker, and her husband, William D. Johnston, a WMU trustee.
Founding Dean Hal B. Jenson, MD, has been selected as a member of the governing council of the American Medical Association’s Academic Physicians Section.
Dr. Jenson was elected to a one-year term as chair-elect of the nine-member leadership body during the APS Annual Meeting June 9-10 in Chicago.
The APS Governing Council, according to the AMA, is the direct communication link between the AMA and section members. Currently, the APS is comprised of more than 560 academic physicians from the majority of U.S. medical schools.
“I am honored to be a part of the leadership of APS and I’m looking forward to the important work ahead of us in the coming year,” Dr. Jenson said.
At the annual meeting, the APS covered numerous issues, including immigration, physician workforce, clinical skills testing of medical schools and Maintenance of Certification. According to a summary of the meeting from the AMA, the APS reviewed more than 30 business items that went before the AMA House of Delegates during its annual meeting, June 10-14.
A three-year, almost $500,000 grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation will help enhance interprofessional educated at the medical school.
The grant will fund the project, “A Multi-Institution Effort to Advance Professionalism and Interprofessional Education with ProfessionalFormation.Org,” which WMed is a part of along with 11 medical schools and Drexel University, the lead institution on the project.
“This is a way to really develop, and to accomplish, one of the primary goals of WMed which is to be a leader in IPE,” said Tyler S. Gibb, JD, PhD, co-chief of WMed’s Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law, who is a member of the medical school’s Education and Workplace Committee and charged with professionalism remediation for medical students and residents.
ProfessionalFormation.org, also known as PFO, is a website that was implemented by faculty at Drexel College of Medicine for teaching, assessing and remediating gaps in professional and interprofessional behaviors in healthcare.
With the grant from the Macy Foundation, which was announced in January, Dr. Gibb said the valuable training materials from PFO will now be available to WMed and the other partner institutions through a partnership that PFO has forged with the Academy of Professionalism in Healthcare (APHC). In addition to WMed, the materials will also be used by students at Western Michigan University’s schools of law, and nursing and social work, as well as Ferris State University’s College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Gibb said the schools at WMU and Ferris State are partnering with WMed and wrote letters of support for WMed being named one of the institutions to team with Drexel University on the grant.
The co-principal investigators on the PFO project are Dennis Novack, MD, associate dean of Medical Education at Drexel University College of Medicine, and Kymberlee Montgomery, DNP, chair of the Nurse Practitioner Program at Drexel University.
In addition to WMed, the other institutions teaming up with Drexel University on the grant are: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Commonwealth Medical College, Duquesne University, Indiana University, Jefferson College, Ohio State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Stony Brook, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley.
As a leader of a collaborating institution on the grant, Dr. Gibb said he will take part in a kickoff retreat in July at Drexel during which more details about moving forward on the PFO grant will be ironed out.
Dr. Gibb said he is excited about the project, which he believes will help with the goal of making interprofessional education a more integrated part of the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate medical education at WMed, with high-quality education materials, as well as valuable assessment and remediation tools “that can help us be a leader in the state regarding IPE education.”
“I’m encouraged by not only the grant and the support, but also that the material that will be available and that throughout the process we were able to get a lot of people connected locally,” Dr. Gibb said. “Being able to formalize those relationships and being able to have the support moving forward is really important.”
During the month of June, the medical school has been keenly focused on raising awareness among faculty, residents, students and staff about workplace, campus, patient care and personal safety.
But those efforts, which come during National Safety Month, are about more than just spreading a message, said Randy Edwards, WMed’s Director of Facilities and Chief Safety and Security Officer.
“I hope the efforts help open employees’ and students’ eyes and they know the institution cares about us,” Edwards said recently. “We want everyone to be safe in our facilities and if we don’t reach out, I don’t think we’ve done our job.
“We want to make sure our people are safe.”
As part of National Safety Month, WMed has joined other organizations across the country to raise awareness about safety with the campaign “Safety Starts with WMed.” The campaign has included, among other things, the sharing of information, safety tips and reminders through internal communication channels.
Additionally, the medical school’s emergency coordinators and Campus Safety Authorities are taking part in annual training this month and in July. Emergency coordinators play a key leadership role in their respective departments during preparedness drills and actual emergencies, and CSAs are tasked with reporting any allegations of crimes to Edwards should they occur.
“The more we can prepare, the better off we will be as a community in terms of safety,” Edwards said. “National Safety Month gives us a chance to show our students, residents, faculty and staff and patients that we care about their well-being and are committed to ensuring their safety.”
WMed holds fire and tornado drill regularly during the year at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. and Oakland Drive campuses, as well as the Innovation Center and the Department of Psychiatry at the Borgess North Professional Building on Gull Road.
An active shooter drill was held at the Oakland Drive Campus in December and at the Innovation Center in May. In previous years, the medical school has conducted biohazard and epidemic drills, as well as infant-abduction drills at the WMed Clinics.
In September, the medical school will conduct active shooter drills at the Family Health centers on Paterson and East Alcott streets in Kalamazoo. An active shooter drill is also being planned for the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus after the arrival of the new class of medical students this fall, Edwards said.
During National Safety Month, WMed employees received a complimentary reflective shopping bag that contained a “Safety Starts with WMed” brochure with quick tips, facts and reminders to raise awareness about campus, workplace and personal safety. The bags were distributed June 15 and also included the safety self-assessment, “How Safe Are You?” The self-assessment was also available online. The response data will be used to inform future planning for safety awareness and education.
The medical school also conducted a test of its emergency notification system on June 23. WMed uses the system to notify faculty, residents, students and staff of emergency situations and weather closures.
Edwards said he has received positive feedback from employees and students about the medical school’s efforts during National Safety Month. Specifically, he said employees have told him they appreciated the safety brochure with tips, facts and reminders.
“It’s not a lot, but it is a way to tell employees and students we’re thinking about you,” Edwards said.
As their family and friends looked on, 60 resident physicians and three fellows from WMed were honored Friday, June 9, during a graduation ceremony at Western Michigan University’s Miller Auditorium.
“This day marks an exceptional achievement signifying (our residents and fellows’) dedication to the profession of medicine,” said Dr. David T. Overton, the medical school’s associate dean for Graduate Medical Education.
The graduation ceremony drew a large crowd to Miller. The graduates who were honored have spent between one and five years training and sharpening their skills as physicians in Southwest Michigan.
WMed currently has nine residency programs in the specialties of Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Medicine-Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and General Surgery. There also are two one-year fellowships for Emergency Medical Services and Sports Medicine.
The medical school’s OB/GYN Residency Program is new and was approved in April. The program will welcome its first four residents in July 2018.
Dr. Hal Jenson, WMed’s founding dean, told the graduates at Friday’s ceremony that the festivities were a reminder of what each of them had accomplished during their time at the medical school. He also said the completion of their residences marked “an important milestone” in their careers as physicians.
Dr. Jenson told the graduates he hoped their time at WMed helped instill in them an inspiration “to become the lifelong learners you will need to be.”
“The future will demand, in fact, that you are the lifelong learners you will need to be to take care of the patients of tomorrow,” he said. “Wherever you go, realize that you take a part of Kalamazoo with you … and know that wherever you are, you’re part of the family here at WMed.”
In all, four of the residents who graduated Friday will remain and work in Kalamazoo. An additional eight residents will be working outside of Kalamazoo, but will still be in Michigan.
In addition to honoring resident physicians and fellows, Friday’s graduation ceremony gave the residents and fellows a chance to honor the medical school’s clinical faculty with 2017 teaching awards. A total of 15 faculty were honored.
Here’s a complete list of this year’s resident and fellow graduates, as well as faculty who received awards Friday:
Tyler Brian Andre, MD (Chief)
Elizabeth Jean Arnall, DO (Chief)
Brett Lee Baumgartner, DO
Nicholas Robert Bope, MD
John Walter Brainard, MD
Christopher Adam Chesnut, MD
Maxwell Jason Geers, MD
Nicholas Jay Gould, DO (Chief)
Paul Michael Guernsey, DO
Charles Everett Mansell, MD
Daniel Stuart Mortensen, MD
Matt John Perala, MD
Mary Kathleen Russo, DO
Timothy Sean Ryan, DO
Paul Michael Shotkin, MD
Anton Lee Temple, MD
Aaron Forrest Triplett, DO
Christina Marie Weaver, DO
Daniel George Zindrick, MD
Emergency Medical Services Fellowship
Kevin Praful Patel, DO
Brian Lee Snyder, MD
Nicole Marie Akers, MD
Elizabeth Lynn Albright, DO
Wesley Ryan Eichorn, DO
Zachary Alan Koehn, DO
Latifa Abdullah Pacheco, DO
Varinder Singh Sidhu, MD (Chief)
Alexander James Witte, MD (Chief)
Sports Medicine Fellowship
Juraj Zahatnansky, MD
Sumaiya Ansari, MD
Courtney Jo Barrett, DO
Hardik Satish Chhatrala, MD, MPH
Christopher Vittorio Di Felice, MD (Chief)
John Samuel Fleming, DO
Janie Marie Katarsky, DO (Chief)
Monoj Kumar Konda, MD
Andrea Marie Landon, DO
Sandeep Patri, MD
Anusha Surender, MD
Yashwant Agrawal, MD
Theotonius Juyen Gomes, DO (Chief)
Jason Khoa Lam, DO
Matthew Thomas Siuba, DO (Chief)
Jason Mark Habeck, MD (Chief)
Peter James Howard, MD (Chief)
Nicholas Miladore, MD (Chief)
Meveshni Govender, MD (Chief)
Manasa Josyula, MD
Yamini Soundarya Kuchipudi, MD
Devika Malhotra, MD
Anju Patel, MD
Michael James Schmalz, MD (Chief)
Alissa Marie Welsh, MD
Carmen Dolores Garcia, MD
Nauman Aman Khan, MD
Priya Mahajan, MD (Chief)
Daniel Stephen Krcelic, MD (Chief)
Julia Ng Miladore, MD (Chief)
Kyle N. Seudeal, MD (Chief)
General Surgery – Preliminary Year I
Hailey R. Chang, MD
Brandon Michael Tanner, MD
General Surgery – Preliminary Year II
Richie Gopal Goriparthi, MD
Yaqeen Abdullah Qudah, MD
2017 Teaching Awards
David Hartman, MD
Abigail Annan, MD
Lisa Graves, MD
William Nichols, DO
Kurt Schubert, DO
Michael Trexler, MD
Thomas Melgar, MD
Gregory Tiongson, MD
Karen Bovid, MD
Allison Long, MD
Priscilla Woodhams, MD
Peter Longstreet, MD
Perry Westerman, MD
John T. Collins, MD
Gitonga Munene, MD
The way Dr. David A. Ansell sees it, universal healthcare is not only needed in the U.S., it is part of ensuring a human right embedded in the Constitution and international law.
“This is really not a matter of left or right, but right and wrong,” Ansell said earlier this month during a community presentation and discussion at WMed’s W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus in downtown Kalamazoo. “The reason I say it is there are 30 countries in the world of all different ilks, all of them capitalist countries, that have decided that universal healthcare is the right thing to do.”
Dr. Ansell’s contention comes at a time when life expectancy in the U.S. is falling, especially among those living in poverty. At the same time, other developed countries like Canada, which has universal healthcare, are seeing life expectancy rates increase.
Dr. Ansell, who is senior vice president and associate provost for Community Health Equity at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, is an author and advocate who has amassed 40 years of experience serving patients on Chicago’s South Side. He has written two books – “County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital” and, more recently, “The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills.”
Dr. Ansell visited WMed on June 6 to discuss what he called the human consequences of structural violence that stems from racial and class inequities, and what must be done to make things right. More than 250 people filled the auditorium at the Upjohn Campus to listen to Dr. Ansell and take part in a question-and-answer session after Dr. Ansell’s presentation.
Dr. Ansell’s visit was co-sponsored by WMed, the Western Michigan University Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, ISAAC, YWCA Kalamazoo and Organize West Michigan.
Dr. Ansell told the crowd at WMed that he decided to be a doctor “because that was clearly going to be good” but discovered quickly during medical school in Syracuse, New York, there were “huge inequities, things that are wrong.”
Dr. Ansell said he later decided to quit medical school to become a forest ranger, but during that time met a group of other medical students and began studying the U.S. healthcare system.
“At that moment, I knew what I wanted to do was be a doctor, but I figured out in that moment … why I wanted to be a doctor and that was that healthcare was a human right. I decided in that moment in time that I was not only going to become a doctor, but I was going to become a human rights activist and that that was really my core job and I’ve carried that with me everywhere I’ve gone.”
Dr. Ansell completed his residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, a facility he described as “run down” and “decrepit” at the time. He contended that the condition of the hospital was allowed because of the patients it served – black and brown people who were poor.
During his time at Cook County Hospital, Dr. Ansell said the phenomenon of “patient dumping” – transferring patients from one hospital to another because they’re uninsured – was rampant at the time. Many of those patients made their way to Cook County and as patient dumping grew, Dr. Ansell said he and other residents at the hospital decided to conduct a study that turned into “an experience in speaking up.”
What the study revealed, he said, was that many of the patients who were “dumped” at Cook County Hospital were told that the facility they were transferred from had no beds while doctors at Cook County were told the patients were transferred because they had no health insurance.
The phenomenon of patient dumping had a disparate impact on black and brown patients, Dr. Ansell said, and presented a clear example of structural racism in which systems set up in the U.S. replicate social injustices “that have white on top and black and brown on the bottom.”
The study by Dr. Ansell and the other residents at Cook County Hospital was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in the 1980s and led to the passage of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires hospitals to treat patients with an emergency condition regardless of their ability to pay or if they have insurance.
“It’s the only form of universal health care we have in this country because people spoke up,” Dr. Ansell said. “The point is it’s not enough in life just to show up and smile. You have to do something and we learned that at County.”
In addition to discussing his experiences at Cook County Hospital, Dr. Ansell also addressed what he said is an ever-widening inequality and death gap in the U.S.
He presented statistics about the issue with numbers drawn from neighborhoods in Chicago. For example, he said the life expectancy of residents who live in The Loop in Chicago is 85 years old while those living in Chicago’s Garfield Park have a life expectancy of just 69 years.
That gap – 16 years – is larger than the life expectancy gap between the entire U.S. population and Haiti. In some cities in the U.S., Dr. Ansell said, the gap in life expectancy is as much as 15 or even 35 years.
“It’s one street and two worlds in very place in this country,” Dr. Ansell said. “Even in Kalamazoo.”
He said neighborhoods with low life expectancy rates are marked by poverty and high economic hardship. That poverty, he contends, is caused by structural violence, which he said stems from the passage of laws, and procedures and practices in the U.S. that systematically disadvantage some more than others.
“When you think of these neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage, you have to think of them as valleys and the mountains are like The Loop and those mountains couldn’t exist without the wealth in these neighborhoods being expropriated through legal means, laws, business practices, jobs leaving the area,” he said. “We have more concentrated wealth than we’ve ever had in this country.”
Dr. Ansell said the good news, though, is that once a problem has been recognized “there are things you can do about it.”
Moving forward, Dr. Ansell said a move toward universal healthcare in the U.S. is needed. He told the crowd at WMed that recent surveys show that more than 80 percent of Americans agree that healthcare is a moral issue and the U.S. should follow the lead of other developed countries on universal healthcare.
Dr. Ansell said Americans worry regularly about healthcare and healthcare costs and often skip care as deductibles are continuing to rise in a system that he said is not sustainable.
“We’re so privileged to do this work and I never get down or despair,” Dr. Ansell said. “I know that the arc of the universe bends toward justice but it requires us to bend it.”
This month, in a span of just three weeks, the medical school will celebrate the graduation of more than 60 resident physicians and fellows, and welcome its newest group of first-year residents fresh out of medical school.
“This annual cycle is really an exciting time,” said Dr. Hal B. Jenson, WMed’s founding dean. “For medical students and residents, they perhaps see it as an ending though it’s really not an ending. These events are milestones along the journey.”
On Friday, June 9, 2017, the medical school celebrated its graduating residents and fellows during a ceremony at Miller Auditorium.
Dr. Jenson said this time of year always prompts a bit of reflection on his part and it gives him a chance to look back on the transitions he made from medical school to residency, residency to fellowship, and then post-training.
He recalled how, after graduating from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, he felt like his move into his Pediatrics residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital at Case Western University in Cleveland was “a big leap” and a big change.
What he realized later, though, Dr. Jenson said, was how monumental the transition and change was that came after he completed his residency and then a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Yale University School of Medicine.
“As a student, there’s maybe more of a sense when you leave medical school that you’ve made a big leap. When you’re in medical school you don’t see the leap from residency to post-residency as that big, but it’s just as big of a leap or even bigger.”
“The greatest change is really when when you transition from graduate medical education to your career because you’re going from general supervision to no supervision and you’re going from being mostly a team follower to now often being a team leader.”
While this time of year can be one of change and, possibly, anxiety for new and graduating residents, Dr. Jenson said his years of experience as a physician have taught him that medicine is not practiced alone. Every resident, as they complete their training and move on to the next phase of their career, realizes that no one practices medicine independently.
“We all practice medicine as members of teams and good medical care really revolves around teamwork,” Dr. Jenson said. “There are very few settings where physicians practice medicine by themselves.”
Dr. Jenson said post-residency will also bring the opportunity for several of WMed’s most recent graduates to work with – and mentor – resident physicians and medical students. That sharing of knowledge, Dr. Jenson said, is a reminder that “while we’re taking care of today’s patients, we’re also training tomorrow’s physicians so we have a hand in continually improving the health of our community, far into the future.”
“You get a chance to pay back to the next generation of physicians all of the training and mentorship, and coaching that those who went before you have given you in your life,” Dr. Jenson said. “For a lot of us, that is a key reason why we go into medicine and why the field of medicine is so rewarding.”
For those residents who graduated on June 9 and for those who will arrive later in the month as new residents, Dr. Jenson said his message for both groups is the same.
He said he hopes that graduating residents and new residents will work hard but also strive for what he calls a good work-life “blend.” Additionally, he said that he is filled with gratitude for both groups – new and graduating residents – for their willingness to be a part of the WMed family.
“To our graduating residents and fellows, thank you for being a part of Kalamazoo. Even if you’ve only been here for a few years, thank you for sharing a part of your life with us to help make our lives better, and also helping improve the health of our community,” Dr. Jenson said.
As they gathered together in the courtyard at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, WMed students got a chance last month to learn about Holi, a Hindu celebration also known as the festival of colors.
But the celebration was about so much more than that. In the end, as second-year students Ryan D’Mello and Arushi Tripathy see it, the event was a chance – for just a moment – to let go, to have fun, to celebrate different backgrounds, different religions, and the crossing of cultural barriers.
“It’s one of the few times I’ve ever seen everyone kind of let go,” Tripathy said of the Holi celebration, which was held May 12 as part of the medical school’s Student Diversity Series. “We were just connecting with our inner child and having fun.”
Holi is a celebration of diversity, friendship and thanksgiving, and is held every year in March during the vernal equinox. D’Mello said events to commemorate Holi, which he took part in previously during as a student at Kalamazoo College, are typically held in May in the Kalamazoo area because of the cold weather that often is still present in Michigan in March.
In South Asia, the celebration offers one of the few times that social castes and religious differences are set aside as the poor and rich, and people of many different religions join together to celebrate with their friends, neighbors and strangers. Holi is also important for the South Asian diaspora as people come together to build community and celebrate shared heritage.
The celebration of Holi at WMed grew out of an idea that was sparked by D’Mello, Tripathy and M2s Sargoon Nepaul and Vishal Somnay. D’Mello and Tripathy said the student council at the medical school, as well as WMed’s Office of Admissions and Student Life were very supportive of the event.
D’Mello said about 45 people came to the Holi celebration and more than 30 students, as well as students’ children and significant others, took part in the throwing of powders, the tossing of water balloons and the spraying of water from water jets.
Prior to the fun, D’Mello said the group gathered to learn about Holi and enjoyed Indian cuisine and drank some Mango Lassi.
“It’s about community,” D’Mello said. “In India, you would play Holi with your neighbors. Here, for me, it’s been classmates at K-College or members of the community.
“It was nice to be able to celebrate Holi with our med fam here,” he added. “I was shocked, but excited, to see how people just went with it. People were just ready to have fun.”
D’Mello said he also found a “beauty” in that he, Tripathy, Nepaul and Somnay, who are from different backgrounds, came together to organize the Holi celebration at WMed. He said he is Catholic, while Tripathy and Vishal are Hindu and Sargoon is Sikh.
“That is kind of representative of a modern day Holi celebration,” he said. “It crosses cultural barriers. To me, there’s a beauty in that metaphor that you start (Holi) off looking very different.
“After you play Holi, we all look the same. I think there’s a kind of beauty in different backgrounds planning this event and putting it together here.”
Going forward, D’Mello and Tripathy said they hope to make the Holi celebration an annual event at WMed.
During a career at WMed that has spanned 14 years, Dr. Joanne K. Baker has taken on many roles in her work to grow and nurture the medical school’s Internal Medicine Residency Program.
In 2003, she became director of Osteopathic Medical Education at the Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, the predecessor to WMed, and also served as Osteopathic Internal Medicine Program Director. Since 2012. She has been a professor for Internal Medicine at the medical school.
Now, Dr. Baker has been named the program director of WMed’s Internal Medicine Residency Program.
“I feel very fortunate,” Dr. Baker said recently. “I feel like I have the best job. I get to do the teaching I enjoy, the mentorships I enjoy … There are no boring days.”
Dr. Baker’s new role at WMed became official on May 8. She takes over for Dr. Mark Loehrke who previously served as program director and chair of the medical school’s Department of Medicine.
Dr. Loehrke will continue his duties as department chair and now serves as associate program director for Internal Medicine. Dr. Baker said the transition will allow for her and Dr. Loehrke to continue to work together on the important tasks of recruitment, leadership and mentorship for the residency program.
“The people in this program really provide the glue and cement of this program,” Dr. Baker said. “It makes what can be very crazy days still enjoyable because our residents are friends and the faculty really get to know the residents.”
Dr. Baker is a native of Southwest Michigan and a graduate of Portage Central High School, and she is an alumna of Central Michigan University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology.
In 1991, she graduated from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to complete a three-year Internal Medicine residency at what is now known as the Genesys Regional Medical Center in Flint. After residency, Dr. Baker remained in Flint where she worked in private practice and, later, as a hospitalist.
She and her family returned to Southwest Michigan in 2001 when Dr. Baker began working as a hospitalist at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. She said it was the fall of 2002 when she and Dr. Loehrke, and Dr. William Allen, a longtime program director for the medical school’s Family Medicine Residency Program, first talked about starting an osteopathic medicine training program for Internal Medicine and Family Medicine.
By 2003, Dr. Baker said she was working part-time as the Director of Osteopathic Medical Education.
As she settles in as the Program Director for Internal Medicine, Dr. Baker said she is building upon what is already a very strong training program. The three-year residency at WMed now boasts 12 new residents per year and the residents complete rotations at Borgess Medical Center, Bronson Methodist Hospital, the West Michigan Cancer Center, the Battle Creek VA Medical Center and local office practices where they gain experience in several subspecialties.
Dr. Baker said she doesn’t foresee making any big changes to the residency program going forward. However, she said she plans to meet one-on-one with residents and hold meetings with faculty to see if there are any specific areas that can be fine tuned or improved to make the residency program even stronger.
Dr. Baker said she is also looking forward to her continued work with the program’s residents and the new class of residents that is set to arrive to WMed this summer.
“You just continually see that growth after they come in,” Dr. Baker said. “We have such a diverse residency, which to me is a strength in our program. We have international graduates, local graduates and people from out of state and I think that’s what adds the strength because everyone brings something in their experience that adds something to the whole.”
In a move aimed at enhancing patient care and future quality improvement efforts, the WMed Clinics made the transition this month to the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system and the MyChart patient portal.
The transition began May 3 following months of training for physicians and staff at the WMed Clinics, located on the medical school’s Oakland Drive Campus, and the Psychiatry Clinic in the Borgess North Professional Building.
“The reason we’ve done this is we want to provide the highest quality care to our patients and we’ve put our money where our mouth is,” said Joseph D’Ambrosio, MD, the medical school’s associate dean for Clinical Affairs. “We think this is the first step in upping the game and providing higher quality care.”
Prior to the move to Epic and MyChart, Dr. D’Ambrosio said the WMed Clinics used the EHR eClinicalWorks. He said the transition to Epic will allow for more ease conducting data mining and retrieving information that will be used for quality improvement in the clinics.
Additionally, he said the transition to Epic by the WMed Clinics reduces the number of EHRs currently in use in Kalamazoo. Previously, he said as many as six different EHRs have been in use by different providers in the community and none of the EHRs “talk to each other.”
Now, with Epic, the WMed Clinics join Bronson Healthcare and the Family Health Center on the list of providers currently using the same EHR. What that means, Dr. D’Ambrosio said, is that the records of patients who are seen by the three providers will be readily and easily accessible to their physicians.
“It improves the continuity of care,” Dr. D’Ambrosio said. “It’s much easier to coordinate care and that’s really a prime example of what we need to do in primary care … We have patients with extremely complicated medical problems who get referred to some of the high-end tertiary care centers in the Midwest, including the University of Michigan, Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic.
“They’re all on Epic.”
With the MyChart patient portal, Dr. D’Ambrosio said patients are able to take a more active role in the coordination of their care and have easy access to some of their medical records and test results. They’ll also be able to easily pay medical bills, send messages to their physician and schedule appointments.
MyChart also gives physicians and the staff at the WMed Clinics the ability to send friendly reminders to patients when flu vaccines are available or when patients are due for important preventive care appointments, such as mammograms or colonoscopies.
“It’s good for the checks and balances that we need in health care,” Dr. D’Ambrosio said. “We are a patient-centered medical home so I think it promotes patients’ investment in their own health care. I can’t make patients change lifestyles and often lifestyle changes are the biggest and most important part of a healthier life. I think having these communication channels through MyChart engages patients in their own health care.
“An informed patient is a good patient and a healthy patient, and if they will look into MyChart, what patients will see is it is going to allow them to learn more about their own health care and it is definitely going to allow them to take better care of themselves, and I think that’s what patients want.”