By Russell Melchert, PhD; Dean, UMKC School of Pharmacy
“Mulligan” is defined by the New American Oxford Dictionary as “an extra golf stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard”. In my not so professional golf experience, I have requested and utilized numerous mulligans, and sadly, even those didn’t help my score that much. Had it not been for some really great accomplishments from UMKC students, staff, and faculty this past academic year (okay, and maybe the Chiefs winning the Superbowl as well), I would have to call on a mulligan for 2020. Despite the difficult year, the school continued to thrive and excel. Our students, staff, and faculty were up to the challenges associated with the pandemic including remote teaching and learning as necessary, and I am very proud of all of them and what they have done to keep things moving forward.
APhA-ASP Number 1 Again! Dynasty!
There is no better word to describe it. The UMKC chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) once again received the Chapter of the Year award signifying it as the best in the country! It may seem like I just keep copying and pasting this news every year as our chapter was number 1 in 2012 and 2018, and the years between and after were no drop off in quality as each year the chapter has finished in the top 7 or top 4 in the country. The student success is no doubt a reflection of the hard work and mentorship provided by their outstanding faculty advisors: Drs. Angela Brownfield, Lisa Cillessen, Sarah Cox, , Kathryn Holt, Cameron Lindsey, and Heather Taylor. Many thanks to the students and advisors for all the positive recognition for our school.
Other National Student Awards.
Our students received many other national awards as well this past academic year. The National Community Pharmacists Association announced the top ten proposals submitted to their Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. Congratulations to Jacob Deronde, Katie Pennell, and Taylor Mize and their faculty mentor Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney for having their business plan proposal chosen as a Top Ten proposal—again keeping UMKC in the top ten over the past few years! Other national award winners included: Keaton Thomas received the ACT/CPESN scholarship to attend the CPESN midyear meeting in North Carolina, and he was one of 5 students nationally to receive the scholarship; Kayla Shaw was selected for Independent Pharmacy Cooperative Scholarship, one of 8 in the nation; Amelia Gooch and Garret Matthews represented UMKC and finished in the Top 10 in the clinical skills competition at the annual American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists midyear clinical meeting; Amelia Godfrey was selected for the 2019 Paul Ambrose Scholars Program of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research; and Kaitlyn Riggs selected as 1 of only 89 nation-wide who won the United States Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award in 2020.
Once again, we absolutely love all the national attention our students bring to UMKC through all of their many accomplishments and awards. However, some other milestones are likely more important to all of our students. That is, of the class that entered in our program in 2016, 91% graduated on time in 2020 and 97% will have graduated by 2021. While we do not yet have NAPLEX pass rates from them, we do know that for 2019 graduates—94% of whom graduated on time—85.1% passed the NAPLEX on first sitting and 96.6% passed by the end of 2019. Further, their MPJE pass rate was 90.5% compared to 82.2% national average. And again, while we do not have full placement data yet for our 2020 graduates, we do know that more than 82.4% of our 2020 graduates who applied for PGY1 residency training matched in Phase I (well above the 63% national match rate). Of them, 26 students will conduct their residency training at Missouri institutions including Kansas City’s Truman Medical Center, Saint’s Luke’s Hospital, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Research Medical Center, and North Kansas Hospital as well as University Hospital in Columbia and Cox Medical Center and Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Many also placed at other highly recognized national programs across the country including the Duke University, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Going back to the Class of 2019, another 13 UMKC alumni successfully matched with second-year residency programs. Four more students were early commitments to PGY-2 programs and another placed in a second-year fellowship. Combined, the school’s second-year match rate of 92.8% far outpaced the national second-year match rate of 73.2%.
Outstanding Faculty Accomplishments in 2019-2020.
The many successes of our students no doubt reflect the outstanding guidance and instruction they receive from our outstanding faculty. In our Division of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr. Simon Friedman received a new NIH R01 grant providing ~$1.6 M in total costs over the next 4 years to continue in his successful work developing continuously variable protein delivery using a photoactivated depots. His previous work resulted a patent for insulin delivery in this manner. Drs. Kelly Cochran and Erica Ottis served as coinvestigators on a new $4.2 million HRSA grant awarded to MU as an Innovative Model to Increase Primary Care Physicians for Rural and Underserved Missouri. Dr. Jerry Wyckoff was awarded a $50,000 grant from BioNexus KC to work on creating a set of highly curated potential therapeutic target genes for rare diseases. Dr. Mark Sawkin worked with our School of Medicine faculty creating the Dramatic STD/HIV Project, which received one of four honorable mentions with their application for the USPHS Excellence in Interprofessional Education Collaboration National Award. Dr. Heather Taylor received a grant from ACT Missouri for work on the DREAM (Drug Responsibility Education & Advocacy Movement) to deal with substance abuse prevention and treatment. Dr. Angela Brownfield was selected as a Missouri Pharmacy Association Faculty Member of the Year. Dr. Paul Gubbins was selected as the 2020 recipient of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Pharmacy Practice Section Distinguished Service Award, and Dr. Steve Stoner was slated to run for Speaker of the House of Delegates for AACP. Receiving promotion in faculty rank this year were Clinical Associate Professors Drs. Kylie Barnes and Amanda Stahnke and Professor Dr. Orisa Igwe. And, our student pharmacists recognized Drs. Karen Bame, Lisa Cillessen, Tom Johnston, Diane McClaskey, Valerie Ruehter, Diana Tamer and Karyn Turla as Teachers of the Year.
Like previous years, there are many other accolades that our students, staff, and faculty achieved this year, far too many to list in this update. If you can make time to come by and see us, we’d be happy to tell you all about it. You are all welcome to visit the school anytime at our sites in Kansas City, Columbia, and/or Springfield. We also would greatly appreciate your assistance in helping us identify any students who might be interested in pursuing pharmacy careers. Just let us know, we love to talk to anyone about our great profession! Best wishes to everyone in MSHP!!