Dear University Community,
This month, we held the Board of Curators meeting at UMKC, which provided an opportunity to take stock of our progress and plan our future directions. It’s been one year since we announced substantial investments and as a system, we have seen major developments in eLearning, student enrollment and other important initiatives over the past year. We’re also seeing our state hum with excitement for opportunities such as the Missouri Hyperloop. Be sure to check out the Virgin Hyperloop One pod that will be on the MU campus on October 3-4! These developments motivate us to keep pushing to advance the opportunities for success and well-being in the state, which leads to economic growth for Missourians. As a united university system, we’re also focused on student success and meaningful engagement. The upcoming Oct. 21-25 UM System Engagement Week will be an important demonstration of that commitment, with fascinating speaker panels and inspiring keynotes livestreamed to all four campuses.
This month, I want to share the incredible health care outreach our university community does – not just in Missouri, but around the world. In a previous issue, I shared the incredible work of Adam Beckett and the Global First Responders (GFR), a team that includes many UM System employees and health care staff. Right now, the GFR team is aiding the people of the Abaco Islands who were hit by a Category 5 hurricane on Sept. 1. Missouri S&T students also have a global impact, as members of Engineers Without Borders bring clean water to South American villages and dramatically improve the quality of life in remote and impoverished areas. We also influence global health through the work of researchers such as MU’s Kattesh Katti, who was recently appointed by the United Nations as a subject expert in green nanotechnology.
"Be sure to check out the Virgin Hyperloop One pod that will be on the MU campus on October 3-4!'
We’re also leveraging new collaborations to amplify our positive impact on health in the state. Dr. Kathleen Quinn at MU has joined Drs. Erica Ottis and Kelly Cochran from UMKC to address rural health disparities, and the team was recently awarded a $4.2 million grant. This month at UMSL’s State of the University address, I had the pleasure of presenting the President’s Award for Intercampus Collaboration to Dr. Rachel Winograd, for her collaborations with all four universities to combat the opioid overdose crisis in Missouri. MU also has new opportunities to collaborate with public-private partners to advance the NextGen Precision Health Initiative, after being selected as one of five new members in a nationwide biotechnology innovation network. We’re also seeing incredible clinical developments from a collaboration between MU Health and Roche Diagnostics, in which integrative software solutions are being used in cancer diagnosis so that patients can benefit from more personalized care from cancer specialists. MU Health is the first organization in the U.S. to adopt the model and its success is attracting industry attention. I’m incredibly proud of our how our community pushes the leading-edge of health care innovation to make a long-term impact on society.
"I had the pleasure of presenting the President's Award for Intercampus Collaboration to Dr. Rachel Winograd, for her collaborations with all four universities to combat the opiod crisis in Missouri."
Our university has a proud history of expanding access to quality health care. Since 1994, the Missouri Telehealth Network, a collaboration between MU Extension and the MU School of Medicine, has provided remote access to health care services across the state, making a critical difference for many rural Missourians. A report on Missouri Telehealth found that the program conducted nearly 50,000 telehealth visits in 2017 and that more than half of rural hospitals in the state use telehealth. The program continues to innovate with additions such as the Show-Me Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Show-Me ECHO), which overcomes geographic distance to bring together interdisciplinary teams of experts and clinicians to share their knowledge and develop their skills to provide their patients with the best possible care.
Health care outreach is also a strength at our individual universities. MU is training librarians to serve as health resources in rural and underserved communities and also opened the Mizzou Veterans Wellness Center to improve mental health services for veterans and their families. The UMKC School of Dentistry is helping address the scarcity of dental care for special needs patients and also partnering with TeamSmile to deliver dental care to disadvantaged children (the next Kansas City TeamSmile event is Oct. 22!). This month, Missouri S&T shared new medical advances at the Ozark Biomedical Initiative research symposium, a free public event that featured research on new cancer therapies, regenerative medicine, traumatic brain injury treatments and more. UMSL is doing its part to train more effective health care leaders through the Jonas Scholars program, where students learn the value of communication and outreach to underserved communities. If you’re interested in these sorts of activities, stay tuned for the upcoming UM System health engagement task force conversation on Oct. 16. This invitational event brings faculty and leaders together to identify a focal area and collaborative strategies for the four universities and key partners to improve the lives of Missourians across the state.
"Meaningful engagement and outreach means a lot to me, and that's a big part of why I...participated in the Over the Edge fundraiser for Love, INC this month."
For all of these amazing programs, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal is to save and improve lives. Meaningful engagement and outreach means a lot to me, and that’s a big part of why I raced against my colleagues and the Tiger Helmet during the halftime show to benefit the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and participated in the Over The Edge fundraiser for Love, INC this month. I’m inspired by how these organizations make it their mission to feed our community and fight poverty—all to change lives right here in Missouri.
For other inspiration about the incredible impact that our work and outreach can make in a life, I recommend reading the patient stories shared by MU Health. These stories show that our work in health care across the system can translate to life-changing treatments. If you have a story to share about how our community makes a difference in health care, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.