New schools will join AMA to reshape how future physicians are trained and improve health outcomes

A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) was selected by the American Medical Association (AMA) to join the Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium, a dynamic group of medical schools which share best practices and ideas for developing innovative curricula that can ultimately be implemented in medical schools across the country.

ATSU-SOMA was nominated by AMA because of its approach to incorporating comprehensive community-based projects as part of its curriculum, empowering students to actively learn to assess needs of the community through their second, third, and fourth year of medical school education while embedded in one of ATSU-SOMA’s 12 community health center (CHC) campuses.

The announcement was made by AMA’s CEO James Madara, MD, and Susan Skochelak, MD, group vice president for medical education. AMA announced a total of 20 leading medical schools from across the country, all of which landed a spot on the Association’s consortium, and were awarded a three-year grant totaling $75,000.

“ATSU is thankful for and looks forward to collaborating with consortium partners in developing innovative learning experiences to improve medical education ultimately resulting in healthier individuals and communities,” said ATSU President Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84.

According to AMA, the 20 new schools will build upon projects created by the 11 schools awarded grants by AMA in 2013 and ultimately impact thousands of medical students across the nation currently being trained to care for patients in the rapidly changing healthcare environment. With the added schools, the now 31 school consortium will support training for an estimated 18,000 medical students who will one day care for 31 million patients each year.

“Consortium membership will enable us to spotlight successful teaching strategies, enhance support for individual community projects, and dedicate additional resources to evaluating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes resulting from this contextual innovation, “said principal investigator, Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD, FACP, professor of internal medicine and public health, chair, ATSU-SOMA Department of Public Health. “I appreciate this opportunity very much and look forward to sharing with, and learning from, the other members of the consortium. This cross-pollination will be invaluable for creating the providers of the future.”

Through a competitive grant process, schools were selected from among 170 eligible U.S. medical schools by a national advisory panel, which sought proposals that would significantly redesign medical education. This is the first year an osteopathic medical school could apply to the initiative.

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2016_MFS_Logo_200x200A.T. Still University (ATSU) has been designated a 2016 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting the military and civilian worlds. Now in its seventh year, the original, premier Military Friendly® Schools designation provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities.

Institutions competed for the elite Military Friendly® School title by completing a survey of over 100 questions covering ten categories including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and military spouse policies. Survey responses were scored against benchmarks across these key indicators of success. In addition, data was independently tested by Ernst & Young based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media with guidance from an independent Advisory Board of higher education and recruiting professionals.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation. The methodology for making the Military Friendly® Schools list has changed the student veteran landscape to one much more transparent, and has played a significant role over the past seven years in capturing and advancing best practices to support military students across the country.

For more information about ATSU’s commitment to supporting military students, visit www.atsu.edu.

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MESA, AZ: October 1, 2015 -The BHHS Legacy Foundation of Phoenix (BHHS) has awarded A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) a $95,000 grant to support the University’s Fall Prevention Outreach program – the largest university-based fall-prevention initiative in the country.

Since the program began in 2008, more than 2,000 Arizonans have completed the eight-week curriculum, which gives older adults the tools they need to prevent falls and manage the often-paralyzing fear of falling that comes with growing older. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, injuries sustained from falls are the leading cause of accident injury deaths in Arizonans 65 and older.

ATSU uses A Matter of Balance, a nationally- recognized fall-prevention curriculum developed by Boston University. After receiving special training, teams of ATSU students will offer the curriculum, at no cost, to older citizens at 41 community sites in the Greater Phoenix area. Collaborations with partners ranging from local municipalities to assisted-living communities make the program possible.

Part of the grant will fund the certification of 15 “master trainers” who will teach the two-day A Matter of Balance curriculum to the ATSU students and the community volunteers who will, in turn, teach the sessions. The grant will also fund the expansion of the program to an additional 24 sites, for a total of 65.

“BHHS Legacy Foundation board and staff are proud to be affiliated with such an innovative community health prevention program that targets and promotes health and wellness among our community’s older adult population,” said BHHS Legacy Foundation CEO Gerald L. Wissink, FACHE. “We applaud the leadership of ATSU in expanding falls prevention in Arizona.”

“Falls in older adults are a global community health concern and numerous reports have highlighted the extent of this problem. Additionally, falls lead to substantial economic and human costs, largely due to unplanned medical emergencies and hospitalization costs,” said Elton Bordenave, director of the Aging Studies Project at ATSU.

The CDC reports that every 14 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, and that every 29 minutes an older adult dies from a fall-related injury. The financial repercussion of falls among older adults will only increase as the population ages and may reach $59.6 billion by 2020, according to the National Council on Aging. However, according to a 2013 report to Congress by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, participation by older adults in a falls prevention program has shown a reduction in healthcare costs.

Arizona seniors who have participated in the program report positive changes in their level of mobility and attitude toward life. Dorothy Hannisian, a 90-year-old participant, enrolled in the program after a devastating fall in her kitchen had left her fearful. “I don’t want to exist. I want to live,” she told her trainer.

Bordenave has heard it many times before. “Many older adults fear falling, and they stop going out with friends, to the mall or to public places,” he says. “Fear of falling limits their activities and social engagements resulting in depression, physical decline and social isolation.”

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President's Perspective September 2015


During the past 12 months, A.T. Still University (ATSU) had more than its share of students, faculty, staff, and associated loved ones affected by health, financial, and additional challenges. Whether facing a student’s home destroyed by fire, an employee injured or ill, or passing of a loved one or classmate, it was humbling and comforting to see the compassionate and generous response by the ATSU community. From visiting a co-worker in the hospital to making sure a child had a place to sleep, I witnessed many acts of altruism by faculty, staff, students, alums, and community members. Thank you.

Many of you are aware ATSU is recognized as a “2015 Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Kudos to all contributing to ATSU’s culture, mission, and vision. We are reminded of the importance of our work each day when interacting with peers, students, patients, alums, and community stakeholders.

Moving forward we will continue to make ATSU an even better place to learn and work.

2015-16 annual goals

1. Create a simplified access point for University data distribution. While ATSU has many successful data gathering means, knowing whom to contact to access data can be challenging. Norman Gevitz, PhD, senior vice president–academic affairs, and John Heard, PhD, vice president for research, grants, & information systems, will lead exploration of a feasible solution.

2. Refine ATSU’s vision of preeminence. What does preeminence for ATSU look like and how do we measure it? Ted Wendel, PhD, senior vice president for strategic initiatives, and Dr. Gevitz will be gathering input from faculty and staff on this important topic.

3. Improve life-work balance. Today more than ever, technology’s 24/7 access, regulatory oversight, increasing competition, and even global events weigh heavily on us. How may ATSU better address the whole person needs of our faculty, staff, and students? We will look to Human Resources and Student Affairs to facilitate discussions across ATSU, explore best practices, and develop a list of suggestions for implementation. My first step will be to eliminate sending non-emergency emails during evenings, weekends, and holidays. I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

2014-15 goals updates

Thank you, Ann Boyle, DMD, MA, associate vice president, academic innovations, for putting together a comprehensive white paper. Innovation is alive and well at ATSU with many opportunities moving forward. As mentioned previously, ATSU is investing $250,000 for faculty led innovation projects through the Teaching and Learning Center. Please read ATSU’s innovation white paper (pdf).

Clinical rotations and residencies
Leonard Goldstein, DDS, PhD, assistant vice president, clinical education development, completed analysis of ATSU’s clinical rotations and residencies. Dr. Goldstein will continue working with Dr. Gevitz, deans, and ATSU-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) program chairs to assist with implementation of best practices and further development of clinical rotations and residencies. Please read a summary of findings on clinical rotations and residencies (pdf).

Global initiatives
The Global Health White Paper Committee found students, faculty, and staff are involved with many worthwhile global projects. ATSU will implement the committee’s recommendations to develop policies and processes to help assure global experiences meet University safety and academic standards, program accreditation guidelines, and Department of Education requirements. Please read a summary of findings and recommendations and list of committee members (pdf).

ATSU website progress

Redevelopment of ATSU’s website has been progressing steadily, including new pages recently published for Continuing Education and Student Financial Services. Behind-the-scenes infrastructure development has moved the project past the half-way point, and new pages will soon be available for Student Affairs, ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, and ATSU-ASHS’ residential programs.


Please don’t forget ATSU’s idea box. We have received many great ideas and comments.

ATSU’s fraud hotline

To further ATSU’s commitment to integrity and excellence, a free, anonymous, third-party reporting hotline is available to all students and employees. This service allows any student or employee to report situations or behavior compromising the University’s integrity, all while maintaining his or her confidentiality. Call Fraud Hotline’s 24-hour service at 1.855.FRAUD.HL (1.855.372.8345), or use the secure online reporting form at www.fraudhl.com.

2016-20 Strategic Plan

ATSU’s Board of Trustees received the latest version of the 2016-20 Strategic Plan for review in preparation of their July 2015 meeting. Final comments are expected by September 30, 2015. Publication and distribution is anticipated by December 15, 2015.

ATSU-ASHS’ distance and residential commencements

On August 7, 2015, more than 400 graduates received their degrees. Since 1995 we are proud to have graduated close to 8,000 ATSU-ASHS alumni.

Brig. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck, PhD, served as commencement speaker for both graduations and received an honorary ATSU degree, doctor of humane letters.


Brigadier General Kerry Muehlenbeck, PhD

Dr. Muehlenbeck is the first female brigadier general in the Arizona National Guard.

Board of Trustees changes

The ATSU Board of Trustees met July 24-25, 2015, in Rockport, Maine, recognized leaving members, and appointed new officers. New trustees will be announced in the near future.

Officers for 2015-16 are G. Scott Drew, DO, FAOCD, ’87, of Marion, Ohio, chair; Ann Thielke, RN, JD, of Houston, Texas, vice chair; and Daniel Biery, DO, FACOI, FACG, FASGE, ’72, of Phelps, N.Y., secretary.

We will deeply miss four board members representing 28 combined years of University board experience. Manuel Bedoya, DMD; Clyde Evans, PhD; Ron Winkler; and Isaac Navarro, DMD, MPH, ’08, thank you for all you did and will continue to do for ATSU.

Faculty and staff accomplishments (as of August 31, 2015)

Congratulations on recent promotions
Please read the complete list of employee promotions (pdf).

Accomplishment kudos
Please read the complete list of accomplishment kudos (pdf).

Well wishes to faculty and staff celebrating anniversary milestones
Please read the complete list of employee anniversaries (pdf).

In appreciation

Thank you to all who have helped ATSU become a great place to work, learn, and live. Best wishes for a happy and healthy fall.

Yours in service,




Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84

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KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) announced today a $1.2 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Grant funding will enhance primary care education and better prepare medical students to reduce health disparities and barriers to care for vulnerable populations, improve patient engagement, and become leaders in the Primary Care Workforce Competencies endorsed by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative.

“This funding will position ATSU students for the ever-changing healthcare environment and strengthen the focus on primary care needs,” said grant project director Margaret Wilson, DO, dean ATSU-KCOM. “Developing leaders for communities to address issues such as chronic disease management, health disparities, and patient engagement will improve health for all.”

Increasing demand for new primary care graduates – coupled with growing retirement of seasoned providers – suggests the profession will sorely lack primary care leaders needed to transform healthcare systems.

“Our University is grateful for this opportunity to enhance primary care education of future healthcare leaders. This grant will help ensure a new generation of healthcare providers meet the primary care needs of patients well into the future,” said ATSU President Craig M. Phelps, DO.

Through HRSA funding, ATSU-KCOM will look to address these issues through strategic planning that prioritizes innovative educational approaches for an evolving healthcare workforce, strategic partnerships, diversity, and interprofessional education.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer: This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number TOBHP28556; grant title Primary Care Training and Enhancement; total award amount of $1,203,168; with 43 percent financed with nongovernmental sources.  This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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