Kirksville-based university among top private universities nationwide in doctoral awards

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 20, 2006) – Not content with having six doctoral degree offerings, A.T. Still University’s Board of Trustees approved its seventh doctoral program.

ATSU President James J. McGovern, Ph.D., said the new Ph.D. will bring people literally from around the world to Kirksville, Mo. While the research will be done by D.O.s (osteopathic physicians) on patients at their home sites, some of the courses, the dissertation defenses, and graduations will be held in Kirksville.

ATSU does more osteopathic research than any other school in the United States.  President McGovern stated that advancing osteopathic principles is part of ATSU’s mission. “So, it is only natural we take responsibility to train professional researchers to do osteopathic research,” he said.

Dr. McGovern also pointed out that many osteopathic physicians in Europe and the United States are eager to obtain Ph.D.s. Therefore, ATSU is gathering clinical research mentors from some of the finest universities in Europe and the U.S.

“We are talking to Ph.D. clinical researchers at the Universities of Heidelberg, Munich, Dresden, Brussels, and Lisbon in Europe and Harvard, Case Western, Penn, and others in this country,” he added. “Our ultimate goal is to improve patient care by training practitioners to understand clinical research and allowing them to scientifically analyze symptoms and review treatments. This scientific training will then continuously improve healthcare.”

ATSU is a major grantor of doctoral degrees in the United States. Last year, the university awarded 379 professional doctorates, not including its osteopathic medical degree awards. When compared to the National Science Foundation’s list of research doctorate awards by school, ATSU would rank #10 among all private universities nationwide.

“A major focus of A.T. Still University is to teach the health professional teachers in colleges and universities,” President McGovern said.

The seven doctoral degrees approved by the ATSU Board include Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.), Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.), Doctor of Health Education (D.H.Ed.), Doctor of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy in Osteopathic Clinical Research (Ph.D.).


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Former Kirksville Mayor latest non-D.O. to join alumni association

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 19, 2006) – Ron Winkler, president of Winkler Communications and former Kirksville Mayor, was recently honored by the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association with Honorary KOAA Membership. The KOAA Board of Directors established the Honorary Membership Award in 1948 to recognize individuals who render meritorious service to osteopathic education.

Winkler is actively involved in both the ATSU and Kirksville communities, serving as co-chair of ATSU’s Connell Information Technologies Center Community Campaign, current president of Kirksville Regional Economic Development Inc., past president of the Kirkville Country Club, past board member of the Kirksville Chamber of Commerce, and former mayor of the City of Kirksville. Winkler is a financial supporter of ATSU’s Still National Osteopathic Museum and a past Preferred Merchant. In 2006, he received the Still Spirit Award for Business Leader of the Year.

Winkler has spent 42 years in the telecommunications business and has lived in Kirksville since 1968. A Vietnam War veteran, he spends his spare time golfing and as a pilot. He and his wife, Cecelia, reside in Kirkville along with their son, Tim, his wife, and their two children.


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Members include former TSU President Jack Magruder, Alliant Bank President Pete Detweiler

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 6, 2006) – The ATSU Board of Trustees met in Kirksville in October and elected two Kirksville residents to committee chairmanships. Jack Magruder, Ed.D., former president of Truman State University, serves as Chairman of the Education/Research Committee. In addition, Peter Detweiler, the president of Alliant Bank in Kirksville, serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee.

The link between Kirksville and ATSU dates back to the founding of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1892. The spirit of that 114-year-old agreement remains, with ATSU completing the $11 million Connell Information Technologies Center and launching a new Kirksville-based Ph.D. program in osteopathic clinical research.

“We believe it is very important to have a strong community presence on our Board,” said ATSU President James McGovern. “Jack and Pete have given years of service to Kirksville, and we want to bring that experience to the table to help us make decisions that benefit the University and the City of Kirksville.”

Detweiler and Magruder agree the deeply rooted relationship between ATSU and Kirksville should be continually nurtured and supported.

“The relationship between ATSU and Kirksville goes back more than 100 years, and ATSU is one of the bedrock components of the Kirksville economy,” Detweiler said. “Being involved with ATSU allows me to contribute to the well-being of the community. We hope to continue a long, healthy relationship between Kirksville and ATSU that includes positive economic impact and producing new family-practice oriented, rural physicians dedicated to the osteopathic tradition.”

“ATSU, and KCOM especially, has a tremendous impact on Kirksville, including quality of life, the services that they provide, and the sensitive, compassionate physicians that they produce,” Magruder said. “They also have an enormous economic impact, and it is absolutely necessary to maintain the relationship between ATSU and Kirksville.”

Detweiler is also the treasurer of the Kirksville Regional Economic Development Inc., and Magruder was recently notified he has been awarded honorary membership in the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association.

Steve Kardos, D.O., the CEO and President of Triveris/Health Network America, in New Jersey was chosen as Chairman of the Board. He is a former vice president of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of New Jersey and a 1968 graduate of the ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Gerald Perkins, D.O., FOCOO, an ophthalmologist in Carefree, Arizona, was re-elected as Vice Chairman of the Board. He is the author of the book Life is a Dance and a 1967 graduate of ATSU-KCOM.

Linda Niessen, DMD, MPH, vice president of DENTSPLY International was elected Secretary of the Board.  She lives in Dallas, Texas, and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Dental School and School of Public Health.

Clyde H. Evans, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Institute for Health Protection and President of CE Consulting in Massachusetts was elected to the Board as a new member. Dr. Evans formerly served as a vice president for the Association of Academic Health Centers.

Also elected to the Board, Capri S. Cafaro has significant aging and health care experience and works as a Special Projects Coordinator in the Lorain County Office on Aging in Ohio.


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Kirksville area families to benefit from gift donations

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (Nov. 28, 2006) – The Student Advocate Association (SAA) at ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine is hosting the 2006 Angel Tree Project to benefit less fortunate families during the holiday season. Three seasonal trees have been placed around Kirksville with angel-shaped cards containing the names of more than 220 individuals in the area. At ATSU-KCOM, Wal-Mart, and Truman State University, people interested in supporting these individuals and families may take a name from the tree and purchase some of the gifts listed on the angel card.

“Last year we received approximately 150 names, and we have exceeded that number this year,” said SAA President Tiffany Sweeney. “We try every year to fill every request, and last year we were able to meet all the needs of every child on the tree.”

Gift requests range from clothing, toys, and games for children to basic clothing and household items for adults.

“Our mission is to support, educate, and serve,” Sweeney said. “Most of the SAA members come to Kirksville because of KCOM. The community is so welcoming and supportive of us, and we feel like this is a wonderful opportunity for us to return some of that kindness.”

The Angel Tree Project will continue through December 13th. All gifts purchased should be dropped off at the Layaway Center at the Kirksville Wal-Mart.


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Founding osteopathic institution first of its kind to receive CAM award

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (Nov. 14, 2006) – A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) recently received a four-year grant award totaling $756,000 from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH-NCCAM). ATSU is one of only two institutions nationwide to receive this grant in 2006, and KCOM is the only osteopathic medical college ever to receive this award. 

The CAM Practitioner Research Education Project grant will focus on training osteopathic medical students, faculty, interns and residents, and practicing physicians in evidence-based medicine (EBM) concepts. The project is led by principal investigator, Stephen Laird, D.O., MHPE, FACOS, associate dean for academic affairs, and co-investigators, Jeffrey Suzewits, D.O., MPH, associate dean for clinical educational affairs, and William Sexton, Ph.D., professor of physiology. The project period is September 30, 2006, through August 31, 2010.

Dr. Laird explained that evidence-based medicine is commonly defined as the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values. The integration of these three elements enables physicians and patients to form a diagnostic and therapeutic alliance, which optimizes clinical outcomes and quality of life. Under the grant, ATSU-KCOM will seek to increase the quality and quantity of EBM tools that support critical scientific thinking and self-directed lifelong learning. The grant will support training for more than 90 faculty members and more than 900 osteopathic medical students, interns and residents, and practicing physicians, as well as clinical research experiences.    

ATSU-KCOM will work with Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, which will serve as the research-intensive partnering institution, and its team of EBM experts, including Alan Adelman, M.D., MS, professor and vice chair for academic affairs and research, and John George, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for educational affairs, both of the family medicine and community medicine department; Thomas Lloyd, Ph.D., professor of health evaluation sciences, obstetrics and gynecology, and pharmacology; and Glenda Shoop, MEd, RRT, RPFT, director of curriculum development and evaluation.

The project was developed based on a comprehensive analysis of both the national and local environments. Locally, a need exists to expand the teaching of EBM principles and concepts related to clinical practice and research/scholarly activities. Leading national educational organizations have emphasized the need to expand medical education to include EBM and continuous quality improvement. Under the leadership of Philip Slocum, D.O., FCCP, FACOI, FCCM, vice president for medical affairs and dean, ATSU-KCOM plans to advance a new osteopathic medical school curriculum, which will include a major emphasis on EBM.

Training methods will include learner-centered activities, clinical skill-building via small-groups, EBM and CAM literature searches and reviews, asynchronous modules, chart audits, clinical practice guideline development, and mentored research experiences. Students and practitioners will be trained to form effective clinical questions; identify best evidence, develop critical thinking and appraisal skills, and conduct effective literature searches; apply EBM to clinical practice; and complete sample chart reviews. Secondary emphasis will be on biostatistics, clinical trial research design and skills, scientific communication, and osteopathic research competencies. 

This project was made possible by Grant Number 1 R25 AT003579-01 to A.T. Still University from the NIH-NCCAM.


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