A.T. Still University (ATSU) President Jack Magruder is the new vice chair of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) board.

Dr. Magruder was appointed to the MOHELA board by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in June, as the Private Higher Education Representative. He will serve a one-year term as vice chair, and his regular term on the board runs until October 2013.

“I did not believe that I had been here long enough to deserve the nomination by the committee,” Dr. Magruder said. “The rest of the board convinced me otherwise.”

Tom Reeves, the new MOHELA board chair, and president of Pulaski Bank in St. Louis, said that working alongside Magruder and the rest of the board is an honor.

“Dr. Magruder brings a wealth of higher education experience,” Reeves said. “He has a distinguished record of leadership in both public and private education, and I think his appointment will benefit MOHELA and the students that MOHELA deals with.”

“I am pleased to be a part of a board that helps students earn degrees,” Dr. Magruder said. “I am glad to do my part to help students be able to afford higher education.”

MOHELA is one of the largest student loan secondary markets in the country and assists thousands of students and families each year in the pursuit of their educational goals. The organization participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program and services student loans for and purchases from lender partners. A self-supporting enterprise, the mission of MOHELA is to eliminate barriers for students so they can access higher education.


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A.T. Still University (ATSU) announces the addition of Janice (Jan) Couch, M.A., as its new director of Alumni Services. Couch assumed her position in September and has since been busy getting up to speed on the dynamics of university and cultivating alumni relationships.

Director of Alumni Services Jan Couch

Jan Couch, M.A.

Couch grew up in north-central Missouri, graduating from the Meadville R-4 school district in 1975. She earned her B.S.E. in psychology in 1980 and her M.A. degree in Educational Administration in 1986 from Truman State University.

After working at Truman State, Couch moved to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1988, working for the Maricopa County Job Training and Partnership Act and the Maricopa County Head Start Program. She resigned her position at Head Start to become an exclusive buyer’s real estate agent and later a real estate broker, owning her own corporation in Phoenix.

Couch is excited to return to Kirksville and meet and work with the University’s alumni. As director, she has had the opportunity to meet alumni at ATSU Founder’s Day in October, the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association board of directors meeting at the American Osteopathic Association Convention in New Orleans in November, and at the continuing medical education program at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo., in December. Throughout 2010, she will be traveling the country in an effort to meet more graduates of ATSU.

“I am excited about the opportunity to actively contribute my skills, knowledge and abilities to the position of Director of Alumni,” Couch said. “I look forward to the tremendous opportunities, challenges and growth ATSU faces as a dynamic educational leader in producing top-notch medical professionals.”

Alumni Services strives to build strong, lasting relationships with alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of the University through networking and collaboration. If you need assistance as an alumnus, or have an address or information update, contact Alumni Services at 660.626.2307 or contact Jan at alumniservices@atsu.edu.


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KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Three faculty members at A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) have been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor.

“A college or university is only as good as its faculty and staff,” said KCOM Dean Phil Slocum, D.O. “When faculty peers recognize a faculty member’s promotion, it is a very big deal. Each of these faculty members has contributed to advancing KCOM and ATSU’s mission. They are each appreciated for their achievements.”

Larry Ciesemier, D.O.

Larry Ciesemier, D.O.

Larry Ciesemier, D.O., a 1997 graduate of KCOM, was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor in the Internal Medicine department. Dr. Ciesemier operates Kirksville Allergy and Asthma LLC, an allergy and asthma immunology private practice, and will graduate from the Missouri Sheriff Training Academy on December 3 when he will then serve as a reserve deputy officer with Adair County and the Kirksville Police Department.

“I am proud and honored to receive this promotion. As course director and chair of the department of internal medicine, I have and am striving to create a vibrant atmosphere of excellence for both students and faculty,” Dr. Ciesemier said.

Patricia Sexton, D.H.Ed., M.S.

Patricia Sexton, D.H.Ed., M.S.

Patricia Sexton, D.H.Ed., M.S., was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor of Family Medicine, Community Medicine, Preventative Medicine. Dr. Sexton is also director of research at ATSU’s School of Health Management (SHM), teaching classes at both SHM and KCOM. Dr. Sexton has been a faculty member at ATSU for 21 years.

“I feel fortunate to work in the osteopathic profession, with the best and brightest students and committed colleagues. I will work to continue making relevant contributions to KCOM and to medical education nationally,” Dr. Sexton said.

Kelly Halma, D.O.

Kelly Halma, D.O.

Kelly Halma, D.O., was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor in the Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine department. Dr. Halma has been with the University since 2005.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the leadership and faculty for my work at ATSU-KCOM,” Dr. Halma said. “Training future physicians is a tremendous responsibility and one I take very seriously, as does everyone at ATSU. I am proud to be part of this important mission and part of this organization.”


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Jefferson City, MO – The Academy of Missouri Squires today welcomed four new members to its ranks. The Academy is a non-profit organization that honors Missourians for their accomplishments on the community, state or national levels and was founded by Gov. James T. Blair in 1960.

“I congratulate these newest members of the Academy of Missouri Squires for this recognition of their many achievements on behalf of their communities and their state,” Gov. Jay Nixon said. The Governor and First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon hosted a luncheon of the Squires at the Governor’s Mansion today to announce the newest members.

The new members of the Academy of Missouri Squires are:

Frankie Freeman, a pioneer of the civil rights movement in Missouri and a national leader in advancing civil rights. Her legal work was instrumental in obtaining a 1954 court ruling to desegregate St. Louis public housing, and in 1964 she became the first African-American woman to serve on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In 2007, Ms. Freeman was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta. At age 92, Ms. Freeman is still an active attorney in St. Louis and has practiced law in state and federal courts for more than 60 years.

Peter Herschend, founder and co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. His family has owned and operated Silver Dollar City in Branson for almost 50 years, and Mr. Herschend has been a leader in Missouri’s travel and tourism industry. Herschend Family Entertainment has won several national awards for excellence in entertainment and tourism, as well as for distinction in environmental protection, at Silver Dollar City, at Dollywood, and at other Herschend Family Entertainment properties. Mr. Herschend has been a member of the Missouri State Board of Education since 1991 and currently serves as the board’s vice president.

Dr. Jack Magruder, president of A.T. Still University in Kirksville and a leader in higher education in Missouri for many years. A graduate of Truman State University, he served as president of the school for nine years, greatly increasing the school’s national profile for academic excellence. He previously served as the university’s vice president for academic affairs. The Kirksville Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Magruder with its Hall of Fame award in 2003. Dr. Magruder is a past member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Missouri Foundation for Health.

Mike Shannon, the longtime beloved radio broadcaster for the St. Louis Cardinals. A former player for the Cardinals, Mr. Shannon was a member of two teams (1964, 1967) that won the World Series Championship. In 1972, he joined the Cardinals’ radio broadcast team with Hall-of-Fame broadcaster, the late Jack Buck. Mike Shannon has kept Cardinal fans entertained and informed about their favorite team since 1972, and he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. In addition to his broadcasting work, he owns and operates a popular restaurant in downtown St. Louis.

The Academy of Missouri Squires is limited to 100 living members, and new Squires are chosen by members of the Academy. To qualify for Academy of Missouri Squires membership, the by-laws state that one must have achieved true greatness in his or her community, the state of Missouri or the United States; and either legally reside in Missouri, be employed by the state, or be a native-born Missourian whose current residence, by necessity of business or other reasons, may be outside the state.

The ranks of the Squires automatically include the Governor and living former Governors of Missouri. Among the first class of Squires in 1960 were Harry Truman, Thomas Hart Benton and Stan Musial. The names of the Squires in the Class of 2009 will be added to plaques on display in the first floor rotunda of the state Capitol.


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MESA, Ariz. – At a time when healthcare reform will most likely propose wellness incentives and taking personal responsibility for health, A.T. Still University (ATSU) has already been leading the way in both its curriculum for medical school students and its employee health program.

ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) is grounded in osteopathic medicine, which focuses on wellness, prevention, and the integration of mind, body, and spirit. Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., D.O., is the father of osteopathic medicine and founder of the first college of osteopathic medicine, now A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM).

SOMA’s four-year curriculum includes clinical experience in patient settings beginning in the first year. As a reflection of osteopathic philosophy, the curriculum emphasizes preventive medicine and comprehensive patient care. Most medical schools do not enter clinical training until their third year, following two years of basic sciences and clinical text studies. SOMA students are unique in that they continue basic science and clinical curriculum studies while interacting with patients in community health centers (CHCs) throughout the United States.

“Our students work alongside CHC faculty and are able to diagnose, treat, and educate patients on disease and disease prevention,” said Douglas Wood, D.O., Ph.D., dean of SOMA. “We believe that we are the right medical school at the right time. Healthcare reform is now focusing on prevention and individuals at risk for chronic diseases, but prevention and wellness always have been our focus, and we are preparing tomorrow’s healthcare providers to advocate personal health responsibility and prevention. We are also serving a population of individuals who may be medically uninsured or underinsured.”

In addition, CHCs offer students the opportunity to learn about and participate in disease collaboratives. The National Center for Disease Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion put together collaboratives for treating chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. The collaboratives—so named because CHCs nationwide participate in the protocols—are proving to be cost-effective and show a reduction in the frequency of hospital visits for patients with these chronic diseases. The collaboratives also allow outreach to populations who may be disproportionately affected by these diseases.

ATSU focuses on wellness and prevention among their employees as well. ATSU offers employees a chance to take personal responsibility for their health while also receiving a discount on their health insurance premium through the Still Healthy program. Still Healthy not only comprises a reduction in monthly premiums, but employees are also eligible for an annual reimbursement for participating in the program. All employees agree to attend four educational health programs per year, complete an online health assessment, and be a non-smoker or participate in a smoking cessation program. Additionally, all participants agree to a wellness exam paid 100 percent by ATSU.

“We understand that healthcare reform will probably advocate personal responsibility for being healthy, and we are already implementing wellness incentives for our employees to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors,” said Tonya Watson, assistant director, human resources at ATSU in Arizona.

The recent addition of the East Valley Family YMCA on ATSU’s Arizona campus provides students, staff, and faculty with an added opportunity to focus on disease prevention and wellness. The YMCA opened October 24 and will partner with ATSU on programs that improve the health of ATSU employees and YMCA members.


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