Missouri Governor Jay Nixon presents a letter of endorsement to ATSU President Jack Magruder.

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon supports a Kirksville location for the new dental school proposed by A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, which has been asked by three groups based in Southern California, Central Florida, and Missouri to consider bringing its very successful and highly innovative dentistry program to those regions. ATSU is actively exploring these options, including the possibility of opening a dental school in Kirksville, Mo.

In a letter presented to ATSU President Jack Magruder, Gov. Nixon cites six reasons for endorsing the school’s Kirksville location:

  • ATSU’s long and honorable Missouri tradition,
  • Its training of quality physicians who promote healthcare and well-being of Missouri’s citizens,
  • The health benefit of Missouri’s citizens and its economy,
  • Increased academic excellence for Missouri’s community health centers and graduates who practice in the state,
  • The capital investment and additional faculty will create long- and short-term jobs, and
  • To continue Dr. A.T. Still’s pioneering legacy.

“As Governor of the state of Missouri, I am proud to have A.T. Still University of Health Sciences in my state,” said Gov. Nixon. “I heartily endose Kirksville to be the location of a second dental school.”

Added Dr. Magruder, “We are grateful for the endorsement of the Governor for locating our dental school in Kirksville, and we greatly appreciate his continuing support of education in the state of Missouri.”

ATSU is currently completing a formal feasibility study on the dental school proposal to be completed before its next board meeting in February 2011.


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Henry Trahan, Au.D.; Tabitha Parent-Buck, Au.D.; and Thomas G. Rigo, Ph.D.

Thomas G. Rigo, Ph.D., associate professor, ATSU-ASHS Audiology program, was recently presented with The Academy of Doctors of Audiology’s (ADA) Joel Wernick Award at the ADA conference held in San Antonio, Texas, November 4-6. The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding educational contributions within the professions of audiology or hearing science. Dr. Rigo was nominated by audiology’s graduating class.

The award honors Joel Wernick, Ph.D., who was an active supporter of the ADA from its inception. He was a prominent scientist, teacher, author and industry executive that exemplified service through his commitment to dispense education and his willingness to share his own knowledge for the benefit of his peers and the profession.

Knowing early on that he had a passion for teaching and introducing students to audiology, Dr. Rigo has taught and administered audiology programs at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and ATSU-ASHS for more than 25 years. In addition to his work in the classroom and the clinic, Dr. Rigo has published in numerous scholarly journals and presented extensively in the areas of auditory processing disorders, aural rehabilitation, and multi-modal perception of speech. He is also a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Rigo also serves on the Arizona Licensing Committee for Hearing Aid Dispensers, Audiologists, and Speech Language Pathologists.

Graduating audiology students said this of Dr. Rigo in their nomination letter: “There is no one else we can point to who has influenced the development of so many future audiologists or has done it with more joy, energy, and passion than Dr. Rigo. He exemplifies the true spirit of audiology in everything he does for the profession. The award would recognize both his long-standing and continuing commitment to excellence as an educational leader and his role as an active and vocal advocate of the Doctor of Audiology degree.”

In 2002, Dr. Rigo was appointed to the Department of Audiology at ATSU-ASHS. He stepped into a role that would allow him to assist with the development of an accredited audiology program from the ground up. Today, the ATSU Audiology program is one of the top residential Au.D. programs in the country. Since the first class of Au.D. students at ATSU-ASHS matriculated, Dr. Rigo has been voted the Outstanding Teacher of the Year, every year. Dr. Rigo was selected because of his unmatched ability to adapt to each student’s learning style.

“Dr. Rigo is a highly dedicated professional with a dynamic teaching method, whose effective communication abilities and classroom activities have an exceptional way of promoting understanding, motivating students to learn, and reinforcing students’ knowledge and skills,” said Tabitha Parent Buck, Au.D., associate professor and chair, audiology. “In spite of his gifts, he is humble and approachable and enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge with others, particularly his students.”

Dr. Rigo has been described by students and colleagues as an “exemplary professor, colleague, and audiologist. He stands out from other professionals in his contribution to teaching and advocating for audiology. His joy, enthusiasm, and drive for the profession are infectious and others should look to him for inspiration in how to succeed in their careers and lives.”

Dr. Rigo has been a pioneer of the audiology profession since beginning his studies in Communication Disorders more than 30 years ago. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in communicative disorders and audiology from Florida State University.


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GetEducated.com, an online education consumer group that ranks online universities for cost and credibility, released its national online graduate school rankings of the most affordable online public health and healthcare schools.

The reviewers ranked A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU), with campuses in Kirksville, Mo., and Mesa, Ariz., as the No. 6 and No. 15 most affordable online degree for graduate students seeking a healthcare education. Online students nationwide will pay approximately $13,480 for an advanced master of science in physician assistant studies from ATSU.

GetEducated’s online education review team uncovered that the average cost for a regionally accredited online healthcare master’s, including tuition and distance education fees, is $21,652.

The online education research firm’s “Best Buy” degree rankings for online healthcare master’s are based on a review of 34 regionally accredited graduate schools that offer 58 different distance healthcare master’s.

ATSU’s online master of public health (M.P.H.) program also earned a Top 10 ranking. The M.P.H. program ranked No. 9 in affordability on GetEducated.com’s list of Top 12 Ranked Affordable Online Public Health Degrees.

The online public health master’s degree affordability rankings are based on a review of 18 regionally accredited graduate schools online that offer 27 online master of public health degrees.

GetEducated ranks and reviews 139 online healthcare degrees from accredited graduate schools ranging from prestigious bricks and mortar schools, such as Johns Hopkins University, to newly established online health education programs from Internet-only colleges, such as Western Governor’s University.


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A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) will light up the Kirksville nighttime landscape on November 8.

ATSU is holding a community celebration for the renovation of Kirksville’s iconic downtown water tower. The event will be held in the parking lot near the Tinning Education Center and Connell Center on the ATSU campus off Jefferson St. This location allows the community to witness the enhanced lighting of the newly painted structure bearing the A.T. Still University name.

“This water tower has long been a landmark for the ATSU campus in Kirksville, and I think its fresh makeover appropriately reflects the medical school’s growing stature in the nation,” said Kirkville Mayor Todd Kuhns.

The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and the lighting will be live on KTVO at 6:10 p.m.  Light refreshments will be provided.

“The collaboration between A.T. Still University and the city of Kirksville continues to be outstanding,” ATSU President Jack Magruder said. “Kirksville is as much a part of the ATSU community as ATSU is a part of the Kirksville community, and this water tower lighting is symbolic of that wonderful relationship.”


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A. T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) has recently published Dr. Max, a book on Max T. Gutensohn, D.O.  Dr. Max, as he was affectionately called locally and throughout the osteopathic profession, taught and practiced medicine in Kirksville for nearly 50 years. Revered by everyone who had the chance to meet or to learn from him, Dr. Max made a lasting impression with his humble and wise demeanor and his commitment to patients, students, and the osteopathic medical profession.  Dr. Max, who died in 2002, was known nationwide as an osteopathic icon and widely recognized for his superb diagnostic skills.  He received numerous prestigious awards and honors throughout his career and served as the president of ATSU in 1983-84.

Dr. Max, is a collection of his reflections on a variety of subjects from osteopathic manipulation, to his tremor, to golf, and even to Ernest Hemingway.  It also includes stories and tributes written by those who loved and admired him.  The collection paints a picture of a man who, despite his physical disabilities, rose to the top of his profession.  Glimpses of his dedication, brilliance, gentleness, compassion, and superb diagnostic skills, as well as his sense of humor, appear throughout the collection.

One of the tributes in the book is by Dr. Jack Magruder, president of ATSU: “When I was just a kid, we lived on East Jefferson, several blocks from A. T. Still University.  My father was very ill and had been for two or three years, and Dr. Max was his physician.  Dad couldn’t get to the doctor’s office easily, so Dr. Max would come to my house, carry his black bag, treat my father, talk to him, and encourage him.  All of us in the family—I was probably in junior high—had such admiration for Dr. Max, this physician who would come to our house and take care of our father.  We thought he was next to God.  And then, lo and behold, I found out later when my dad was gone and I am old that actually he probably was next to God in the way people viewed him.”

The book, edited by Phyllis Blondefield, Ph.D., is available at the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine on the campus of ATSU.  Proceeds from the sale of the book go toward the Gutensohn/SGA Student Endowed Emergency Grant Fund.


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