Wright Center for Graduate Medical EducationA.T. Still University


New model addresses America’s shortage of primary care physicians and changes in federal funding for medical training

Mesa, AZ: February 19, 2013 – The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education (Scranton, PA) more than $4 million to launch a national family-medicine residency program in partnership with A.T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (Mesa, AZ). The groundbreaking multi-state, centrally run medical residency program will place up to 29 medical school graduates per year over three years (87 graduates) in community health centers around the country as part of a residency program in family medicine.

The new program is a potential model for residency programs across the country in that it addresses two of the nation’s most pressing healthcare challenges — the shortage of primary care physicians trained to work with America’s most vulnerable populations and the potential changes in federal funding which may leave thousands of new doctors without a place to complete their training.

The program’s objective is to create a pipeline of doctors trained to work with underserved rural and urban populations and in team-based practices that emphasize keeping entire communities healthy. With research showing that new doctors tend to practice in the communities where they have done their residencies, there is a glaring need to create opportunities for residents to train in these communities.

Unlike most residency programs, which both take place in and are managed by individual hospitals or medical centers, the Wright Center-ATSU collaboration will be a multi-state but centrally run effort spread among healthcare organizations in five states — Arizona, Ohio, Oregon, New York and Washington – and the District of Columbia.  The residency program will deliver an innovative curriculum with a strong community focus combined with comprehensive training and unique opportunities.

Applications for the new residency program are currently being reviewed. The 29 residents chosen to participate in the first year of the national family-medicine residency program will be divided among six community health centers located in medically underserved areas. The learning centers are the Virginia Garcia Memorial Healthcare Center (Hillsboro, OR), Lutheran Family Health Centers(Brooklyn, NY), HealthSource of Ohio (Milford, OH), HealthPoint (Renton, WA), the El Rio Community Health Center (Tucson, AZ) and Unity Health Care (Washington, DC).

Said Thomas McWilliams, DO, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at A. T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), who helped develop the program, “Residents will receive the benefits of modern ambulatory training coupled with carefully selected hospital training experiences using an innovative, nationally-accredited residency curriculum led and supervised by The Wright Center and A. T. Still University.”

He continued, “These residencies will serve as a model for a new paradigm for training physicians to function effectively within a rapidly evolving healthcare system.  Physicians trained in these programs will become leaders in shaping medicine in this country and will be a force to improve the health of individual patients as well as the overall health of their communities.”

Said Wright Center President and CEO Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD, “Since 2011, The Wright Center has acted as a teaching health center GME consortium spreading our rich tradition of academic excellence in an educational infrastructure throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. We are privileged to have the opportunity — through collaboration with A.T. Still University of Health Sciences’ Schoolof Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona — to nationalize our efforts.”

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About The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education
The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education (WCGME) is an independent 501(C) (3) not-for-profit ACGME/AOA-accredited residency sponsoring institution. The Wright Center’s dual mission is to provide excellence in Graduate Medical Education (GME) in an innovative and collaborative spirit in order to deliver high quality, evidence-based and patient-centered care. The organization was founded in 1976 in Scranton,Pennsylvania, to promote professional healthcare self-renewal and continuous quality enhancement of our regional community’s healthcare delivery system through GME. As a testimonial to its community-driven mission governance, the Wright Center is proudly recognized as the most significant regional primary care manpower renewal force and has 260 graduates, including 160 practicing primary care physicians. For more information visitwww.thewrightcenter.org.

About A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU)
Founded in 1892 and the country’s first osteopathic medical school, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) has grown into a comprehensive graduate health education institution with campuses in Mesa, Az., and Kirksville, Mo., as well as a broad range of distance-learning programs. ATSU offers graduate degrees in 14 healthcare disciplines, including osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, bioscience, public health, audiology and physical and occupational therapy. In keeping with its nonprofit mission to care for those with little or no access to healthcare, ATSU trains students to work in rural, inner-city and other underserved communities. For more information visit www.atsu.edu.

About ATSU School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA)
More than an osteopathic medical school, A. T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) is a team of clinicians, educators, and students who share a passion and commitment for whole person healthcare. Established in 2006, its unique curriculum integrates clinical presentation and extensive clinical experience into a relevant and applicable program of study. For more information visit www.atsu.edu/soma.

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Media Contacts:

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education
Brian Ebersole
570.343.2383, ext. 2311

A. T. Still University of Health Sciences
Alix Friedman
Linden Alschuler & Kaplan


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MESA, Ariz. – A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) hosted its second annual Day for Special Smiles in late November, providing dental care to people with developmental disabilities, including athletes from Special Olympics Arizona. An astounding 45 patients needing extra dental attention were given oral healthcare free of cost.

Day for Special Smiles is an expansion from the pilot program that was launched in 2011. Fall 2012 marked a full-fledged launch by 30 ATSU-ASDOH students, key faculty members, and generous organizations and donors. ATSU-ASDOH students organized screenings where individuals with developmental disabilities were evaluated and recommended for the Day for Special Smiles initiative.

Unique initiatives like this are especially critical for this population as dentistry is not a covered service. Most patients have Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, so many do not have the financial means to get care. As a result, these individuals suffer from untreated oral diseases.

It was the interaction with one of the patients, Quincy Jones, that particularly touched Abrahim Caroci, D4, clinic director, Special Olympics Special Smiles Arizona.

“His happiness and positive attitude, despite the fact that he was in pain and in need of extensive dental care, touched my heart,” said Caroci. “Interactions such as this are a constant reminder of the many challenges the underserved face every day and the pain a special smile can be hiding. It also reminds me of the role we can play to improve their overall health and quality of life.”

Special guests included Cindy McCain, chair, Hensley & Co., ambassador, 2013 Special Olympics World Games in Pyeongchang, Korea; Steven P. Perlman, DDS, MScD, DHL (hon.), founder, Special Olympics Special Smiles, an oral health Initiative for the athletes of Special Olympics International; Tim Martin, president and CEO, Special Olympics Arizona; and Larry Clausen; executive director, Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

“We are excited by the win-win situation of this event. Our students get a great opportunity to meet and treat our special patients in a real-life service learning model, and folks who really need it the most get some very necessary dental care,” said Maureen Romer, DMD, associate professor, director, Special Care Dentistry.

Generous organizations and donors who helped make the Day for Special Smiles possible include Arizona Dental Foundation, Arizona Department of Economic Security Division of Developmental Disabilities, Arizona Department of Health Services—Office of Oral Health, Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, Delta Dental of Arizona, Special Olympics Arizona, and ValleyLife.

“This was a rewarding day for the faculty, as well as the students involved,” said Denise Frances, DMD, associate director of Special Care Dentistry. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer dental care to this vulnerable population. Not only would the majority of the Day for Special Smiles patients have difficulty affording the dental care they received, many would be unable to find providers skilled to treat them.”

A photo gallery from the Day for Special Smiles 2012 is available at the official ATSU Facebook page.


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KIRKSVILLE, Mo.- The Museum of Osteopathic MedicineSM and A.T. Still Research Institute at A.T. Still University have received the Advocates for the American Osteopathic Association (AAOA) Special Project’s Grant.

The Museum of Osteopathic MedicineSM and the A.T. Still Research Institute (SRI) were awarded $2,000 for “The Legacy Project,” who purpose to systematically capture video-recordings and stories from osteopathic physicians and researchers whose careers significantly impacted the osteopathic profession through their leadership, clinical skill, teaching, mentorship, and research.

In 2011, the Cranial Academy Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to the museum and SRI to preserve the stories, documents, and other meaningful information regarding the work of Dr. Viola M. Frymann.

In early October, at the American Osteopathic Association’s annual conference in San Diego, Jason Haxton, museum director, met with three of the AAOA grant selection committee members. He was informed the museum’s work in preserving the history of the profession was unmatched, and it was with pride they supported the museum’s projects – this being the fifth grant the museum received from the AAOA.

“This grant from the AAOA Special Project committee will help further along our goal of collecting the history of those osteopathic physicians and researchers who have enriched the future of osteopathy,” says Debra Loguda-Summers, project director.

The AAOA Special Projects Committee awarded $12,000 to 12 different projects this year that aimed to support the osteopathic profession – the museum received the highest funding level.


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KIRKSVILLE, Mo.- A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association (KOAA) Board of Directors presented its legendary awards on Oct. 9, 2012, at the annual KOAA Luncheon and Assembly meeting. It was held in conjunction with the American Osteopathic Association Convention in San Diego, Calif.

Larry A. Wickless, DO, MACOI, ’67, of Sarasota, Fla., was selected as Alumnus of the Year for 2012. Dr. Wickless served nine years on the Board of Trustees for ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) and is a past recipient of the KOAA Distinguished Service Award.

Toni R. Patterson, DO, FAOCA, ‘79 of Town and Country, Mo., was honored with the Living Tribute Award. Dr. Patterson is an adjunct associate professor for surgery at ATSU-KCOM. She has held many positions with the University, including chair of surgery, associate dean for faculty affairs, and chair of Anesthesiology.

Orin B. Mock, PhD, of Kirksville, Mo., is a recipient of the KOAA Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Mock is emeritus professor of anatomy at ATSU-KCOM and became an honorary member of KOAA in 1997.

Janet Bunch, of Kirksville, Mo., is also the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award. Bunch has served ATSU for over 42 years, with 30 of those years serving as director of alumni relations. Her responsibilities included assisting the KOAA and its Board of Directors. She worked with the board to expand membership, establish the KOAA-KCOM Education Program Fund, and develop and complete the Thompson Campus Center. Bunch now works in Student Affairs as student affairs generalist.

Jeff L. Summe, DO, FAOASM, ’87, of Sun Valley, Idaho, also received a Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Summe is a continuous supporter of the University and has served on the KOAA board for many years. He established two endowments to provide long-term sustainability for ATSU.

Connie Blood, of Alexandria, Va., was awarded an Honorary KOAA Membership. Blood has served the osteopathic profession as a wife, office support staff, and fundraiser for ATSU-KCOM for nearly four decades.

Patricia Deloss McWilliams, of Carefree, Ariz., is another recipient of an Honorary KOAA Membership. McWilliams is a graduate of Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University). She donated her painting, “The Healing Touch” to the University, which depicts Dr. A.T. Still’s compassionate provision of healthcare. Copies of the portrait are displayed on the Missouri campus. McWilliams and her husband, Thomas E. McWilliams, DO, ’76, associate dean, graduate medical education, established The Healing Touch Fund to assist ATSU-KCOM and ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona students and their families experiencing a health crisis.

Sheridan C. Patterson, of Stilwell, Okla., was also awarded an Honorary KOAA Membership. Patterson has demonstrated her support and commitment to ATSU-KCOM through generous financial support and continued interest in progress made by the University. She is a past recipient of the KOAA Distinguished Service Award and a member of the Legacy Society, Still Society, and A.T. Still Founder Lifetime Giving Club.

Nandor J. Uray, PhD, of Kirksville, Mo., was also honored with an Honorary KOAA Membership. Dr. Uray recently retired as a professor of anatomy at ATSU-KCOM. During his 31 years of teaching, he also pursued studies that focused on the effect of hormones and alcohol on brain development. Dr. Uray served as the acting chair for anatomy and awarded the 2009-2010 A.T. Still Staff Award.


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Dr. Halliday

Chris Halliday, DDS, MPH

Kirksville, Mo.– Christopher Halliday, DDS, MPH, dean, ATSU Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health, has been appointed to the State of Missouri’s student loan authority. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Dr. Halliday on Aug. 27 to serve on the board for the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).

Prior to becoming dean at ATSU-MOSDOH, Dr. Halliday served as chief of staff for the U.S. surgeon general and chief dental officer for the U.S. Public Health Service. He is also a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Dr. Halliday’s term on the MOHELA board ends Oct. 22, 2013. He will begin serving immediately but will need confirmation by the Missouri Senate when lawmakers return to the Capitol.


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