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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Kirksville, Mo.– On Feb. 11, 2013, A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) joined almost 60 medical schools and institutions from across North America in taking a stand for humanism in medicine by observing the third Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care.

This year, 23 first- and second- year osteopathic medical students from ATSU-KCOM visited Schuyler County Elementary School to mentor 55 sixth-graders on bullying, self-esteem, and achievement. This project, Leadership, Education, Ambition, Respect, No Limits (LEARN), was created so that kids could have positive role models who encourage them to not give up on their dreams. Through small group discussions and activities, the students learned about building trust and understanding and were encouraged to make goals for the future. All of the sixth-graders signed an anti-bullying pledge.

The LEARN project was created by ATSU-KCOM students Karrie Brondell, OMS II; Sarah Folks, OMS II; Jessica Lapinski, OMS Il;  and Meaghan Raney, OMS II, representing the National Osteopathic Women Physicians Association, Pediatrics Club, United Nations Children’s Fund, and Osteopathic Pride and Service Committee.

GHHS Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care was initiated after the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz. to honor the humanistic actions of Randall Friese, MD, the trauma surgeon who first treated shooting victim Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Dr. Friese said the most important thing he did for Congresswoman Giffords in the emergency room was to take her hand and tell her that she would be cared for.

 To honor that spirit of caring, the GHHS of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation created GHHS Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care, where medical schools and healthcare institutions across North America create and undertake projects demonstrating the importance of empathy and compassion in patient care.

 GHHS is an international initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation comprised of more than 15,000 medical students, faculty, and administrators recognized for practicing compassionate, patient-centered care. GHHS maintains a networked community which shares ideas, resources, and support to sustain and advocate for humanism in medicine.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundationworks to improve healing and healthcare outcomes by restoring the balance between the cutting-edge science of medicine and compassionate, patient-centered care.


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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. Joseph Novinger

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Joseph Novinger, DO, has been named interim chair of the Department of Family Medicine at A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM). Dr. Novinger is a Kirksville native and a 1989 graduate of ATSU-KCOM. He is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Practice.

Dr. Novinger has an active practice in Kirksville with the Northeast Missouri Health Council, Inc., and is an assistant professor of family medicine at ATSU-KCOM.

He replaced Margaret Wilson, DO, on May 1. Dr. Wilson now serves as dean of ATSU-KCOM.


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Dr. Craig Phelps

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – A.T. Still University President-designate Craig Phelps, DO, has been named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2012 Most Admired CEOs and Top-Level Executives.

Dr. Phelps was chosen as one of the Phoenix-area’s 25 most admired executives based on past achievements and ongoing outstanding leadership. Consistent values, vision, solid decision-making, and commitment to quality were among the criteria for this award. He was recently recognized at the 4th Annual Most Admired CEOs & Top-Level Executives Awards Dinner, which recognizes honorees for passion, inspiration, and motivation in their work and community.

Dr. Phelps currently serves as executive vice president for strategic initiatives and will assume the position of president following President Jack Magruder’s retirement July 1. Dr. Phelps is a 1984 graduate of A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Medicine and became provost of ATSU’s Arizona campus to develop ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (Arizona’s first dental school), and School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.

Dr. Phelps is the primary care physician for the Phoenix Suns.


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