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KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Future access to oral healthcare just became much brighter for Missouri’s most vulnerable populations, including the state’s uninsured, underinsured, and underserved populations of all ages.

The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) has announced that it will provide an initial $500,000 grant (beginning April 1, 2011) to A.T. Still University (ATSU) to help the University plan and develop a new and innovative dental branch program in Kirksville, Mo. Additional MFH funding (of approximately $2.5 million) has been requested by ATSU for its subsequent 2012 developmental/start-up phase and 2013 launch/implementation phase, contingent upon successful completion of the initial planning and development phase. ATSU expects to open its Missouri dental program with its first class of 40 to 50 students in fall 2013.

The four-year Missouri dental curriculum is being modeled after the highly successful and innovative dental program at ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) in Mesa, Ariz. The goal of ATSU’s new Missouri-based dental program is to educate and produce a whole new generation of community-minded dentists who will help fill oral health workforce gaps, including in Community Health Centers (CHCs) across the state.

Dr. Jack Magruder, ATSU president, states, “Adding the dental program to our ATSU Kirksville campus will not only enhance interprofessional education in our state, but provide meaningful oral health outcomes, especially among Missouri’s most vulnerable populations. With this generous support from MFH, we are confident that our dental program in Kirksville—involving local and other Missouri CHCs—will be highly successful and will help fulfill the missions of both ATSU and MFH.”

Missouri has a profound need for more oral healthcare providers. Currently the state ranks 47th in the nation in residents visiting a dentist, and 49th for children. The shortage of dentists in Missouri is already significant, and while the number of dentists steadily decreases, the population of the state continues to increase. Each year this dentist shortage grows, as evidenced by the disparity between the approximate number of dentists retiring (70) versus new dentists starting practice (45) in our state.

Beginning with the announcement of a feasibility study last September, the proposed plan to create a dental program on ATSU’s Kirksville campus has received widespread support. A concerned group of local citizens formed the Community Friends for ATSU Dental committee last fall, with the objective of raising the first $1 million in financial pledges. In about four months, this committee, co-chaired by Ranee Brayton and Larry Gardner, exceeded their goal by raising more than $1.1 million in gifts and pledges for the dental program from local individual donors, businesses, and organizations. This amount is especially significant given that the population base of Kirksville is slightly over 17,000.

Under the modified ASDOH instructional model, the first two pre-clinical years of the new dental program will be based on ATSU’s Kirksville campus, with the final two clinical years distributed among four or five Missouri-based CHC Regional Centers, including one in Kirksville. This evidence-based educational model is designed to maximize retention of graduates in Missouri CHCs. Graduates will earn the D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree and a certificate in Public Health, the latter in cooperation with ATSU’s Kirksville-based School of Health Management.

The initial MFH grant to ATSU will be used to help staff the dental branch campus in Kirksville and establish key educational partnerships with CHCs. President Magruder hopes to begin the process as soon as possible by hiring a vice dean to be based in Kirksville to develop and oversee the Missouri dental branch program under this initial award.

Adds President Magruder, “We are grateful for the tremendous support from MFH to assist in the development of the Kirksville-based ATSU dental project, which has the potential to transform dental education nationally.”

A philanthropic organization whose vision is to improve the health of the people in the communities it services, MFH was established in 2000 and is the largest nongovernmental funder of community health activities in Missouri.

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KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – The 2011 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges includes 31 A.T. Still University (ATSU) students who have been recognized as national outstanding campus leaders. Thirteen of ATSU’s Who’s Who students attend its Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) program, one attends KCOM’s master of biomedical sciences (M.S.) program, and seventeen are students of ATSU’s School of Health Management (SHM).

These students join an elite group of students from more than 2,000 institutions of higher learning in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several foreign nations.

Students with outstanding academic achievement, service to the community, leadership in extracurricular activities, and potential for continued success have been recognized in the annual directory since its first publication in 1934.

The KCOM D.O. students are Andrew Behunin, Katie Behunin, Bryan A. Campbell, William S. Cragun, Matthew S. Guy, Helena F. Hoff, Sheila Krishnan, Cassidy Leonard, Richard Limbert, Jonathan D. Parker, Adam M. Putschoegl, Bradley Scoggins, and Sarah Spriet.

The KCOM biomed student is Jennifer D. Bubel.

The SHM students are Malik Abdur-Razzaq, Melissa Y. Brock, David G. Burke, Terra R. Divine, Michele J. Doughty, Robert Gordon, Cherilyn M. Hendrix, LaToyia K. Johnson, Michael A. Lazzari, Brian J. Moore, Derval N. Petersen, Aundrea D. Pope, Dodds P. Simangan, Matthew W. Smith, Robbie A. South, Damon J. Thielen, and Kathleen M. Thomas.

ATSU will recognize these students at its 2011 Senior Awards Banquet in May.

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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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