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Kirksville community celebrates MLK Day

On Jan.26, Truman State University’s Center for International Students, Center for Diversity Inclusion, and Center for Student Involvement; A.T. Still University (ATSU); the Missouri Statewide Committee; and the Kirksville Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee hosted an event commemorating MLK Day.

The event took place at Take Root Café in downtown Kirksville and included a celebration of unity, call to action, silent auction, bake sale, photo booth, arts and crafts, and yoga. In addition to the activities, students from A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health provided dental care tips for children attending the event.

Robert Jackson, DO, ’81, received the 2018 Medical Honoree Award from the Arthritis Foundation of Missouri. The award is presented annually to a member of the medical community who has dedicated his or her career to improving patient outcomes and reducing the suffering of those afflicted with arthritis.

Dr. Jackson is a rheumatologist in Kirksville, Missouri, and president and founder of Premier Specialty Network (PSN). PSN provides medical specialists to rural community and critical access hospitals where specialty care might not otherwise be available. PSN offers outreach specialists to hospitals in numerous states including Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Kentucky. Due to the shortage of rheumatologists in rural areas, Dr. Jackson also trains nurse practitioners in rheumatology and makes them available to numerous area hospitals through PSN.

Dr. Jackson currently sees patients in Hannibal, Macon, Milan, and Memphis, Missouri, as well as Bloomfield, Fairfield, Ottumwa, and Pella, Iowa. He previously served as associate dean of academic affairs, and chair and associate professor of internal medicine at A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

On Jan. 23, 25 students from A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) traveled to Jefferson City to advocate for the dental profession. MDA Legislative Day is organized by the Missouri Dental Association with the goal of maintaining positive relationships between legislators and the dental profession.

 “At this year’s Legislative Day, we paired up with dentists and met with Missouri senators and representatives to discuss a few changes we as students would like to see in our future profession,” says Lauren Friess, D2. “This year, we strongly advocated for dental licensure reform (eliminating the use of human subjects in clinical licensure exams) as well as Medicaid expansion.”

On Thursday, Nov. 8, A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health’s Joan M. Davis, PhD, RDH, presented “Tobacco Cessation on the Clinic Floor,” an internationally streamed webinar on tobacco treatment in the clinical setting. With 20 years of research and work in tobacco cessation and education, Dr. Davis presented practical strategies for clinical faculty to incorporate smoking cessation into students’ treatment planning and comprehensive care.

Dr. Davis was invited by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) to create and present the one-hour program as a part of the ADEA eLearn webinar series. The presentation is available on ADEA’s website. In addition to the presentation, Dr. Davis provides an open-access Tobacco Free! Curriculum© located at

“It was an honor to be chosen by ADEA to present on this extremely important topic,” says Dr. Davis. “Though clinicians know that smoking harms the body, the patient’s chief complaint often becomes the focus of care when it is often the toxins in tobacco smoke that caused or aggravated the presenting condition. I strongly advocate for tobacco treatment to be a part of any treatment plan for tobacco users.”

Bruce Young, PhD, professor of anatomy at A.T. Still University (ATSU), recently had his study on tonic immobility in alligators published in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Tonic immobility causes alligators to become unconscious for a short period of time as a result of being turned onto their back. Dr. Young and colleagues James Adams, DO, Solomon Segal, MD, and Tatyana Kondrashova, MD, PhD, observed tonic immobility in alligators while monitoring the reactions in the circulatory system using Doppler ultrasonography and MRI. The study recently received recognition in Psychology Today.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH), Affinia Healthcare, and St. Louis Community College provided free dental care to veterans at the St. Louis Dental Education and Oral Health Center.

Veterans who served in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines received care. A total of 69 veterans attended. The dental care provided included 59 limited exams, 46 panoramic X-rays, nine periapical X-rays, 23 extractions, two prophy and floride treatments, and two denture adjustments.
Several patients will receive follow-up care at the St. Louis Dental Center and at the dental hygiene program at St. Louis Community College.

ATSU-MOSDOH Dean Dwight McLeod, DDS, MS, and Vice Dean for Clinical Education, Operations, and Community Partnerships Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, were among the more than 100 volunteers who helped at the Veteran’s Day event.

“This event has been a huge success not only in terms of the services and oral health education provided to area veterans but in bringing ATSU-MOSDOH, Affinia Healthcare, and St. Louis Community College together in a great cause, giving back to our veterans and our community,” says Dr. Jain.

On Oct. 31, A.T. Still University (ATSU) exceeded its goal of raising $10,000 for the 2019 Northeast Missouri United Way Campaign.

With a mission to serve the community, the United Way of Northeast Missouri supports 13 partner organizations, including Adair County 4-H Council, Kirk-Tran, Adair County Family YMCA, North Central Missouri Chapter-American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Boy Scouts-Great Rivers Council, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, Macon Diversified Industries, Community Opportunities Sheltered Workshop, Hospice of Northeast Missouri, Victim Support Services, NEMO Senior Citizens Nutrition Program, and Heartland RSVP.

The overall goal for the 2019 United Way Campaign is $170,000. To date, more than $85,000 has been raised. The Northeast Missouri Campaign will continue through November.

“Thanks to everyone at ATSU who graciously gave and supported our fund drive. We raised a total of $12,871,” says Trish Sexton, ATSU United Way Campaign chairman. “I am pleased to be a part of such a caring and giving institution.”

Downey poses for a picture

Gerald R. “Reid” Downey III

City: Atlanta, Georgia

Education: Georgia Institute of Technology

Background: Downey serves as president of GRD3 Properties and limited partner and investment adviser to Cultivation Capital. He is a regular mentor, speaker, and presenter at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business for graduate and undergraduate programs. He also serves as a mentor and teacher to the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team on topics including education, career planning, and personal financial management.

Kuhn poses for a picture

Herb B. Kuhn

City: Jefferson City, Missouri

Education: Emporia State University

Background: Kuhn is president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA). In addition to ATSU’s Board of Trustees, he serves on the boards of Healthcare Services Group, Missouri Health Plan, Missouri Health Connection, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows. Prior to joining MHA, Kuhn served in roles with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including director of the Center for Medicare Management, deputy administrator of CMS, and acting administrator and acting director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations.

Universities must evolve to meet the changing needs of students and society. Growth and progress stem from new and creative ideas. At ATSU, innovative ideas are a core element of our mission and lead to important advances in research, teaching, and learning.

In this issue of Still Magazine, we take a closer look at how innovation is transforming ATSU’s curricula and how it is benefitting students and faculty. In addition, the family of Natalie Beissel, DO, MS, ’16, shares her story while promoting domestic violence awareness and education. You will also learn about the renovation to the Thompson Campus Center, a new program from ATSU’s Area Health Education Center, and the 2018 Missouri Mission of Mercy dental clinic.

ATSU’s progress and accomplishments are a direct result of dedicated alumni, faculty, staff, and students. Thank you for your inventive ideas and unwavering commitment as we continue to advance the University.

ATSU-SOMA holds first culinary medicine workshop

As part of its Osteopathic Wellness Lifestyle (OWL) program, ATSU-SOMA held its first culinary medicine workshop Tuesday, June 5, on the Mesa, Arizona, campus. Student participants learned to blend culinary arts with researched-based medical science to treat and prevent many chronic diseases.

“It has made me more aware of the effects diet has on health,” says Benjamin Jiao, OMS II. “I plan to apply this knowledge by incorporating more detailed nutritional advice into treatment plans where appropriate.”

In addition to nutrition, the OWL program covers many topics in lifestyle medicine such as exercise, sleep, and stress management. It addresses the overwhelming rates of physician depression and lifestyle imbalance, while promoting wellness and self-care. Students are encouraged to approach patients with an emphasis on wellness, rather than disease.