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Continuing Dr. A.T. Still’s public health legacy

By ATSU-CGHS faculty members:
Marsha Presley, PhD, MPH
Mary-Katherine McNatt, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH, COI
Jaana Gold, DDS, PhD, MPH, CPH

A.T. Still, DO, lived by example. As a pioneer of his time, Dr. Still was a public health advocate. A strong proponent of preventive medicine and public health, his focus was on helping the underserved and striving to ensure betterment and quality of life through improved medical techniques, prevention methods, recognizing and improving health inequities, as well as through his advocacy work in the Kansas
Territorial State Legislature.

Today at ATSU, we proudly continue Dr. Still’s legacy through our university’s mission of “… commitment to continue its osteopathic heritage and focus on whole person healthcare, scholarship, community health, interprofessional education, diversity, and underserved populations.” During the pandemic, ATSU stood out as an exemplary model. We stood together to protect our campuses, students, and patients. While it was prudent to mask, we mandated mask use on campus. The administration moved quickly to provide resources to require nonclinical personnel to work from home. They granted additional days off to help us make that transition with our families, even though we had less patient revenue during the height of the pandemic. ATSU-CGHS’ instructional designers helped our clinical schools make the transition to virtual learning.

Students, faculty, and staff also worked off campus to educate and advocate. Many of our clinical faculty, staff, and students volunteered at vaccine pods, including one for underserved populations at an elementary school clinic run by Corbin’s Legacy in partnership with ATSU. Other faculty and staff passionately advocated for community mask mandates and promoted COVID-19 vaccinations, even while
facing threats to their safety.

However, our work and sacrifices are not yet done. COVID-19 continues to mutate, and the new variants are so infectious that infections can be passed on, even in outdoor crowds. The current variants can evade the vaccines and immunity from even recent infections. Hospitals are once again overrun and overwhelmed. We must stay vigilant – and masked – to continue to protect ourselves and others.


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