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President’s Perspective – August 2013

President's Perpsective graphic

Perspective No. 6 – Meeting our mission

With each new graduating class, ATSU is making a statement. Since 1892 we’ve proclaimed a new paradigm in healthcare. Our students are learning it. Our graduates have earned it. Our alumni are experiencing it—and continuing to shape it. In celebration of our newest healthcare professionals (à la SHM and ASHS), let’s together make a statement that our nation’s healthcare system cannot ignore—our mission statement:

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences serves as a learning-centered university dedicated to preparing highly competent professionals through innovative academic programs with a commitment to continue its osteopathic heritage and focus on whole person healthcare, scholarship, community health, interprofessional education, diversity, and underserved populations.

We must remind ourselves daily of our mission, keeping the goal in sight. After all, it is a statement worth making.

Welcome, new Board of Trustees members

Each of us can be proud of the commitment and dedication demonstrated by our board members. Every 90 days, on average, our 18-member board leaves their work, families, and homes to offer guidance and shoulder the responsibilities of governing ATSU. This work is done without compensation and at their expense.

The board met in Newport, R.I., on July 26-27 to conduct its quarterly meeting, including selecting new members and appointing officers. The board welcomed five new trustees, ushering in a new era of diversity and opportunity. Please help me welcome new members:

Board members also honored Paul A. Lines, DDS, MS, for completing nine years of service—the maximum board term. Thank you, and congratulations, Dr. Lines, for being a steadfast supporter and contributor to ATSU.

Thanks also to Clyde H. Evans, PhD, for his two years of service as board chair. Thankfully, he will be around for several more years as a board member.

G. Scott Drew, DO, FAOCD, ’87, will serve as incoming chair; James Cannon, DHA, PA-C, MS, ’97, as vice chair; and Dorothy M. Munch, DO, ’85, as secretary. Congratulations.

Members named to serve on the Audit Team include: Robert W. Uhl, chair, of Paradise Valley, Ariz.; Stanley E. Grogg, DO, FACOP, FAAP, ’71, of Tulsa, Okla.; and James Cannon, DHA, PA-C, MS, ’97, of Chesapeake, Va.

These members will also continue their service on the board: Manuel C. Bedoya, DMD, Tucson, Ariz.; Daniel L. Biery, DO, FACOI, FACG, FASGE, ’72, Phelps, N.Y.; Reid W. Butler, JD, Phoenix, Ariz.; Chester W. Douglass, DMD, PhD, MPH, Newton, Mass.; Clyde H. Evans, PhD, Needham, Mass.; Robert L. King, JD, Lexington, Ky.; Isaac R. Navarro, DMD, ’08, Visalia, Calif.; and Ronald W. Winkler, Kirksville, Mo.

Faculty and staff will have several opportunities to meet new board members during gatherings on both campuses, Oct. 24-26 in Kirksville and January 2014 in Mesa.

Upcoming board meeting: Founder’s Day, Oct. 25-26, in Kirksville, Mo.

Strategic Plan focus 2013-14

Scholarly activity and research, learning-centered education, and University Advancement are areas of focus for the 2013-14 academic year.

Across academia, funding of scholarly activity and research has undergone, and will continue to undergo, tremendous change. ATSU has an opportunity to redefine and refine an appropriate plan for its size, mission, and vision.

Learning-centered education is integral to both ATSU’s mission statement and strategic plan. How do faculty, schools, and programs define and value this concept? How can the ATSU community better support this? These are questions to explore and answer together during the next year.

Moving from a “tuition driven” to a “mission driven” university will not be easy. ATSU’s board is committed to supporting advancement efforts and developing new revenue sources across both campuses, including new programs. Faculty and staff will be encouraged to offer ideas and participate in an “advancement culture change” through a series of discussions and initiatives facilitated by University Advancement.

Building upon 2012-13 faculty and staff input, continuing support of IPE, diversity, and the Center for Teaching and Learning will remain institutional priorities.

SHM commencement was held Saturday, July 13, in Baldwin Auditorium on the Truman State University campus in Kirksville. A total of 63 graduates received degrees, including master of health administration (nine), master of public health (13), master of public health – dental emphasis (26), and doctor of health education (15). A total of 17 graduates walked the stage. Seven students were inducted into the Upsilon Phi Delta honor society, while six students, one alumnus, one faculty member, and one honorary member were inducted into the Alpha Tau Sigma Upsilon honor society. The keynote speaker was Janice Probst, PhD, director, South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, University of South Carolina. Dr. Probst received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

SHM graduates and faculty following commencement

On Friday, Aug. 2, ASHS held its summer commencement ceremonies for online and residential students at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix. Graduates received degrees in human movement, occupational therapy, advanced physician assistant studies, audiology, doctor of health sciences, and physical therapy. A total of 132 online and 193 residential students earned ATSU degrees. Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, professor and chair, occupational therapy education, University of Kansas, was the keynote speaker at both ceremonies. Dr. Dunn received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Degree candidates at ASHS graduation

I sincerely thank all ATSU faculty, staff, and commencement volunteers who helped make these events successful and memorable.

White coat ceremonies

Summertime has been filled with white coat ceremonies on both campuses. A total of 483 students have earned white coats, including 62 DPTs (ASHS class of 2014), 64 PAs (ASHS class of 2015), 280 DOs (108 in SOMA’s class of 2017 and 172 in KCOM’s class of 2017), and 76 DMDs (ASDOH class of 2017). ASHS’ DPT and PA, as well as SOMA and ASDOH’s, white coat ceremonies were held July 15 at the Mesa Arts Center. KCOM’s ceremony was July 13 at Truman State University. Congratulations to all our students who have taken this symbolic step in their professions.

Steil, OMS I, and family at SOMA’s White Coat Ceremony

Faculty and staff accomplishments (as of July 31, 2013)

Congratulations on recent promotions:

Kudos on these accomplishments:

Well wishes to faculty and staff celebrating anniversary milestones:

25-year anniversary

15-year anniversary

10-year anniversary

L. James Bell, DDS, vice dean, ASDOH

5-year anniversary

ATSU supports fitness

Following Missouri Governor Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon’s ATSU visit July 18, I was fortunate to join him as a guest at a press event to promote the Governor’s 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at Thousand Hills State Park in Kirksville and hike more than one mile through the park. If you are interested in the Governor’s 100 Missouri Miles Challenge, you may find more information and sign up at

In Arizona, a fitness initiative is moving forward through the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association. ATSU will have an opportunity to participate through contributing ideas and best practices for a healthier Arizona.

Remember—ATSU promotes and rewards healthy lifestyle choices and fitness through employee incentive programs. Contact Human Resources for more information.

Dr. Phelps (left) supports Gov. Nixon as he promotes the Governor’s 100 Missouri Miles Challenge

Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health update

The Missouri campus’ Interprofessional Education and Dental School (IPEDS) building is complete and will host a sneak preview for donors Aug. 16. The grand opening is planned for Oct. 24. Be on the lookout for an email summarizing accreditation recommendations Aug. 8-9.


Wishing everyone a successful, rewarding academic year

As we begin the 2013-14 academic year at ATSU, thank you to all who make this a wonderful place to work and learn.

Yours in service,

Craig M. Phelps, DO


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