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President’s Perspective – April 2018

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Future-focused learning

Innovation is alive and well at ATSU. Dating back to the University’s launch, starting with the American School of Osteopathy in 1892, innovation has been critical to succeeding. Student and faculty academic environments, ATSU’s Teaching and Learning Center, and patient care centers offer opportunities for cross-generational idea exchanges, scholarly activity, partnerships with public and private organizations, and interprofessional collaboration.

We are very thankful and proud of our faculty and staff willing to embrace new ideas and innovations. During recent dinners with ATSU students and graduates, I became familiar with how they learn together and individually. In keeping with the University’s Mission Statement, which encourages a learning-centered educational environment, many faculty, staff, and deans have worked together to incorporate technology and active learning into classrooms and labs. Our students greatly appreciate having various options to fit their learning preferences and lifestyles.

In this issue, you will find a link to ideas submitted for ATSU 2142, a 125th anniversary project. Additional ideas continue to arrive and are included in the linked list. Please feel free to send me your comments and additional ideas. The listed items also provide a nidus for ATSU’s future strategic planning.

2017-2018 focus areas

Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation preparation 

ATSU’s HLC Steering Committee continues preparation for this year’s site visit in November. Thank you, Ann Boyle, DMD, MA, associate vice president, academic affairs, and everyone collaborating on this important endeavor.

Information technology

Security, planning, and budgeting remain priorities in the ever changing and challenging IT landscape. The University’s IT team and related committees are actively engaged in supporting academics and services.

ATSU patient care centers

Norman Gevitz, PhD, senior vice president, academic affairs, continues working with deans from ATSU-KCOM, ATSU-SOMA, ATSU-ASHS, ATSU-ASDOH, and ATSU-MOSDOH to develop best practice guidelines, effective patient experience surveys, and University branding and marketing.

ATSU’s next 125 years

Healthcare and health professions education continue to develop at a rapid pace. To remain relevant and successful, ATSU will need to provide students, faculty, and staff opportunities to learn, innovate, and develop skills necessary to succeed today and in the future. ATSU’s core professional attributes help students build a foundation based on critical thinking, cultural proficiency, interprofessional collaboration, interpersonal skills, and social responsibility.

Ideas submitted to ATSU 2142 by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and stakeholders span a wide range of topics including nanotechnology, roles of current and future healthcare providers, continued emphasis on osteopathic tenets and philosophy, disease prevention, wellness, and improving our students’ campus and virtual experiences.

Congratulations once again to Brandi Buchanan, OTD, OTR/L, program researcher and adjunct associate professor, winner of the iPhoneX drawing. Please view all ideas for ATSU 2142 (PDF).

Cultural proficiency initiative

Cultural proficiency is essential to becoming a successful healthcare provider, student, faculty member, or staff member, and is a core professional attribute and strategic plan goal. To assist with developing cultural proficiency, ATSU recently completed its first comprehensive cultural proficiency climate study.

Three themes emerged from the study.

  1. Overall, ATSU students, faculty, and staff thought highly of the University as a place to learn and work.
  2. ATSU will need to continue providing additional educational opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to further communicate policies, procedures, and practices. Our University community members deserve continued easy access to resources and services guaranteeing their rights and safety.
  3. Acceptance and inclusion are essential to developing cultural proficiency and provide a strong foundation for individuals and ATSU to build on successfully.

Clinton Normore, MBA, associate vice president, diversity & inclusion, and Annlee Burch, PT, EdD, MPH, vice dean, ATSU-ASHS, will continue guiding our cultural proficiency initiative to assure ATSU remains a great place to learn and work. For more information, please view the complete study and results.

ATSU-SOMA accreditation visit

ATSU-SOMA’s site visit from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) was held Jan. 17-19. We are happy to report the School received Accreditation with Exceptional Outcomes, granting 10 years of reaccreditation. Thank you to Dean Jeffrey Morgan, DO, FACOI, and his team for their hard work.

125th community project updates

Many community projects have taken place throughout the academic year. Below is a list of the projects completed and those still in progress.

ATSU-KCOM: Mental health awareness and outreach

The project sponsored the Kevin Hines presentation about mental health and suicide prevention at Truman State University on Tuesday, March 27.

ATSU-MOSDOH: Dentures for veterans

The project is continuing in St. Louis and Kirksville. To date, 39 veterans have received dentures free of charge.

ATSU-CGHS: Corbin’s Legacy back-to-school health fair

The health fair was held Wednesday, Sept. 27, and provided Title I elementary school children with medical, dental, vision, and hearing screenings. It also provided treatments and referrals, as well as school supplies and food and clothing gift cards.

ATSU-ASDOH: Community dental event with CARE partnership

On Saturday, Nov. 11, the event provided dental screenings, dental cleanings, dental sealants, fluoride varnish applications, silver diamine applications, and dental education.

ATSU-ASHS: Ramping up quality of life

A home access ramp was built for a retired veteran on Saturday, Nov. 11, and the Falls Prevention appreciation gala was hosted on Wednesday, April 4.

ATSU-SOMA: Nutrition and health awareness

As part of its community project, the School held the ATSU Family FitFEST on Friday, May 18, on the Arizona campus. Students in ATSU’s medical, dental, and health professions programs taught nutrition and health lessons for children of all ages. In addition, student volunteers are leading a nutrition and health awareness program for kids at Superstition Springs Elementary School.

Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association

The project will provide upgrades to Circle the City Family Medicine Clinic and convert a procedure room to an osteopathic manipulation room. In addition, it will offer two pop-up exhibits (branded and equipped with Doctors That DO and osteopathic wellness promotional materials) and registration funds for students to travel and use at philanthropy events

Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS)

Health screenings were provided for employees and their families of Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri, during MAOPS annual conference. Students from the MAOPS chapters at each of the three Missouri osteopathic schools were encouraged to participate. MAOPS members participated in screenings and supervised students as well.

Update on employee benefits

In November 2017, the University enacted a new policy, 90-329: Bachelor’s Degree Completion Bonus. Under the new policy, ATSU will award a $5,000 bonus to employees upon completion of a bachelor’s degree program, if they meet certain conditions. To view the full policy, visit the Human Resources department page through the ATSU portal.

Also, ATSU has added a number of employee benefits over the past 24 months. These benefits are mentioned below.

Health plan


In addition, beginning in 2017-18 and each year thereafter, all full-time faculty members will receive $2,500 in professional development funds.

ATSU collaborated with Missouri Training Institute to offer a supervisory certificate series. The series started in December 2016 and has been offered twice on each campus.


Recently, ATSU-MOSDOH received approval from the Commission on Dental Accreditation to increase its class size from 42 to 63 students. The expanded class size will take effect in July 2019. In addition, the class of 2018 completed the Western Regional Examining Board examinations with a 100 percent pass rate.


ATSU’s Teaching and Learning Center hosted its second SparkTank competition on the Arizona campus Thursday, Feb. 22. Six projects promoting innovative ideas were pitched to a panel of six judges. The top three proposals were “Foundations of Competency Based Education: Building an Infrastructure to Promote a Learner-Centered Experience,” presented by Cailee Welch Bacon, PhD, ATC, assistant professor, ATSU-ASHS, and Kirsty Gaither, MA, distance support librarian; “Portable Ultrasonography,” presented by Uday Gulati, OMS IV, and Abbas Charlies, OMS IV (faculty sponsor, Norma Villaneuva, MD, MPH, clinical associate professor, ATSU-SOMA); and “The Use of Collaborative Whiteboards in Interactive Education,” presented by John Olson, PhD, professor, ATSU-SOMA.

Upcoming white coat ceremony dates

ATSU-ASHS Physical Therapy

Friday, July 6
Mesa, Arizona

ATSU-SOMA, ATSU-ASDOH, and ATSU-ASHS Physician Assistant Studies

Friday, July 13
Mesa, Arizona


Saturday, July 14
Kirksville, Missouri

ATSU-ASHS Audiology

Saturday, Sept. 8
Mesa, Arizona

Faculty and staff updates

Congratulations on recent promotions
Please view the complete list of employee promotions (PDF).

Accomplishment kudos
Please view the complete list of accomplishment kudos (PDF).

Well wishes to faculty and staff celebrating anniversary milestones
Please view the complete list of employee anniversaries (PDF).

In closing

Thank you for your continuous support of ATSU, whether through survey feedback, innovative ideas, and/or dedicated service. I hope you feel proud of our University’s success and enthusiastic about our future and the opportunities ahead.

Yours in service,

Craig Phelts

Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
800 W. Jefferson St., Kirksville, MO 63501 | 660.626.2121
5850 E. Still Circle, Mesa, AZ 85206 | 480.219.6000
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