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President’s Perspective – December 2017

President's Perpsective graphic

Making a difference each day

The holiday season has arrived, and you can see and feel the cheer on our campuses. Like many organizations, it is difficult to navigate ATSU’s hallways without encountering a box or tree for donated toys, food, or clothing on the way to those in need.

Over the past several months, I have had many opportunities to visit with students, alumni, employees, and supporters to discuss a range of topics, from individual learning styles to improving our facilities and services. While our conversations vary depending on topics and individuals, one consistent theme is a thankfulness for being part of a university doing its best to make a difference.

From those boxes and trees in ATSU’s hallways to community service projects commemorating our 125th anniversary, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni continue to make lives better each day. When my family has the opportunity to enjoy dinner together, we go around the table and share if we did something during the day to help someone. It’s a small table, as there are only three of us. My son, Zach, usually has the quickest response relating to his fourth-grade class, perhaps letting a classmate have his place in line, forfeiting his place in tag to be “it,” or sharing part of his lunch (usually a vegetable). Sometimes, a little ashamedly, it takes me a while to think of something I did that day. Our dinner-sharing stories are a nice reminder for me to not let a day go by without a kind word, gesture, or act to make someone’s day a little better. Fortunately, I work at a university that picks up the slack should I stumble, and dinner is never without recalling an act of kindness when sitting down with those in our University family. Just walk around and look at all of those boxes and trees.

ATSU in 2142

Bold ideas and innovation led to the founding of osteopathic medical education and the American School of Osteopathy (now A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine). Since 1892, we have grown into a comprehensive graduate health sciences university with more than 28,000 alumni. This fall, we have more than 3,700 students enrolled and 1,900 part- and full-time team members (faculty and staff).

What will ATSU, healthcare, and education look like during the next 125 years? To help shape ATSU’s future, we invite you to share your bold and innovative ideas. Please email your ideas to

All ATSU employees, alumni, and students submitting an idea by Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, at noon (MST) will be eligible to enter a drawing for a new iPhone X. If you would like to enter the drawing for a new iPhone X (donated by an ATSU alum), please include your name and email. Please remember state and federal taxes may apply and are the winner’s responsibility. Prize drawing will take place Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

2017-2018 focus areas

1. Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation

Thank you to everyone involved in preparing for ATSU’s fall 2018 HLC site visit. HLC team members will visit Missouri and Arizona campuses and interact with faculty, staff, students, Board of Trustees members, and community partners. Important work continues in preparing ATSU’s assurance argument for submission prior to Oct. 15, 2018.

University Staff Council has brought innovative ideas to involve staff members in the accreditation process, including mission awareness. Council members are promoting “Understanding Our Mission,” a multifaceted campaign aimed at mission education and highlighting everyone’s contribution to fulfilling the University’s purpose. One activity is the Mission Statement Challenge for employees, and the recent winners are Brenda Williams, clerical support, academic & clinical educational affairs, ATSU-KCOM, on the Missouri campus and Jeni Rogers, coordinator, ATSU-SOMA, on the Arizona campus.

2. ATSU patient care centers and wellness and prevention opportunities

With more than 101,000 patient visits to ATSU care centers in fiscal year 2016-17, opportunities exist to provide excellent care and share ATSU’s unique story. Norman Gevitz, PhD, senior vice president-academic affairs, is working with deans to collaborate regarding quality patient care initiatives, safety, compliance, best practices, effectiveness, branding, patient satisfaction, risk management, interprofessional opportunities, access to care, and innovative healthcare strategies.

 3. Information technology

John Heard, PhD, vice president, research, grants, & information systems, and team members continue refining ATSU’s technology strategic plan to meet the needs of our faculty, staff, students, and educational partners. The team has been evaluating themes within information technology, including cyber security, accessibility, effective use, future trends, software as a service, and affordability.

Audiology White Coat Ceremony

ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences held a white coat ceremony for 14 incoming students on Saturday, Sept. 9, in Mesa, Arizona.

Audiology White Coats Ceremony

ATSU-ASHS Audiology

125th anniversary events

Alumni, students, faculty, and staff gathered in Missouri and Arizona to celebrate Founder’s Day 2017. ATSU’s eighth president, Fred C. Tinning, PhD, provided the Tinning Founder’s Day Osteopathy Lecture in Kirksville, Missouri. ATSU students, faculty, staff, and family members enjoyed food, fun, and activities.

President Emeritus Fred C. Tinning, PhD,

Following his lecture, President Emeritus Fred C. Tinning, PhD, receives a standing ovation and a painting of the Tinning Education Center.

Arizona Campus celebrates ATSU's 125th at Founder's Day

Students, employees, and families enjoy the Arizona campus Founder’s Day.

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Symposium

On Saturday, Nov. 11, the A.T. Still Research Institute hosted the annual Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Symposium (IBRS) on the Kirksville, Missouri, campus. John Schousboe, MD, PhD, MS, CCD, presented the Neil J. Sargentini, PhD, Memorial Keynote Address.

2017 IBRS award winners from ATSU:

Neil J. Sargentini, PhD, Award for Outstanding Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Research

Zachary T. Siress, second-year biomedical sciences student, ATSU-KCOM

Outstanding Student Research Awards

Elyse C. Curry, second-year biomedical sciences student, ATSU-KCOM

Hiba Syed, second-year biomedical sciences student, ATSU-KCOM

Hannah Vetter, OMS IV, ATSU-KCOM

Outstanding Faculty Research Awards

William Brechue, PhD, chair, physiology, ATSU-KCOM

Deborah A. Hudman, MS, senior research associate, microbiology/immunology, ATSU-KCOM

Priscilla L. Phillips, PhD, assistant professor, microbiology/immunology, ATSU-KCOM

Bruce Young, PhD, associate professor, anatomy, ATSU-KCOM

Brett Frommer, a second-year biomedical sciences student, presents his research.

SparkTank is back

ATSU’s Teaching and Learning Center hosted its second SparkTank competition on the Missouri campus. Five project proposals promoting innovative ideas were pitched to a panel of seven judges. The top two proposals were “Dysfunction Dice,” presented by Caleb Marting, fellow, and “3-D Cervical and Lumbar Models for Epidural Placement Training,” presented by Zach Headman, OMS II, and Marcus Matson, OMS II. Each proposal received $5,000 for project funding.

SparkTank on the Arizona campus will be held Thursday, Feb. 22. Pre-proposals are due Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018.

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 to alumni, faculty, staff, and students for a wonderful year celebrating the University. I hope you are encouraged by the many ways ATSU is making a difference in our communities and beyond. As we wrap up 2017, I wish you and your families a happy and safe holiday season.

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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