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President’s Perspective – February 2019

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Celebrating Higher Learning Commission’s findings

Regional accreditation is a university-wide endeavor critical to assuring A.T. Still University (ATSU) is fulfilling its mission in a strategic, responsible way. Several years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears culminated in a successful evidence-based assurance argument and evaluation by Higher Learning Commission (HLC) site visitors. In January, HLC notified ATSU of its decision: full accreditation for 10 years. This signifies the highest level of accreditation achievable.

During our accreditation journey, site visitors acknowledged a number of ATSU accomplishments.

Of course, there are many more points of pride and accomplishments to add. A special thank you to all who participated, and a shout out to Ann Boyle, DMD, MA, associate vice president, academic affairs, and criterion leaders Randy Danielsen, PhD, PA-C emeritus, director, doctor of medical science, ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences; Matthew Heeren, JD, vice president & general counsel; Janet Woldt, PhD, MS, associate dean, ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health; Lori Haxton, MA, vice president, student affairs; Rick Rieder, MBA, MM, vice president of finance and administration/CFO; and Donna Brown, MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, assistant vice president, human resources. Thank you also to Norine Eitel, MBA, assistant to the president and secretary to the board; Norman Gevitz, PhD, senior vice president-academic affairs; Ted Wendel, PhD, senior vice president, university planning & strategic initiatives; Gary Cloud, PhD, vice president, strategic university partnerships & diversity; Jim Lynskey, PT, PhD, chair, University Faculty Senate; and Hal Bright, MLS, AHIP, Theresa Hunziker, and Adrienne Brodie, MLS, chair and former chairs, University Staff Council. These positive findings remind us while we are still far from perfect, we are doing well and have much more to accomplish.

ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) update

Congratulations to Yohei Norimatsu, PhD, assistant professor, physiology, ATSU-KCOM, on receiving a $382,343 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The funding will support his research, “Atomic-scale refinement of CFTR and TAAR1 molecular models for the study of drug binding.” The three-year study began Sept. 1, 2018.

ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) update

Congratulations to Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD, FACP, professor and chair, public health, ATSU-SOMA, on receiving a $1,999,650 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Dr. Lewis serves as project director for the award, which will support an innovative primary care fellowship for physicians and physician assistants, strengthening the healthcare workforce in underserved communities nationwide. The project start date was Sept. 1, 2018.

A special thank you to the ATSU Sponsored Programs team for assisting these faculty members with their grant applications.  

Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education

In October, the Wright Center National Family Medicine Residency was awarded initial accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Congratulations and thank you to Lawrence LeBeau, DO, program director, and team on this exciting accomplishment.

Updating ATSU’s strategic plan

It is time once again to look strategically at ATSU’s future opportunities. The University will officially begin the strategic planning process in 2019. We look forward to your ideas and participation.

2018-2019 strategic focus areas

Student clinical experiences

Strategically selecting and developing quality clinical experiences for ATSU students is always top of mind for deans, faculty, and staff. Dr. Gevitz and Leonard Goldstein, DDS, PhD, assistant vice president, academic affairs, are exploring opportunities to develop more effectively existing resources and include alumni interested in educating ATSU’s next generation.

ATSU branding and marketing

ATSU is currently looking comprehensively at brand stewardship and future opportunities to leverage resources across schools and services.

ATSU patient care centers

A comprehensive two-year review of ATSU’s patient care centers will conclude in summer 2019. Outcomes include a plan to assure interaction with each patient follows best practices in care and services are delivered in a compassionate, educational environment emphasizing whole person health.

Developing cultural proficiency

Striving for cultural proficiency helps each of us become the best care provider, faculty, staff, or administrator we can be. This ongoing initiative explores areas including preventing heath disparities, recognizing unconscious bias and microaggression, and developing skills and attitudes critical for 21st century success.

ATSU facilities update

You may notice activity in Kirksville, Missouri, and Mesa, Arizona, as preparations for class size increases are underway at ATSU-SOMA and ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH). In St. Louis, facility planning is underway to support additional ATSU-MOSDOH students arriving summer 2021.

Kirksville’s Memorial Hall will receive an elevator and restrooms compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act, scheduled for completion in 2019. In summer 2019, the Thompson Campus Center will undergo phase one improvements of the Dan Martin Court project.

Arizona campus improvements include development of a standardized patient educational center emphasizing cultural proficiency and interprofessional opportunities. Improvement projects are currently underway to accommodate additional students, faculty, staff, and learning initiatives.

Additional ATSU site

Preparations are underway for ATSU’s proposed Physician Assistant Studies program, which is scheduled to welcome students in summer 2020 to Santa Maria, California.

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).

Ideas or concerns?

Continue submitting your ideas to Each email will receive a personal response from me. Ideas are only shared with the sender’s permission.

If you see something you are worried about, please contact the anonymous Fraud Hotline to report situations or behavior that compromises ATSU’s integrity. The hotline is available 24/7 at 1.855.FRAUD.HL (1.855.372.8345) or

In closing

Thank you again to everyone participating in ATSU’s successful HLC accreditation. It is an honor to serve alongside you.

Yours in service,

Craig Phelps

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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