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President’s Perspective – February 2020

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2020: A year for new opportunities

Year after year, A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) students, alumni, faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees continue to make a difference in our communities. This year is no different, as these individuals help fulfill our nation’s need for health professions educational opportunities and healthcare providers delivering care to underserved populations.

In this edition of “President’s Perspective,” you will find many examples of positive accomplishments, including ATSU’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award recognition for the third year in a row. In addition, recent expansions of class sizes for ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) and Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) provide opportunities for many qualified applicants who may otherwise be left behind.  

Update on 2019-2020 strategic focus areas

Health and wellness

A Totally Successful U (ATSU) will focus on prevention and empower faculty, staff, students, and their families to make healthy lifestyle choices. Monthly themes will parallel national awareness campaigns. Additionally, pop-up healthcare and learning opportunities will be available in Mesa, Kirksville, and St. Louis.

Innovation and scholarly activity

ATSU’s Artificial Intelligence Team is exploring potential applications for curricula, support services, and patient care. Additional funds have been made available on both campuses for scholarly activity initiatives.

Safety and security

ATSU’s inaugural safety week kicked off a University-wide campaign to explore safety and security opportunities for students, patients, faculty, staff, and guests. New apps, security cameras, software, awareness campaigns, cybersecurity, and hiring of a University-wide safety and security expert are a few examples supporting this initiative.

Noonlight, a personal safety app, is now available free of charge to all ATSU employees and students. The app provides an added security measure no matter where you are. Visit to download the free app.

Strategic Plan 2021-2027

2020 brings opportunities for internal and external ATSU stakeholders to contribute ideas to the strategic plan update. Please watch your email for surveys, forums, and additional ways to participate. During the previous strategic planning cycle, many worthwhile ideas and suggestions from stakeholders at all levels helped shape the final document. Please remember you may also send ideas or suggestions to ATSU’s idea box anytime,

ATSU in the national spotlight

The 2020 Beyond Flexner Conference is coming to Phoenix, Arizona, and ATSU has a major opportunity to serve and share its story. Health professions educators and providers from around the country will attend the conference and interact with ATSU faculty, staff, Board of Trustees members, and students via presentations, posters, panels, campus visits, and special events. Kim Perry, DDS, MSCS, associate vice president, strategic university partnerships, is leading ATSU’s efforts to make the conference a success for all involved. For more information on the conference, please visit

HEED recognition

ATSU recently received the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the third consecutive year. The University was selected for its outstanding commitment to an educational and collaborative environment embracing cultural proficiency. Congratulations, Clinton Normore, MBA, associate vice president of diversity and inclusion; Stephanie McGrew, MHA, diversity coordinator; and Clarissa Rodriguez, administrative assistant, for leading ATSU’s efforts in cultural proficiency.

ACOFP 2020

In March, the American College of Family Physicians (ACOFP) will hold its 57th Annual Convention & Scientific Seminars. Recently, I learned Jan Willcox, DO, ’78, an ATSU-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) alumna and current dean of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Virginia campus, will be recognized with the ACOFP Outstanding Female Leader Award. Congratulations, Dr. Willcox.

Program updates

ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS) announced its new online Graduate Nursing Pathway (GNP) program, which brings an additional discipline to the University’s comprehensive health professions offerings. The program offers a master of science degree and doctor of nursing practice degree. The first students will begin in July 2020. For more information, please contact Sue Roe, DPA, MS, chair of nursing programs, at

At ATSU-SOMA and ATSU-MOSDOH, class sizes have increased beginning this year with the classes of 2023. ATSU-SOMA increased its class size from 107 to 162, and ATSU-MOSDOH increased its class size from 42 to 63. These increases support ATSU’s mission while providing additional health professionals to provide care for underserved populations.


In addition to ATSU-SOMA hosting a site visit this month, ATSU will host four additional accreditation site visits in 2020: ATSU-CGHS Master of Public Health, ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences Doctor of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Neurologic Residency, and ATSU-KCOM. Thank you to our deans, faculty, and staff for ensuring the continuing quality of the University’s programs.

California location

Faculty and staff continue development of ATSU’s Central Coast Physician Assistant Program (CCPAP). Construction completion is on schedule for June 2020 with student matriculation scheduled for 2021.

Facilities updates

Kirksville, Missouri

Thompson Campus Center Dan Martin Court project phase one has been completed. Final completion is scheduled during summer 2020. Official dedication celebration is set for Founder’s Day 2020.

ATSU recently acquired the vacated Twin Pines Adult Care Center at 316 S. Osteopathy Avenue. Future plans include an open green space and repurposing several structures for facilities and security.

Planning continues for updating Timken-Burnett Research Building. Fundraising efforts will commence once final designs are complete.

Mesa, Arizona

Construction of a 60-plus seat learning space has been completed. Additional scholarly activity space is being developed, and parking expansion is scheduled for construction in spring/summer 2020.

St. Louis, Missouri

In anticipation of additional students, construction of third floor restrooms, offices, and a conference room are scheduled for completion in spring 2020.

New board members

Three alumni recently joined ATSU’s Board of Trustees. Newly elected trustees are Jonathan Cleaver, DO, ’08, of Kirksville, Missouri; Geoffrey Hoffa, DHSc, ’14, MS, PA-C, ’00, of Phoenix, Arizona; and Isaac Navarro, DMD, ’08, MPH, of Visalia, California.

Faculty and staff updates

Recent promotions: Please view the list of employee promotions (PDF).
Accomplishment kudos: Please view the list of accomplishment kudos (PDF).
Anniversary milestones: Please view the list of employee anniversaries (PDF).

Ideas or concerns?

Please 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

2020 promises to be a robust year for the University community. Thank you for taking a few moments of your day to learn about ATSU’s remarkable students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

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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