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President’s Perspective – January 2024

President's Perpsective graphic

Cheers to a new year

As we begin 2024, thank you for taking a few minutes to catch up on the latest news and accomplishments of A.T. Still University (ATSU) faculty and staff.

In this issue, you will read about holiday gatherings, strategic plan focus areas, faculty and staff awards, professional development opportunities, and themes defining what makes ATSU graduates unique and highly sought-after. We also remember three ATSU friends.

Holiday gatherings at ATSU locations included visiting with faculty and staff and their families, sharing a meal, gifts for children, and an opportunity to reflect on a year of significant accomplishments. This holiday season, ATSU provided over 500 meals, 130 gifts to children, and 90 prizes to faculty and staff. A big thank you to all who helped plan and deliver a few evenings of holiday happiness across ATSU.

Santa and Mrs. Claus also brought joy and photo opportunities for many holiday gathering attendees. Thank you, Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Giving Tuesday success

Thank you to ATSU supporters, Robert Behnen, MBA, interim vice president of university advancement, and Advancement team members for raising over $26,500 during Giving Tuesday. Please remember to support your college, school, program, department, or ATSU with an annual gift. Your gift will make a difference for a student, program, school, or college and support external advancement opportunities.

2023-2024 strategic plan focus areas

1. Incorporating ATSU’s core professional attributes (CPAs) and osteopathic philosophy into students’ education and experiences

Colleges, schools, and programs continue to support student success with the incorporation of ATSU’s CPAs and osteopathic philosophy into curricula. Not sure what ATSU’s CPAs are? Please visit the core professional attributes webpage.

2. Exploring artificial/augmented intelligence’s (AI) emerging role in healthcare and education

ATSU is making steady progress with several projects, including three AI chatbot projects (Information Technology Services, Enrollment Services, and A.T. Still University-College of Graduate Health Studies) and customer relationship management (CRM) projects. In addition, Google Bard (similar to ChatGPT) has been updated and is available to all ATSU accounts at

ATSU funds were available to faculty and collaborators to pursue innovative projects exploring the use of AI and/or mixed reality (VR/AR/XR) technologies in health professions education and University initiatives. Funded proposals will be announced in early 2024.

3. Student recruitment and retention

Student Affairs is working with interested colleges, schools, and programs to provide additional assistance with recruiting and supporting student success.

4. Cultural proficiency

ATSU’s Dreamline Pathways program is recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the third consecutive year. In addition, ATSU received the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the seventh consecutive year. Congratulations to our Diversity & Inclusion team members.

ATSU’s Grow Our Own program was developed with input from faculty, deans, and senior leadership. The program’s four initiatives support current faculty as well as students and graduates interested in becoming faculty. For additional information, please contact Clinton Normore, MBA, vice president of diversity & inclusion, at

Demand for grads

“We would like to hire all of your graduates.” As I travel throughout the country, this is a common request from healthcare institutions.

ATSU graduates are in great demand due to their excellent interpersonal and patient care skills, understanding of the importance of interprofessional cooperation, and application of Dr. A.T. Still’s osteopathic approach. ATSU’s CPAs and osteopathic philosophy help define educational experiences supporting student success.

Annual required faculty and staff education success

A big thank you to everyone who completed ATSU’s required faculty and staff education! Your assistance helps ensure everyone is informed on policies and ATSU remains in compliance with accreditation, licensing, and oversight agencies. Thank you to Human Resources for facilitating and supporting this education.

In loving memory

During the holiday break, ATSU lost three wonderful friends and colleagues: Jeni Rogers, MHA; Gary Brigham, DDS, MSD; and John George, PhD. We will deeply miss them. Our university is in a better place because they blessed us with their kindness, generosity, knowledge, humor, courage, and love.

Recent ATSU commencement ceremonies

graduates posing with degrees and flowers

College for Healthy Communities
Friday, Sept. 8
Santa Barbara, California
88 graduates
Commencement speaker: Gary M. Wiltz, MD, CEO of Teche Action Clinic, former chair of ATSU Board of Trustees

graduates in regalia posing with diplomas and balloons

Arizona School of Health Sciences
Physician Assistant and Doctor of Medical Science
Friday, Sept. 22
Mesa, Arizona
152 graduates
Commencement speaker: Kathy Pedersen, PA-C, MPAS, associate professor emeritus, University of Utah

Recent ATSU white coat ceremony

students in white coats reading program

Arizona School of Health Sciences
Occupational Therapy
Thursday, Nov. 2
Mesa, Arizona

Faculty and staff updates (as of December 31)

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).

Professional development opportunities

Looking to learn more? ATSU offers many opportunities for professional development through Human Resources, Missouri Training Institute, Teaching & Learning Center, Still Healthy seminars, and UKG. A.T. Still University-College of Graduate Health Studies also offers faculty and staff discounts on programs and courses.

Ideas or concerns?

Please submit 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 Reference code “ATSU” when making a report.

Got golf?

Consider playing in ATSU’s Graduate Health Professions Scholarship Golf Tournament on April 20, 2024, in Mesa, Arizona.

In closing

With each new year comes updated lists of resolutions and expectations. 2024 promises to be an exciting but challenging time with advances in AI, an election year, global conflicts, new treatments for cancer and additional diseases, and new regulations and responsibilities affecting each of us.

Throughout 2024 I hope you are able to find time to enjoy family, friends, hobbies, quiet times to catch your breath and reflect on life, and simple pleasures like a walk or hike.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2024,

Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
800 W. Jefferson St., Kirksville, MO 63501 | 660.626.2391
5850 E. Still Circle, Mesa, AZ 85206 | 480.219.6010
1075 E. Betteravia Rd., Ste. 201, Santa Maria, CA | 805.621.7651
Office of the President |
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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.


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