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President’s Perspective – September 2022

President's Perpsective graphic

Milestone celebrations

Thank you for taking a few minutes to catch up on ATSU happenings. As we celebrate our 130th anniversary, it has been wonderful to see students, faculty, and staff return physically and virtually to classes and activities.

This academic year promises to be special as we welcome the inaugural speech-language pathology class, recognize the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine’s accreditation, celebrate the University’s 130th and A.T. Still Memorial Library’s 100th anniversaries, and much more.

While COVID-19 remains on our radar, faculty, staff, and students have successfully navigated updated CDC, local, and state guidance. Thanks to the cooperation of all, infection levels remain low at all ATSU locations.

In this issue of the President’s Perspective, you will find new trustees’ bios, strategic plan areas of emphasis, graduation and white coat pictures, and many noteworthy accomplishments of students, faculty, and staff.

ATSU Board of Trustees

ATSU Board of Trustees appointed officers and elected new members at its quarterly meeting July 22, 2022.

The following trustees were elected as officers: Herb B. Kuhn of Lohman, Missouri, chair; Isaac R. Navarro, DMD, MPH, ’08, of Visalia, California, vice chair; and Michelle L. Mayo, PhD, of Durham, North Carolina, secretary.

Special thanks to outgoing trustees, Paulina Vázquez Morris, JD, MBA, MHSA, and Gary Wiltz, MD, for their visioning and unwavering commitment to and support of ATSU during the past nine year. Special kudos to Linnette Sells, DO, FAOASM, ’82, who as chair of the board, kept everyone actively engaged in an era of virtual board meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently elected candidates to the ATSU Board of Trustees are Kimberly “Kim” Perry, DO, MBA, MHCM, FACEP, FACOEP, ’91, of St. Louis, Missouri, and Felix Valbuena Jr., MD, DABFM, FAAFP, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Dr. Perry is an osteopathic physician with more than 30 years’ leadership experience in emergency medicine, clinical education, and managed care. She has held positions as senior vice president and chief medical officer for Kindred Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky; chief medical officer for United Healthcare in St. Louis; dean of medical education and chief of emergency medicine at BJC Christian Hospital; and various roles at SSM Health, including director of emergency medicine at St. Joseph Health Center and attending physician at DePaul Hospital. Currently, Dr. Perry is the regional chief medical officer for SSM Health.

Dr. Perry earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island; doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM), Kirksville, Missouri; and master of health administration in care management and master of business administration degrees from University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona. She has served in numerous leadership roles with ATSU, including service with the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association (KOAA) for two terms and as KOAA chair in 2019. Dr. Perry was also actively engaged with student education, serving five years as a director of student medical education for ATSU-KCOM’s Missouri/Christian Hospital region site.

Dr. Valbuena is chief executive officer of Community Health and Social Services Center in Detroit, Michigan. As a bilingual/bicultural physician, Dr. Valbuena is committed to providing culturally proficient healthcare in one’s native language to ensure a better understanding of and compliance with medical treatment. He is an active supporter of federally qualified health centers, currently serving as clinician representative on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Community Health Centers and board member of the Michigan Primary Care Association. Dr. Valbuena is a 2007 recipient of the Degree of Fellow from the American Academy of Family Physicians and diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Valbuena holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree from Universidad El Bosque in Bogota, Colombia.

Online opportunities for alumni and friends

ATSU online programs continue to provide opportunities for healthcare professionals and leaders. If interested in furthering your career through convenient online degrees and certificates, please visit or

Celebrate the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine accreditation

The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. The 10-year AAM accreditation brings national recognition to the museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Congratulations to Director Jason Haxton, MA, and the entire museum team for their hard work on this long-awaited honor! If you are able, please come to Kirksville and celebrate the accreditation and rededication of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine during Founder’s Day, Friday, October 14.

2022-2023 strategic focus areas

  1. Mission-focused scholarship: Continue mission-focused scholarship with support for studies improving community health and health systems, resulting publications, and dissemination.
  2. Agile resource management: Begin gathering and studying data regarding the University’s use of resources.
  3. Engaged, diverse university community: Continue to build upon ATSU’s success in diversity and inclusion emphasizing cultural proficiency.

National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) Community Health Institute & Expo

ATSU students, faculty, and staff at the NACHC CHI poster presentation
ATSU students, faculty, and staff at the poster presentation

NACHC Community Health Institute & Expo was held August 28-30 in Chicago, Illinois. The institute draws leaders and board members from community health centers, state primary care associations, federal agencies, and partners.

ATSU has an increasing annual presence at the institute, with more than 70 students, faculty, staff, and regional directors of education in attendance. As growing numbers of graduates take leadership roles in community health centers, additional community health centers become educational sites, and ATSU and community health centers’ scholarly activity progressively benefits underserved communities.

Organized ATSU activities during the conference:

International Consortium on Manual Therapies

The inaugural International Consortium on Manual Therapies was held virtually May 4-June 3 with 182 registrants from eight countries. Registrants included osteopathic physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, structural integrators, PhD scientists, and other manual medical researchers and educators. 

The consortium focused on summarizing current evidence on manual therapies across professions and assessing limitations of current profession-based terminology. The consortium’s long-term goal is promoting a more explicit, descriptive, and scientific nomenclature to facilitate communication and understanding of manual therapy interventions. The consortium aligns with ATSU’s mission of preparing highly competent professionals through innovative academic programs with a commitment to continue the University’s osteopathic heritage and focus on whole person healthcare. 

Special thanks to: 

Jan Baum, MA
Barbara Bevell
Jessica Corrick, DHA
Brian Degenhardt, DO 
Geoffroey-Allen Franklin, MBA
Lynn Hurt, MA
Bryan Krusniak, MBA
Dean Maag
Sean O’Connor, MBA
Corey Sanford
Gaylah Sublette, MBA

Beyond Flexner additional kudos

Thank you to all ATSU students, faculty, and staff who participated in the Beyond Flexner Conference. Some participants were missed in my thank you email, so I would like to recognize them here for their role in making the conference a success.

Howard Asaki, PA-C
Lindsey Bowen
Heidi Buckmister
Maureen Cameron
Greg Chugg
Leslie Chugg
Vikki Courtney
Randy Danielsen, PhD, PA-C emeritus, DFAAPA
Lihua Dishman, DBA, MBA
Samantha Fillerup
Wendy Hardina
Diane Hobbs
Jason Hunsicker
Katherine Jones, MA, OTR/L, CLT-LANA
Sara Kirkpatrick
Mia Mickley
Ami Mikhail, MS, PA-C
David Moise
Leti Munoz
Hanan Omar, BDS, PhD, MSc
Josie Penrod
Shelly Rudd
Marti Salmon
Harvey Simon
Kimberly Skinner, AuD, PhD
Kathy Walker

ATSU commencement ceremonies

ATSU-SOMA student walking in procession

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH)
Friday, May 13
Mesa, Arizona
74 graduates
Commencement speaker: Nadia Fazel, DMD, MPH, ’14, chief clinical officer of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless

class photo of ATSU-MOSDOH graduates outdoors on steps

A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH)
Friday, May 20
Kirksville, Missouri
41 graduates
Commencement speaker: Alan Freeman, DMgt, MBA, FACHE, former CEO of Affinia Healthcare

ATSU-KCOM student shakes Dr. Wilson's hand during ceremony

A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM)
Saturday, May 21
Kirksville, Missouri
173 graduates
Commencement speaker: Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, FACOFP, president, American Osteopathic Foundation, president, Maryland College of Osteopathic Medicine at Morgan State University (proposed)

three ATSU-CGHS students pose after graduation

A.T. Still University-College of Graduate Health Studies
Friday, May 27
Mesa, Arizona
250 graduates
Commencement speaker: Frank LoVecchio, DO, MPH, FACEP, medical director of clinical research, Arizona State University College for Health Solutions

six ATSU-SOMA students celebrate after graduation

A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA)
Friday, May 27
Mesa, Arizona
113 graduates
Commencement speaker: Stephanie Cox-Batson, MD, MA, FACOG, chief medical officer for Near North Health Service Corporation

group of ATSU-ASHS students after graduation

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS)
Friday, June 3
Mesa, Arizona
328 graduates
Commencement speaker: Craig Velozo, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, director for the Division of Occupational Therapy in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina

four ATSU-ASHS PA students celebrate after graduation

ATSU-ASHS Physician Assistant Studies
Friday, September 16
Mesa, Arizona
73 graduates
Commencement speaker: Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN, professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Lehman College, City University of New York

ATSU white coat ceremonies

ATSU-ASHS audiology class photo after White Coat Ceremony

ATSU-ASHS Audiology 
Class of 2025
Saturday, April 16
Mesa, Arizona

ATSU-ASHS DPT class photo after White Coat Ceremony

ATSU-ASHS Physical Therapy 
Class of 2023
Thursday, May 26
Mesa, Arizona

ATSU-ASDOH student celebrate after White Coat Ceremony

Class of 2026
Friday, July 15
Mesa, Arizona

ATSU-SOMA students celebrating after White Coat Ceremony

Class of 2026
Friday, July 15
Mesa, Arizona

five ATSU-ASHS PA students celebrate after White Coat Ceremony

ATSU-ASHS Physician Assistant Studies 
Class of 2024
Friday, July 15
Mesa, Arizona

four ATSU-MOSDOH students pose in white coats following ceremony

Class of 2026
Friday, July 15
Kirksville, Missouri

ATSU-KCOM student walking in recessional after White Coat Ceremony

Class of 2026
Saturday, July 16
Kirksville, Missouri

Students put on white coats during White Coat Ceremony

ATSU-CHC Central Coast Physician Assistant
Class of 2023
Friday, August 26
San Luis Obispo, California

Upcoming white coat ceremony

ATSU-ASHS Occupational Therapy
Class of 2024
Friday, November 11
Mesa, Arizona

Upcoming continuing education activities

ATSU’s Continuing Education department provides support for the University’s schools, graduates, and the professional community to fulfill their potential throughout their careers and ultimately impact patient care and well-being. For a list of upcoming continuing education opportunities, please visit

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 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

In closing

Thank you for your support of ATSU students, faculty, and staff. We invite you to attend Founder’s Day (October 14 in Kirksville, October 20 in Mesa) or just come by for a visit. For the latest information and updates around the University, please visit ATSU News.

Yours in service,

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
1075 E. Betteravia Rd., Ste. 201, Santa Maria, CA | 805.621.7648
Office of the President |
ATSU Communication & Marketing |

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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