KU Medical Alumni Academic Societies

As part of an effort to enhance student advising and mentoring and to develop professionalism in the students of the School of Medicine, the original seven academic societies were founded in the 1999-2000 academic year and named after past leaders of the School of Medicine. With campus expansion and the opening of the Salina campus in 2011, an eighth society, Lukert, was founded. Each society is headed by a faculty director, who also serves as an assistant dean for student affairs. Society members include School of Medicine faculty, KU Hospital physicians, and the School of Medicine students.

The goals of the societies are to:

  • enhance student-faculty interaction;
  • enhance student interaction, particularly across classes;
  • provide a structure for student advising;
  • promote a sense of community for students and faculty; and
  • encourage the development of professional attitudes and behaviors among students.

Structure: The administrative support for the MAAS is provided by the Office of Student Affairs. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs serves as the Executive Director, and two members of the OSA office provide administrative support. Each Society Director holds the title of Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Since there are three campuses, our Society Directors, student leaders and administrative staff meet monthly via ITV to discuss programming, plan events, and collectively share ideas for the betterment of the MAAS.  

The organizational structure of each society is as follows:

  • Society Director
  • 2-3 Associate Directors
  • Second year student leaders, i.e. Presidents
  • 40-60 faculty advisors from the clinical and basic sciences
  • 20-30 medical students from each class, with the exception of the Salina Campus, which has 8 students in each class.

Advising Program:

  • Dean of Admissions places each student in a society.
  • Director of each Society assigns each student, based on a 3-item survey, to an advisor within the society.
  • Year 1 and 2 students: meet with their assigned advisor a minimum of once a semester.
  • Year 3 students: meet with their advisor a minimum of once a semester, while being encouraged to seek out a mentor. The mentor could be their Academic Society advisor, a clinical preceptor or another faculty member. Students are encouraged to transition their advising relationship from an arranged pairing to a mentoring relationship.
  • Year 4 students: encouraged to continually develop their mentoring relationship.

FundingFrom 1999-2012 our Academic Societies were funded by the Office of the Executive Dean for the KU School of Medicine. In 2013, the Academic Societies partnered with the KU Medical Alumni Board. Annually, the Alumni Board provides a $100,000 gift to the Medical Alumni Academic Societies endowment fund. This gift is proportionally distributed to the three campuses based on student enrollment. Funds previously budgeted for the Academic Societies are now used to provide a yearly stipend for the Directors and an annual scholarship to each President.

Curriculum Connection:  For selected small group activities, groups are determined by society assignments. In the future, we anticipate students will be assigned by Academic Society for all curriculum small group activities. In addition, Academic Societies will have their own learning space in our new medical education building to be completed in 2017.

Activities Showcase:

Professionalism Initiative:  Society Directors developed and lead a Professionalism initiative. Small group sessions have been strategically integrated throughout our four-year curriculum. For first and second year students, small group sessions focus on readings of critical incident reports written by senior medical students. Common themes are patient-centered care, clinical uncertainty, empathy, and humanistic medicine. This summer, a new Professionalism session was developed for Orientation to medical school. Small group sessions focused on readings of critical incident reports written by second year students at our institution. Common themes for this session were separation from family, academic difficulty, academic misconduct and professional identity in social media.

Events: White Coat Ceremony-cloaking and presentation of pins, Art Fair, welcome back events, regular monthly lunch meetings, Jaydoc Free Clinic volunteer nights, and a tri-campus picnic.

The Student Recognition Ceremony is a tri-campus event recognizing those who exceled in basic science courses, clinical rotations, and leadership and service to the campus and community.

A Society Cup is awarded each year to the Academic Society that has had the most student and faculty event participation. The winning society has their name engraved onto the trophy, and the trophy is displayed prominently in the Office of Student Affairs.      

KUMC Women in Medicine and Science

The KUMC Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) program in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions fosters equality in the academic community by promoting excellence through leadership, mentoring, and community involvement. The mission of the organization is to help faculty, trainees and students:

  1. to be proactive and constructive in establishing and advancing the careers of women in medicine and science;
  2. to educate women on relevant KU Policies and Procedures for career development and advancement;
  3. to enhance and foster the professional development of all women faculty in the KUMC Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions through encouragement and mentoring, and to encourage growth, networking and quality within our KUMC community (local and national);
  4. to promote the process of developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships and cultivating new opportunities for collaboration through a supportive exchange of ideas and resources.

For information on programming and how to get involved, please contact one of their key individuals listed on http://www.kumc.edu/wims/contact-us.html

For more information, visit the WIMS website at http://www.kumc.edu/wims.html.

Medical Education Network Sites

The Medical Education Network Sites are an integral part of the School of Medicine's mission to implement rural health initiatives throughout the state. Each of the five sites represents a region of Kansas.  Each region has a Medical Education Director (MED), a practicing physician who also works for the school's Office of Rural Medical Education to promote rural workforce development. MEDs help coordinate rural learning opportunities throughout Kansas. Many agencies in the state have this mission in common: the Health Policy Institute, State Data Board, Department of Health and Environment, and KUMC Offices of Admissions, Rural Health Education and Services, and Area Health Education Centers. The MEDs may work with these institutions and occasionally work with other health profession schools at KU and other Regents institutions to promote rural learning opportunities.  Specific MEDs activities include:

  • Support of local medical center educational programs
  • Coordination of local premedical student recruitment activities
  • Summer Rural Research and Practice Elective Program
  • Scholars in Rural Health
  • Identification and development of new health profession education sites.

Rural Track/Options

The need for rural primary care physicians continues to be critical in the majority of Kansas counties.  KU-School of Medicine recently had a rural track where students spent a significant part of the clinical education in a rural setting.  The rural track was in Salina which has now become a branch campus.  New ways to provide rural training opportunities for students are in development.

In lieu of spending an extended period of time in one rural site, students currently have the option of receiving some of their training in Family Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology in a rural site.  Students can exercise this option for one of the clerkships or all of them as space permits.  Students can spend from 2-6 weeks on site depending on the clerkship.  Some students have spent as much as 14 weeks in rural learning sites during their 3rd year.

Nicodemus Project

Despite remarkable advances in science and health care, health disparities persist in the United States. Health disparities exist in Kansas, too, and the disparate morbidity and mortality and leading causes of death and disease for ethnic minorities in Kansas reflect those of the nation. In Kansas, African-American adults, for example, are at higher risk of death and disease due to heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular accidents, and other chronic conditions. African-American Kansans have issues related to less access to high-quality health care and information about health promotion and disease prevention compared to nonminority Kansans.

The Nicodemus Project is a multidisciplinary, health screening, promotion of wellness, disease prevention, service learning, and community outreach project in a culturally sensitive setting. The Nicodemus Project takes place in the rural and historic African-American town of Nicodemus, Kansas, during the town's Annual Homecoming Celebration, commemorating the exodus of former slaves to the promised land of Kansas. The Nicodemus project is coordinated and led by the School of Medicine's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  


Scholars in Rural Health

The Scholars in Rural Health program identifies and encourages undergraduate students from rural Kansas to practice medicine in Kansas counties that are medically underserved.  Using a rigorous admissions process, students are annually selected to participate in a two- year premedical curriculum featuring community-based primary care experiences and other activities.  Selection criteria include completion of two years of undergraduate premedical education and evidence of high probability for return to a medically underserved area of Kansas.  Students who successfully complete the program during their junior and senior years are assured admission to the School of Medicine. Additional information is available at http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-medicine/education/premedical-programs/scholars-in-rural-health.html