Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, USA

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) is a private, non-profit, graduate school for the health professions, with a main campus located on 23 acres in Kansas City, in the U.S. state of Missouri. Founded in 1916, KCU consists of both a medical school (College of Osteopathic Medicine) and a College of Biosciences.

KCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and recognized by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education for the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The College of Osteopathic Medicine is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

KCU opened in May 1916 as the Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery. At the time, it was the fifth osteopathic medical school to be established. In January 1921, the college moved its campus to the Northeast neighborhood, just east of downtown Kansas City. In 1940, the Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery took over the assets of the Central College of Osteopathy in Kansas City, Missouri.

In November 1970, the name of the college was changed to the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine, and again in July 1980 to the University of Health Sciences. In 1999, KCU joined with seven other research institutions to form the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute. As a founding partner, KCU has provided biomedical research opportunities within the greater Kansas City area.

In 2004, the College of Biosciences opened and the university’s name was changed to Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. The first students in the College of Biosciences began coursework in the fall of 2005, working towards a one-year master’s degree in biomedical sciences. The College of Biosciences later expanded the program to a two-year master’s degree. In 2008, the college began offering a Master of Arts in bioethics.

In 2009, the president of the university, Karen Pletz, pursued the possibility of offering a dual DO-MD degree. The idea of a dual DO-MD degree was very controversial and raised concerns within the osteopathic medical community. Several leaders of the profession formally requested the option be abandoned. Pletz was subsequently fired, but refrained from discussing the details of her dismissal as a lawsuit was underway.

Founded in 1916 as the university’s inaugural program, the College of Osteopathic Medicine confers the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of three medical schools in the United States to be recognized twice with the John Templeton Foundation’s Spirituality in Medicine Curricular Award, which recognizes outstanding medical education curricula incorporating spirituality in medicine. KCU is also one of three osteopathic medical schools nationwide working to enhance future physicians’ cultural competency and eliminate disparities in health care through a grant from the American Medical Student Association.

The curriculum at KCU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine consists of four years of structured training. The first two years are organized in a modified systems, clinical application-based curriculum. Each system is repeated in years one and two. The first year focuses on normal structure and function, while the second year focuses on disease processes and clinical presentation. Throughout years one and two, students have early clinical exposure in the curriculum through participation in Score 1 for Health (KCU-Kansas City), standardized patient encounters, and human patient simulation. During years three and four, students are matched with a preceptor or at a hospital/ward at a KCU-affiliated clerkship site in various specialties of medicine and surgery.

The school has an early matriculation program, called the Partnership Plan, with several undergraduate institutions. In this program, students can apply to KCU in their sophomore year of college and be accepted by their junior year.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine offers two dual-degree programs through a partnership with Rockhurst University’s Helzberg School of Management. Dual-degree students complete both programs in four years and graduate with other members of their KCU class.

The KCU campus is located on a 23 acres and consists of 13 buildings. The Administrative Building, the prior site of Children’s Mercy Hospital, houses the administrative offices and support facilities. The Annex Building, with 2,200+ seat lecture halls, consists primarily of classroom space. The D’Angelo Library opened in the spring of 2011 and includes a learning resources center, collection and reference rooms, several training and conference rooms, an audio-visual/multimedia room, a special collections room, and group study rooms and numerous offices for library support personnel. The library was named for Vincent D’Angelo, D.O. (class of 1957) and his wife, Cleo D’Angelo. The Leonard Smith Hall houses more than 50 individual and small-group study rooms, a computer lab, student lounge, and a state-of-the-art Bioethics classroom. The Mary Lou Butterworth, D.O., Alumni Center is a meeting center for students, faculty, and alumni.

The Dybedal Center for Research is the focus of research activities at KCU. The 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) center is equipped for Biosafety Levels I and II research and includes more than 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) of basic science laboratories. Opened in 2004, the Dybedal Center includes an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) clinical research center, the only adult academic clinical research center in Kansas City that conducts Phase I-IV studies.

The Kesselheim Center for Clinical Competence was completed in 2006 and provides a facility for patient simulations for first and second year medical students, both human “standardized patients” and technological simulations.

The Strickland Education Pavilion opened in 1996 and houses anatomy and OMT laboratories, a classroom for biomedical sciences students, a 250-seat auditorium, a cafeteria, and meeting rooms.

The Student Activities Center, which opened in early 2011, includes a student lounge, Common Grounds Cafe, meetings and conference rooms, Matthews Bookstore, a multi-dimensional fitness center with cardiovascular and weight training equipment, an aerobics facility, and game room. The building is connected to Weaver Auditorium, a 1,500-seat auditorium, which opened in 2007.

KCU enrolled its first class at the KCU-Joplin campus, in Joplin, Missouri, which began classes in the fall of 2017.

The KCU-Joplin campus features a 150,000-square-foot building on approximately 40 acres of land. This building features state-of-the-art facilities, technology, including a 200-person lecture hall, cutting-edge simulation center, and new anatomy and OMM labs.

There were 1,106 students enrolled for the 2015-16 academic year. About 44 percent of KCU students are female. Students range from 18 to 40 years of age. About 18% of students are Asian, 1% Black/African American, 2% Hispanic/Latino, 72% White/Caucasian, 2% identify as two or more races or ethnicities, and the remainder are of unknown race/ethnicity. Students on campus participate in a number of clubs, which include:

  • American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP)
  • American Medical Association
  • DOCARE International
  • Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA)
  • Sigma Sigma Phi
  • Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA)

Since 1916, more than 10,500 students have graduated from KCU.

KCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and recognized by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education for the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The College of Osteopathic Medicine is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

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