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Cary Clark, UMKC Enactus Advisor

This week’s guest speaker was Cary Clark, faculty advisor for the UMKC Enactus organization through the Bloch School of Management. Mr. Clark, an honored Sam Walton Fellow, came to Colloquium to offer an inside look into the workings of Enactus and the impact of the organization on the Kansas City community. The start of the presentation described the various benefits of student organizations in general, listing the benefits for the student, the university, and even for potential employers. Following this introduction was a description of the UMKC Enactus program. Essentially, Enactus is an organization that provides college students with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience while making an impact in their community. Teams are posed with real-world problems, which they must then devise solutions and potential plans of action for in order to help improve the presented situation.

As one of the largest student organizations in the world, with a presence in 36 countries and 400 U.S. universities, Enactus has been able to make a huge impact in communities around the globe. The UMKC chapter has been busy this past year. One particular project involved working with H&R Block to implement changes in advertisement and web design that would appeal to younger generations and promote the use of the H&R Block tax services. The Enactus group also competed at the 2013 Enactus National Exposition, where they were 1st runners up for their region. Clark also informed us of some recent interactions with Mayor Sly James and the City Council, showing just how much of an impact this organization has had in the Kansas City area. This organization has truly embodied this semester’s theme of innovation, in this case in both business and community

Dr. Edward Ellerbeck – University of Kansas Medical Center

On Wednesday, October 23, Dr. Edward Ellerbeck came to Honors Colloquium to present about the healthcare practices of physicians as well as to provide a brief overview of translational research. Dr. Ellerbeck is chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health and professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He has served as co-leader of the Cancer Control and Population Health program at The University of Kansas Cancer Center since 2005 and has more than 20 years of experience in measuring and improving the quality of medical care. Dr. Ellerbeck has conducted interventional and observational studies on the quality of care in hospitals and primary care practices in places such as Wyandotte county, the county with the worse healthcare in the state of Kansas.

Dr. Ellerbeck started his presentation by presenting the case of a 59-year-old self-employed woman who has diabetes mellitus and smokes a half pack of cigarettes daily. He then went on to ask questions about the probability of her physician asking the patient about her allergies, her smoking, as well as completing the eye exam, foot exam, and microalbumine check (for her diabetes), all within the span of a 15 minute office visit. Dr. Ellerbeck used this scenario to demonstrate the many shortcomings in medicine right now, and how ideas in business, technology, and entrepreneurship can be used in correcting for these deficiencies, such as the use of a cross-reference system in electronic medical records that provides warnings when physicians prescribe medications to which the patient is allergic. Furthermore, he addressed the fact that there exists a lack of communication between specialties, a hurdle in medicine which, if acknowledged, can lead to a more efficient healthcare system.

Dr. Ellerbeck became interested in research when he had the desire to “design the environment I’m working in in a way that will create a better system.” He spent the latter portion of his lecture stressing the importance of translational research: “research from the bench to the patient and the community at large.” He discussed the four types of translational research: T1 – translation to humans, T2 – translation to patients, T3 – translation into practice through implementation and communication, and T4 – translation into the population through policy, community, and population outcome studies.


Robert Taylor and Jon Harding – Kansas State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

The October 16th presentation was given by co-presenters Robert Taylor and Jon Harding. Since completing graduate school in the early 1980s, Taylor has been interested and involved in instructional methods for students with sensory impairments. As a specialist in education of students with multiple severe disabilities, Taylor provides direct and consultative services to students and educational teams across Kansas and the surrounding region. Recently, he has been involved in collaborative efforts with the Juniper Gardens project at the University of Kansas. Taylor also has two sons who have attended UMKC in recent years.

Harding has worked as a Technical Assistance Specialist with the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness since 2000. He has an undergraduate degree in general education and a master’s degree in special education. Harding taught for five years in public schools before accepting a position with UMKC as an Assistive Technology Specialist. In this role, he helped Local Education Agencies implement Assistive Technology for students with disabilities.

The presentation had the added twist of including Harding via video conferencing as he was unexpectedly called away for work in Louisville, Kentucky. While not without technical hick-ups,  the impromptu video conferencing solution demonstrated the distance technologies discussed in the presentation.

Both Taylor and Harding now work together at the Kansas State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. Their most prominent recent collaboration, and a significant part of their presentation, centers on their Distance Mentorship Project (DMP). The DMP approach is an innovative way of achieving early intervention for students with sensory impairments. Rather than trying to directly deliver all services to every student, the DMP focuses on building the capacity of local teams and families. The DMP uses cutting edge technology to ensure cost-effectiveness and quick feedback to local teams. Harding and Taylor discussed how the processes and technology used in the DMP have evolved over time, and suggested how they might improve in the future. Early on, the DMP relied on mailing VHS cassettes between local teams and the specialized consultants. With current technology, teams can use smart phones to record observations and send them almost instantaneously for feedback. The hope is that the DMP process will improve and grow to see more students benefitting in the future.


Aubony Chalfant, The HALO Center

Aubony Chalfant is a UMKC alum, receiving her Master’s degree in 2012. She started volunteering for the HALO Foundation before being hired part-time and is now one of three full-time employees at HALO. HALO stands for Helping Art Liberate Orphans. HALO was founded by Rebecca Welsh who was inspired while visiting an orphanage in Africa and observing a group of 6-year-olds living in the street and how art helped the orphans to feel more comfortable with breaking out of their shells and acted as an outlet for them.  HALO originally started as a fundraiser and raised $4,000 and grew into the non-profit organization it is today. HALO was founded nine years ago and fully sponsors 11 orphanages around the world and also offers local programming in fully functional learning centers in Kansas City and Jefferson City. HALO’s mission is to empower youth in the greatest need to become contributing members of their communities. HALO provides shelter, medical care, food, water, clothing, and most importantly art therapy. In the learning center in Kansas City they offer art therapy and life skills workshops. HALO partners with different agencies in Kansas City and asks the agencies where they are seeing holes within their own agencies. Most of the children coming to HALO are unaware of some important life skills they will need to succeed so there are workshops that, with the aid of art therapy, will teach them those life skills. Some long-term programs are 8-week programs such as woodworking or a recent partnering with Paul Mitchell that will allow the kids to explore a new task that could lead to further employment or help them get through whatever it is they are going through. HALO strives to continue the lines of communication with their kids and continue to steer them in the right direction.  There are advocates group all around the U.S, and UMKC has its own advocacy group on campus. HALO is always looking for volunteers and international ambassadors for their oversea orphanages.  Aubony was able to show Colloquium a great organization that is flourishing and doing a lot of wonderful things only a few miles from campus.  She welcomed any student to visit HALO and volunteer in whatever way they can.