School of Medicine graduates inaugural Masters of Anesthesia class

UMKC program is one of only five in the nation and first program west of the Mississippi

In 2003, Sam Page, M.D., a 1992 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine and then a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, co-sponsored a bill that would allow anesthesiologist assistants (AA) to work in the state of Missouri. AAs are medical professionals licensed to work under the supervision of anesthesiologists to provide a variety of anesthesia services. An anesthesiologist himself, Page was well aware of the growing shortage of anesthesia providers in health care facilities in Missouri and throughout the U.S. At the time, AAs were licensed to work in only a few states.

UMKC MSA students get additional hands-on clinical experience in the School of Medicine's state-of-the-art simulation labs.

UMKC MSA students get additional hands-on clinical experience in the School of Medicine’s state-of-the-art simulation labs.

“It was the number one topic of discussion of anesthesiologists statewide,” Page said.

According to a nationwide survey of senior hospital administrators conducted by the American Society of Anesthesiologists in 2002, nearly 50 percent of hospitals reported a shutdown or reduction in operating room hours due to the critical shortage of anesthesia providers.

Page’s bill was signed into law by the governor and, shortly thereafter, the UMKC School of Medicine began to develop a Master of Science in Anesthesia (MSA) program to train anesthesiologist assistants. In 2008, the school accepted four students into the fledgling program, becoming the first university west of the Mississippi to offer an Anesthesiologist Assistant program. This spring, those four students became the first graduates of UMKC’s nationally accredited Master of Science in Anesthesia program.

“Our goal in developing the MSA program was not just to produce graduates to address the national anesthesiology shortage, but graduates who would hopefully stay in Missouri,” said Richard Trullinger, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Allied Health Programs at the School of Medicine. “We are very proud and very fortunate that all four of our inaugural graduates have passed their certification and taken jobs here in Missouri.”

Following are UMKC’s 2010 Master of Science in Anesthesia graduates, who share some of their thoughts on their career choice and their experience in the UMKC School of Medicine MSA program.

Pamela Bina, M.S.A.Pamela Bina, M.S.A.

Hometown: Topeka, KS

Employment: St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, MO

While applying to medical school my senior year of college, I found out about the MSA program at UMKC. I thought it was a great opportunity, so I went ahead and applied and the rest is history.

I believe the UMKC MSA program has prepared me well for the next step in my professional career. I am excited to go out and represent the AA profession and begin practicing anesthesia as part of a care team.

Jonathan Chambers, M.S.A.Jonathan Chambers, M.S.A.

Hometown: Olathe, KS

Employment: *contract pending

I attended Rockhurst as a pre-med student, but during my course of study, I questioned whether medical school was the best course of action for me. While I was doing some research, I came across the link for the MSA program on the UMKC website. It offered a great career in a highly challenging field.

I believe the instructors at the UMKC MSA program have done a wonderful job preparing myself and my fellow graduates to go into hospitals and show patients the excellent level of care provided by anesthesiologist assistants.

Caleb Hopkins, M.S.A.Caleb Hopkins, M.S.A.

Hometown: Gladstone, MO

Employment: Saint Louis University Hospital, St. Louis, MO

I went to Truman State University for a pre med BS in Exercise Science and had intended to go to KU Med; but with my engagement in Sept ’07, my finance and I chose what we thought was a more family friendly route of the UMKC MSA program.

I feel that UMKC’s combination of excellent clinical instructors, rotations and simulation lab has prepared us to be some of the most qualified mid-level anesthesia providers entering the workforce as new graduates.

Arthur Misquez, M.S.A.Arthur Misquez, M.S.A.

Hometown: Crystal, MN

Employment: St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, MO

I started working in the operating room as a surgical tech and first assistant almost straight out of high school. I became interested in medicine/anesthesia at that time. I did not even know what an AA was. So, I did some research — could not believe what I discovered — and applied. Here I am almost three years later and I am an AA.

UMKC’s AA program is outstanding. The program has gone above and beyond to make sure we are on par with the best. They have prepared me very well for both an academic and professional career.

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