Downtown buildings may become a school
The private medical school planned for downtown Wichita announced its leadership team Thursday morning.
The Kansas Health Science Center is scheduled to open in the former Finney State Office Building in August 2022 as part of Sudha Tokala’s downtown education complex that could include the osteopathic medical school, a culinary school, a hotel and student apartments. It’s not yet accredited, and the school’s leadership could decide the direction the college takes.
On Wednesday, Tokala said the school could be a culinary medical school that partners with the culinary program she plans to open across the street from the medical school. But she said that could change, depending on the vision of the school’s leadership.
Tokala will not be on the Kansas Health Science Center board, she said Thursday. She said she plans to direct her attention back to real estate.
“Ultimately, it’s a hard thing for me to step away. But ultimately the organization’s health and sustainability also belongs to me, and I think putting good leadership in place will make this organization strive and take the next big step.
“And that would probably be my biggest achievement. . . . It’s my legacy,” Tokala said.
Two of the Kansas Health Science Center’s top three leaders are already in the TCS Education System, a network of nonprofit private schools that provides administrative services to colleges. Chicago-based TCS announced Tuesday that it would help manage the new medical school.
The school’s president will be Tiffany Masson. She was most recently the dean of the online campus at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, another school in the TCS network. She has a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a doctorate of psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, which is now part of the Alliant International University system.
“Her unique combination of both academic and operational expertise and forward thinking will help KHSC remain on the cutting edge,” a news release from TCS says.
Vadim Levitin will be the chairman of the Kansas Health Science Center’s board of trustees. He is also the chair of the board of trustees for Saybrook University, a nonprofit, online college based in California that is in the TCS network. His LinkedIn profile says he earned his master’s degree in computer science at National University and obtained a doctorate of medicine in internal medicine from National Medical Academy.
The Kansas Health Science Center’s founding dean and chief academic officer will be Robert Hasty, a doctor of osteopathy who recently opened Idaho’s first medical school, the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine. That school finished its first school year this spring.
Hasty got his undergraduate degree at the University of Miami and DO degree at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Masson and Hasty plan to move to Wichita, according to a news release from TCS.
“Kansas, as well as America, is fortunate to have great medical schools,” Masson said in the release. “KHSC’s vision is to be an institution like no other.”
Masson said the school will focus on “training the physician of the future — one that is highly skilled and ready to work with the entire health care team to ensure best-in-class patient care.”
“There’s a growing need for doctors, not only in Kansas but across the country,” Hasty said in the release. “KHSC is ready and eager to meet that challenge to help the community.”
TCS also released the names of the Kansas Health Science Center’s Board of Trustees: Vadim Levitin, Deborah Markos, Tiffany Masson, Michael Horowitz, Jeremy Ensey, James Ernstmann, Dasa Gangadhar, Jerry Gaston, Theron Fry, Jon Kirkpatrick, Dan McCarty, Ronnie Troy, Richard Chaifetz, Terrence Layng, Mark Skrade.
Gaston and Troy are identified in the news release as members of the Riverside Health Foundation board, which pledged $15 million to the Kansas Health Science Center. Fry, Kirkpatrick and McCarty are also listed as members of the board as recently as 2016, according to tax filings.
Markos and Horowitz are also with TCS, Markos as chief operating officer and Horowitz as president and founder.
Other members have diverse backgrounds in higher education, health, consulting and business.
“When I created it, it was never supposed to be any one person owning it,” Tokala said. “It was supposed to be a whole community. I think the 15-member board is a diverse group of people, and no one person will have any greater say over it. It will be an equal 15-member board making decisions as they keep going.”