Opinion Columns & Blogs

KU Med impacts Wichita workforce

Dr. Garold Minns is the dean of the KU School of Medicine-Wichita.
Dr. Garold Minns is the dean of the KU School of Medicine-Wichita. Courtesy

The next time you visit your doctor’s office in Sedgwick County, take a moment to read the degrees that may be hanging on his or her wall. Did you see one from the KU School of Medicine-Wichita? There’s a very good chance you did. In fact, there’s about a 50-percent chance.

These Wichita physicians are graduates of the KU School of Medicine-Wichita or one of its 13 accredited residency programs. They are locally educated doctors from a school that has been serving Wichita for nearly 50 years and has the backing of a university with more than 150 years of academic excellence. We believe this should give you peace of mind about the quality of health care you are receiving.

One of the reason our students receive a well-rounded education at the Wichita campus is because of the knowledge and experience our faculty are sharing with them through time-tested courses and programs, but also because the faculty isn’t afraid of change and embraces innovation.

Another benefit is that our school is a community-based campus thanks to more than 650 local volunteer faculty inside three partner hospitals (Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center, Wesley Medical Center and Via Christi Health), as well as in doctors’ offices and clinics. There are more than 250 additional volunteer faculty outside of Wichita. These valuable physicians are sharing their time and talent with our students, giving them an opportunity to watch, work and learn in an environment of expertise. These committed and caring physicians and faculty provide education service through preceptorships, grand rounds, classroom and laboratory instruction, research and other presentations. In addition, research shows that teaching practices have very high standards and accommodate change very well.

In 2005, the board members of the Guadalupe Clinic were presented with an opportunity to increase the number of uninsured and medically underserved members of our community that they could help by partnering with our medical students and later our pharmacy students. According to David Gear, the clinic’s executive director, he and the board answered with a “resounding approval.” That was the beginning of the JayDoc Community Clinic. Today, students provide care under faculty supervision at two locations for four different types of programs: diabetes, women’s health, homeless outreach and general healthcare. During 2017, the students oversaw nearly 500 patient visits — about one in every 16 patient visits.

In addition to the volunteer faculty and KUSM-W doctors in the Wichita workforce, we employ nearly 275 full- and part-time faculty and staff. We are all proud to be a vital part of the Wichita community, educating tomorrow's physicians and health care leaders to improve the health of Wichitans and all Kansans.

Dr. Garold Minns is dean of the KU School of Medicine-Wichita.