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Three new deans assumed their leadership roles recently and respond to the following questions about “taking the helm”:  What have you learned about ATSU? What surprised you? What are your plans for the remainder of 2012?

Christopher Halliday, DDS, MPH, dean, MOSDOH

I’ve learned that ATSU is a special and unique learning institution. I immediately recognized a truly sincere and profound interest from the University in creating and fostering a cooperative, supportive, and collegial atmosphere. The interactions I’ve had, and those that I’ve witnessed, have all been positive, uplifting and inspirational.

I sense an honest mutual respect and high-level of interest among everyone that I have met, and I continue to be amazed and impressed by the friendly, gracious, and cooperative spirit throughout Kirksville.

My immediate plans are to interact with as many community members as I can, and to listen and learn from those that I meet. I want to work with this community to make the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health a globally-recognized leader in dental public health.  I have no doubt that we can all achieve that goal.

Kay Kalousek, DO, MS, AAHIVS, FACOFP, dean, SOMA

I have had the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the history, mission, and vision of the University and of the role that SOMA has to play in the future of healthcare. I have met with many members of the faculty, staff, and administration of ATSU and have seen the deep commitment that everyone has to creating an outstanding learning environment.

Since I was able to spend a fair amount of time on campus prior to my official start date, I can’t say that I was really surprised, but certainly have been very impressed with everyone’s dedication and cooperative spirit. It’s clear that this is a team with a mission. I guess I was a little surprised by the first Arizona thunderstorm I experienced–it went from clear skies to pouring rain in about 30 minutes!

My plans are to continue to meet with SOMA on-campus and adjunct faculty members to get a better understanding of their various roles, streamline some of the administrative processes within SOMA, talk to as many students as possible to gain further insight regarding their perspectives, visit Community Campuses where our students are training, meet with representatives of other ATSU colleges to plan interprofessional collaboration, and a few dozen other important things!

Margaret Wilson, DO, dean, KCOM

Having been at KCOM for more than 25 years in other professional positions, I am very familiar with most activities at the institution. However, I have learned what a tremendous amount of work and detail goes on in every department and at every level to make the things run smoothly and seamlessly. It has only reinforced my core belief that ATSU has the most dedicated faculty, staff, and students that I could ever hope to work with.

No real surprises other than how much exercise I get running around campus!

My main areas of focus over the upcoming year are accreditation review preparation for COCA, curriculum development, and faculty development. I hope to work with the faculty as we continue to develop a more clinically integrated curriculum and offer faculty development to help enhance what opportunities they have to better our academic environment.

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Check out the latest update on MOSDOH construction featured in Kirksville local news at  http://www.heartlandconnection.com/news/story.aspx?id=784394

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A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) held its graduation ceremonies for online and residential programs August 4 in two separate commencement ceremonies at Phoenix Symphony Hall.

A total of 418 students earned a master of science or doctoral degree in Human Movement, Physician Assistant Studies, Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training, and Physical Therapy. This was the first time many of the online students had met each other in person, as they all earned their degrees through online courses.

During the ceremony, an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters was awarded to keynote speaker Ron Gaber, EdS, ATSU dean emeritus of students and vice president emeritus of student affairs.

During his address, Dr. Gaber spoke highly of both the University and its graduates’ commitment to healthcare. “We honor you today for your dedication, time commitment and passion for making the life of humankind better.”  “As graduates of ATSU and the Arizona School of Health Sciences, you have benefited from the faculty’s expertise to help you become evidence-based practitioners that work directly to help others each day and to make a measurable difference.”  Dr. Gaber ended his address to the graduates with his favorite quote from George Washington Carver:

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because  someday in your life you will have been all of these.

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Randy Danielsen, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA

Randy Danielsen, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA, dean and emeritus professor,  ASHS,  was awarded the prestigious “Patron of the Profession” award for “unwavering dedication and service to the physician assistant profession” by the University of Utah PA program, a division of the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine. This award has only been given six times previously in the 40-year history of the PA program and has been given to the inaugural director of the PA program, William Wilson PhD; C. Hilmon Castle MD, inaugural medical director of the PA Program; and Richard Smith MD, founder of the MEDEX concept.

“I am honored to have received this award from my alma mater, not only because of its acknowledgement of service to the PA profession but also because of the previous awardees — all of whom are major leaders of the profession,” said Dr. Danielsen.

The award was presented to Dr. Danielsen by Dr. Don Pedersen, past division chief of the PA program. Dr. Danielsen, an alumnus of the University of Utah PA program, was also the commencement speaker for class of 2012 University of Utah PA program.

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Jack Daniels, PhD

Jack Daniels, PhD, associate professor, Human Movement program, knows what it takes to train and win in the Olympics. Dr. Daniels is a former Olympian who competed in modern pentathlon at two Olympics (1956 in Melbourne, Australia; and 1960 in Rome) and three World Championships (Stockholm, Sweden, London, and Mexico City). He won the Silver Team Medal at Melbourne, Bronze Team Medal at Rome, and Bronze Team Medal at Mexico City. He was also twice a US National Champion.

“In my day, modern pentathlon involved 5,000-meter cross-country horseback ride over 28 obstacles, (riding a horse you selected by draw so a horse you had ever seen before), epee fencing, pistol shooting, swimming, and cross-country running,” said Dr. Daniels. “I was also the first foreign athlete to win the Swedish Pentathlon National Championship in more than 50 years.”

Since that time Dr. Daniels is passing on his expertise through teaching at ATSU and coaching other Olympic runners. “I have coached several Olympic runners,” says Dr. Daniels. “The best was Lisa Martin, an Australian who won the Silver Medal in the 1988 Olympic marathon race.  Dr. Daniels also coached Penny Werthner, Canadian Olympian in the 1,500-meter event.

Today, he is coach for runner Janet Cherobon-Bawcom who placed 12th in the women’s 10,000-meter race in the London 2012 Olympics. “I really enjoy coaching young athletes because they always improve so much at the early years, and that is encouraging for them and for me.”

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