As you know, the city of Joplin, Missouri, has been hit by a massive tornado. Seven of our KCOM students are working with Freeman Health Systems Hospital in Joplin, and we have confirmed that they are all okay. Two of them, however, have had their condominium destroyed, as well as losing all their property (including automobiles), but they are physically all right themselves. In addition, many physicians’ offices have been destroyed; although we have not contacted all of them yet, the alumni practicing in the Joplin area (including many D.O.s and one ASHS AuD) whom we have heard from are okay.
St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin has been severely damaged, resulting in the transfer of patients to Freeman and to hospitals in Springfield. Right now Freeman is completely full, and many volunteers have gone to the hospital to help out. I know that several physicians from KCOM have already gone down to Joplin to provide assistance. At this time, as I understand it, no additional physicians are needed. If you would like to do go down, however, the volunteers at this time are asked not to self-deploy but to register at www.showmeresponse.org.
Because of the tornado which hit Kirksville two years ago, we have an emergency fund already established to help students affected by this latest storm. I encourage you to donate to this fund if you are able. Bob Basham, Vice President of Institutional Advancement (IA), has provided the following link to make contributions:
The ATSU Emergency Fund is the first item on the list under “HOW SHOULD WE DIRECT YOUR GIFT/PLEDGE”; or you may call IA directly at 660-626-2180 to make a contribution.
Many of the physicians who have lost their offices are members of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons; MAOPS has set up an emergency fund to help member physicians in Joplin. If you would like to contribute, please go to the following website:
Lori Haxton, Associate Vice President, Admissions & Alumni Affairs, has indicated that students who need assistance (financial, mental health, etc.) as a result of the Joplin tornado should contact her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or 660.626.2410.
Numerous people lost their lives in this tragic weather event, and many more people are injured, some severely. We in the KCOM and ATSU family express our sincere compassion for those affected by this devastating tornado, and I personally am grateful to all the first responders and medical professionals, including those from our university, who have done and continue to do remarkable work in this most difficult of circumstances.