As previously published in the Wichita Eagle on July 23

As a founding member of the proposed Kansas Health Science Center – Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (KHSC-KansasCOM) board of trustees, I have gotten to know, and greatly respect, the school’s impressive leadership team and their overall vision for the school and believe it is a critical addition to the city of Wichita.

For more than 26 years, I have called Wichita home. This is where my wife and I have raised our family, and it’s where I have built my career as an ophthalmologist/corneal transplant surgeon and partner at Grene Vision Group.

I love this community and care deeply about its future and the future of its people.

It’s because of that passion and my belief in the impact that the proposed KHSC-KansasCOM will have on the community that I recently left my medical practice in order to join the school’s faculty as assistant dean for clinical education.

I loved my career, but during the nearly three decades I spent as an eye surgeon—including a significant amount of time working in rural Kansas communities—I became painfully aware of the overall shortage of primary care medical services available in the state.

In fact, former Governor Sam Brownback’s health care task force deemed 92 out of 105 counties in Kansas as being medically underserved. And the United States ranks 32nd in lifespan and infant mortality in the world—a number that we should all find unacceptable.

In this new role at the school, as we reach the next phase in the accreditation process, we will not only have a chance to dramatically change the way we train physicians by combining new approaches to learning with real-world applications, but we will also play a part in encouraging these future physicians to seek opportunities in primary care, serving rural communities and providing much needed empathetic care to these populations.

With the proposed KHSC-KansasCOM’s curriculum, we hope to revolutionize current health care in a way that will have a major impact on our state and the region, but beyond that, it will have an equally large impact on the city of Wichita.

With its location in the heart of the city, the school will attract a new generation of Wichitans who will make this community even more vibrant in the coming years.

As long as I have lived here, I have witnessed countless efforts to revitalize this city—especially its downtown—and for the most part, the results have been slow. I strongly believe that the proposed KHSC-KansasCOM will be the literal shot in the arm that this city has been waiting for in order to take it to the next level—both economically and culturally.

Whether it’s because of your own health care needs or those of your family and loved ones, the needs of the state, or the future of a thriving Wichita metropolitan area, the proposed KHSC-KansasCOM is something we should all stand behind and support.

I hope you’ll join me.