Cathcart-Rake named dean of School of Medicine campus in Salina

July 23, 2014

William Cathcart-Rake
William Cathcart-Rake, M.D.

SALINA — William Cathcart-Rake, M.D., director of the University of Kansas School of Medicine campus in Salina, has been named campus dean.

School of Medicine Executive Dean Robert Simari, M.D., announced the promotion at a campus dinner at Salina Country Club on Tuesday. The announcement comes as the inaugural class of KU School of Medicine–Salina students begins its fourth and final year of medical education. As director, Cathcart-Rake has overseen all aspects of the medical education Salina students receive.

"Dean Cathcart-Rake has proven himself to be a highly effective leader," Simari said. "He was instrumental in the development of our innovative campus in Salina and has maintained the momentum since its inception. His abilities as a teacher and administrator are demonstrated in the success of the students pursuing their medical education in Salina. We look forward to his leadership as dean in the further expansion of the research, education and outreach on the Salina campus."

The School of Medicine created the campus to meet the state's growing need for more doctors. Kansas ranks 39th among the 50 states in the number of physicians per capita. The opening of the campus in 2011, and an expansion of an existing medical education program in Wichita, allowed the School of Medicine, the only medical school in Kansas, to increase its first-year student class size from 175 to 211. 

KU School of Medicine–Salina is housed in a renovated former nursing dormitory at Salina Regional Health Center. The hospital donated the building and provided other crucial support.

Students who attend the Salina campus receive basic science lectures from the main campus in Kansas City via live, interactive television. Labs and small group discussions are led by Cathcart-Rake and other members of the on-site faculty, as well as community physicians. Students receive clinical training at Salina Regional Health Center and other locations across Kansas.

The campus reached its full enrollment of 32 students on Monday, when the eight students in the Class of 2018 arrived for orientation. Classes begin July 28.

"I am both humbled and honored by my elevation to a campus dean," Cathcart-Rake said. "I am grateful to my colleagues on the Kansas City and Wichita campuses for supporting me and the Salina campus. The success of the Salina campus has been a team effort. The naming of a campus dean for Salina is also an affirmation of the tireless work in the pursuit of academic excellence by the KU School of Medicine–Salina faculty, staff and students."

The School of Medicine named Cathcart-Rake the director of undergraduate medical education for the proposed Salina campus in 2009. He served on a task force responsible for preparing for the site visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for American medical schools, in 2010. The committee's favorable review allowed for the proposed expansions in Salina and Wichita to move forward.

The LCME's regular, eight-year accreditation review of the School of Medicine took place in 2013. In granting the accreditation, the LCME noted as a strength the school's successful planning and establishment of "innovative educational programs to address the state's needs for rural physicians."

Born in Manhattan, Kan., Cathcart-Rake received his doctor of medicine degree from KU in 1974. He completed an internal medicine residency and a clinical pharmacology fellowship at KU Medical Center. An oncologist, he began practicing medicine in Salina in 1979.

He compiled a lengthy record of classroom and clinical instruction before being asked to serve as the KU School of Medicine–Salina's first director. He retired from practice in 2013 order to devote more time to his responsibilities at the school. He remains clinically active as a volunteer attending faculty member at the Smoky Hill Family Medicine Residency Program, supervising a clinic one afternoon a week. 

Last modified: Oct 20, 2016