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Zheng X LongMESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR

I am thrilled to update you on the many activities and accomplishments of the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine this past academic year, in fulfillment of our Mission, as follows:

Building a strong academic and service infrastructure:

Leadership team
Reorganization of clinical divisions and reappointment of the Division Directors or Vice Chair: Janet Woodroof, M.D., Division Director of Anatomic Pathology; Fred Plapp, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs and Division of Laboratory Medicine; Andy Godwin, Ph.D., Division Director of Genomic Diagnostics; and Tim Fields, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Chair for Research and Faculty Development in the Department and Division of Cancer & Developmental Biology.

Faculty and Staff
Recruitment and Onboarding: We have successfully recruited six new faculty members to meet the increasing demands of clinical service, since July 1, 2020. At least five more AP faculty will be needed to accomplish the departmental mission in the next two years. Additional administrative staff have also been hired, and reorganizations implemented to adequately support the growing needs of the department.

Faculty Promotions: Six of our faculty were promoted since July 1, 2020, with four receiving full professorship.

Laboratory Space Expansion
Major renovation for hematopathology and cytopathology reading rooms, pathologist offices, and the slide storage room has been completed.

Funding was allocated to hire a consulting firm to assist with space planning and design of the lab’s current space. The goal is to understand current usage and determine needed support for future growth. The tentative timeline is to begin meetings with a consulting firm in Mid-August, interviews with department leaders in September/October and finalize data and have a business plan developed by Mid-November 2021. In the meantime, negotiation is ongoing with the University of Kansas Health System to allocate funds for establishment of the Mass Spectrometry and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) and antibody testing laboratories.

Providing better patient care, education, and research:

Patient Care
Clinical productivity continues to grow. Our focus has been on increasing both faculty and staff members and building a stronger CP program, as these are unmet needs for better patient care, education, and research at KUMC. Additionally, there has been rapid growth and expansion in our department with the creation of four distinct academic divisions: Anatomic Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, Genomic Diagnostics, and Cancer & Developmental Biology.

Anatomic Pathology
An astonishing number of cases have been signed out (over 41,000) with very few faculty members, less than 17.5 clinical full-time equivalents (cFTE). Thank you for what you do.

Laboratory Medicine
This group has done an extraordinary job of overseeing over 4,000,000 billable tests, transfusion service, and apheresis with just 2.75 (cFTE) laboratory medicine faculty and very limited number of staff and nurses. They also established an in-house SARS-CoV-2 testing program, which has completed over 219, 000 COVID PCR tests alone. Going forward, we will increase the number of laboratory medicine faculty and medical technologists and establish the Transfusion Medicine Fellowship in 2022 within the Division of Laboratory Medicine to meet our patient care and education needs.

Genomic Diagnostics
Creation of the Division of Genomic Diagnostics, a rapidly expanding field in molecular pathology, is led by a world-renowned scientist Andy Godwin, Ph.D. The clinical laboratories within the division provide over 4,000 molecular oncology tests and 9,000 cytogenetic tests annually. Support for this clinical testing includes personnel within the Clinical Molecular Oncology Laboratory (led by Drs. Stephen Hyter and Godwin) and the Cytogenetics Laboratory (led by Drs. Patrick Gonzales and Shivani Golem).

Cancer & Developmental Biology
Research funding topped $11,024,183 in NIH funding; the department was ranked #22 in 2020 on Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, up from #24, among all public and private universities. This also represents a ranking of #11 among state medical schools, up from #13. The division has many world-renowned investigators and scientists who conduct cutting-edge research to find the cure for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, abnormal pregnancies, kidney diseases, and thrombosis.

Education
Residency/Fellowship Programs: We successfully trained and graduated five Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (AP/CP) residents who also passed their boards. We matched four new residents in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and welcomed four new fellows: two Cytopathology; one Hematopathology; and one Selective (Surgical) Pathology. Undergraduate Program: Post Sophomore Fellows: Two graduates. Graduate Program: The program has been successfully growing with five new graduate students joining the program.

Research
As illustrated in the discussion under the Division of Cancer and Developmental Biology, our research faculty are extremely dedicated and successful. The department has contributed only 5% of our clinical revenue to support the education and research within the department. Additionally, the department has created the Pathology Research and Grants Office to support the Pathology Basic Science faculty and their labs with all administrative tasks, including HR, Visas, Salary Funding Changes, Pre-Award Grant Assistance, Post-Award Monthly Grant Reporting, Ordering, Effort Certification, Timekeeping/Absence Reporting, Seminar Series, and Promotion & Tenure, etc. For pre-award grant support email pathpreaward@kumc.edu. Email Stacy for additional information at soxley@kumc.edu.

Looking ahead, the department is gaining recognition and reputation at national and international levels. The continuing collaboration between basic science faculty and clinical faculty is the key for our success in innovation and discovery, which will in turn improve our patient care and education at KUMC. I want to thank you for what you do. You have made this department a much better place to work, grow, and enjoy.

X. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Russell J. Eilers, M.D. Endowed Chair
Department Chair and Service Chief
Email: xzheng2@kumc.edu 

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KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Mail Stop 3045
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-7070
Fax: 913-588-7073