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      April 12, 2011

      Tuesday  12:00 AM - 11:30 PM (daily until April 13, 2011)

      Kansas City, Kansas, United States
      Kansas City, Kansas

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      Please consider publishing the follow message in our newsletter

      The top administrator at KUMC, Barbara F. Atkinson, an MD from Pensylvania with specialty in Pathology, became Dean at KUMC at 2002, and Executive Vice Chancellor in 2005. Her ability in financial planning and professional integrity have been questioned by the entire basic science community at KU Medical Center, including faculty, research staff, students and postdoctoral fellows in KUMC. Especially, in the past two years, many faculty at KUMC are extremely concerned about the financial stability of KUMC over the next 10 years, and many basic science leaders have lost their confidence in Dean Atkinson’s leadership.

      The major part of Dean Atkinson’s strategic planning during her tenure at KUMC is to build a Cancer Center. Dean Atkinson reports that she has provided $350 million to the Cancer Center. Apparently, KUMC has received $50 million from philanthropy. The question is where did the other $300 million come from, or are they being charged to the future of basic science research in KUMC?

      Two years ago, Dean Atkinson forced an 50% salary cut of the basic science faculty in KUMC two years ago (later adjusted to 35%, but instead, the total dollars allocated to the basic science departments markedly decreased over the years). This action has caused great resistance from the basic science community in KUMC, because this decision, made without joint governance, is generally believed to be detrimental to all basic scientists in KUMC, and especially to junior faculty members who need more security and financial stability in their rising phase of career. Although the Cancer Center’s reputation is rising in the past few years, the question is, should excellent programs at KUMC be marginalized in order to have a Cancer Center? Should KUMC build a new research building rather than remodel a 50-year old building for cancer research, when a new building would have been less expensive, much better space for this century’s research, and solved the research space problem at KUMC? Because there is no joint governance under her leadership, the faculty have no input on these major decisions at KUMC.

      Many basic science leaders, including Chairs, full professors, and even students and postdoctoral trainees at KUMC, have requested to discuss with the Dean about this issue several times. However, Dean Atkinson seldom responds to emails or other forms of communication requests from basic science faculty. For example, Dr. Paul Cheney from Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, has requested to communicate with Dean Atkinson numerous times, but never got her attention. Dr. Curtis Klaassen, a commonly recognized well qualified Chair of Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics, was forced to step down from his position by Dean Atkinson on April 11th, 2011, after he requested joint governance and leadership transparency in making major financial decisions at KUMC. The reason for removing Dr. Curtis Klaassen was not listed in his official letter, and ironically, in a democratic country, Dean Atkinson’s letter to all the faculty in KUMC said “it would be inappropriate to discuss this decision further here except to say that the chairs of all KUMC departments serve at the pleasure of the Dean and/or Executive Vice Chancellor”.

      To note, before Barbara Atkinson became Dean of the KUMC, she was the Dean of Hahnemann School of Medicine since 1996. This school declared bankruptcy in 1998. During this Dean’s tenure at KUMC, many faculty have left their administrative posts, because they were fired, forced to resign, or marginalized, because they apparently found it impossible to interact with the Dean on financial and other major administrative decisions that are critical in shaping the future of the institution and our entire community. These people include but limited to: Irene M. Cumming, head of KU Med Hospital; Don Hagen, KUMC Executive Vice Chancellor; Joan Hunt, Vice Chancellor for Research; Susan Pingleton, Chair of Medicine; Patricia Thomas, Chair of Pathology + Minority Program; Karen Kelley, Cancer Center, Head of Clinical Research; Leslie Heckert, Co-director of Reproductive Biology Center; Bell Kensey, Co-director of Reproductive Biology Center; Curt Hagedorn, Director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology; Darell Quarles, Director of the Kidney Center. In addition, Dean Atkinson took the laboratory space of Dr. Steve Weinman, an internationally recognized Hepatologist. Even though this laboratory space was promised to Dr. Weinman in his hiring contract. All of the actions by the Dean listed above were apparently done without faculty committee input, and many more scientists who expressed their different opinions or question the Dean’s judgment of financial issues are being removed systematically by the Dean Atkinson’s autocratic actions. In summary, Dean Atkinson’s misconduct is against the University Guidelines, and is gradually creating a scandal for the entire institution.

      As one of this country’s fastest-rising academic medical centers, KUMC, in order to sustain and further enhance its role for training the next generation clinicians and researchers, we have the professional and ethical responsibilities to plan the best for our future, including advancing the basic sciences, and continue to make a postivie impact in our region, state, country, and world. However, The Dean’s frivolous spending, made without joint governance or leadership transparency, is believed to be destroying the future of science in this institution. The KUMC basic science leaders are painfully aware of this ongoing issue in their beloved institution. It is demanded by Students For Democracy at KUMC, that the Dean would resign at her earliest convenience and a more qualified leader is desired.

      Cost: Free -

      Categories: Politics & Activism

      This event repeats daily until April 13, 2011:

      Event details may change at any time, always check with the event organizer when planning to attend this event or purchase tickets.
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