Mizzou Alumni Association names 2021 Faculty Alumni Award winners

Top row: Lowell Mohler, Mary Beth Marrs, William Baker, Mary Sue Beck, Botswana Toney Blackburn and John Walter 

Bottom row: D Cornelison, Cooper Drury, Alexander Garza, Sandra Whayne Gautt, Noah Heringman and Yong Volz

Nov. 15, 2021
Contact: Stephanie Fleming, 573-882-8353, sfleming@missouri.edu
Original article posted here at Showme.missouri.edu

The Mizzou Alumni Association honored 12 distinguished faculty and alumni in the 53rd annual Faculty Alumni Awards on Nov. 12.

Celebrated since 1968, the Faculty-Alumni Awards highlight the contributions of exceptional individuals to the university’s growth and core mission through their professional accomplishments, teaching and research excellence or service to the institution. At the University of Missouri, scholarship and teaching are driven by a responsibility to public service — the obligation to produce and disseminate knowledge that will improve the quality of life in Missouri and beyond.

Here are the 2021 Faculty Alumni Award recipients:

66th Annual Distinguished Service Award
  • Lowell Mohler, BS AG ’58, retired chief administrative officer for the Missouri Farm Bureau and Affiliated Companies, former director of Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Mohler has influenced the field of agriculture in Missouri with his leadership and service requested by governors, legislators and conservation agencies, as well as his alma mater, MU’s College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources. His dedication to the state and its resources — its land, animals and waters — have made him “the voice” of agriculture in Missouri, and his service has made considerable impacts on the relationships between the university and the agricultural community as a whole.

62nd Annual Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Mary Beth Marrs, BS IE’87, MBA’95, PhD ’99, associate teaching professor, director of Enrichment Programs, Cornell Leadership Program and Heartland Scholars Academy at the Trulaske College of Business.

Marrs joined the Trulaske College of Business as a faculty member in 2000, after completing the third of her MU degrees. She has developed numerous student enrichment programs, including the Heartland Scholars Academy, which is dedicated to supporting rural, first-generation students like herself. To her students, Marrs is a “mom away from home,” and her care and concern for students extends far beyond the four years they spend in her tutelage. Her expansive alumni network is used to help connect new graduates to opportunities around the world, with many of those graduates remaining active as volunteers, donors or further mentors to her pupils.

2021 Faculty Alumni Award Recipients
  • William Baker, BS CIE ‘75, structural engineering consulting partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
  • Mary Sue Beck, MSN ‘84, retired chief nursing officer, University of Missouri Health Care
  • Botswana Toney Blackburn, BJ ‘95, M Ed ‘97, associate chair, Health Sciences; and teaching professor, MU School of Health Professions
  • John Walter Clark, BS ME ‘62, MBA ‘75, retired water engineer, City of Columbia; retired commander 231 Civil Engineering Flight, Missouri Air National Guard
  • D Cornelison, professor of Biological Sciences and Microbiology & Immunology – investigator, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center
  • Cooper Drury, professor of Government and Public Affairs, and interim dean, MU College of Arts & Science
  • Alexander Garza, MD ‘96, chief community health officer, SSM Health; colonel, U.S. Army Reserve
  • Sandra Whayne Gautt, BS Ed ‘65, M Ed ‘66, PhD ‘77, retired vice provost & professor emerita of Special Education, University of Kansas
  • Noah Heringman, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English, MU College of Arts & Science
  • Yong Volz, associate professor, Roger Gafke Faculty Fellow; faculty group chair for Journalism Studies, Missouri School of Journalism

Read more about this year’s recipients at the Mizzou Alumni Association

MU study examines benefits, challenges of telehealth in nursing homes during pandemic

Findings highlight telehealth’s ability to reduce patient stress, increase access.

Nov. 3, 2021
Story contact: Brian Consiglio, 573-882-9144, consigliob@missouri.edu
Original article posted here at Showme.missouri.edu

The COVID-19 pandemic caused nursing homes to rapidly change their policies overnight. Telehealth was instantly adopted widely in an effort to reduce stress on the health care system by keeping residents safe and avoiding unnecessary transfers to already-overwhelmed hospitals.

A new study at the University of Missouri found that the use of telehealth not only reduced stress for nursing home residents, but also increased access to convenient care. Kimberly Powell, an assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, interviewed nursing home clinicians and administrators from a sample of 700 nursing homes across the country to better understand the benefits and challenges of widespread telehealth adoption.

“Transporting a resident to the hospital can be a very traumatic and stressful experience,” Powell said. “Whether it’s a fall in the middle of the night or a sudden change in vitals, if a nurse can quickly hop on a Zoom call with a resident and make an assessment, perhaps an intervention plan can be developed that allows the resident to be treated in the nursing home, which saves time, money and an unnecessary transfer to the hospital.”

Still, there are other impacts to consider. While telehealth offers unprecedented convenience, it can also remove much needed socialization opportunities for older adults, and even create confusion for nursing home residents with cognitive difficulties.

“For some nursing home residents, going to a doctor’s office for a consultation or follow-up appointment can be a fun social event, as it may be their only chance each month to get fresh air and go out in the community, so taking that opportunity away can be difficult for some,” Powell said. “Or for those with cognitive impairments, they might not understand on a telehealth call why or how their doctor is talking to them through a computer screen. While telehealth can be very convenient and beneficial, it should not be viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution, and this study helped us see various nuances involved.”

Powell added the adoption of telehealth during the pandemic was quicker and smoother for nursing homes that already had experience using it before.

“The pandemic highlighted the need for more technical training toward nursing homes that up until now had never used it before,” Powell said. “Going forward, there is also the need for better data integration so that when clinicians are on a Zoom call with nursing home residents, they can quickly and easily access medical records such as blood tests or lab results.”

Powell’s interest in using information technology to improve nursing stems from her years as a doctoral student, when online patient portals were first being invented, allowing clinicians and patients unprecedented access to individualized medical data.

“As a nurse, I have always been fascinated with how information technology can be used to improve patient health outcomes,” Powell said. “Telehealth opens up so many opportunities for early interventions and allows clinicians to also take into account personal preferences and shared decision making.”

“Consequences of rapid telehealth expansion in nursing homes: Promise and pitfalls” was recently published in the Journal of Applied Clinical Informatics. Funding for the study was provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.