The Patient and Community Advocate Award recognizes a KCMS member physician who has made significant contributions to helping patients with access to care or improved quality of care.

Dr. Leland Graves, III

Dr. Peter DiPasco

A patient with a history of thyroid cancer—but no insurance or ability to pay for care—contacted the Kansas City Medical Society Foundation’s Wy Jo Care program for assistance. Since Wy Jo Care did not have any endocrinology providers at the time, staff asked Foundation board chair Sheila M. McGreevy, MD, for assistance in identifying a provider.

Dr. McGreevy reached out to two of her University of Kansas Medical Center colleagues to help this patient. First was endocrinologist Leland Graves, III, MD, professor of medicine. He agreed to see the patient. Imaging showed a large mass remaining on the thyroid. A second surgery would be needed to remove the cancerous growth which had spread to the area around the gland and the lymph nodes. Peter J. DiPasco, MD, associate professor of surgery, agreed to take the case. Surgery to remove the cancer was completed successfully in June by Dr. DiPasco. Currently, the patient is preparing for radioactive iodine treatment which will begin soon.

Dr. Graves and Dr. DiPasco credit the University of Kansas Medical Center for stepping up to provide the hospital facilities and staff needed to complete the treatment, including surgical suite, radiation therapy, lab work, medications and more.

“We are very thankful to KU for covering these expenses,” Dr. Graves said. “There are many indigent patients in our community. I wanted to be able to help.”

Dr. DiPasco added, “We as physicians and surgeons are privileged to do this work. I look at this as a gift I have been given. Every day it is my responsibility to use that gift.”