The Rising Star Award recognizes a KCMS member physician who has made significant contributions to medicine, their practice or the Medical Society early in their career.

Carole E. Freiberger-O’Keefe, DO, has taken on leadership roles at both Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, where she is a critical care physician, and with the Kansas City Medical Society. At Saint Luke’s, she is an intensivist in the cardiovascular ICU. She also carries a teaching role as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

She has led the rejuvenation of the Saint Luke’s Donor Advisory Council which identifies ways to further excellence in organ donation at the hospital. After the group had disbanded, Dr. Freiberger-O’Keefe brought together physicians and hospital staff from various departments to form a new council in 2015. Under her leadership, the council has identified a number of process improvements. She continues to chair the council in partnership with the regional Midwest Transplant Network. Dr. Freiberger-O’Keefe also is a member of the evidence-based protocol team in the critical care department at Saint Luke’s. Since 2012, she has chaired the hospital Code Blue Committee overseeing improvements in the handling of code blue events.

She has been a member of the Medical Society Board of Directors since 2012 and has held the office of board secretary since 2018. During that time she has been part of the discussions that completed the merger of the former Kansas City Medical Society with the Wyandotte-Johnson County Medical Society.

Dr. Freiberger-O’Keefe said, “Having KCMS is important because it unifies physicians and helps us work toward our common goals of betterment of the profession and advancing the health of the community.”