2019 Friend of Medicine Award

The Friend of Medicine Award is given to a non-physician in recognition of outstanding service to medicine.

Throughout his career as a PharmD, Patrick B. “Rusty” Ryan worked alongside physicians and helped train physicians as a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine in a unique partnership relationship. Now retired, he continues this valued partnership.

Several years after retiring, in 2011 he joined the Kansas City Medical Society Retired Physicians Organization. He took the lead in organizing a speakers bureau for the retired physicians. They give talks on health care topics to community groups, primarily older adults at churches, community centers and retirement communities. The talks are informal and involve a lot of dialogue with the audience.

“People love to hear a physician who is very personable. They may never have been able to approach a physician like this before. Interaction is the top draw of what we do,” Dr. Ryan said.

And the retired physicians get as much satisfaction out of giving the talks as the audience does in hearing them, he added. The speakers bureau currently involves more than 10 physicians who together give some 50 talks a year that reach over a thousand attendees. Many groups ask the retired physicians to return every year.

Dr. Ryan served for 33 years in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at UMKC and Truman Medical Center. Most of those 33 years were on the Lakewood campus. There, he trained residents in applied therapeutics. He was part of a team of 15-20 family practice residents and medical students. He also trained Goppert Family Medicine residents at the former Baptist Medical Center.

R. Stephen Griffith, MD, who chaired the Department of Community and Family Medicine during much of the time when Dr. Ryan was there, said: “Rusty and his partner Dave Rush were an invaluable part of our residency program and the education of the residents over the years. They attended rounds on a daily basis, greatly improving patient care by improving pharmacotherapeutics. They also gave meaningful didactic lectures regularly, and were available all the time for consultation about patient care in outpatient and inpatient arena. The quality of physician graduates of our program was better due to their efforts.”

Added Beth Rosemergey, DO, director of the Community and Family Medicine Residency Program: “Rusty is an ultimate professional and taught our residents many of the intangibles of the practice of medicine—such as how to function on an interdisciplinary team, the joy of being inquisitive and asking questions and just enjoying our work. Truly a part of our Family Medicine family!”

Dr. Ryan is a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. He has served for many years on the board of Shepherd’s Centers of America, an interfaith volunteer organization responsible for 55 centers in 15 states supporting the activities of older adults.