A message from Dr. Steven W. Stites, MD

Chair's Letter

For every day of the 23 years that I have been so privileged to be a part of the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), I have walked in and felt a certain joy. Joy at having the opportunity to take care of patients.  Joy at being able to teach students and residents. Joy at being able to participate in the expansion of science.  Joy at building programs. Joy at being a part of the community and the family here in the Department of Internal Medicine at KUMC.  

 If you have seen this report before, chances are you are becoming familiar with my five rules.

  1. Save the patient.
  2. Do the right thing.
  3. Be the bridge.
  4. Ask questions.  Seek answers.
  5. Those who laugh last. 

We have spoken of our first four rules before, but joy is found in the fifth rule. My father once told me that you had to do what you love and love what you do. That brings a passion to your job that turns work into play and keeps us somehow rooted to our sense of curiosity, discovery and wonder that is so important in childhood.  

So the theme for this year’s annual report is born from the fifth rule; being able to laugh and have fun means doing what you love and loving what you do. When we recruit individuals to join our team in the Department of Internal Medicine, we have choices to make. We want individuals who choose to be a part of our team because they share the same passion for helping patients, for doing things the right way, for working within the community, for expanding the frontier of science, and for working well with each other. That is the philosophy and the mantra of our department.  

While we love to bring in individuals from other areas of our country, region, nation and beyond, we also want to keep our best and brightest people right here at KUMC. We know who the best physicians are because we helped train them. We know who the best students are because we helped teach them. We know who the best scientists are because we helped develop them. We want to be able to build something in our department at KUMC that is a unique resource for our campus community as well as for our local and statewide communities, our country, and our world. 

As a resident, I trained in a place where many of the same tenants were practiced everyday. I was always impressed at how the Department of Internal Medicine there seemed like a beacon to people to turn to when they had questions about their health, research, and education. We want the Department of Internal Medicine to be just like that here at KUMC.  

What you will see in our report is how far we have come to making that true for our Department. We have grown from 88 doctors to over 200 in the last six years. We have quadrupled the amount of NIH funding.  We have won the clerkship award for our medical students for four years in a row. Our incoming residency class achieved the best scores in years on the United States Medical Licensing Exam. Nine KUMC programs have been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as being amongst the best in our country–five of which are within the Department of Internal Medicine, and the others are supported by the department. 

Just as importantly, you will see people behind these stories and how this story is like that beacon. Our story is being built and told by people who love being here, by people who love what they do and do what they love, by people who find joy every time they come to this special place. It is a story of people who are positioning KUMC and the Department of Internal Medicine to be a special place for our community here locally and beyond! When you love what you do as much as we do, that is a story worth telling. 



Steven W. Stites, MD

Peter T. Bohan, Chair, Department of Internal Medicine