On May 12, the School of Medicine’s own Dr. Richard J. Barohn was honored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City, his alma mater, with the annual Take Wing Award. The award is given annually to an outstanding alumnus of the UMKC School of Medicine, and it is considered the school’s highest alumni honor.
“To say this award means a great deal to me is an understatement,” Barohn said. “I feel like I won the lottery when I was accepted into the UMKC School of Medicine, and this award makes me feel as though I can say I used my lottery ticket well to become a successful physician, academic, researcher and academic administrator.”
Barohn enrolled in the then-new six-year MD program in 1973. After graduating in 1980, he served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, ultimately rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He trained in neurology at Wilford Hall Medical Center in Lackland, Tex., completed his neuromuscular medicine fellowship at the Ohio State University.
Barohn’s career took him to the University of Texas Southwestern, where he served as distinguished chair in neurological mobility research, and eventually to the University of Kansas, where he served as the Neurology Department chair and vice chancellor of research at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
As executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs at MU and the Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson dean of the School of Medicine, Barohn serves as the university’s top health administrator. He also served as the inaugural executive director of the NextGen Precision Health initiative until October 2022.
Barohn credits his success to that decision back in 1973 to enroll in UMKC’s six-year medical program.
“I think I won the lottery,” said Barohn. “It was my responsibility to not take that opportunity for granted, and to make sure my good fortune would be put to use in an proactive and impactful way.”
After being presented the Take Wing Award during UMKC’s annual commencement celebrations, Barohn delivered a presentation “Career Advice, or what they never taught you in training” to current UMKC medical and health sciences students. A recording of his presentation is available here: Take Wing Award Lecture – Live Event Stream