Remembering Dr. William David LaFevers


William David LaFevers, clinical assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies and an advocate for his profession, died Feb. 15 after a sudden, brief illness. He was 55.

A memorial will be held 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. March 10 at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, Nebraska Room, in Springfield, Missouri. The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is holding a memorial from 11 a.m. to noon March 14 at Diastole Scholars’ Center.

LaFevers joined UMKC in 2010, and since 2016, he served as director of the school’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. He received a diploma in nursing from Burge School of Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southwest Baptist University, and MSN and Doctor of Nursing Practice from UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.

“Dave was a kind, gentle person who was willing to take on any task,” said Ann Cary, dean of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. “Students loved him, as did the faculty and staff at the school. He was equal parts nurse practitioner-clinician, published scholar, educator, collaborator and policy advocate for nursing practice and patients. We will miss his ‘can-do’ attitude at the school and university.”

LaFevers was recognized with national and state nursing awards. In 2015, the American Association of Colleges in Nursing chose him as one of eight nurse educators nationally for its Faculty Policy Intensive cohort. In 2014, he received the American Association of Nurse Practitioners State Award for Excellence for Missouri. He also was selected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

LaFevers served in leadership positions in the Missouri Nurses Association, including chair of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Special Interest Group and chair of the Northwest Region.

LaFevers is survived by his wife, Jan, an adjunct faculty member in the UMKC School of Education, and their daughter, Abby LaFevers Ayers.

“He felt that everyone was family and every moment was a teachable moment,” Jan LaFevers said. “Bringing value to any situation was his purpose.“

School of Nursing and Health Studies Achieves High National Ranking Sixth Year in a Row

Image text: Ranked 18 Best Online Nursing Program, U.S. News and World Report

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies ranked No. 18 among the nation’s best online graduate nursing programs of 2018 by U.S. News & World Report, earning at least a Top 25 ranking for the sixth year in a row.

UMKC’s ranking, released today, is the highest of any university in Missouri and the surrounding states of Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma. In 2017, UMKC also ranked high at No. 21.

“The School of Nursing and Health Studies faculty, staff and students are to be commended for the achievements in our online nursing programs,” said Ann Cary, dean of the school. “In addition, we are supported by the vice provost for online learning, Devon Cancilla, and his team for efforts to bring the best infrastructure possible to our learning experiences for our students. We are committed to unrelenting quality in programming now and in the future.”

The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is a pioneer in distance-learning programs, offering online advanced degree programs since 2002. The programs offer busy professionals a high-quality but convenient way to further their careers and meet the needs of an evolving health-care system.

Online students are expected to participate in online discussions as if they are present in the classroom. Technology offers multiple modes of communication in real time and asynchronous exchanges. Students also experience on-site learning with faculty and classmates through annual clinical institutes and dissertation work sessions.

UMKC offers a variety of online graduate nursing tracks, including BSN to Doctoral, MSN to Doctoral, master’s degrees and post-masters certificate tracks in the following:

U.S. News began ranking online education in 2012. The categories include faculty credentials and training; student engagement; admissions selectivity; peer reputation; and student services and technology. U.S. News began their data comparisons with more than 500 institutions that had accredited graduate degree programs in nursing. Among the ones that replied, 159 said they offered online graduate nursing programs. The number of online nursing programs is continually growing nationwide.

$8 Million Grant to Tackle Opioid Crisis

The Collaborative to Advance Health Services at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies, in partnership with the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, has been sub-awarded a $8 million dollar grant for two years as part of a $24 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support primary-care providers in the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders.

The grant is in response to national leaders in October declaring America’s opioid epidemic a public-health emergency — a designation typically reserved for natural disasters. At that time, SAMHSA announced a new technical-assistance effort in providing state-of-the-art clinical support to providers and to address preventing, treating and supporting recovery from substance-use disorders with a focus on opioid use disorders.

“This award to address the opioid epidemic in Missouri and other states demonstrates the unfailing commitment of UMKC and its School of Nursing and Health Studies to our citizens in the Kansas City region and the state,” said Ann Cary, dean of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. “Our uniquely talented professionals and support staff in our Collaborative unit within the school offers unrelenting quality in the provision of health services to our communities, and we are grateful for their enduring talent and leadership.”

The Collaborative to Advance Health Services at UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is home to several national-based centers that implement evidence-based clinical practices into substance use and mental health treatment. It will receive $4 million a year for two years. This project is an unprecedented alliance of physician, nurse, allied healthcare and behavioral health organizations with broad national, regional and state networks and technical expertise in preventing, treating and supporting recovery from substance use disorders.

The Collaborative will lead 10 regional Addiction Technology Transfer Centers to leverage well-established state-level relationships to build the national technical-assistance infrastructure using proven implementation strategies, said Holly Hagle, co-director of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, UMKC assistant research professor and principal investigator on the grant for UMKC. Other Collaborative members on the project are Laurie Krom, co-director of the ATTC Network, and Pat Stilen, director of the Mid-America ATTC Network.

“The team members of the Collaborative to Advance Health Services at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies are very excited to do this important work at a time of crisis for the country,” Hagle said. “Our hope is that it will have an impact on the people and communities who are suffering.”