A Grand Affair for KU’s College of Medicine is celebrating its 25th anniversary

The University of Kansas College of Medicine celebrated its 25th birthdayy Memorial of A Grand Affair on January 14th at the Kansas City Convention Center.

The official event is a celebration of the work of medical students, staff, and faculty as well as an opportunity for medical students to show their appreciation for their teachers and mentors.

“Every year, we dedicate this night to celebrate our medical students’ commitment and passion for their chosen profession,” said Akinlolu Ojo, MD, PhD, MBA, dean of the KU School of Medicine.

The event returned to its traditional mid-January timeslot after it was moved to mid-March in 2022. At the time, the change was due to concerns about the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the Kansas City area. The Grand Affair was held as a virtual event in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Rainbow Award

The Grand Affair’s flagship award is the Rainbow Award, given to a faculty member who exemplifies professionalism in medicine and the willingness and ability to mentor others. The 2023 winner was Anabel Mancilas, MD, MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

Mancilas worked as a registered nurse for three years before attending KU Medical School and graduating in 2011. She completed her postgraduate training at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita and then worked for five years as an obstetrician/gynecologist in the Kansas City area. She is fluent in Spanish and has participated in multiple medical trips to Latin America.

Ethan Kellenberger, MD, student at KU School of Medicine
Class of 2024 and Co-Chair for Medical Student
The Executive Council of the Society, entertained guests in A Grand Affair.
The Council helps to identify faculty members and other mentors across the board
Prizes chosen by the students.

She joined the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2021. “I got into medical education because I felt like there was more to it than I was supposed to do,” Mancilas said. “Working with medical students, and especially while fulfilling my passion for providing care to disadvantaged communities, gives me hope that I can continue to further this altruistic calling that has brought so many of us into the medical profession.”

A student who nominated Mancilas for the Rainbow Prize wrote, “I felt the need to nominate Dr. Mancilas because of her ideal traits that make her a wonderful doctor and teacher. … With Dr. Mancilas, there is no question of stupidity. She puts students at ease and allows students to learn by doing.”

Mancilas said the Rainbow Award was an honor. “Being nominated by medical students, people who witness your direct patient-physician interactions and how you practice medicine, is such an honor because medical students see exactly who you are as a physician on a daily basis,” she said.

Additional nominees for the 2023 Rainbow Prize include:

  • German Berbel, DO, assistant professor of surgery
  • Meredith Gray, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology
  • Lindsey Kilgore, MD, assistant clinical professor of surgery
  • Mike Ross, assistant professor of internal medicine
More award winners

Many awards have been presented at A Grand Affair. Igor Pachenko, MD, a resident in the department of surgery at KU College of Medicine, Wichita, received the award for excellence in residency. His candidate wrote, “His care for medical students was evident not only in his personal interactions with us, but in his dedication to teaching.” “I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Egor sit with us students for a few hours going over the oral board cases and answering all our questions.”

The Ad Astra Award recognizes a physician who contributes time to educate KU medical students and exemplifies excellence and professionalism. The 2023 winner is David Grantham, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at KU College of Medicine, Wichita.

Luke Oppendale, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at KU College of Medicine, Wichita received the Sunflower Mentoring Award. This honor allows students to recognize an outstanding part-time physician mentor.

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