News - GU Alumnus Dr. Todd Stephens ’85 Named 2019 Kansas Humanitarian

GU Alumnus Dr. Todd Stephens ’85 Named 2019 Kansas Humanitarian

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Kansas Family Physician. Used with permission, courtesy of Kansas Academy of Family Physicians.

S. Todd Stephens, MD, FAAFP, is 2019 Kansas Humanitarian Awardee

KAFPThe Kansas Academy of Family Physicians (KAFP) announces S. Todd Stephens, MD, FAAFP of Wichita, Kansas, as the 2019 Kansas Humanitarian Award winner. Dr. Stephens was honored during the President's Dinner on Friday, June 7, 2019. He has been nominated for the AAFP Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Stephens is the associate director of Via Christi Family Medicine Residency; director of International Family Medicine Fellowship; clinical assistant professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. He serves as a volunteer physician for Mobile Medical Clinic, World Impact, and most recently served as a volunteer professor in medicine, University of Nouakchott Medical School, Mauritania, 2017-2018; and volunteer physician at Chinguetti District Hospital, Chinguetti, Mauritania, for four weeks, 2017-2018. Dr. Stephens received his medical degree from University of Kansas School of Medicine­Wichita and completed his residency at Ascension Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program (St Joseph).

Ascension Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program Director Philip Dooley, MD, FAAFP writes: "Dr. Stephens

has involved himself in international service for his entire career starting with a medical student rotation to Kibogora Hospital, Rwanda, in 1989. This rotation was a true inflection point in Todd's life as a key event that led to his decision to pursue family medicine. He returned to Rwanda during residency, and after two years in Olathe, he served overseas as a full-time medical missionary from 1994 to 2002."

In 2002, he returned to his home town of Mineola where he continued to meet the needs of the underserved in rural Kansas while also precepting KU medical students during their rural rotations. In 2007, he was recruited to join the residency faculty at Via Christi and launch the International Family Medicine Fellowship (IFMF). The inaugural class began training in 2008, and since that time, the IFMF has had an unprecedented impact in rural Kansas and around the world.

Dr. Stephens took a one-year unpaid sabbatical from Via Christi and KU-Wichita to teach full-time in the medical school in Mauritania, a French speaking nation with zero family medicine history or infrastructure. He was personally invited to join their faculty by the dean of the medical school and has also met with the minister of health on more than one occasion to discuss plans for future post-graduate training in family medicine to help meet the needs of the many underserved rural areas where a well-trained family physician could dramatically improve access to and quality of care.

There is clearly something special in the Stephens' family gene pool since Todd's uncle Gayle was one of the founders of family medicine in the United States. Now Todd is helping to lay the groundwork to start a family medicine residency in a country where family medicine has never existed. Todd-Stephens

As the director of the IFMF, he has traveled extensively to identify partner sites in Egypt, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, and Niger. He taught a CME course in Greece in 2016 and 2018 to help medical missionaries maintain their life support certifications without the added expense of traveling all the way back to North America. He is our local expert on a variety of tropical medicine topics, some of which we even see domestically, such as tuberculosis. Dr. Stephens does not only seek to meet the needs of underserved patients internationally, but also to serve his neighbors within the borders of the United States.

His indirect impact on the lives of people around the world, through the ongoing work of the fellows he has trained over the past decade, is simply incalculable as those physicians train and inspire others to pursue a life of service.

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This story was published on October 08, 2019

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