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09:42 AM

UMKC Today: UMKC Is One Of Few That Teaches Fetal Surgery

By Stacy Downs 

You might have heard about Emanuel (Mike) Vlastos, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UMKC School of Medicine, because he’s made news for performing life-changing surgeries — in the womb. For example, he has been able to lessen the defects of babies who have spina bifida (when the spinal cord isn’t covered with skin and bone) before they are born. When he came to Kansas City from St. Louis in 2017, he brought open-fetal surgery to Children’s Mercy, where he is director of fetal therapy. Akash Jani, a Chicago native who is a six-year-medical student expecting to graduate in 2020, sought out Vlastos for a rotation in fetal medicine and surgery.

How did this mentorship come to be? Some people go their whole lives without having a mentor.

Mike Vlastos: It was Akash’s impetus and push, which brought this to fruition. He has broken trails for the next student to tread. It has been a pleasure and a challenge. Let this continue!Akash Jani: I sent him an e-mail after hearing about the work that he was doing with fetal surgery and it all snowballed from there. All you have to do is find a faculty member or staff person who’s inspiring to you, does cool work, or is respected in their field, and just introduce yourself. My experiences have led me to apply to obstetrics and gynecology for my residency after I complete my M.D. I have never felt a more rewarding feeling than when the OB/GYN team hands a mom her newborn baby.


Read the full story via UMKC Today

Learn more about the Fetal Health Center at Children's Mercy