Elizabeth Malm-Buatsi, MD, Medical Director of Urology Clinics and Assistant Professor

Hometown: Accra, Ghana

Graduation year: 2001

Major: Economics

What other degrees have you earned?

MD – University of Iowa College of Medicine

Residency – Urology: University of Missouri, Columbia

Fellowship – Pediatric Urology: University of Oklahoma

What is your current career position?

Assistant Professor, University of Missouri

Pediatric Urologist, University of Missouri

Medical Director of Urology Clinics, University of Missouri Hospitals & Clinics

Director of Women’s & Children Hospital Operating Room Staff Engagement & Retention, University of Missouri Hospitals & Clinics

Please describe your current work.

Clinical (70 percent of my institutional duties):

I have re-established the pediatric urology program at the University of Missouri Hospitals and Clinics after many years without a fellowship-trained pediatric urologist. Without my expertise, most of these patients would have sought out care at other institutions. I am board certified in both pediatric and adult urology. I see patients of all ages, from newborns to age 18, as well as prenatal infants with urologic issues. My areas of expertise are genitourinary reconstruction for congenital anomalies including pediatric circumcision, hernia/hydrocele repair, undescended testes, hypospadias repair, kidney and ureteral surgery, pyeloplasty, ureteral reimplantation, pediatric kidney stones, urethral reconstruction, pediatric kidney transplantation, pediatric urological oncology (tumors), neurogenic bladder, Spina bifida patients and prenatal counseling. I also perform minimally invasive and robotic surgeries in the pediatric population.

Teaching/Education (5 percent of my institutional responsibilities):

The greatest role as an academic surgeon is to improve surgical quality through meticulous education and training. I have dedicated my early career years to pursuing optimal methods to train the next generation of surgeons and create a family centered care approach to educating parents about postoperative-care instructions. With residents, I have created innovative, individualized surgical training plans and didactic study programs for those needing assistance in their academic progress.

Research (20 percent of my institutional duties):

I am involved in both clinical and basic science research, all of which are truly under the umbrella of outcomes research. I have ongoing grant-funded work on urinary microbiome in children with vesicoureteral reflux and renal scarring. I have collaborated with our basic science researchers at our School of Life Sciences for my work on urinary microbiome. Some of my research is also from the educational side of things on resident surgical training and family centered-care research projects.

Administration (5 percent of my institutional duties):

I am currently the medical director for the Urologic Clinics, chair of the Faculty Affairs Council for the School of Medicine. I serve on the MSPE (Dean’s letter writing) committee (2017-present), and I am a COMPASS (Contemplating Medicine, Patients, Self and Society) facilitator (2016-present). I am a mentor to medical students in their preclinical and clinical years. I am also on the executive board for WIMMS (Women in Medicine and Medical Sciences). I am the director of Women’s and Children’s Hospital Operating Room Staff Engagement and Retention.

What are your future goals?

To become a tenured professor with meaningful impact on the lives of children as it relates to risk prognostication in urinary tract infection and severe hydronephrosis and the urinary microbiome. Impact on personalized surgical teaching in the urology resident and family centered education in postoperative care of the pediatric patient. My goal for my administrative duties is to be a leader in one of the highest level of hospital management. I am planning to start designing my global outreach program in pediatric urology.

In terms of your professional life, what would you say is your overarching purpose today?

It is three-pronged: To continue to develop the Center of Excellence in Mid-Missouri for pediatric urological care, to continue developing personalized surgical training for urology residents and to continue developing a family centered approach to educating caregivers about the care of the pediatric urology patient.

Did your liberal arts education allow you to uncover particular passions that you’ve carried into your career?

The rigorous, well-rounded liberal arts education allow me to always look at different facets to improving the lives of children, and to train the next generation of surgeons to perform at their very best. I strive to make every encounter matter, be it training residents to have better hands in the future than I was trained, or educate a family about the child’s urologic issues to have them engaged enough to take better care of their child in the most stress-free environment as I can promote.

Were any relationships you formed at Westminster particularly influential in helping you find clarity of purpose?

Yes. Be it through promoting women to be leaders through membership in sorority (Kappa Alpha Theta, Scholarship Chair); being part of the Skulls of Seven with other high performing students, or being homecoming queen and enjoying the support of many, the common thread was always to improve the lives of others in a way to have them perform at their very best.

What does being a “leader” mean to you?

Personally, being a leader means to engage your team members at a level where they are empowered to perform at their very best. Servant leader but with high expectations of yourself and of others. This is my mantra in how I currently lead in my various roles at work.

What does success mean to you?

Accomplishing tasks that improve the lives of others, being a wife, a mother, a sibling, a friend, a surgeon and a teacher. On a more personal level, being Christ-like so all of my encounters will be encouraged in their daily struggles.

What is it about Westminster that makes it the kind of community that empowers students to discover their purpose and find success?

Westminster promotes critical thinking in a very engaging and small environment that naturally allows its students to nurture lifelong skills and lessons for lives of success and purpose.

Do you recommend Westminster to prospective college students?

Yes. It is truly the gem in the Midwest!

Favorite Westminster faculty member?

Dr. Amspoker

Favorite spot on campus?

The Quad

Last book you read?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite movie or TV show?

The Lion King

Favorite app?

Smartnews

Favorite way to spend a Sunday?

Watch early morning English Premier soccer league matches while getting ready for church, napping with the kids and then watch NFL Sunday games with my husband and the kids till super late, putting the kids to bed then watching ESPN Sports Center with my husband. I take breaks in there to play outside with the kids — soccer, basketball — to teach them and do some homework (self-designed curriculum) with them and then resume the football games.

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Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.