Introducing the MSSC’s new director Phillip Brownlee


Phillip Brownlee with Dr. Estephan Zayat, the MSSC’s 2016 president, and his wife, Janane.

Phillip Brownlee likes a challenge, especially one in pursuit of a mission. He saw both in the MSSC executive director position.

Brownlee officially came aboard at the medical society on May 16, although he had many get-to-know-you meetings with physicians, affiliate leaders and others before then. His hiring concluded a three-month-plus search that attracted more than a dozen candidates.

“What’s drawn me to health care and the medical society is the community service,” said Brownlee, who had been the Wichita Eagle’s opinion editor since 2001. “Doctors are dedicated to their patients and the well being of the community, and the medical society is very active in the community, in public health and other areas.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time initially visiting with staff and physicians and learning as much as possible about both the medical society’s operations and the work being done by physicians in the community,” he said.

Brownlee grew up in Sterling, the youngest of five children whose mother taught French and humanities at Sterling College and served as its academic dean in the 1970s. He attended the college and majored in accounting and business administration, a practical outlet for his “math orientation.”

College provided his first introduction to publishing when, as student body president, he took over the faltering yearbook. “I became the de facto editor. I knew nothing about design work, but I discovered I was good at it and loved doing it.”

Sterling College also introduced him to Laila, and they married in 1985, the year he began working for Judd Thomas Smith, a large accounting firm in Dallas. He did both tax and audit work and envisioned a bright future in the profession, but came to realize “it was not something I was passionate about it.”

That led him to recall how much he enjoyed being yearbook editor, a decision to change careers and a return to Kansas to serve as his alma mater’s public information director. The job involved writing, design, advertising and marketing, and strategic planning. Eventually, he concluded he needed more formal training in some of those skills, which took him to KU School of Journalism’s graduate program.

An internship as an Eagle editorial writer turned into, first, a full-time job and, five years later, promotion to editorial page editor. “The best thing about the job is that you deal with a lot of different issues and meet interesting people, so it’s ever-changing. It’s also very demanding, which I appreciate and enjoy.”

He knows the medical society will prove challenging and demanding as well.

“I’m someone who has a broad range of interests and skill sets,” he said. “The background in accounting and administration is important in the new job, as are the communications skills and analysis and civic leadership that have been part of my Eagle position. I don’t think there’s a direct link between some of my career moves, but they are all coming together in this move to the medical society.”

“I tend to be a mission-oriented person, and I value working in a job that has larger public purpose,” he said.

About Phillip Brownlee
  • Family: Wife, Laila, teaches English to speakers of other languages, primarily refugees, at Wichita’s Curtis Middle School; son, Lewis, 21; and daughter, Elaina, 19.
  • Outside work: Enjoys the arts, including visual arts, theater, live music, including the symphony. Likes to read for pleasure, but often finds it squeezed out by on-the-job reading.

May Message

by Denis Knight, DO dennisknighttonededitedjan17web

I would like to thank all of the candidates for the Board of Trustees and other physician leadership positions with the Medical Society of Sedgwick County. Your willingness to serve is greatly appreciated, and I congratulate those who were elected. You will make a significant contribution to the success of our organization.

I am also delighted that Phillip Brownlee has been hired as the executive director. His first day on the job was May 16, when Phillip met with Jon Rosell, executive director of KMS, in Topeka to be briefed on institutional history and to assist in the transition. Over the next month, Penny Vogelsang will continue to work on some projects and serve as an adviser. Penny has done an outstanding job this year as interim director and deserves high praise for her performance.

Phillip has begun meeting leaders of our organization and is spending time with all of the board members to determine what the goals and vision of MSSC shall be this year. He appears to be well aware of the challenges we face as physicians and eager to learn more about what we need to be successful.

The MSSC has a diverse membership with many different viewpoints that Phillip is interested in representing. As I had an opportunity to become even better acquainted with Phillip in recent weeks, I learned that he is a very good listener and can respectfully engage us in our diversity. I am highly confident the he will help us reach our common goal of working together to improve the health of our community.

I know that there is plenty of hard work ahead for Phillip, MSSC leaders and members of our society as well. We are all entering a new era as summer approaches, and I hope that you – as do I – find a little time for rest and relaxation.

Community Health Summit: June 28

What: MSSC is sponsoring a CME event along with team members from Health ICT, KAFP, KDHE and Humana. The half-day Community Health Summit in Wichita will bring together Kansans who affect health and well-being in our state. Physicians can earn 4 CME credits for participating. Nursing hours are pending.

Learn more/register:

The Medical Society of Sedgwick County is accredited by the Kansas Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The Medical Society of Sedgwick County designates this live activity for a maximum of four (4) AMA PRA Category I Credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
PENDING: Wesley Medical Center is approved as a provider of CNE by the Kansas State Board of Nursing. This course offering is approved for XX contact hours applicable for RN, or LPN relicensure. Kansas State Board of Nursing provider number: LT 0085-0327

MSSC officers chosen

Michael Lievens, MD

Michael Lievens, MD

Michael Lievens, MD, was announced as MSSC president-elect during the May 2 members meeting.

“I am honored to serve the members of our medical society and the community,” said Dr. Lievens, whose term as president will begin Jan. 1, 2019. “Our society has played such a vital role in this county for many years, often behind the scenes. I hope to continue our current works, and look for additional ways we can improve our community and the practice
of medicine here.”

Others elected for 2018:

Secretary: Jason Taylor, MD

Treasurer: John Lohnes Jr., MD

MSSC Board: E. Jeanne Kroeker, MD, Jany Moussa, MD, and Diane Steere, MD

Membership & Ethics Committee: R. Joseph Nold, MD, and Donna Sweet, MD; they will be joined by Dr. Denis Knight as immediate past president.

QuickFire provided blasts of information and a CME opportunity

MSSC-QuickFire-V2MSSC members had the chance to learn about the latest prostate cancer recommendations, robotic surgery in joint replacement, colonoscopy and cervical cancer screening, KUSM-Wichita’s new curriculum and other topics during the May 2 membership meeting, which was in the fast-moving QuickFire format.

The meeting also allowed attendees to earn up to two CME credits, granted through the MSSC. Members also heard from and met new Executive Director Phillip Brownlee, whose appointment the MSSC had been announced the week before.

Urologist Dr. Jeffrey S. Davis discussed prostate cancer recommendations and strove to clarify misconceptions about PSA testing.

Urologist Dr. Jeffrey S. Davis discussed prostate cancer recommendations and strove to clarify misconceptions about PSA testing.

“It’s a great privilege to join this group that I’ve admired for so long,” Brownlee said. “Thank you for this honor.”

The meeting, held at the Wichita Marriott, then moved into its educational component: seven approximately 15-minute presentations allowing MSSC members to share their interests and expertise and then take questions from the audience. The topics:

Prostate cancer: New task force recommendations. Noting that prostate cancer is “still the No. 2 killer for men,” Dr. Jeffrey S. Davis gave a quick history of shifting guidelines and sometimes-confusing PSA tests. Contrary to some recommendations, he said, urologists believe screening is beneficial because it has reduced deaths. Physicians need to better educate men that PSA tests – while not perfect – are safe and don’t cause dysfunction, he said.

Collaborative practice agreements. Dr. Justin Moore, medical director of Health ICT, the program to reduce obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, described the formal agreements between pharmacists and physicians. By allowing pharmacists to handle drug management, particularly for chronic diseases, physicians could spend more time with patients and increase job satisfaction, said Dr. Moore, who offered Health ICT’s assistance in setting up the agreements.

Robotic-arm assisted technology in joint replacement: Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Damion Walker described how he and colleagues are using robotic surgery in full and partial joint replacements, especially knees and hips. The tools provide greater precision, more readily accommodate the highly individual anatomy of joints, and speed recovery. “What’s telling is people’s bounce-back,” he said. “They get up and go. It’s a different recovery.”

Cervical cancer screening update: Dr. Randall Morgan recounted recommendations for screening: Pap smears for women under 30 every three years, HPV testing and a Pap smear every five years for those 30 to 65, and no testing after 65 unless there are risk factors. The HPV test, he said, has been shown to more accurately assess cancer risk. One challenge, an audience member said, is convincing 65-plus women that testing is no longer necessary.

KU School of Medicine’s new ACE curriculum. The curriculum that will be phased in starting this summer involves more active learning and less lecture time, said Dr. Scott Moser, associate dean. The goal is to begin the clinical part of their education sooner, and end the “binge and purge” of knowledge in the current approach. He told how courses will be eight weeks, followed by electives or, if the student requires, remediation to help them master material then instead of waiting until later. Dr. Moser said the approach provides plenty of chances for physicians to help students build skills. Email if interested.

Surgeon Dr. Lindsay Strader explained colonoscopy screening guidelines and, like other presenters, answered questions.

Surgeon Dr. Lindsay Strader explained colonoscopy screening guidelines and, like other presenters, answered questions.

Colonoscopy screening guidelines especially for high-risk patients/genetic syndromes. Dr. Lindsay Strader noted that 135,000 cases of colorectal cancer occur each year, with a quarter of those clustered in families. People with heightened genetic risk, such as Lynch syndrome and FAP, require special attention and screening, she said. The cancer risks point out that “we need to do a better job of taking family histories.”

Stick, Slick & Wick – Unique use of common products in the wound center. The tool kit for wound care is immense, Dr. Marilee McBoyle said, and she chose three particularly interesting ones: Medihoney, a medical grade honey that cleans wounds and lifts tissue; amniotic membranes that help close wounds and reduce scars; and moisture-wicking fabrics – much like Under Armour athletic wear – that help with skin-to-skin contact issues.

Dr. McBoyle, presenting last, also made an observation that reflects why QuickFire has become a tradition: “The breadth of the topics we’ve heard tonight is impressive.”

Niernberger named family physician of year


Jerry Niernberger, MD

MSSC member Dr. Jerry Niernberger, DO, has been picked as Family Physician of the Year by the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Niernberger, who practices with Via Christi Clinic, will be honored June 9 at the KAFP annual meeting in Wichita.

Dr. Niernberger grew up in Liberal, served in the Army and graduated from Wichita State University. He attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, interned at Wichita’s Riverside Hospital and completed his osteopathic residency at Denver’s Rocky Mountain Hospital/St Luke’s Medical Center. He also did an allopathic residency at Wichita’s St. Francis Medical Center.

Dr. Niernberger is chief of the Family Medicine Department at Via Christi Health and serves on the Via Christi Clinic Board of Directors. For 22 years, Dr. Niernberger volunteered at Guadalupe Clinic.

“He is truly a good example of a compassionate physician who strives to live his life by serving others,” Ronda Hanneman, a certified physician assistant with Via Christi Clinic, told the KAFP.

Health ICT plays key role in getting BikeShareICT rolling

Becky Tuttle of Health ICT at the kickoff.

Becky Tuttle of Health ICT at the kickoff.

With the support of two foundations and the vision of Health ICT’s Becky Tuttle and others, the city now has a bike-share program that will consist of 100 bikes and 19 stations in central Wichita.

During a May 4 kickoff at the Popup Park downtown along Douglas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas announced it would give $194,000 to BikeShareICT, while the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation gave $30,000.

The bicycle program is managed by the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita and Health ICT. Tuttle has been project manager for MSSC affiliate Health ICT and serves as chair of the wellness coalition.

At the kickoff, Mayor Jeff Longwell told how the program was part of making the community a better, more active place to live, one attractive to young people, and good for economic development as well.

“Becky Tuttle and Scott Wadle started this conversation,” Shelley Prichard, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation said, referring to the city planner active in bike and pedestrian issues. “It started small but thanks to Becky and Blue Cross Blue Shield this got much larger.”

BikeShareICT utilizes Zagster, which runs bike share programs around the country, to supply the bikes, bike station and the app that gives users access.

Andrew Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO, mentioned a motivation that applies to Health ICT and other participants: “The ulterior motive is better health.”

“This truly was a community-wide collaboration,” Tuttle said.

How BikeShareICT works
  • Cost: Yearly memberships are $30 ($20 for college students) or riders can borrow bikes for $3 per hour.
  • What it takes: Download the Zagster phone app at Google Play and iTunes.
  • Learn more:

Tuttle becoming YMCA community development director

Health-ICT-logoBecky Tuttle, project manager of Health ICT, is leaving the program next month to return to the Greater Wichita YMCA as its director of community development.

Tuttle worked with the Y before starting MSSC affiliate Health ICT, a CDC-funded program that combats diabetes, obesity, heart attack and stroke. The position was one Tuttle said she couldn’t pass up, as it involves healthy eating initiatives, workplace wellness, after-school programs, community outreach and other areas that overlap with Health ICT’s work.

“They really want to expand what they do in the community. That was really the clincher for me. It was a hard decision,” said Tuttle, who will join the YMCA June 13 but will assist in hiring Health ICT’s next leader.

Tuttle will fill the position held for 17 years by Mim McKenzie, who is now YMCA operations manager.

Among Health ICT accomplishments, Tuttle is proudest that “we are a trusted and reliable community partner, and that we have increased awareness for the need for public health and clinical care to work together.”

MIHC undergoing leadership shift

MIHC-logo-rgbThe Maternal Infant Health Coalition, founded in 2010 and coordinated by the MSSC, is undergoing a leadership change.

The coalition had been chaired by MSSC Executive Director Jon Rosell and Christy Schunn of the Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network (KIDS Network). Rosell joined the KMS in January, and Schunn has decided to step aside. Schunn said the decision is a natural step in the evolution of the coalition, as it has succeeded in bringing together people working in common areas to address gaps and problems. Molly Brown, program director of BabyTalk, will become the group’s co-chair, with another co-chair expected to join soon. The coalition consists of professionals, including MSSC member physicians, representing local groups working to make Sedgwick County a better place for children to be born and grow up.


Members of the Society who know a good and sufficient reason why any of the following applicants are not eligible for membership are requested to communicate with the Medical Society of Sedgwick County office.

[BC] Board Certified  [R] Residency  [F] Accredited Fellowship  [F*] Unaccredited Fellowship [AT] Additional Training
New Applicants

Bryan Henderson, MD
[BC] Pediatrics
Wesley Medical Center
OFF: 962-2000
550 N. Hillside, 67214

Brian Goentzel, MD
[BC] Anesthesiology
Via Christi Clinic, PA
OFF: 613-4670
1947 Founders Circle, 67206


Randall Lais, MD
Advanced Orthopaedic Associates, PA
OFF: 631-1600 / FAX: 631-1698
2778 N Webb Rd, 67226

Roster Updates

Keep your 2017 Roster current by adding the information listed below and in the Membership section of this issue of the MSSC News:


Sara E. Purdy, DO
Via Christi Clinic Derby
OFF: 789-8222
1720 Osage, 67037

Emily C. VinZant
Primary Care Associates
OFF: 684-2851
7111 E 21st St. S-A, 67206

Abraham Tatpati, MD
& Olga Tatpati

Tatpati Medical Group, LLC
OFF: 689-6803 / FAX: 689-0818
8110 E 32nd St N S-170, 67226


Christi L. Leach, MD
Via Christi Psychiatry Clinic
OFF: 316-689-9205 / FAX: 316-689-6467
1131 S Clifton, Suite A, 67218


Kristina M. Manion, DOmoving out of state


Debbie Gruenbacher, DO
Eileen Wong, MD


Health ICT

HealthICT seeks to transform Wichita healthcare by communicating with, cooperating with, and innovating with the community!



Wichita Health Information Exchange – Creating a secure electronic exchange of health data across the local medical trade region, in collaboration with the provider-led Kansas Health Information Network. WHIE non-profit, provider-led organization to improve patient care in Wichita-Sedgwick County through the prompt, secure electronic exchange of clinical information within the medical trade region.