Statewide News and Community Conference with CMOs 1-5-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


          The University of Kansas Health System hosted the first statewide news and community conference today to deal with the COVID crisis. 18 hospital leaders from the Metro and across the state joined to provide the latest patient counts from their facilities and helped paint a dire picture of how COVID is affecting each of their communities. They also answered media and community questions.

“We are having to turn away trauma cases due to the record high number of COVID cases and severe staff shortages,” said Dr. Jennifer Watts, chief medical officer at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

            “An emergency declaration in both states would be extremely helpful. It allows hospitals to house more than their licensed number of patients and provides a pathway for the National Guard to help,” said Dr. Kim Megow, chief medical officer at HCA Midwest Health.

            “We have to have the cooperation of everyone in the community. People that have waved the flag of personal choice are extending the pandemic,” said Dr. Kevin Dishman, chief medical officer, Stormont Vail Health.

“We are in a crisis. It’s shocking that people want to declare victory when we are at this point. The enemy is COVID-19, not each other,” said Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System.

            Here are the 18 doctors who participated. The link to the entire news conference is below.

  • Dr. Lisa Hays, Chief Medical Officer, Advent Health Shawnee Mission
  • Dr. Jennifer Watts, Chief Emergency Management Medical Officer, Children's Mercy
  • Dr. Kim Megow, Chief Medical Officer, HCA Midwest Health
  • Dr. Raghu Adiga, Chief Medical Officer, Liberty Hospital
  • Dr. James Stewart, Chief Medical Officer, North Kansas City Hospital
  • Dr. Michael Davoren, Medical Staff President, Olathe Health
  • Dr. Mark Steele, Executive Chief Clinical Officer, University Health-Truman
  • Dr. Ahmad Batrash, Chief of Staff, Kansas City VA Hospital
  • Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, infectious diseases physician at LMH Health and deputy public health officer for Douglas County
  • Dr. Jackie Hyland, Chief Medical Officer, The University of Kansas Health System - St. Francis Campus
  • Dr. Kevin Dishman, Chief Medical Officer, Stormont Vail Health
  • Dr. Samer "Sam" Antonios, Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension Via Christi Health
  • Dr. Robert Freelove, Chief Medical Officer, Salina Regional Health Center. 
  • Dr. Heather Harris, Medical Director, HaysMed
  • Dr. James Alexander, Chief Medical Officer, Centura - St. Catherine
  • Dr. Richard Watson, co-founder, Motient
  • Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System
  • Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Health System.


            Thursday, January 6 at 8:00 a.m. we will return to the Morning Medical Update with Dr. Angela Myers from Children’s Mercy and Dr. Steve Lauer from the health system. They’ll focus on the record numbers of children hospitalized from COVID. Doctors will answer questions from the public on going back to school.

NOTE:  Journalists should rejoin the Morning Medical Update at 8am as doctors are growing too busy again for individual interview requests.  Please bring questions or send to until further notice.  Thanks for all you do and helping to keep the community safe with your reporting.

ATTENTION: media procedure for calling in:

 The meeting is available by Zoom, both video and by phone. To join the Zoom Meeting by video, click

Telephone dial-in Participants: For those without Zoom, call 1-312-626-6799, meeting ID: 782 897 8628.

The feed is also available via TVU grid. The TVU source is UoK_Health_SDI and is being made available to all with TVU service.

Feel free to send questions in advance to