KCU alumna dedicates her career to providing care for Native Americans

By Kris Nichols Mar 6, 2023
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At Kansas City University (KCU), we are dedicated to building healthy communities and promoting access to quality care. Jamie L. Jacobsen, DO (COM ’11), an exemplary KCU alumna, sets the standard for leadership, compassion and dedication to improve wellness through culturally aware support of underserved populations who lack reliable access to health care. She has devoted her career to helping those in need and transforming their lives for the better.

Jacobsen grew up in the small town of Hoyt, Kansas, and graduated from Fort Hays State University before earning her doctor of chiropractic degree from Cleveland Chiropractic College. After graduating, she began her own chiropractic practice, but found it harder than expected to build a practice.

That's when Jacobsen’s personal family physician and mentor, Mark Newth, DO (COM '78), stepped in. He referred some of his patients to her in an effort to help build up her business. He also encouraged her to pursue medical school and apply to KCU.

As a nontraditional student commuting from Topeka, Dr. Jacobsen made sure she attended class on campus when required but took advantage of virtual and recorded lectures with remote learning opportunities. She feels incredibly grateful for the training she received at KCU. Today, she serves as medical director for Prairie Band Potawatomi Health Center - succeeding another of her mentors who passed away, and determined to support Native Americans in need of private health care services.

Jacobsen is particularly engaged in recruiting Indigenous people into medicine. “I have a passion for working with Native Americans because they are MY community. I grew up here and have seen the disparities in health in Native American communities. American Indian and Alaska Natives suffer the worst health in the nation. They have higher rates of chronic diseases (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) and die much younger. Twenty-five percent of Native deaths occur before age 45 (compared with 15 percent of African American deaths and seven percent of white deaths). These statistics are a travesty because much of this is preventable. One of my main priorities is to protect my community—my people, my family—from harm. As a physician I want to do everything in my power to improve the quality of health care available to Native Americans,” said Jacobsen.

To ensure her efforts are successful, she consults with those on KCU's admissions team who provide guidance on working with recruitment, ultimately aiming to increase access for all Indigenous communities in need of better medical care.

With the inequities that exist in health care, Dr. Jacobsen stands out as a healing leader and an advocate for underrepresented populations. Her commitment to closing the gap between health care access and diversity is truly inspiring.

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