KCU faculty highlight: Dr. Kelley Joy

By Felicia Vaught Nov 2, 2022
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If you had asked one particular Kansas City University (KCU) professor when she was a child if she wanted to be a doctor, she would have told you “no.”

“I remember having a conversation with my grandmother when I was 8 or 9, saying that I didn’t want to be a doctor because I didn’t care much for blood,” said Kelley Joy, DO, KCU-Joplin Chair of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine/Associate Professor.

Now, Dr. Joy cannot deny her love for medicine. Originally from Southeast Kansas, she started her higher education with the goal of becoming a French and Spanish translator; however, a college job at a small pharmacy changed her entire career path.

“At the time, I was working at a pharmacy, and decided after my first year to change my major to pharmacy,” said Dr. Joy. “Over the summer between my first and second years, I got a job doing transcription at a doctor’s office. I fell in love with medicine and pursued it diligently.”

Dr. Joy was accepted at Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and graduated in 1998. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Joy says one of her proudest moments was starting her primary care practice in Pryor, Oklahoma, straight out of residency. There, she served the community for six years, delivering babies, providing care to seniors, and everything in between.

“After several years, I heard that KCU was opening a school close to my hometown, so I decided to move home and help start a medical school,” said Dr. Joy.

Dr. Joy explains that she is very proud of KCU and its expansion into Joplin. She also offers advice to KCU students as they make their way through medical school.

“Set short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals and keep a monitor on your process. Medical school is like a marathon, you just have to keep moving, but noticing that you’ve accomplished milestones is very helpful,” said Dr. Joy.

Dr. Joy also volunteers within the Joplin community, which often involves church functions and children.

“I volunteer at my church with the kids. If I’m really lucky, I get to hold babies on Sunday mornings,” Dr. Joy said.

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