Ann Karty and the Enduring Impact of Bioethics Case Studies

Ann Karty was a student in the University of Missouri Kansas City’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program when Dr. Hans Uffelmann – a philosopher and one of three founders of the Center for Practical Bioethics – used case studies to teach bioethics.

From left: Ann Karty, John Carney, Billy Silverman and Marn Jensen

In the nearly 30 years since Ann graduated from medical school, she’s been integrating ethics into her varied work, from direct patient care and teaching to her current position as senior medical director with a health insurance company.

Through it all, Ann returns to case studies to, as she says, “keep my clinical mind active.”

“When I taught medical students at Kansas City University (KCU),” said Ann, “I brought patients to the big lecture hall not to talk about their diagnoses but how they were treated and how they should not be treated. I wanted my students to learn how to have difficult conversations with patients and listen to the patient voice.”


Keeping Up with the Center

Ann was in medical school when she met her husband, Billy Silverman, who at the time was working in hotel and restaurant management. They married the day after she graduated in 1994. Ann has stayed connected to the Center for Practical Bioethics in various ways ever since.

While serving as medical director for Continuing Medical Education at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Ann represented AAFP on the Center’s initiative to establish integrative pain care as the standard of care, appearing several times with Myra Christopher, the Center’s founding executive director, on the radio.

Ann follows the Center on Facebook, she says, mostly for the case studies posted there. Facebook is also where Ann keeps up with the Center’s educational and fundraising events – and how she ended up with the winning raffle ticket from Art of the Wish, the Center’s 2022 annual event.


A Personal Keepsake

For the Art of the Wish exhibition, artists Marn Jensen and Andy Newcom created more than 70 works of art depicting the wishes of older adults that were displayed at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center last spring.

“I could have bought raffle tickets because I wanted the art,” said Ann, “but actually I did it for the Center.”

As raffle winners, Ann and Billy had the opportunity for the artists to create a piece depicting their wishes for the world. Ann and Billy proposed a slightly different approach.

“We said, ‘How about we give you the names of some people who are meaningful to us and you ask them what they would say about us. What they wished the world knew about us.’”

The resulting artwork now hanging in Ann and Billy’s great room in Overland Park, Kansas, is a collage of materials that signify their interests and values.

Ann believes the wishbone symbolizes their Thanksgiving dinners with friends and strangers from all over. The hamsa, an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the hand of God, speaks to their deep commitment to Judaism and Israel. The image of Wonder Woman certainly represents Ann’s many professional, volunteer and family endeavors.


Grateful to Share

Ann and Billy have three children – Ariel, Hannah and Joel – all born in the space of three years during Ann’s residency in Florence, South Carolina and first practice years in Bloomington, Illinois. In 2000, the family moved back to Kansas City where Billy grew up.

She earned her MBA from the University of Kansas in 2018. In addition to her work in health insurance, she was recently named board president of her synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom, and is active in Hadassah, an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization, which focuses on bettering medical and educational facilities in Israel.

“I’m grateful for what I’ve been taught,” she says, “and I hope to share it with others.”

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