A closer look at KCU-COM Kansas City Campus Dean Sharon Gustowski, DO

Sharon Gustowski, Osteopathic Medical School Kansas City Campus Leader

Sharon Gustowski, DO, MPH, joined KCU on September 28 as the Kansas City campus dean for the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

For Gustowski, the chance to join KCU marks a milestone in a career that most recently included serving as founding chair of the Osteopathic Principles and Practices department at Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She also was a founding faculty member at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine in her native San Antonio and taught at both the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM) and Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Gustowski is board-certified in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine and is a past president of the Nevada Osteopathic Medical Association.

She earned her DO and a master’s in public health from UNTHSC-TCOM and School of Public Health.

“I have had the opportunity to take on interesting challenges throughout my career, and KCU offers me the chance to build something long-term and sustainable,” she said.

After visiting the KCU campus, she was sold. “I was really impressed with my on-site interviews and everything went great, but the best part was that when I came back to the conference room to collect my things, someone had left a sticky note on my bag that said, ‘You were wonderful. Good luck.’ It really showed the collegial atmosphere that exists at KCU.”

Gustowksi was also impressed with KCU’s track record of having and producing great leaders, noting that no one becomes a leader simply because of themselves. Mentorship is key.

She wants to foster an environment where faculty, staff and students can mentor and learn from each other, highlighting that mentorship can happen between any two people and sometimes in unexpected ways.

“One of my greatest mentors was my administrative assistant when I was at Sam Houston State. We had just wrapped up a meeting where things had gone particularly well for me, and she pulled me aside and said, ‘Now THAT sounded like a dean’. It was then that I realized we had built trust and that she was in my corner, encouraging me to be my best.”

“When people trust each other, they have the ability to be vulnerable without being afraid, and that translates into growth and self-confidence,” she said. “Every person is important, and we all have something to learn from each other.”

Although Gustowski said she will miss her native Texas, life without snow and her brother, she’s excited to move to Kansas City and has already fallen in love with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and taken time to enjoy the Plaza Art Fair.

“I really like Kansas City, it feels right-sized for me.”