PITTSBURG —  Dr. Kathleen McAlpin Sandness, M.D, F.A.C.P., gives back to her university through the practice of medicine.
Dr. Sandness was recently recognized as a 2019 Women of Distinction by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce. She and 11 others have a short biography and their photograph in the Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 community calendar. People may find the calendar at the chamber office.  
“It’s a wonderful honor,” she said. “I look at the wonderful women that have been awarded in the past and this year and I’m in awe of the fabulous women we have in this community.
“I’m honored to be one of them, although undeserved.”
As Pittsburg State University Bryant Student Health Center medical director, Sandness oversees the practitioners and patients at the health center.
“This is a wonderful place to work,” she said. “I sometimes have the ability to make a difference in a positive manner and it’s a lifetime of learning.”
After 23 years in “solo practice” she decided to cut back and do something different and at the same time give back to her university, from which she graduated with a Bachelors in Biology in 1983.
“I like to see patients and I love hearing about their hopes and dreams and help navigate through their health problems,” she said about caring for students who visit the health center.
One of the many things she likes about working at the Student Health Center is that it is one of a very few college health centers where the doctors can continue take care of students if they were to be admitted to the hospital and it is a great way for her to keep those type of skills up to date, she said.
She not only cares for Pittsburg State University students in the student health center, but she has also mentors PSU pre-med students, a release said.
Sandness founded the Pittsburg Free Clinic at the Wesley House where PSU pre-med students gained valuable experience from local physicians and participated in a rewarding act of service from 1991-2009.
Sandness has received the 2011 Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award from PSU, was recognized as Health Care Hero Top Winner Community Outreach by the Joplin Business Journal in 2009 and she received the Laureate Award from Kansas Chapter American College of Physicians in 2008.
She has been an active member of the VCH-P medical staff since 1991 and has served in numerous leadership roles, including Chief of Staff in 1999. In 2013, she began serving on the VCH-P Board of Directors and is currently a Board Treasurer.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, when at not at the health center, Sandness is at her ranch raising Angus cattle, growing her own food or riding horses. If you can’t find her there, she’s probably out traveling.  She also has English Setters and quail hunts.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.