Lee’s Summit gastroenterologist Marc Taormina, MD, is a clinical educator. Talk with him for a moment about his job, and he’ll emphasize the importance of screening for colon cancer at age 50, or at age 45 if you’re African American and at higher risk for the disease. Or how a persistent case of heartburn should be evaluated to rule out a precancerous condition. But he’s also an educator in the more traditional sense, serving weekly as a docent to second-year medical students in the University of Missouri Kansas City’s six-year medical school program.
Alongside Taormina, medical students become more comfortable in a clinical setting and practice interactions such as taking patients’ history, performing a physical and breaking bad news.
“I respect the patient and make sure they’re comfortable and involved in all decision-making,” Taormina says. “I try to be empathetic and impart those qualities on the students that I’m teaching.”
Treating patients in Lee’s Summit and teaching medical students brings Taormina’s career path full-circle. The Kansas-City native attended East High School and was a member of UMKC’s first graduating class of six-year medical degree students in 1977. During his time as a medical student, he spent time alongside Lee’s Summit family physicians Drs. Dempsy and Bell.
“My time with them piqued my interest in Lee’s Summit and made me want to come back to the community,” Taormina says. “Now as physician here, I’ve come to really value the medical community and appreciate the rapport I’ve established with many long-term patients.”
Following graduation from UMKC, Taormina joined the Army and completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C. He completed residency training and five years of active duty at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. In 1985, he returned to the Kansas City area and transitioned to Army Reserve.
Taormina opened his private practice, Midwest Gastroenterology, in Lee’s Summit in 1998. In 2003, the practice and adjoining Midwest Physicians Surgery Center moved to its current home at 3601 NE Ralph Powell Road. As Lee’s Summit has grown, so has the practice. Midwest Gastroenterology includes nine practitioners who see patients in Lee’s Summit and Independence as well as in Kansas as a part of Westglen Gastrointestinal Consultants.
At the Lee’s Summit location, medical providers are able to provide clinical consultation as well as perform outpatient procedures such as colonoscopies and upper endoscopies in the surgical center.
“We feel that the surgery center allows us to provide high-quality service in a lower-cost environment,” Taormina says. “Sometimes patients feel more comfortable having a procedure done at an office rather than the hospital.”
Taormina lives in Lee’s Summit with his wife Stephanie Graham-Taormina, an attorney who specializes in criminal, traffic and DWI defense.
Taormina is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and geriatric medicine. In 2015 and 2016, he was elected to Super Doctors, which identifies top physicians as selected by their peers.
He is the medical director for the Midwest Physicians Surgery Center. In addition, he is involved in a variety of professional and service organizations. He is the president-elect of UNICO-Kansas City, an organization that provides scholarships to Italian-American students. He serves on the board of the Kansas City Medical Society and is on the medical advisory board for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Taormina serves as a volunteer physician for MetroCARE, an organization that connects patients with limited finances with free specialty care.
To make an appointment with Taormina or other Midwest Gastroenterology providers, call 816-836-2200 or visit midwestgihealth.com