Missouri Southern has announced that Dr. Richard Schooler will serve as the new dean of the School of Health Sciences.

Schooler, who begins his duties this summer, will oversee the school – which includes nursing, radiology, respiratory care, dental hygiene and the EMT and paramedic programs – at a pivotal time in the Joplin area’s status as a health-care hub.

Dr. Richard Schooler

Dr. Richard Schooler

“Having been involved in the medical community for more than 30 years and on the business side for the last 12 years has given me a unique perspective on the needs and challenges that lie ahead,” said Schooler.

“With Kansas City University’s new medical school coming to Joplin and the two great health systems already here, there’s a huge opportunity to take that step to the next level. Education has to be the foundation, and Missouri Southern is in position to be the driver for that.”

Schooler received his bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University in 1976, and received his doctoral degree four years later from the University of Health Sciences-College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City.

From 1985-2004, he practiced as an OB/GYN physician in Joplin before becoming medical director and director of medical education for Freeman. In 2006, he was named the hospital’s chief medical officer, and in 2013 the executive vice president and chief operating officer. He retired from that position earlier this spring.

In 2006, then Gov. Matt Blunt appointed Schooler to the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts. In 2011, he was recognized by resolution of the Missouri House of Representatives for his leadership immediately following the May 22, 2011, Joplin tornado. In 2015, he was the recipient of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences’ Alumni Service Award.

He has also served on Anthem/WellPoint’s National Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, as a board member for the Freeman Physician Hospital Organization, and as a member of the board of directors for the Oklahoma State University Osteopathic Medical Education Consortium.

“Dr. Schooler brings to the table a wealth of experience in health care,” said Dr. Paula Carson, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Missouri Southern. “As we continue to build on the new and established programs, as well as the standards of excellence set by the School of Health Sciences, we look forward to his perspective and experience in helping Missouri Southern to move forward as a regional leader in the field.”