SM East graduate becomes 4th generation of Sullivan family to earn KU medical degree

Mike Sullivan. Photo courtesy University of Kansas Medical Center.
Mike Sullivan. Photo courtesy University of Kansas Medical Center.

By Alicia Allison

A northeast Johnson County native this spring achieved a milestone that strings back nearly a century in his family: Graduating from the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

By completing his medical degree, 2009 Shawnee Mission East grad Mike Sullivan became the fourth generation in his family to start their medical careers at the Kansas City, Kan., school. Sullivan’s grandfather and great-grandfather had a general practitioner office in downtown Shawnee. Sullivan’s father, Bradley Huse Sullivan, is an obstetrician/gynecologist in Kansas City, Mo.

“I feel like I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, even from a young age,” said Mike. “I definitely look up to my father and I saw how well respected he was by a lot of people and how much everyone liked him. My mom remembers me saying from a young age that I would carry on the family tradition.”

Sullivan’s siblings —Megan, 25, Pat, 31, and Johnny, 29 — also graduated from SM East and KU. Mike said the male siblings had been largely inspired to get into the sciences by former SM East chemistry teacher Cole Ogden. Pat, who is now a chemistry and physics teacher in Kansas City, Kan., even invited him to his wedding.

“Pat invited our old chemistry teacher to his wedding a few weekends ago because he had such a big influence on us,” said Mike. “We all had Mr. Ogden for AP Chemistry back in high school and we all think the world of him. He’s an incredible teacher. He’s very passionate about his teaching and making sure his students understand everything.”

Though Sullivan didn’t quite lean towards a chemistry field like his brothers, his love for math and science certainly played a role in his decision to become a doctor. Sullivan has decided to go into internal medicine and will do his residency for three years at the University of Kansas.

“The thing about internal medicine is that it’s sort of like a stepping stone,” said Sullivan. “So if you want to be a cardiologist or a lung doctor, there’s a lot of different specialties where you have to do internal medicine first. I’m not exactly sure what I want to do yet. The nice thing is that I have two years to decide if I want to further specialize or if I want to be a hospitalist.”

The University of Kansas School of Medicine photos of all four generations of Sullivan graduates. Image courtesy University of Kansas Medical Center.
The University of Kansas School of Medicine photos of all four generations of Sullivan graduates. Image courtesy University of Kansas Medical Center.