This Section:

Inside OME


Leaders in the Osteopathic Medical Education Community Recognized with 2018 National Awards

April 25, 2018

Paul DeMiglio
Senior Media Specialist
(202) 306-9777 

(Bethesda, MD)–The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) is proud to announce the 2018 recipients of the following national awards: Dale Dodson Award, Robert A. Kistner Award, the William D. Miller Award, the Board Chair Special Recognition Award, Innovation in Medical Education Awards, ED to MED Outstanding Advocate of the Year Award, National Student DO of the Year Award, National Student Researcher of the Year Award, and the Outstanding Advancement in Osteopathic Medical Education Award.

Each award recipient was honored at the Annual AACOM Awards Banquet on Friday, April 20, held during Educating Leaders 2018, the AACOM Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The Annual Awards Banquet is a special event hosted by AACOM to honor the exceptional accomplishments of individuals within the osteopathic medical community.

This year, both the Dale Dodson Award and the Robert A. Kistner Award recognized the same individual. Created in memory of American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Past-President and osteopathic medical education (OME) innovator Dale S. Dodson, DO, the Dale Dodson Award recognizes a current or past CEO or CAO of an osteopathic medical college who has made significant contributions to the advancement and support of OME. The Robert A. Kistner Award is presented each year, also on behalf of the AACOM Board of Deans, to an individual who has made important contributions throughout his or her career to benefit and support OME. This year’s recipient of both awards is Keith Watson, DO, President at the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU). Dr. Watson’s distinguished medical career has been shaped by his passion for addressing rural health care imbalances. Early in his profession, Dr. Watson observed the importance of general surgery in medically-underserved areas, recognizing the significant role that a quality medical education played in bridging the inequalities that existed. Dr. Watson’s dedication to OME has resulted in a long and illustrious career, filled with awards and accomplishments.

In memory of a former chair of the AACOM Board of Deans, the William D. Miller Award recognizes extraordinary individuals who have made tremendous contributions to the advancement of the osteopathic profession. This year’s recipient is Fitzhugh Mullan, MD. Dr. Mullan is the Professor of Health Policy in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, Professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Co-Director of the George Washington University Health Workforce Institute. Dr. Mullan’s unparalleled passion, integrity, and dedication to the osteopathic profession have earned him countless awards and achievements over the years.

AACOM is proud to present the inaugural Board Chair Special Recognition Award. This award is bestowed upon an individual that has made an incalculable impact upon osteopathic medical education throughout their many years of service to the AACOM Board of Deans. The recipient of this esteemed award is Boyd R. Buser, DO. Dr. Buser currently serves as the vice president for health affairs, dean, professor of osteopathic principles and practice, and professor of family medicine at the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM). A fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, Dr. Buser is past president of both the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO). In addition, he is a past chair of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Osteopathic International Alliance. Dr. Buser's service to the AACOM Board of Deans has left a lasting legacy of excellence in osteopathic medical education.

AACOM’s Society of Osteopathic Medical Educators (SOME) confers annual Innovation in Medical Education Awards in recognition of specific education innovations that have resulted in meaningful change at the developers’ institutions. The 2018 awardees include:

  • The first is the Marguerite Elliott Innovation in Clinical Medical Education Award. This year’s recipient is Ryan M. Smith, DO, MS, Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UNECOM, for his innovation entitled: ‘Development of a Rural Medicine Immersion Program for Undergraduate Medical Students.’
  • The second Innovation in Medical Education Award is the Innovation in the Development of Enduring Educational Materials Award. This year’s recipient is Tami Hendriksz, DO, Assistant Dean of Clinical Integration at TUCOM-CA for her innovation entitled: ‘Using Patient Perspective Sessions to Increase Preclinical Undergraduate Medical Student Empathy, Motivation to Learn, and Recall.’

The ED to MED Outstanding Advocate of the Year Award is AACOM's award honoring exceptional dedication to the hard work of advocacy. AACOM's ED to MED national grassroots campaign provides students, medical educators, and other advocates a platform to advocate for graduate education policies in the halls of Congress. The 2018 recipient of the ED to MED Outstanding Advocate of the Year Award is Farrah Rink, third-year osteopathic medical student at the Georgia Campus–Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM). Farrah is the First Year Liaison on the National Board of Directors for the Omega Beta Iota Political Action Honor Society, served as a member of AACOM's Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, and is an enthusiastic and effective ED to MED campus ambassador. She is the first in her family to attend college and medical school and has inspired others to become more civically engaged by sharing her story in the ED to MED blog.

Earlier this year, AACOM announced the 2018 National Student DO of the Year, Ashley E. Sam, fourth-year osteopathic medical student at the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM); and the 2018 National Student Researcher of the Year Julia Schneider, second-year osteopathic medical student at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM).

The Outstanding Advancement in Osteopathic Medical Education award recognizes colleges who have instituted a curricular or programmatic enhancement that embraces the osteopathic philosophy, strengthens the DO student experience, and advances osteopathic medical education. This year’s awardee is the MU-COM Wellness Initiative, led by Kaylee E. Hofmeister, MEd, Coordinator for Student Activities and Wellness, and Clint Whitson, MS, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.


The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 34 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 51 teaching locations in 32 states. In the current academic year, these colleges are educating nearly 29,000 future physicians—more than 20 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 28 are private institutions.

AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM provides leadership for the osteopathic medical education community by promoting excellence in medical education, research and service, and by fostering innovation and quality across the continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the American public.



Vol. 2, No. 8
May 17, 2018