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AACOM Recognizes the Leaders of the Osteopathic Medical Education Community at Educating Leaders 2019

April 16, 2019
For Immediate Release


(Bethesda, MD)–The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) is proud to announce the 2019 awards and Fellows. AACOM honored the exceptional accomplishments of individuals within the osteopathic medical education (OME) community at Educating Leaders 2019, the AACOM Annual Conference, held April 10-12 in Washington, DC.

Created in memory of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Past President and 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. This year’s Dale Dodson Award recipient is Anthony J. Silvagni, DO, PharmD, MSc, Dean Emeritus and Director of International Medicine for the Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM). Dr. Silvagni holds the rank of Professor of Family Medicine and Professor of Public Health at NSU-KPCOM, and Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice in the College of Pharmacy. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (FCPP), and a Fellow of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (FAFPE). He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and many other organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, FL, the state of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in Tallahassee, FL, and the Medical Specialists of Palm Beach in Palm Beach County.

The Robert A. Kistner Award is presented each year to an individual who has made important contributions throughout his or her career to benefit and support OME. This year’s award recipient is Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, DO, FACOFP, President and Provost of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM-Virginia). Committed to serving those often overlooked by others, Dr. Tooke-Rawlins has become a champion for rural health and the care of medically underserved populations. Board Certified in both Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Dr. Tooke-Rawlins’ transition from clinical practice to administrative leadership has been instrumental in the successful expansion of the VCOM brand. Dr. Tooke-Rawlins has parleyed her knowledge through service as an evaluator and now team leader for COCA, to meeting all COCA accreditation standards and earning multiple commendations at each of VCOM’s three campuses.

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 went to Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP, for his work to advance and champion osteopathic graduate medical education and Single GME Accreditation. Dr. Nasca is the Chief Executive Officer of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), CEO and Founding President of ACGME International, Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College, and Senior Scholar of the Department of Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Medicine. Prior to his role at ACGME, Dr. Nasca served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Thomas Jefferson University and the Anthony and Gertrude DePalma Dean of Jefferson Medical College. Dr. Nasca is board certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology.

The Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators (AOGME) Collegium of Fellows Award is an honor recognizing long and meritorious service to the osteopathic profession and AOGME. The status of Fellow is awarded for life, and when awarded, recipients are entitled to use the initials FAOGME following their name and degree, whenever appropriate. This year’s Collegium of Fellows awardee is Christopher Unrein, DO, FACOI, FACP, CMD, who currently serves as the Chief Academic Officer at Rocky Mountain OPTI and as a Professor of Internal Medicine at Rocky Vista University (RVU) and University of Colorado Medical Colleges. Dr. Unrein is also a Team Physician Leader at The Denver Hospice. Dr. Unrein has served in many leadership roles in organized medicine including as Past President of the Colorado Medical Society, the Colorado Society of Osteopathic Medicine, the Colorado Society of Internal Medicine, and the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care. He continues his involvement in groups engaged in several medical research efforts including serving as the RVU site principal investigator for a multi-center nation-wide trial through the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute called the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reeducation Trial (CIRT).

The AOGME Special Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes members who have been instrumental in advancing the mission and purposes of AOGME through loyal and long-term meritorious service. This year, Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Shannon has been President of AACOM since January 2006. As President of AACOM, Dr. Shannon served as a strong advocate on behalf of the nation’s 35 colleges of osteopathic medicine, articulating the community’s priorities and positions in a variety of national and international settings. Dr. Shannon also has been vigilant in guiding the Association to fulfill its vision and mission, and in positively influencing state, federal, and executive branch policy formulation relative to medical education.

At the Awards Banquet on April 12, Dr. Shannon was honored for his contributions to AACOM and the OME community. Several deans and other medical educators shared tributes and letters highlighting Dr. Shannon's accomplishments.

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 2019 awardees include:

  • The Marguerite Elliott Innovation in Clinical Medical Education Award. This year’s recipient is Melissa Renee Stephens, MD, FAAFP, Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences & Director of Graduate Medical Education and Population Health at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), for her innovation titled: ‘Implementation of Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) in Medical Education.’
  • The Innovation in the Development of Enduring Educational Materials Award. This year’s recipients are Rich A. Salas, PhD, Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Professor at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM), and Jeritt Tucker, PhD, Assistant Professor at DMU-COM, for their innovation titled, ‘Development of a Culturally-Responsive Care Course in Osteopathic Medicine.’

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 2019 recipient of the ED to MED Outstanding Advocate of the Year Award is Mustafa Basree, MS, second-year osteopathic medical student from the University of Pikeville—Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM). Mustafa is a member of both AACOM's Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents and Omega Beta Iota: The National Political Action Honor Society, President of the Student Government Association at UP-KYCOM, and an effective ED to MED Campus Ambassador. He is a strong voice in support of federal policies that will help underserved communities receive improved access to health care, and has inspired others by sharing his story in the ED to MED blog.

Earlier this year, AACOM announced the 2019 National Student DO of the Year, Taran W. Silva, fourth-year osteopathic medical student at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM); and the 2019 National Student Researcher of the Year, Student Doctor Sayan Mullick Chowdhury, PhD, from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM).

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 John Giannini, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Faculty Director of the Simulation Center at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM).

At the conference, the newly appointed National Academy of Osteopathic Medical Educators (NAOME) Fellows were also announced. NAOME Fellows are inducted into the Academy each year to serve a five-year term, functioning as leaders and mentors for academic scholarship and excellence within the OME community. The new Fellows for 2019 to 2024 are:

  • Adrienne Z. Ables, PharmD, MS (MedEd), Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine—Carolinas (VCOM-Carolinas)
  • Millicent King Channell, DO, MA, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM)
  • Elizabeth K. McClain, PhD, EdS, MPH, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ARCOM)
  • Ali Moradi, MD, MPH, DrPH, Georgia Campus—Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM)
  • Miko Rose, DO, MSUCOM
  • Amina Sadik, PhD, MS, MEdL, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUNCOM)
  • Martin Schmidt, PhD, DMU-COM
  • Lisa Lynn Streyffeler, PhD, DMU-COM

AACOM also announced winners of its Excellence in Communications (EIC) Awards Program. The awards recognize the important role communications play in advancing OME and the profession, and is intended to inspire higher levels of performance among members. Winners were announced in the following categories:

  • Advertising – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM)
  • Annual Report – West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)
  • Feature Story/Article – OU-HCOM
  • Magazine – A.T. Still University
  • Newsletter – RVUCOM
  • Podcast/Video – OU-HCOM
  • Recruitment Piece – WVSOM
  • Social Media – A.T. Still University
  • Website – PCOM


Vol. 3, No. 7
May 2, 2019