Awards ceremony recognized graduating medical students

Students in the graduating Class of 2017 were recognized for their achievements in medical school during an annual Graduation Awards Ceremony at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) on May 26. Graduation awards totaled $20,700.

This year’s class consisted of 175 participating graduates, with 120 graduates entering primary care residency programs and a 100 percent residency match rate for the class.

The event recognized 18 students who graduated with honors. In addition, 28 Psi Sigma Alpha students were recognized. Psi Sigma Alpha is a National Osteopathic Scholastic Honor Society. Eleven students were recognized with the American Medical Women Association Glasgow-Rubin Achievement Award. Thirty-eight students in Sigma Sigma Phi, a national osteopathic medicine fraternity that supports medical scholastic excellence, received cords reflecting their membership in the organization. Eight graduates were recognized with special coins for their military service.

The Olivia Claire Obrokta Pediatric Award was the first individual award presented at the event. The award recognizes a student who is committed to serving in a pediatric specialty. Deena Obrokta, D.O., Class of 1994, formed the award after losing her granddaughter after only a couple months. The award recipient was Rachel Harris.

The Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia Farson-Smith-Earley Award is presented to a fourth-year student who has matched in a West Virginia primary care residency with the intent to practice in a rural area of the state. This year’s recipient was John Ford.

The WVSOM Alumni Association Roland P. Sharp Graduate Award was created to honor the values of WVSOM’s first president. The award honors a graduating student who exemplifies Dr. Sharp’s vision of holistic care and service. The WVSOM Alumni Association selected Christopher Kennedy as this year’s winner.

The Olen E. Jones WVSOM Foundation Academic Achievement Award is presented to a fourth-year student graduating in the top 10 percent of the class. The WVSOM Foundation Board of Directors selected Ava Giugliano as this year’s winner.

Jeremiah Haines was the recipient of the Opal Price Sharp Memorial Award for dedication to osteopathic medicine.

WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative recognized 12 graduates who participated in the program this year, eight of whom have matched in West Virginia primary care residencies. The RHI program is designed to enhance the rural primary care curriculum at WVSOM and produce graduates uniquely qualified to practice medicine in underserved communities within rural West Virginia.  

The Donald Newell Sr. Memorial Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior is presented to a graduating student who, in the opinion of his/her classmates, best exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, osteopathic professional interest, leadership and citizenship. This year’s recipient was Miles Medina.

The Dr. William R. Holmes Scholarship is awarded to a student who has shown determination, persistence and commitment in pursuing a medical education. This year’s scholarship was presented to Rosemary Savage.

The Gwen Clingman Memorial Scholarship is presented to a student who has demonstrated a commitment to community service throughout his or her time in medical school. Samantha Frazier was recognized with the scholarship.

The Stephanie Dawn Barragy Memorial Scholarship was formed to honor Charles and Jean Cornell’s daughter who was a victim of suicide. The scholarship recognizes a student committed to working on behalf of mental health issues with a focus on patient care and intervention. Jarrod Warren was this year’s scholarship recipient.

This was the first year the John and Nancy Chambers Memorial Scholarship Fund was presented. The scholarship is given to a student who intends to practice medicine in an underserved community who also had a strong academic performance. It is in honor of one of the most revered former WVSOM professors. The inaugural recipients were Jeremiah Haines and David Masinter.

The Dr. Catherine A. Bishop Scholarship Award recognizes a fourth-year student committed to a residency program in West Virginia. This year’s recipient was Christopher Kennedy.

The West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Award was presented to Taylor Simmerman. Each year the organization recognizes one student from each of the three medical schools in West Virginia whose performance in clinical rotations accurately reflects an understanding and commitment to the delivery of emergency care.

The Order of the Vesalius Award is presented to a student who served as a graduate teaching assistant in the biomedical sciences department. Rebecca Schilling was presented with this year’s award.

Chelsea Feger and John Ford were honored with the RAMS Head Award. The award is granted to students who served as graduate teaching assistants in the osteopathic medical education department.

The Clinical Science Award, which recognizes students who served as graduate teaching assistants in the clinical sciences or family medicine capacity, was awarded to Abigail Reed Geisler and Timothy Bikman.

Two students from each of the six statewide campus regions received awards for their third- and fourth-year clinical rotations. Kevin Jacob Mutch and Melena Robertson received recognition for the northern region; Savannah Czapiewski Desmarais and Maria Kolmakova received recognition for the eastern region; Nicole Held and Jonathan Bond received recognition for the central region; Colin Johnson and Jason Frisbee received recognition for the south east region; Devin O’Hara and Justyn Blankenship received recognition for the south central region; and Miles Medina and Leslee Rice received recognition for the south west region.

The Donna Jones Moritsugu Award recognizes an osteopathic medical student’s spouse or partner. The recipient exemplifies the role of a professional’s partner by providing support to their family and the osteopathic profession. This year’s recipient was Jennifer Maertin, spouse of Allen Maertin.