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Beckett named 2018 WVSOM Alumni of the Year

Christopher “Dino” Beckett, D.O., Class of 2000, was recognized for his continuous commitment to community service during the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) presidential installation ceremony in Lewisburg, W.Va.  

Beckett is often touted as an alumnus who has made significant positive impacts in his local community, which is why he was chosen as the 2018 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award recognizing his tireless dedication in working to make his hometown a healthier community.

“Being an osteopathic physician and learning about holistic medicine — in my practice and community — we practice holistic community development, so it’s an extension of understanding mind, body and spirit and looking at all those facets of the community and how they are all interconnected so we can create change and opportunities for people,” Beckett said of how he tries to incorporate osteopathic principles in his patients’ lives.

Beckett completed his residency at Charleston Area Medical Center, after which he returned to Williamson, a small, coal-mining town in Mingo County with a population of less than 3,000 residents. He opened a family practice there and began offering a free clinic once a month to cater to patients who had little or no insurance. This led to the transition of his practice to a nonprofit federally qualified health center called the Williamson Health and Wellness Center, which is now the parent organization of the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition and the Williamson Farmer’s Market. Patients are prescribed vegetables, encouraged to eat healthy and have follow up care with diabetes educators and community health workers in the same location to help improve health outcomes.

“It makes you a better physician if you’re able to connect with your community,” the family medicine physician said of the importance of community service. “Growing up in a town is one thing, and you should be involved with any community you live in, but it’s another thing to be a physician and have the perspective that you are a doctor in a rural community and then understand the needs of that community and how you can fashion your practice to help benefit the community in a broader sense.”

A colleague described Beckett with the sentiment, “Throughout life, we see many leaders; but rarely do we see true leaders that actually work tirelessly for the good of so many, improving so profoundly the quality of life through health care, education, community and economic development.”

Beckett said he was honored to be recognized by his WVSOM peers with such a prestigious award presented to alumni. He has been the recipient of many awards and accolades including the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Practitioner of the Year in 2017.

During that time, he commented on the importance of sense of community and practicing in underserved areas.

“There are ways we can help to keep our sense of community together and ways for us to draw closer on one another. It’s just like in hard times, when you know your family is always there. This is a big family, a big extended family, and that’s what we are trying to do. We are doing what we can to help keep that part of Appalachian culture and that sense of community going. It’s not an easy task, but it’s something that we’ve got to reach for. Nobody is going to come in here and do it for us, and we can’t expect that to happen,” he said.

The Alumni Association established the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award to annually recognize graduates who have demonstrated outstanding personal and professional achievements.

Date Added: 
Friday, October 26, 2018