The DMU College of Osteopathic Medicine honored members of the doctor of osteopathic medicine Class of 2022 with its annual dean’s award program, which marks the transition students make from their first two didactic/academic years to their next two years of clinical experiences. Usually held in the University’s Olsen Center, with an audience of proud family members and friends, the event this year looked very different, with faculty saluting students on screen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been dealt an interesting hand in this poker game of life, and as I’ve mentioned to you before, your education will continue,” said COM Dean Steven Halm, D.O., FAAP, FACP, addressing the class. “The reason this is the case is because you have such an incredibly dedicated faculty that has the energy and focus and persistence to want to continue to give you the best education possible.”
Those faculty members let their personalities shine during the event as a way to connect with students whom they’d had to teach and advise remotely since mid-March due to the pandemic. While announcing the physiology and pharmacology discipline award recipients, Matt Henry, Ph.D., chair of the department, shooed away an invisible Andrew Brittingham, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology.
“No surprise Dr. Brittingham had to interrupt the phys/pharm discipline awards,” Dr. Henry faux-grumbled.
In announcing his department’s awardees, Tim Steele, Ph.D., chair of microbiology and immunology, sneaked in a handful of the jokes he’s famous for.
“I don’t want to cheapen this prestigious ceremony with dad jokes, so far be it from me to say things like ‘Microbiologists do things with culture and sensitivity’…or perhaps ‘Why did the bacteria cross the microscope? Of course, to get to the other slide,’” he said. “And lastly, ‘What do you give someone who has everything? Penicillin.’”
In announcing her discipline’s awardee, Lisa Streyffeler, Ph.D., chair of behavioral medicine, medical humanities and bioethics, reflected on her discipline’s value in such times.
“We in the department find it oddly appropriate that this awards ceremony is being delivered virtually, because what the medical humanities really do is offer a window into somebody’s else’s experience who isn’t physically there,” she said. “[They] offer us the chance to see what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.”
All the faculty expressed their deep pride in the students.
“It is a great privilege for me to honor all our recipients today and all of our second-year students who are moving on to third-year rotations,” said Dean Halm. “Students, get your white coats cleaned and pressed. My goal is to get you out there serving patients and honing your skills…Please be good to each other.”
Here are the 2020 COM dean’s award program student honorees:
- Jill Beach and Matthew Todd, physiology and pharmacology discipline award
- Marissa Haubrich, anatomy discipline award
- Adam Streicher, biochemistry and nutrition discipline award
- Jill Beach and Rebecca Rasmussen, microbiology and immunology discipline award
- Charles Gaccione, medical humanities discipline award
- Bethany King, bioethics discipline award
- Rebecca Rasmussen, pathology discipline award
- Saad Ansari, osteopathic manual medicine discipline award
- Cameron Slife and Sydney Stanley, Above and Beyond certificates
- Cameron Slife, the Kelly K. Wifler Scholarship Award
- John Dube, the Diane McCaughtry Memorial Award
The 2020 dean’s faculty award recipients are as follows:
- Marianka Pille, M.D., associate professor, specialty medicine/pediatrics, Outstanding COM Faculty/Advisor
- Lauren Butaric, Ph.D., assistant professor, anatomy, Teaching Excellence
- Steve Harder, D.O., FAAFP, assistant professor, family medicine, Outstanding Leadership and Service
- Rich Salas, Ph.D., chief diversity officer and assistant professor, behavioral medicine, medical humanities and bioethics, Outstanding Community Service