AOA recognizes leaders, researchers and affiliates for advancing the osteopathic profession

By AOA Staff


Each year, the AOA recognizes influential contributions to the practice of osteopathic medicine during OMED, the osteopathic profession’s premier medical conference. This year’s awards ceremony will be held in Boston on Oct. 29 and will be broadcast live via the OMED22 virtual platform. Register now to attend OMED in person or access conference activities, including the awards ceremony and all CME sessions via the virtual platform.

This year’s lineup of recipients includes osteopathic physicians, medical students and affiliate organizations who have made a critical impact during the past year in the areas of research; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); affiliate initiatives and mentorship.

Read on to learn more about this year’s honorees:

Journal of Osteopathic Medicine Research Awards

  • Elizabeth A. Beverly, PhD
    Dr. Beverly

    The Social Determinants of Health Research Award recognizes research that examines how health care providers can better account for social factors contributing to disease states and help maximize opportunities for self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance.

    This year’s award recognizes Elizabeth A. Beverly, PhD, and her coauthor for the article “Clinically Significant Depressive Symptoms and High Diabetes Distress in Adults with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Appalachian Ohio.” Dr. Beverly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Primary Care at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and Co-Director of the Ohio University Diabetes Institute. Her extensive research on diabetes focuses on understanding the connections between psychosocial issues, self-care and health outcomes.

  • John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA
    Dr. Licciardone

    The Innovations Research Award recognizes a JOM article that documents outcomes research about a new concept in patient management or medical education delivery.

    The 2022 recipient of this award is John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA, and his coauthor for their article “Patient-Centered Care or Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment as Mediators of Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain.” Dr. Licciardone is a professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center College of Osteopathic Medicine and has authored more than 100 articles. His research focuses primarily on the prevention and treatment of chronic pain. He currently serves as the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research and directs the Osteopathic Research Center.

  • Hadie Islam, BS
    Dr. Islam

    The Health Policy Research Award recognizes a JOM article which contributes to the profession’s collective understanding of how policy can inform and be informed by clinical evidence.

    This year’s award recipient is Hadie Islam, DO, and his coauthors for their article “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Countywide Mask Mandates at Reducing SARS-CoV-2 Infection in the United States.” Dr. Islam graduated from Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Joplin, MO.

  • Elizabeth S. Balyakina, DO, MS, MPH
    Dr. Balyakina

    The Quality Improvement in Education Research Award recognizes an article documenting a significant improvement in medical education delivery.

    This year’s recipient is Elizabeth S. Balyakina, DO, MS, MPH, and her coauthors for the article “Development of Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (ONMM) Residency Curriculum Guidelines to Meet Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Milestones.” Dr. Balyakina is an osteopathic family physician practicing in San Antonio, Texas.

  • Dr. Patterson
    Dr. Patterson

    The Clinical Research Award recognizes osteopathic research that assesses and reports the results of a specific clinical intervention in human patients.

    This year’s award is presented to Rita M. Patterson, PhD, and coauthors for the article, “Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment vs. Osteopathic Cranial Manipulative Medicine on Parkinsonian Gait.” Dr. Patterson is the Associate Dean for Research at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Director of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Physical Medicine Core Research Facility and a professor in the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine/Family Medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

  • Nicholas B. Sajjadi, OMS IV, BSc
    Student Dr. Sajjadi

    The Junior Faculty/Young Investigators Research Award recognizes a JOM article addressing an important concept in patient care, for which the lead author was an osteopathic medical student, resident, fellow or DO in the first three years of practice.

    The 2022 recipient is Nicholas B. Sajjadi, OMS IV, and his coauthors for the article “Assessing the United States’ Most Frequently Asked Questions About Osteopathic Medicine, Osteopathic Education and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.” Student Doctor Sajjadi attends Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unification Awards

  • Meher Ahmed, OMS IV
    Student Dr. Ahmed

    The Individual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unification Award recognizes exemplary leadership and commitment to promoting and advancing DEI initiatives to the osteopathic community. This year’s recipient is Meher Ahmed, OMS IV, a student at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. Student Doctor Ahmed joined the school’s Diversity Task Force following the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and went on to help develop diversity-conscious and case-based learning tools and resources as part of the Teaching Materials Task Force. She was appointed by the SGA to the role of Diversity and Inclusion Officer and focuses on fostering understanding of racial injustices and healthcare inequities through topic-based dialogue.

  • The Organizational Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unification Award is presented to the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine DEI Committee, which focuses on developing DEI ambassadors promoting education, encouraging diversity in hiring practices and fostering outreach to prospective physicians in underserved communities. 

Outstanding Affiliate Awards

The following affiliate organizations are being recognized this year for demonstrating innovation, creativity, resourcefulness and flexibility in their efforts to advance the osteopathic medical profession. 

  • The American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP) forged growth and innovation by utilizing group billing options for membership, launching the PedsCast podcast series, installing a new editorial team for its peer-reviewed eJournal, advancing DEI through recruitment of diverse candidates for leadership roles, and prioritizing physician and patient wellness at in-person conferences.
  • The Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA) advanced service to its members by launching a new online CME catalog, as well as membership incentives focused on leveraging peer-to-peer recruitment. A new Director of Government Affairs position was created to mobilize grassroots advocacy, and the AOMA annual CME event was rebranded to reach a broader audience and incorporate a residency workshop.
  • The Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association (POMA) improved and evolved education opportunities for members by hosting two hybrid conferences offering options for both in-person and virtual participants. Numerous non-CME events held throughout the year focused on addressing physician wellness. The association also advocated on on behalf of POMA members to restrict scope of practice expansion and address physician payment issues. In addition, POMA collaborated with the POMA Foundation to support educational scholarships and wellness grants for osteopathic residents.

Mentor of the Year

The AOA’s prestigious Mentor of the Year Award honors DOs who help shape the future of the osteopathic profession through their involvement with osteopathic medical students, residents, fellows and new physicians in practice. 

  • Michael B. Clearfield, DO
    Dr. Clearfield

    The AOA’s 2022 Mentor of the Year is Michael B. Clearfield, DO, MACOI, FACP, who has served as an influential educator, researcher and leader throughout his illustrious career. After serving more than 25 years as a faculty member and administrator at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Clearfield served as Dean of Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine-California from 2006 until his retirement in 2021. According to the students, residents and DOs he has mentored through the years, Dr. Clearfield provides steadfast support, guidance and encouragement with an emphasis on listening. He focuses on helping each individual succeed, but also stresses the importance of cohesive teamwork with an emphasis on osteopathic guiding principles. 

Congratulations to all our 2022 award recipients. Thank you for all you do in service of the osteopathic medical profession.