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AOA Awards

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AOA recognizes shining stars of the osteopathic medical profession

Awards honor osteopathic physicians, medical students and affiliate organizations for contributions to the profession.

Each year, the osteopathic medical profession celebrates the inspiring and influential work being contributed by DOs, medical students and affiliate organizations across every facet of the health care community and beyond. Select an award below to view details, including eligibility requirements and nomination processes.

Awards presented at the House of Delegates meeting:

Bob E. Jones, CAE Award

The AOA established the annual Bob E. Jones, CAE Award in 2001 to recognize outstanding state and specialty executive directors who continually contribute to the AOA and the osteopathic profession as a whole.

The AOA is pleased to reinstate this award in recognition of the wonderful contributions of our affiliate leaders. The criteria, submission and selection process have been enhanced to acknowledge the great contributions affiliate EDs/CEOs bring to the advancement of the osteopathic profession.


This award is named in honor of Bob E. Jones, CAE, who served as executive director of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association from 1969 – 1999. His 30-year leadership of the association resulted in numerous advances for the profession. He assumed a major role in coordinating legislative action leading to the establishment of the nation’s first freestanding state-supported college of osteopathic medicine in 1972. He was later the main driving force that led to the school becoming Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Bob also authored the book, “The Difference a DO Makes,” detailing the development and history of osteopathic medicine.

Eligibility and criteria

  • All executive directors/CEOs from state, specialty, and non-practice affiliates are eligible for nomination for the Bob E. Jones, CAE Award
  • Nominations may be in the form of self-nomination, peer nomination from other AOA affiliate EDs/CEOs, or from national AOA or affiliate volunteer leadership
  • The nominator should address one of the following, providing specific examples of how the nominee has demonstrated:
    • Servant leadership, with the primary intent to be of service to osteopathic physicians and advance the osteopathic profession
    • Commitment to the advancement of their affiliate, increasing organizational capacity and growth
    • Innovation, creativity, and flexibility in establishing a new affiliate initiative or program resulting in a positive impact on osteopathic physicians and/or the profession
    • Fostering of mutually beneficial and collaborative partnerships with other organizations, healthcare coalitions, or osteopathic partners to offer value to osteopathic physicians and the profession

Past winners:

  • 2024: Diana Ewert, MPA, CAE; and Bob Moore, MA, MS, FASAE, CAE
  • 2023: Kris Nicholoff, Michigan Osteopathic Association (MOA)
  • 2022: Suzanne Frederick, MSN
  • 2021: Brian Bowles; and Pete Wertheim (posthumous award recipient)

View all the past Bob E. Jones, CAE Award recipients.

Northup Award

The Northup Award, first presented in 1991, is an annual award honoring George W. Northup, DO, who served as the American Osteopathic Association’s Editor-in-Chief for 26 years. Thomas Wesley Allen, DO, who succeeded Dr. Northup as Editor- in-Chief, proposed the award to recognize excellence in writing and scholarship in articles published in The Journal.

Past winners:

  • 2021: John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA; and Robert J. Gatchel, PhD
  • 2020: Mohammadreza Hojat, PhD
  • 2019: Rudy Castillo; Artur Schander, DO; and Lisa Hodge, DO
  • 2018: John M. Neidecker, DO
  • 2017: Adam J. McTighe, PsyD, MBA
  • 2016: Lisa Hodge, PhD

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is the AOA’s highest honor. It is awarded annually to deserving physicians or lay individuals for outstanding accomplishments in advancing the science and art of osteopathic medicine, education, philanthropy, or other fields of public service.

The award will be made on the basis of outstanding achievement by an individual. Preferential consideration will be given to those individuals whose service has been to or through the osteopathic medical profession.

This award recognizes contributions to the overall profession, rather than regional or local efforts. Recognition by such certification should, in general, be awarded because of outstanding contribution to the understanding and advancement of osteopathic medicine through research, education, financial aid, or other areas that enable the profession to make a greater contribution to public health.

Past winners:

  • 2024: Terrie Taylor, DO
  • 2023: William J. Burke, DO; Karen T. Snider, DO
  • 2022: Peter A. Bell, DO; J. Michael Wieting, DO
  • 2021: Jeffrey S. Grove, DO, FACOFP
  • 2020: James Lee Valentine, DO
  • 2019: Brian Donadio; Michael Lockwood; Stephen Winn

Presidential Citations

Each year, the AOA President recognizes those who made a significant contribution to the profession.

Past winners:

  • 2024: Bruce A. Aronwald, DO; Michael Antolini, DO; Martin S. Levine, DO; Lt. General Douglas J. Robb, DO, MPH; Kevin C. O’Connor, DO, FAAFP; Kiran Patel, MD, and Pallavi Patel, MD
  • 2023: Kieren P. Knapp, DO, FACOFP; James D. Polk, DO, EdD, MMM, FACOEP; Francis P. Sutter, DO, FACS; John Reilly
  • 2022: Josh Prober; ACOI; David L. Broder, DO; Thomas A. Cavalieri, DO; J. Michael Wieting, DO; Michelle Winn Larson, CMP, CAE
  • 2021: Robert A. Cain, DO; Stanley E. Grogg, DO; Barbara E. Walker, DO
  • 2020: Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD; John R. Gimpel, DO; Valerie Carr
  • 2019: Floyd Meachum, DO; Stephen Scheinthal, DO; Ed Williams, Ph.D.; Frank Bedford
  • 2018: Clint Adams, DO; George Thomas, DO; Karen Nichols, DO; Josh Prober
  • 2017: Stephen Shannon, DO; Sandra Featherman, PhD; Humayun (Hank) J. Chaudhry, DO
  • 2016: Kenneth Viet, DO; Bruce Horton, DO; William Raineri, DO

View all the past Presidential Citations recipients.

Awards presented at OMED:

Mentor of the Year

The AOA Mentor of the Year Award was developed to honor DOs who help shape the future of the osteopathic profession through their involvement with osteopathic medical students, residents, fellows and new physicians in practice. Students, DOs, AOA affiliates or any other member of the osteopathic professional family are welcome to submit nominations.

Past winners:

  • 2022: Michael B. Clearfield, DO, MACOI, FACP
  • 2021: Joanne Kaiser-Smith, DO, FACOI, FACP
  • 2020: Drew Lewis, DO
  • 2019: Gustav Barkett, DO
  • 2018: Dan Miulli, DO
  • 2017: Henry Pace (posthumous Lifetime Mentoring Award)
  • 2016: Paula Crone, DO

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Unification Award

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Unification Award will be presented to one individual and one organization that has proven exemplary leadership and commitment to promoting and advancing DEI initiatives in the osteopathic community.

Nominations may be submitted on the candidate’s behalf with their permission, and must include the following:

  1. Curriculum vitae or résumé.
  2. Description of how the candidate has advanced DEI initiatives in the osteopathic community, which could include but is not limited to:
    • Raising awareness about the challenges and opportunities related to DEI in the osteopathic profession.
    • Working to increase opportunities for demographical groups historically underrepresented in osteopathic medicine.
    • Developing DEI programs, resources and tools for an organization or the profession.
    • Advocating for underrepresented minorities in osteopathic medicine.
  3. Letter of recommendation.

Candidates will fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be a contributing member to the osteopathic community with significant and demonstrable contributions to the DEI field.
  2. Be an AOA member in good standing.

Past winners:

  • 2023: Alberto Velasco, OMS III; and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
  • 2022: Meher Ahmed, OMS IV; and New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
  • 2021: Jay S. Feldstein, DO; and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

Outstanding Affiliate Awards

The AOA Outstanding Affiliate Awards were created in 2021 to recognize the tremendous contributions that affiliates make to the success of the osteopathic profession. Two to three affiliates (state and specialty college) will be selected annually for this award. Affiliates can self-nominate or be nominated by others for this award.

Note: If you nominate an affiliate, please notify the affiliate executive director/CEO so they may provide the requested detail outlined in the nomination form.

Thank you to the Bureau of Affiliate Relations for their review and approval of the criteria and process for the Outstanding Affiliate Awards. Nominations should address specific examples of accomplishments and results achieved related to advancement of the osteopathic profession over the past year.

Past winners:

  • 2023: American College of Osteopathic Internists; and the Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons
  • 2022: American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians; Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association; and Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association
  • 2021: Michigan Osteopathic Association; American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians; and American Osteopathic College of Radiology

Journal of Osteopathic Medicine Awards

Social Determinants of Health Research Award (new in 2021)

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, social determinants of health are “are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” Research about this concept and about ways to address patient equity in healthcare is crucial to the osteopathic medical profession and all four of its tenets. Each year, the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine will recognize an article that has contributed most significantly to the knowledge base that addresses ways we might begin to better understand and account for social factors contributing to our patients’ disease states and adjust our clinical management to help our patients maximize their opportunities for self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.

Past winners:

  • 2022: Elizabeth A. Beverly, PhD
  • 2021: Robert E. Davis

Innovations Research Award (new in 2021)

Innovation is crucial to modern clinical work as well as medical education. While “innovation” can encompass a broad variety of concepts, Journal of Osteopathic Medicine is committed to encouraging and documenting the ways in which new concepts, treatments, devices, protocols, and curricula have potential to “change the game.” Each year, Journal of Osteopathic Medicine will recognize an article that documents outcomes research about a new concept in either patient management or medical education delivery.

Past winners:

  • 2022: John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA
  • 2021: Santiago Lorenzo, PhD, MS, MS

Health Policy Research Award (new in 2021)

Through health policy work, osteopathic physicians and their advocates make progress at the intersection of patient care and legislative governance. This work has always been important to the osteopathic profession, and especially to the AOA and its journal, where our shared mission is to promote and protect your work. Each year, the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine will recognize an article with particularly significant contributions to our collective understanding of how policy can inform and be informed by clinical evidence.

Past winners:

  • 2022: Hadie Islam, DO
  • 2021: Todd Fredricks, DO

Quality Improvement in Education Research Award (new in 2021)

Many JOM readers are engaged in the work of educating the next generation of osteopathic physicians. According to Ross Zafonte, DO, JOM’s Editor in Chief, “we believe that research documenting the outcomes of education being undertaken by our medical student colleagues ultimately does relate to clinical practice because, in its best iteration, it can help us identify what’s working and what isn’t as we teach clinical skills and osteopathic tenets to future DOs.” In that spirit, each year the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine will recognize an article that documented, preferably through quantitative outcomes research, a significant improvement in medical education delivery.

Past winners:

  • 2022: Elizabeth S. Balyakina, DO, MS, MPH
  • 2021: Kevin Moriles

Clinical Research Award (new in 2021)

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

Past winners:

  • 2022: Rita M. Patterson, PhD
  • 2021: Marcel Fraix, DO, MBA

Junior Faculty/Young Investigators Research Award (new in 2021)

With the understanding that research activity has become increasingly important to medical students, residents, fellows, and young practitioners, both in service of their patients and in support of their academic careers, Journal of Osteopathic Medicine will recognize one article each year in which the lead author was an osteopathic medical student (OMS), a resident, a fellow, or a DO in the first three years of practice. The article will have met all criteria for a methodologically rigorous outcomes study and will address an important concept in patient care. Only therapeutic studies on human patients will be eligible.

Past winners:

  • 2022: Nicholas B. Sajjadi, OMS IV
  • 2021: Sahar Amin Bhai

Awards presented at DO Day:

Individual Excellence in Advocacy Award

This award recognizes individuals for their personal commitment to public policy advocacy on behalf of the osteopathic profession. Awards would be given to four individuals: one student, resident, physician, and affiliate executive director. Award criteria is based on in-person advocacy, online advocacy, participation in DO Day and other events, including demonstrated leadership in engaging and facilitating the advocacy of their peers.

Past Winners:

  • 2024: James M. Lally, DO
  • 2023: Brooke Laudenslager, DO; Jodi Benett, DO; Joseph Asper, OMS II; and Steve Winn
  • 2022: Courtney Merlo, OMS III; Janae Fry, DO; Katherine Gantz Pannel, DO; and Kris Nicholoff
  • 2021: Tabitha Arnett, MSEd, CAE; Roozehra Khan, DO; James Latronica, DO; and Jennifer Lee, OMS III

Organizational Excellence in Advocacy Award

This award recognizes one state osteopathic association, one osteopathic specialty college, and one college of osteopathic medicine for organizational activities and accomplishments in advancing public policy on behalf of the osteopathic profession. Award criteria would include specific advocacy successes and overall participation in national advocacy events and efforts.

Past Winners:

  • 2024: Wisconsin Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons
  • 2023: Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society
  • 2022: Omega Beta Iota; Society of Osteopathic Specialty Executives; Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association; Ohio Osteopathic Association; and Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons of California
  • 2021: Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Southern Utah; Student Osteopathic Medical Association; American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and Mississippi Osteopathic Medical Association

Excellence in Media Award

This award recognizes an individual (student, resident, physician, or staff) for advancing public policy or professional advocacy on behalf of the osteopathic profession through media advocacy. The award would recognize engagement through all media channels and platforms that have advanced the interests of the osteopathic profession.

Past Winners:

  • 2024: Amber Shirley, OMS III
  • 2023: Owais Durrani, DO
  • 2022: Jennifer N. Caudle, DO
  • 2021: Owais Durrani, DO

Excellence in Journalism Award

This award recognizes a journalist from anywhere in the United States who has helped increase public awareness and understanding of the osteopathic profession and/or issues facing our profession. Selection criteria would include accounting for the impact of the individual’s work, engagement with the osteopathic community, and public awareness of the relevant work.

Past Winners:

  • 2023: Alexis Cates, DO
  • 2022: Rose Raymond
  • 2021: Lauren Weber

Congressional Champion of Osteopathic Medicine Award

This award is intended to be given to two members of Congress in a bipartisan fashion, recognizing one Democrat and one Republican for their support of policy issues that are important to the osteopathic profession. Award criteria would include the number of priority bills introduced or cosponsored, leadership on issues of particular significance, voting record on legislative priorities, and attending or speaking at AOA or affiliate events.

Past Winners:

  • 2024: Senator Bill Cassiday (R-LA); and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-1)
  • 2023: Michael Burgess, MD; and Ami Bera, MD
  • 2022: Kim Schrier, MD; and Brad Wenstrup, DPM
  • 2021: Cathy McMorris Rodgers; and Raul Ruiz, MD

Application cycle dates

  • Outstanding Affiliate Awards: Feb. 14 – March 29
  • Distinguished Service Award: Feb. 26 – March 25
  • Mentor of the Year Award: April 5 – May 6
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unification Awards: April 19 – May 20
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