(ATHENS, Ohio — Nov. 12, 2015) Katy Kropf, D.O. (’02), an assistant
professor of family medicine at the Ohio University Heritage College
of Osteopathic Medicine, has been honored as Mentor of the Year by
the American Osteopathic Association for her work in helping shape
the future of osteopathic medicine through her mentorship of
students and young physicians. The award was presented last month at
the 2015 Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition (OMED) in
This makes the second year in a row that a Heritage
College faculty member has taken home this prestigious national
award. Last year, AOA presented the award to Timothy Law, D.O.
(’94), M.B.A., also an assistant professor of family medicine.
Kropf, who serves as associate chair of the Heritage College’s
Department of Family Medicine, has been teaching at the college’s
Athens campus since 2008. Her clinical and academic interests
include care of transgender patients; women’s health and
contraception; lifestyle medicine; and reflective practice. During
her time with the college, she has mentored students she’s met
through clinical experience trips to El Salvador and Ecuador, as
well as those she has worked with in the family medicine residency
program of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens.
Kropf also founded a weekly “Mindfulness Tuesday,” a session in
which she offers meditation guidance to students, faculty and staff
on how to slow down, focus and be fully in the moment. Her approach
to mentoring grows naturally out of her emphasis on mindfulness, she
“One of my basic philosophies is trying to help patients to live
their best lives, and help our students and residents to be their
best selves and best physicians,” she said. “It’s a lot about
empowering – empowering students to feel good about themselves.
That’s why I do the mindfulness aspect, because there’s a lot of
self-reflection and self-centering that need to happen to be able to
be present to patients in the way that they need us to be.”
A 1996 graduate of Iowa’s Grinnell College with a B.A. in biology
and women’s studies, Kropf is the third Ohioan to win the AOA’s
national mentor award since it was established in 2005. In addition
to Law, the award was received in 2006 by honorary alum Ruth E.
Purdy, D.O., now deceased. A long-time clinical professor, Purdy
mentored hundreds of Heritage College students.
Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O., praised
Kropf as a natural born mentor. “Dr. Kropf’s generosity to students
with her time, knowledge and friendship is evident to anyone who has
seen her at work,” Johnson said. “D.O.s pride ourselves on
supporting each other like family, and she really lives that
At the Heritage College’s 2015 Distinguished Osteopathic
Commitment (DOC) awards ceremony in March, Kropf was named Clinical
Preceptor of the Year for the first-year clinical presentation
Bridget Lombard, a 2013 Heritage College graduate who was among
those who nominated Kropf, said that as a mentor, Kropf “has helped
me to find the confidence to follow my passion and instinct in
medicine. She daily models how to be an outstanding physician and
more, how to be an outstanding human being. I think of her often –
how she would respond, what words she might use, how she would come
to action – when I'm faced with difficult patient scenarios or
difficult days in life. She is a role model for me, and she is
making me a better physician and person.”
The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
is a leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are
prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state
and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni
practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio.
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