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For 2nd year, a Heritage College faculty member named top mentor to D.O. students

(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 Orlando, Fla.

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 suggested.

“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 philosophy.”

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 continuum.

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. CARE LEADS HERE.


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