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Nicholas D. Espinoza, D.O.  (’90)

Espinoza inducted into AOA Mentor
Hall of Fame

Residents, interns, students laud CORE assistant dean

By Angelina Young 

Nicholas D. Espinoza, D.O.  (’90), was inducted into to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Mentor Hall of Fame on Nov. 2, 2009,
at the AOA’s 114th Annual Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition.

“I appreciate this very flattering recognition, but the only limelight I look for is getting the young students interested in osteopathic medicine,” Espinoza said. “This really validates what we’re doing,” said Espinoza. “It’s what we like to call ‘passing the torch.’”

Espinoza was nominated to the Mentor of the Year Hall of Fame by Nicholas J. Pfleghaar, D.O., (’09). Pfleghaar is now a resident at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where he did his clinical rotations. Espinoza is the assistant dean for the Centers of Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE) at St. Vincent’s, a position he has held since 2007.

 Espinoza quickly became a mentor and personal friend to Pfleghaar.

“Dr. Espinoza has taken the time, while at the hospital, and even on his own free time, to give me guidance with my medical career and just life in general. He is one of the first persons I think of when I need some advice,” Pfleghaar said. “Dr. Espinoza puts his whole heart into his job; it’s quite obvious when he is teaching, mentoring and working with students that he loves what he does.”

Bonnie Hay, M.S.Ed., CORE Administrator at Mercy St. Vincent, works closely with Espinoza. “He has been a wonderful support to students, interns, and residents at Mercy St. Vincent, as well as a great boss,” Hay said.

Espinoza received the CORE/Mercy St. Vincent Outstanding Family Physician Faculty Award from its 2009 interns last June.  Also last year, OU-COM students honored Espinoza with the Best Family Medicine Physician Award.  

Espinoza works with the Mercy Family Medicine Residency program, where the residents say how supportive he is—always taking time to teach not only during clinical rounds but in the clinic as well. 

‘Time is more limited now, but we both make an effort to keep in contact.  I couldn’t imagine not keeping in touch with Dr. Espinoza and his family,” said Pfleghaar. “I cannot think of anyone who deserves this award more than Dr. Espinoza. He is a true example of the quality teachers that make great doctors and he loves working with students.”

According to the AOA, nomination criteria for Mentor Hall of Fame include fostering a long-term development from with a mentee, and encouraging mentees to develop individual talents and strengths by acting as an advisor and guide. The mentor must facilitate mentees in acquiring the skills and resources needed to succeed as scholars and professionals, and act as an advocate and leader in professional matters. Finally, the mentor must demonstrate respect and a sincere and active interest in the well-being of mentees.

The AOA believes that mentoring is an essential component of the learning experience for students, interns, residents, and young practitioners, according to the AOA website. Because of mentors, the AOA believes mentees become physicians who are first and foremost dedicated to quality health care, the goals of the profession and the patient/physician relationship.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016