honors OU-HCOM physicians, students
named Outstanding Physician of the Year
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
(OU-HCOM) alumni, faculty, students and supporters received American
Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) awards at its 10th Annual Honors
Celebration. The gala event was held in conjunction with the AOA
116th Medical Conference & Exposition, in Orlando Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.
Outstanding Physician of the Year
Johnson, D.O. ('91)
Established in 2009, this award honors the extraordinary
accomplishments of an osteopathic physician who brings a sense of
pride to the profession and promotes the science of medicine and the
betterment of public health. It honors those who achieve greatness
through integrity, commitment to service and community involvement.
The recipient of this award exemplifies the best of what osteopathic
medicine is all about, according to the AOF Honors Celebration
forceful advocate for his patients, a passionate public servant and
a committed educator, Dr. Johnson believes tough decisions often
come down to one simple matter—what is truly best for the health and
well-being of the patient,” the program said of Johnson, who is an
OU-HCOM Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE)
assistant dean and director of the family medicine residency program
at Southern Ohio Medical Center.
addition to these titles, Johnson is a 20-year veteran of the Army
National Guard, where he served as a colonel, senior Army flight
surgeon, past commander of the Ohio Army National Guard Medical
Detachment, and Joint Forces and Army State Surgeon. Johnson has
deployed twice to Iraq and led humanitarian medical missions to
Panama and Ecuador. He retired from the National Guard in September.
January 2011, Johnson became the first osteopathic physician elected
to the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the 89th House
District, where he co-sponsored legislation targeting prescription
medicine abuse that was approved by both chambers in the Ohio
General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in May
Johnson, who also is a graduate of OU-HCOM’s Health
Policy Fellowship, visited OU-HCOM on Sept. 30. He described in a
lecture to students the importance of physicians becoming involved
in public service. Physicians are asked to implement various laws,
he said, and being involved gives them a voice on those issues that
can profoundly affect the health of patients.
Outstanding Resident of the Year
Burch, D.O. (’07),
Burch was one of four recipients of an Outstanding
Resident of the Year Award. This honor, supported by health care
company Merck, comes with a $5,000 award. It is given to osteopathic
physicians in AOA-approved residency programs who go above and
beyond to bring a sense of pride to the profession.
Burch, who this summer completed his obstetrics and
gynecology residency at St. John Providence Health
System―Osteopathic Division in Warren, Mich., was selected for his
proven excellence “not only in the practice of medicine, but in
leadership, community service and academia,” according to the AOF
During his residency, Burch helped redesign the
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s
obstetrics and gynecology curriculum and revived and revamped the
didactic program in St. John’s obstetrics and gynecology residency
program, where he served as chief resident. He served as the
resident representative to the AOA Board of Trustees and the
Michigan Osteopathic Association, and as the Michigan delegate for
the AOA House of Delegates.
During a Dec. 6 OU-HCOM visit, Burch provided medical
students with practical advice about preparing for residencies and
beyond. He advised them to become involved in all levels of
osteopathic medicine—state and national organizations as well as
their respective specialty colleges.
“By being active in all three, there is nothing that
is going on that you will not know about,” he said. “You also will
meet people that can help you connect in the osteopathic profession,
especially for future residencies or fellowships.”
summer, Burch joined the Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he serves as a clinical assistant
professor for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services.
Outstanding Resident of the Year
Weippert, D.O. ('08)
Alumnus John Weippert also received this award, which
is given to residents who are looked upon to become future health
care leaders. Weippert
internal medicine residency at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren,
Mich., where he served as chief resident and was recognized for his
While at St. Joseph, he was instrumental in
introducing the concept of evidence-based medicine to faculty
members, and he helped restructure the academic and didactic portion
of the residency training program, which improved internal medicine
in-service exam scores. He also conducted research projects in
multiple subspecialties and was instrumental in procuring bedside
ultrasound machines and training residents in their use. In
addition, Weippert assisted the CORE as clerkship facilitator for
In July, he started an osteopathic fellowship in
gastroenterology at Millcreek Community Hospital in Erie, Penn.,
where he will simultaneously work towards a master’s degree in
Welch Scholars Grant
Thorp, OMS IV
Given for outstanding academic achievement,
participation in extracurricular activities, and strong commitment
to osteopathic medicine, this grant provides $2,000 to help defer
educational costs. One award is given at each of the nation’s
colleges of osteopathic medicine.
Prior to matriculation at OU-HCOM, Thorp, who is
fluent in written and spoken Spanish, participated in a variety of
health care initiatives in Bolivia, Guatemala and South Africa. Her
efforts in those locations ranged from researching medical, legal
and social support resources for sexual assault survivors, to
working with HIV prevention, service and political organizations.
Also prior to enrolling at OU-HCOM, Thorp worked as a
research assistant in an aquatic ecology lab, as a health care
assistant and substance abuse recovery supervisor, and as a hospice
volunteer. She also attended multiple conferences and symposia on
As a medical student, Thorp has demonstrated this
same high level of dedication to health care, having made multiple
presentations at American Medical Student Association conferences
and undertaking research projects on topics such as nutrition and
physical activity interventions for children.
She is currently a fourth-year student engaged in
rotations at Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio.
Donna Jones Moritsugu
Marika Yoho, wife of
Scott Yoho, D.O. (‘11)
This award is given to recipients who exemplify the
role of a professional's partner by providing immeasurable support
for his or her partner, family and the osteopathic profession, while
being an individual in his or her own right. One award is given at
each of the nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine.
In his wife’s nomination letter, Yoho noted how his
wife supported his decision at the age of 30 to enroll in medical
school, uprooting herself and two small children to move to Athens.
“She cared enough about my well being and happiness
to put her life on hold and be a supporter of mine at a time when I
couldn’t have done it without her,” Yoho wrote. “She stepped out of
her comfort zone for me and believed in me when others thought that
returning to school and becoming a physician was a pipe dream.”
While in Athens, he noted, she continued her selfless
commitment to helping others. She even served as a surrogate for
good friends who were unable to have children naturally themselves,
he explained. Marika’s surrogacy resulted in the birth of twin boys.
“I respect her consistency,” he wrote, “her strength,
her selflessness, her talents, her patience, her caring nature, her
work ethic, and her love of her family and friends.”
The couple and their two children are now living in
Columbus, where the recent graduate is a psychiatric resident at
OhioHealth’s Doctors Hospital.