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AOF honors OU-HCOM physicians, students

Johnson named Outstanding Physician of the Year


Several 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

Terry 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 program.

“A 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.

In 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.

In 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 2011.

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

Draion 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 program.


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.”

This 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

John 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 completed an internal medicine residency at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren, Mich., where he served as chief resident and was recognized for his clinical skills.


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 third-year students.


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 medical education.

Welch Scholars Grant

Sara 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 transgender health.

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 Award

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.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016