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First year students welcomed into osteopathic medical profession
Ohio Supreme Court justice, Cleveland Clinic president of regional hospitals receive OU-HCOM’s highest honor

(ATHENS, Ohio – July 30, 2012) David L. Bronson, M.D., F.A.C.P., president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown, J.D., received The Phillips Medal of Public Service during the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (OU-HCOM) 37th Convocation Ceremony.

Speaking to the massive crowd of family, friends and the 139 members of OU-HCOM’s Class of 2016, Bronson told the medical students that their decision to become osteopathic physicians brings great rewards for society.

You have chosen to go into the profession that eliminated small pox, a disease that killed between 300 to 500 million people over the course of history,” Bronson said. “You have chosen the profession that mapped the human genome, and defeated fatal and disabling childhood infectious diseases such as polio. Your profession has learned how to keep people from dying of AIDS, dramatically reduced deaths from trauma, and it is the one that in your lifetime will cure cancer.”

Bronson, who also is a professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, received the Phillips Medal in recognition of his dedication to medical education and the role he played in the development of the new northeast Ohio extension campus OU-HCOM plans to open in 2016, pending approval from accrediting organizations.

President of the American College of Physicians, the nation’s leading professional organization for internal medicine and the largest specialty organization in the country, Bronson said he was humbled and honored to be so recognized.

In his remarks to the new medical students, he said they had chosen a profession filled with profound rewards, intellectual stimulation and important ethical responsibilities. “As you learn to care for your patients, you must also allow yourself to care about your patients. For it is in caring about patients that you receive your greatest rewards and you will also be a better doctor.”

Bronson offered the medical students the advice to never lose their humility, their humanity, or their excitement of discovery and the joy of learning.

“Your patients deserve a great doctor, society is investing heavily in your success and is giving you incredible privileges,” Bronson said. “In return, you also have a responsibility to society, to your faculty, and to yourself to be the best physician you can be. You will be rewarded with a life of learning, meaning, accomplishment, and respect.”

The first African American woman to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio, Brown was honored with the Phillips Medal in recognition of her judicial achievements and commitment to improving the well-being and health of children and families. A 1982 graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law, Brown also served as the founding president of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

In her remarks, Brown told the medical students that the occasion reminded her of her own fear on the first day of law school. “So I used that fear to motivate me to work harder than I ever imagined possible,” she said.

Congratulating the students on their choice of medicine as careers, Brown said they were embarking on a journey of self-discovery. “How well you do, how successful you are, is completely determined by your sweat equity and tenacity,” she said.

Having worked with physicians at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in her role at the Center for Child and Family Advocacy for eight years, Brown said she knew the power and importance of dedicated physicians. “The ability to connect with people in your community; to gain your patient’s trust and respect; leads to better health outcomes,” she said.

As physicians, their work will be to identify and diagnose not just physical ailments but issues in the lives of their patients that may impact their health.

“You may be in a position to notice abuse before a child is comfortable reporting. You may see signs of elder neglect and have the ability to seek safety for a patient who is too embarrassed to ask for help,” Brown said. “As you progress through your medical career, never forget that yours is the most honorable of professions.”

The Phillips Medal of Public Service, the college’s highest honor first established in 1976 and since given to 133 educators, elected officials, physicians and other medical leaders, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to health care, education and/or public service. Named for the late J. Wallace Phillips and Jody Galbreath Phillips, the award recognizes their contributions to Ohio University, higher education and the people of Ohio. Mrs. Phillips, a graduate of Ohio University, served as a member and chairman of the Ohio University Board of Trustees and was a member of the OU-HCOM advisory board.

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis introduced Kenneth Johnson, D.O., a week after the announcement of his appointment to replace Jack Brose, D.O., vice provost for health affairs at Ohio University and dean emeritus of the medical school.  Brose officiated Saturday’s ceremony for the last time.

Although he does not officially begin his duties until Monday, Aug. 20, 2012, Johnson said he has the best job in the state and the osteopathic medical profession.

“I am so looking forward to how, together, we are going to do great things for our profession, the practice of osteopathic medicine and more importantly for our patients.” Johnson said. “As Ghandi said these wise words, ‘we will be the change we wish to see in the world,’ so too will we learn and grow as an academic community that is deeply devoted to making a significant difference for our patients.”

Simon R. Fraser, second year medical student and president of the OU-HCOM Student Government Association, explained the significance of the white coats to his fellow students. Fraser explained that the lab coats were much more than just uniforms that medical students are required to wear the short white coats when in the presence of patients, which they begin interacting with during their first year at OU-HCOM.

“The student’s short white coat is not just a mere overcoat required for standardized patient labs or clinical experiences,” Fraser said. “The white coat represents our creed, our code: what we as physicians dedicate our lives to. When we walk into a room with our white coat on we are more than just ourselves to our patients. We are the people they have come to for help, the people they look to for healing.

“As physicians we will have the honor to be a part of both special moments and difficult situations. We will help bring life into this world and sadly, we will be there when one is lost from this world,” Fraser said, before leading the class in the student pledge of commitment. “I have no doubt that you, the class of 2016, will be ready to embrace these responsibilities with honor and proudly represent our school to the best of your abilities.”

Prior to Saturday afternoon’s ceremony, John F. Ramey, D.O. (’93), president of the Ohio Osteopathic Association (OOA) and medical director of the Ohio Veterans Home, presented Brose with an OOA presidential proclamation recognizing him for his many accomplishments as dean and his “exemplary work on behalf of the osteopathic medical profession and osteopathic medical education.”

Ramey also presented Johnson with his first official OU-HCOM/OOA white coat. The Ohio Osteopathic Foundation every year provides the new students with their short white coats during the Convocation ceremony.

Other remarks were given from the following university leaders and members of the osteopathic medical community:

  • Robert S. Juhasz, D.O., medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Willoughby Hills Family Medical Center and a trustee of the American Osteopathic Association.
  • Jeffrey A. Stanley, D.O. (’82), chief of vascular surgery and director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program at Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital, and president of the OU-HCOM Society of Alumni and Friends
  • Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., (’97), interim senior associate dean for academic affairs
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Last updated: 01/28/2016