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Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty recognized as Ohio’s top osteopathic family physicians

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty and alumni were standouts in family medicine this year, sweeping the annual awards given by the Ohio State Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Shandra Basil wins award at OOS

Shandra Basil, D.O., who was a student in the first class that attended the Heritage College’s Dublin campus, received the Ohio ACOFP Young Family Physician of the Year. This award recognizes physicians who have practiced five years or less. Basil owns a direct primary care family medicine practice that uses a subscription membership model of care in which patients pay a monthly fee that covers basic care and insurance is not billed. Her practice has locations in Columbus, Chillicothe, Johnstown and Athens.

In addition to her clinical work, Basil is also an assistant clinical professor with the Heritage College and teaches osteopathic manipulative medicine.

“The students challenge me to a be a better physician, and I’m inspired by their passion and enthusiasm,” said Basil, explaining that physicians are lifelong learners and teachers.

“She is a great example of an excellent osteopathic primary care physician, caring for the whole patient and successfully utilizing osteopathic manipulative medicine to facilitate their health. The importance of this cannot be overestimated when students are looking for mentors and role models - the proximity of her training being completed assists greatly in developing the sense of ‘can do’ in a novice student taking on what seems to be overwhelming amounts of information and skill development, compared to more experienced faculty who have cultivated their abilities over decades,” said Shawn Kerger, D.O. (’96) chair of the Heritage College Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. “In addition, Dr. Basil brings her own unique experiences, skill sets, and knowledge that strengthens our department.  And if all this weren't enough, just talk to her for five minutes and you'll find out immediately what a compassionate, caring, and genuine human being she is. “

Cheryl Hammes, DO, wins award at OOS

Cheryl Hammes, D.O., a 1998 graduate of the Heritage College, was named Family Physician of the Year, an award that recognizes excellence in clinical practice, community involvement and professionalism.

In clinical practice, Hammes works mostly with patients with autoimmune disorders and allergies. As an associate clinical professor with the Heritage College, she also teaches osteopathic manipulative medicine on the Cleveland campus.

“Being an excellent osteopathic physician is looking at everything like a detective and finding the missing piece others have not noticed or addressed. Often it takes time, patient centered listening and empathy,” said Hammes.

A patient who nominated her for the award said they met with Hammes after their primary health provider dismissed some of their health symptoms. They said Hammes spent more than an hour listening to them and investigating potential causes for their illness.

“She is genuinely compassionate and truly cares about her patients. She models humanism and good medicine for her students and residents,” the nominator wrote.

Cheryl Hammes, DO, works with student in OMM lab

Kerger said he has known Hammes since they attended medical school together and from the beginning, she has been focused on improving the world around her.

“If there's a more passionate osteopathic physician educator currently in the world, I have yet to meet them,” said Kerger. “Dr. Hammes strives to assist everyone she comes into contact with, and always with a multifold consideration for their wellness from what can be only described as an osteopathic approach toward their mind, body, and spirit.  It's my view that Dr. Hammes was given an innate osteopathic view of the world at birth, and our medical school training allowed her to practice medicine the way that she was born to do.”

Heritage College 2023 graduate Frances “Frankie” Kokos, D.O., a first-year resident at Cleveland Clinic Akron General, was named Ohio ACOFP Family Medicine Resident of the Year.

Frankie Kokos, DO, wins award at OOS

Kokos was a student in the college’s Transformative Care Continuum, an accelerated three-year program in which graduates are matched to a family medicine residency program at Cleveland Clinic. In earning the Family Medicine Resident of the Year award, she was recognized for collaborating with Ohio Family2Family to create a program that eases the transition of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) as they move from pediatrics to adult primary care. She has also trained fellow residents on how to care for patients with IDD.

“Her strong passion for this underserved and vulnerable population is commendable. She cares deeply not only about this patient population but also training her colleagues to increase awareness and competence in caring for them,” said Jill Porter, D.O., immediate past president of Ohio ACOFP. She described Kokos as a physician who “has hit the ground running in terms of her commitment to her patients and the art of family medicine.”

Melinda Ford, D.O., received the Ohio ACOFP Distinguished Service Award. As a resident she served on the Ohio ACOFP board of governors and in 2013 served as Ohio ACOFP president. She currently serves on the OOA board of trustees. In her many leadership roles, she has shaped policy and position statements for the osteopathic profession and worked to improve health care access, quality and equity. Ford is an assistant clinical professor of primary care at the Heritage College.

Porter said Ford “embodies the values of compassion, integrity and excellence that define osteopathic family medicine and throughout her career, she has consistently provided quality care to her patients.”

Ford said when she learned she had received the award she was surprised.

Melinda Ford, DO, with patient

“I had to re-read the email a couple of times to believe it. Then, I felt blessed but humbled,” she said, adding that her father, who is a minister, fireman and EMT, has been a source of inspiration. “I watched him give of himself to the whole community and think that his service really shaped me as a person. I am thankful to have had that example in my life.”

The awards were given during the Ohio Osteopathic Symposium recently held in Columbus. The symposium is a continuing medical education event for osteopathic physicians co-sponsored by the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Society of Alumni & Friends and the Ohio Osteopathic Association.

Below is the complete list of award winners:

Ohio Chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians

  • Distinguished Service – Melinda E. Ford, D.O.
  • Family Medicine Resident of the Year – Frances “Frankie” Kokos, D.O. (’23)
  • Family Physician of the Year – Cheryl A. Hammes, D.O. (’98)
  • Young Family Physician – Shandra C. Basil, D.O. (’18)

Heritage College Society of Alumni & Friends

  • Alumnus of the Year  - Sarah Ondrejka, D.O. (’08)
  • Outstanding Recent Graduate – Stephanie Deuley, D.O. (’18)
  • Medal of Merit – Ralph Crew, D.O. (’81)
  • Distinguished Service – Douglas W. Harley, D.O. (’02)
  • Honorary Alumnus – Laura Yamarick

Ohio Osteopathic Association Awards

  • George L. Eckert Jr., DO Mentor of the Year – Paul M. Levy, D.O. (’08)
  • Distinguished Service – Paul A. Martin, D.O.
  • J.O. Watson, D.O. Memorial Lecture Award – Paul A. Martin, D.O.
  • M. Bridget Wagner, DO Humanitarian – Robert S. Pema, D.O. (’90)
  • Meritorious Service – John D. Schriner, Ph.D.
  • Trustee – David A. Bitonte, D.O.
Cheryl Hammes, DO, poses with family at OOS
April 30, 2024
Staff reports