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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
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Ohio Department of Insurance director to address OU-COM's Class of 2008

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 31, 2004) -- On Saturday, Sept. 11, Ann Womer Benjamin, J.D., director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, will deliver the keynote address at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine's annual Convocation Ceremony, which will be held at 11 a.m. in Nelson Commons on the university's Athens campus. OU-COM Dean Jack Brose, D.O., will serve as master of ceremonies at the 29th convocation, which welcomes OU-COM's incoming class of medical students.

Welcoming the Class of 2008 to the university will be President Roderick McDavis, Ph.D., who became president at the beginning of July.

The Class of 2008 is comprised of 114 students, with 46 women and 68 men. Almost one out of four (27 of 114) of the class is a minority student. Also, 15 of the class are from Southeastern Ohio. The class is 86 percent Ohio residents, 40 percent female and 24 percent minority.

The Sept. 11 convocation also includes the school's White Coat Ceremony, during which the members of the Class of 2008 receive their white coats. The White Coat Ceremony had in past years been held at the beginning of the third year of school for medical students and marked the transition to the clinical phase of medical education. Because of recent revisions to the school's curriculum, which include earlier clinical contact, OU-COM officials noted, it is now quite appropriate for incoming first-year students to be coated.

Thomas Anderson, D.O. ('83), president of the OU-COM Society of Alumni and Friends, will preside over the White Coat Ceremony. The white coats donned during the ceremony are provided by the Ohio Osteopathic Foundation.

"The convocation," said Brose, "also affords our college the opportunity to award the Phillips Medal of Public Service, the college's highest honor, to individuals who have made great contributions to health care, education and public service. The recipients have been very supportive of medical education in our college, state and nation."

The Phillips Medal is named for Jody Galbreath Phillips and her late husband, J. Wallace, both longtime friends of Ohio University. It has been awarded to outstanding men and women since OU-COM s inception in 1976.

Keynote speaker Benjamin is one of three recipients of the Phillips Medal. In addition to Benjamin, this year's recipients of the Phillips Medal are Roy Chew, Ph.D., president of Grandview/Southview Hospitals, and Boyd Bowden, D.O., member of the American Osteopathic Association Board of Trustees and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees.

Among the past Phillips Medal recipients are former Ohio Gov. James Rhodes; former U.S. Sen. John Glenn; former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, J.D.; Ohio First Lady Hope Taft; and William Anderson, D.O., surgeon, civil rights leader and past president of the American Osteopathic Association.

Benjamin, the 45th director of the department and the first woman to head it, was a key figure in securing the passage of professional liability insurance (medical malpractice) reform through House Bill 281. In 2001 she was the Aurora Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year, received the Coleman Professional Services Distinguished Service Award and was named Legislator of the Year by the Ohio Nurses Association. She served as a House representative for four terms, passing 20 bills, including legislation that toughened Ohio rape laws, secured the State Victims of Crime Fund and allowed judges to suspend the driver's licenses of those charged with vehicular homicide.

Chew, president of nationally recognized Grandview/Southview Hospitals and president of the Ohio Osteopathic Hospital Association, served Kettering Medical Center in several administrative capacities before its merger into Grandview/Southview Hospitals. Under his leadership, Grandview has received many national honors including a five-star designation from HealthGrades, recognition as one of the preeminent teaching hospitals named in America's Top 100 Hospitals and named as one of the country's best medical centers by US News and World Reports in its America's Best Hospitals issue.

Bowden, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, has served the osteopathic profession for the last 30 years as a distinguished physician, educator and leader. Among numerous positions held, Bowden served as president of the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics Hand Society, and chief-of-staff at Doctors Hospital, in addition to chairing internship and residency training programs at Doctors. Currently a member of the American Osteopathic Association Board of Trustees, he has sought to bolster the prominence of research at osteopathic medical schools throughout the nation. As a member of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees, he helped establish the J.O. Watson, D.O., Endowed Research Chair, a major component of OU-COM's diabetes and cardiovascular research and clinical initiatives.

Also participating in the ceremony and making medal presentations with Brose are Alan Geiger, Ph.D., assistant to the president of the university, and Jeffrey Stanley, D.O. ('82), president of the Ohio Osteopathic Association.

Students will give tours of the college from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The tours leave from the lobby of Grosvenor Hall on the West Green.

For more information on the Convocation, contact Carol Blue, assistant to the dean, at (740) 593-2178.

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Contact: Writer/Editor Kevin Sanders, (740) 593-0896, or Associate Director of Communication Michael Weiser, (740) 593-2199

Editors: Photos (300 dpi) of medal recipients are available via Internet download at

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