Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Alumnus of the Year

John H. Drabing, D.O., FAOAO, FACOS, '61
2001 Alumnus of the Year

The KOAA Board of Directors selected John H. Drabing, D.O., FAOAO, FACOS, a 1961 KCOM graduate, as the KOAA's Alumnus of the Year for 2001 during the spring 2001 Board meeting. He was recognized and his award presented to him during the Annual KOAA Luncheon and Assembly Meeting, which was held in conjunction with the 2001 American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Convention in San Diego, Calif. Many alumni and friends of the College attended and participated in honoring Dr. Drabing during the luncheon meeting, held Monday, October 22, in the San Diego Marriott/Marina Hotel.

Dr. Drabing has never had trouble saying yes when his alma mater or osteopathic organizations asked for his help. He retired from his orthopedic surgery practice in Colorado Springs, Colo., in December 2000, and is a former chair and member of the KCOM Board of Trustees (1982-1991).

He also is a past president and member of the Board of Directors that established the Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation, a past president of the Colorado Society of Osteopathic Medicine, a past president and fellow of the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics, a fellow and former member of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS), and he was a member of the House of Delegates of the AOA for nine years.

"When people in the osteopathic profession asked me to do something, I usually did it," said Dr. Drabing. His involvement with the College and osteopathic profession began at an early age. His father, Martin L. Drabing, D.O., attended the College for one year before transferring to Des Moines University, College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in
Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Martin Drabing graduated in 1929 and was a family physician in St. Jo, Texas, before relocating to Denver, Colo., where he lived until 1943. John was eight years old when his father died.

John's mother, Faith Wells Drabing, was hired in 1944 as a secretary for the Denver practice of C. Robert Sparks, D.O., '25, who Dr. Drabing said was thought by many to be "Mr. D.O., in the state of Colorado" for many years, and his wife, Esther Bolles Starks, D.O., '24, the daughter of Jeannette H. Bolles, D.O., a member of the College's first graduating class of 1894.

"I was always interested in medicine and the osteopathic profession while I was growing up," Dr. Drabing said. "I always knew I wanted to be a D.O."

Dr. Drabing, who received his undergraduate education at the University of Colorado, completed a rotating internship at Tulsa Regional Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla. He was in general practice for two years in Fort Collins, Colo., and two years in Colorado Springs before entering an orthopedic surgery residency at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

When he returned to Colorado Springs in 1969, he was the only D.O. orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs and was one of three D.O. orthopedic surgeons in the state. "Now," he says, "there are about 20 D.O. orthopedic surgeons in the state. They all do good work and have good reputations in their respective communities."

Dr. Drabing, who was the president of his class at the College, is proud to be a Kirksville alumnus. "I still think Kirksville is the best school," he said. "We received a good basic education when I was in school, and today's students are receiving a good basic education."

He is also proud of the fact that although he was renown for his spinal procedures, he also gave his patients osteopathic manipulative treatments. "I had a lot of patients who came to me for treatments," he explained. "I gave treatments nearly every day in my office."

He said his retirement is allowing more time for playing golf, fishing, and traveling with his wife, Sally (they have four children and two grandchildren). However, he still finds time for the College and the osteopathic profession. A member of the Finance Committee of the Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation, he plans to be in Kirksville this fall for Founder's Day and his class reunion activities and to attend ACOS and AOA Conventions this year.

View Past Recipients

Purpose of Award

The Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association (KOAA) Board of Directors established the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1982 to recognize and honor Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) graduates who have made outstanding contributions to KCOM and the osteopathic profession.
The award provides the opportunity for fellow alumni, colleagues, patients, students, and friends of the recipient to honor the Alumnus of the Year and support the KCOM's education program.

All gifts received in honor of the recipient are restricted for the KOAA/KCOM Education Program Fund.

You Can Make A Difference

To further its educational goals and remain a leader in osteopathic medical education, KCOM looks to its loyal graduates and friends for support. Your gift in Dr. Drabing's honor will recognize his lifetime achievements and provide KCOM students with the opportunity to enhance their medical education.

Please use the online giving form to make your contribution. Dr. Drabing will be notified of those who give in his honor.

KOAA/KCOM Education Program Fund

This fund provides needed support for the improvement of osteopathic medical education in all KCOM departments. As the founding college of osteopathic medicine, KCOM's mission is to prepare osteopathic physicians who are eminently qualified for the challenges of the 21st century. The goal of the fund is to assist in accomplishing this mission.

Interest income is used to enhance and/or acquire a variety of needed educational resources such as equipment, textbooks and resource books, professional periodicals, innovative educational programs, etc.

Selection of Programs

The number of educational programs funded each year is determined by the identified needs of the College. Annually, the KOAA awards committee receives project nominations of highest priority from the KCOM dean. The awards committee then reviews all nominated proposals and recommends to the ATSU president the project(s) to be funded.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Alumni Affairs by email ( or call 866.626.2878, ext. 2307 (toll free).