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ATSU-ASDOH celebrates 74 class of 2022 graduates with commencement ceremony

A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) celebrated 74 members of the class of 2022 with a commencement ceremony Friday at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona. 

ATSU-ASDOH Dean Robert Trombly, DDS, JD, said commencement didn’t mark an end so much as a confirmation of graduates’ relationship with the School.

“We don’t really view this as your departure from us, but it’s cementing that tie to us, to the ASDOH family,” Dr. Trombly said. “It marks that lifelong connection you’re going to have with us, with the faculty and staff that taught you, with those who went through the program before you…and those who will be following you. It’s that group of people you are a part of who are caring, compassionate healers.” 

ATSU Board of Trustees member Paulina Vazquez Morris, JD, MBA, MHSA, noted graduates of all ATSU programs emerge with a deep understanding of whole person healthcare, which serves their ability to care for future patients. 

“We all understand that body, mind, and spirit are all important when treating a patient,” Vazquez Morris said. “Each ATSU program integrates whole person healthcare into its curriculum, and emphasizes development of competencies in interprofessional collaboration, cultural proficiency, critical thinking, social responsibility, and interpersonal skills. Our graduates are mission driven.” 

The commencement address was delivered by ATSU-ASDOH alumna Nadia Fazel, DMD, MPH, ’14, chief clinical officer of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. 

Dr. Fazel told graduates to not be afraid to take stock of their professional life in the future, and make changes to their paths as it suits them.

“I know many of you have your next steps already laid out. You know where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing,” Dr. Fazel said. “But don’t see this as final. Don’t be afraid that in two, five, or 10 years time, you might realize you actually do what to specialize, you do want to own your own practice, you do want to work in public health. It’s OK to change your mind. I promise it’s completely possible.” 

In closing remarks, ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, ’84, expressed confidence in the class of 2022.

“This is one of the most important days of your personal and professional life,” Dr. Phelps said. “From today forward you will wear the mantle of a healer. It is important to remember your education allows you to provide high quality care, taking care of individuals, families, and communities. No one is better prepared than you, and no one can do it better than you.”

In addition to receiving their doctor of dental medicine degrees, nine students also received master of public health degrees. 

A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) student recipients of the William L. Wetzel Scholarship Program recently attended the MO-KAN Conference, a collaboration between the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons (MAOPS) and the Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine. 

The scholarship program was created to expose osteopathic students to organized medicine and to develop future MAOPS leaders. Recipients must demonstrate an intent to practice medicine in Missouri, a commitment to the profession, leadership skills, ethical behavior, professionalism, integrity, good moral character, and they must be in good academic standing.

Pictured with ATSU-KCOM Dean Margaret Wilson, DO, ’82 (back row, center), are, front row, from left: Emily Damba-Cunningham, OMS IV; Tessa Tolen, OMS III; and Grace Young, OMS III. Back row: Justin Hajicek, OMS I; Dr. Wilson; Hannah Kliethermes OMS II; and Bryan Roberts, OMS IV.

A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health student Noah Barnes, D4, was recently awarded second place, Clinical Research/Public Health category, in the 2022 American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR)/Dentsply Sirona Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application. 

The project, “A Pilot: 3D-Printed Mask Fitter Improves Seal of KN95 Respirators,” was a collaborative effort with ATSU-MOSDOH student Logan Carter, D4, and mentored by Akshay Vij, BDS, ACT, specialty care unit director of esthetic and digital dentistry.

A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean Margaret Wilson, DO, ’82, has been recognized as American Association of Colleges and Osteopathic Medicine’s (AACOM) 2022 Robert A. Kistner Award recipient for her contributions to osteopathic medical education.

Dr. Wilson was recognized at AACOM’s annual Educating Leaders conference in Denver.

The Robert A. Kistner Award is presented annually on behalf of the AACOM Board of Deans.

“I am very humbled and honored to receive this recognition,” Dr. Wilson said. “With so many in our profession working each day to support and advance osteopathic medicine, to be chosen from this dedicated group is very meaningful. I have been so fortunate to be part of the osteopathic profession and to work with so many wonderful colleagues. I am grateful to have been able to contribute in some way and appreciate deeply the honor bestowed by the AACOM Board of Deans with this award.”

Each month, A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Admissions Office in Kirksville, Missouri, will select student ambassadors to recognize and showcase. Student ambassadors are second-year students who speak and meet with prospective ATSU-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) students. 

ATSU-MOSDOH Student Ambassador Spotlight: Stephanie Trevino

Stephanie Trevino, D2, is originally from Houston, Texas, and has a bachelor’s of science degree in nutritional sciences from Texas A&M University. 

She elected to become an ATSU-MOSDOH student ambassador because of the huge role ambassadors played in the process of her becoming an ATSU-MOSDOH student, and a desire to do the same for future students.

Stephanie Trevino, D2

Additionally, Trevino is part of Still Caring Health Connection, Cosmetic Club, American Student Dental Association, Student Business Club, Student Government Association, and the Dental Anesthesia Club. 

Trevino’s free time is full of dancing, collecting plants and rocks, painting, working out, and watching movies.

She said ATSU-MOSDOH is helping her pursue her career goals.

“I want to become a great dentist and ATSU-MOSDOH is helping me achieve that by having wonderful faculty that go above and beyond to teach us,” Trevino said.

Each month, A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Admissions Office in Kirksville, Missouri, will select student ambassadors to recognize and showcase. Student ambassadors are second-year students who speak and meet with prospective ATSU-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) students. 

ATSU-KCOM Student Ambassador Spotlight: Jeffrey Diamond

Jeffrey Diamond, OMS II, speaks during the Gift of Body ceremony in Kirksville, Missouri.

Jeffrey Diamond, OMS II, is originally from Plain City, Utah, and holds a degree in athletic therapy with a minor in chemistry from Weber State University. 

At ATSU-KCOM, Diamond is a member of the Anesthesia Interest Group, Surgery Club, Latter-Day Saint Student Association, and Point of Care Ultrasound. 

Jeffrey Diamond, OMS II, participates in the St. Baldrick’s Still Shave for a Cure event in Kirksville, Missouri.

Diamond decided to become a student ambassador because of the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of prospective students. 

“It’s fun to interact with new people and see the excitement of an incoming class,” Diamond said. “We get to do all of the fun stuff and share all the amazing opportunities ATSU-KCOM has to offer.”

Jeffrey Diamond, OMS II, poses with classmates on ATSU’s Kirksville, Missouri, campus.

Calling Kirksville “the perfect place for me,” Diamond enjoys hunting, fishing, and being outdoors. 

His ultimate goal is to become an anesthesiologist. 

“ATSU-KCOM has been a huge support when it comes to choosing a specialty,” Diamond said. “We are encouraged to pursue whatever career path will make us the happiest, and ATSU-KCOM has provided all of the means necessary for me to accomplish what I’ve set out to do. My wife has been accepted to physician assistant school and we can’t wait to start a family surrounded by medicine.”

Each month, A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Admissions Office in Mesa, Arizona, will select student ambassadors to recognize and showcase. Student ambassadors are ATSU students who speak and meet with prospective students. 

ATSU-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) Student Ambassador Spotlight: Isabella Hobbs

Isabella Hobbs, OMS I, is originally from Florence, Kentucky, and earned a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences with a minor in chemistry from Eastern Kentucky University. 

Hobbs was part of ATSU’s Hometown Scholars program and looks forward to working in her community following graduation. ATSU-SOMA also stood out to her because of the University’s mission and the School’s unique “1+3” model that puts students into community health centers beginning in their second year. 

Hobbs is enjoying her experience on ATSU-SOMA’s Mesa, Arizona, campus.

“One of the things I enjoy about being an ATSU-SOMA student is the community among my class,” Hobbs said. “It’s a very collaborative and friendly environment. You feel like everyone has your back and wants to see you succeed.”

Isabella Hobbs, OMS I

Hobbs is a member of Student Government Association, serving as community outreach coordinator, and is secretary of both the American Medical Women’s Association and Osteopathic Principle and Practice Club.

Hobbs became an ATSU-SOMA student ambassador to help prospective students get to know the School from a student’s perspective.

“When I was applying to schools, I felt that talking with student representatives was one of the most helpful resources, so I wanted to help out students who are currently considering ATSU-SOMA,” Hobbs said. 

Outside of classes, Hobbs enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, and spending time with her dog, Almond.

Ultimately, Hobbs wants to specialize in emergency medicine and is interested in public health and working with harm reduction initiatives. She believes ATSU-SOMA is providing what she needs to pursue those goals.

“I’ve found support at ATSU-SOMA through extracurricular groups, as well as through the opportunity to expand my knowledge of public health through the DO/MPH program,” Hobbs said.

A.T. Still University (ATSU) honored Alan Freeman, DMgt, MBA, FACHE, chief executive officer of Affinia Healthcare in St. Louis, during ATSU’s Board of Trustees dinner Friday evening.

Dr. Freeman is retiring as CEO of Affinia Healthcare. 

ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, ’84, recognized Dr. Freeman and Affinia for their partnership with ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) and contributions to the successful launch and operation of the St. Louis Dental Center. 

Dr. Phelps presented Dr. Freeman with a copy of “The Healing Touch,” a painting by Patricia DeLoss McWilliams commissioned by ATSU in 2010. 

Dr. Phelps was joined by ATSU-MOSDOH Dean Dwight McLeod, DDS, MS, during the presentation. 

A.T. Still University (ATSU) Diversity & Inclusion recently hosted the inaugural Graduate Health Professions Scholarship (GPS) Golf Tournament at Longbow Golf club in Mesa, Arizona, with proceeds supporting ATSU’s GPS Scholarship Fund.

GPS is designed to accentuate the University’s unique mission of service and leadership in whole person healthcare. This scholarship is a targeted approach to attract and educate students whose life contributions and experiences are consistent with the mission of ATSU to serve in underserved areas. The GPS was created for historically underrepresented groups.

A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Kirksville, Missouri, campus Student Government Association presented several awards during its annual ceremony this week.

Award winners and presenters are listed and pictured below.

ATSU-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) Student Dentist of the Year: Chantel Eckland, D2. Presented by Kristin Blunk, MBA, director, students success, ATSU-MOSDOH.

ATSU-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) Student Doctor of the Year: Amreeta Jammu, OMS III. Presented by Julie Hessler, DO, assistant professor, ATSU-KCOM.

ATSU-MOSDOH Class of 2024 Outstanding Teacher Award: Hussein Al-Wakeel, DDS, assistant professor, ATSU-MOSDOH. Presented by Destiny Mills, D2, ATSU-MOSDOH class of 2024 vice president.

ATSU-MOSDOH Class of 2025 Outstanding Teacher Award: Graziela Ribeiro Batista, DDS, PhD, restorative dentist, assistant professor, ATSU-MOSDOH. Presented by Jasmyn Williams, D1, ATSU-MOSDOH class of 2025 vice president.

ATSU-KCOM Class of 2024 Max Gutensohn, DO, Outstanding Teacher Award: Matthew Hardee, DO, assistant professor. Pretend by Rachel Maibach, OMS II, SGA president. 

ATSU-KCOM Class of 2025 Max Gutensohn, DO, Outstanding Teacher Award: Shanu Markand, PhD, assistant professor, ATSU-KCOM. Presented by Zachary Taylor, OMS I, SGA vice president.

Student Researcher of the Year: Bryson Grondel, OMS II. Presented by Bruce Young, PhD, professor, ATSU-KCOM. 

ATSU-MOSDOH Elsie Gaber Integrity Award: Patrick Hoerning, D2. Presented by Elsie Gaber, PhD.

SGA Leadership Awards: Ariel Carter, OMS II, SGA chair; Katherine Nordstrom, OMS II, SGA treasurer; Justin Hicklin, OMS II, ATSU-KCOM class of 2024 president; Nichelle Chastain, D1, ATSU-MOSDOH class of 2025 vice president; and Kelly Maddux, D1, ATSU-MOSDOH class of 2025 president. Presented by Dan Martin, MA, director, ATSU Thompson Campus Center.

Committee Chairs of the Year: Ashly Hilfer, OMS II, and Riley Frenette, OMS II (not pictured). Presented by Christopher Thorndal, OMS II.