Winter 2023

Downers Grove, Illinois

Glendale, Arizona

Midwestern University Welcomes New Students, Focuses on Community Service

The incoming Pharmacy students made blankets that will help children stay warm.

The Midwestern University community embarked on the 2023-2024 academic year and welcomed 1,985 new students on both campuses who started their journey of becoming healthcare professionals. The Downers Grove Campus had 803 new students, and the Glendale Campus had 1,182 new students. The new students hailed from all 50 states and included 61 international students. Students from all programs attended orientations and participated in a variety of activities, including white coat fittings, financial aid workshops, and interacting with peers further along in the healthcare programs. They were also welcomed by the deans of the individual colleges. Some of the healthcare programs added community service as part of their orientation.

On the Downers Grove Campus, the incoming College of Pharmacy students made no-sew blankets for disadvantaged children through the My Joyful Heart organization. The incoming physician assistant, occupational therapy, and osteopathic medicine students volunteered at Feed My Starving Children and packed meals for children all over the world. On the Glendale Campus, the incoming osteopathic medicine students prepared food boxes at St. Mary’s Food Bank for people in need in the Phoenix area. Community service is an integral value held at Midwestern University in helping students become patient-centered healthcare professionals.

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AZCOM Becomes One of Only Four D.O. Programs to Host Pilot Core Competency Assessment

Third-year AZCOM students participate in pilot Core Competency Capstone at the Midwestern University Clinical Skills and Simulation Center.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) permanently discontinued the COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE exam, which has been required for all osteopathic medicine students to take as part of the COMLEX-USA series. This assessment, which evaluated a student’s osteopathic clinical skills competency through participation in a series of simulated patient encounters, was discontinued due to NBOME reimagining how this exam could be delivered.

To preserve the high integrity of this national standardized evaluation and to better meet the varying needs of students who would take the assessment, NBOME developed a new pilot version of the Core Competency Capstone for Osteopathic Physicians (C3DO). Only four colleges of osteopathic medicine were selected to administer this new pilot program, and Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) was one of them. Overseen by Randall Nydam, Ph.D. (AZCOM), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, all third-year AZCOM students convened in June to complete the C3DO.

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Online M.P.H. Dual-degree Program Open for Applicants

The Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) Program at Midwestern University, offered by the College of Graduate Studies, is designed to prepare current students for their future medical careers with a primary focus on preventive medicine and population health. It is an online dual-degree program for students of osteopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, dental medicine, clinical psychology, and optometry that both complements and enhances the exceptional healthcare education for which Midwestern University is known, as well as prepares students to join global healthcare teams that link human, animal, and environmental health.

The M.P.H. Program began taking applicants for the 2024 cohort in November. For more information, email the Program Specialist, Alicia Kelley at, or the Admissions Committee Chair Dr. Mariah Zeigler, at

Research Projects Give Midwestern University Students Experience, Knowledge

Midwestern University students have a plethora of opportunities to participate in research projects.

Research projects at Midwestern University offer a number of growth and development opportunities for students going into healthcare fields. This experience also assists students in becoming well-rounded healthcare providers and fully prepared for a variety of challenges in their careers.

Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine student Alexis Orr (CCOM ’26) is studying the Heat Shock Protein 70 (HSP70). “This protein is most known for its role as a chaperone protein, however; we are trying to understand its effects in preventing diet-induced obesity (DIO). Previous studies have shown that by overexpressing this protein in the whole body of the mice, they are protected from weight gain when fed a high-fat diet. Further, when specifically overexpressing this protein in the intestine, they are still protected against DIO when fed a high-fat diet. This has led us to question the mechanism of why this may be the case, as it could be utilized in the future as a weight loss therapeutic for those who are unable to make lifestyle changes or have tried other interventions to lose weight and were unsuccessful.”

Alexis said, “I have received support from the Kenneth A. Suarez Fellowship to study the impact of HSP70 intestinal overexpression on lipid metabolism. I studied how the expression of proteins that are responsible for lipid metabolism may change with the HSP70 phenotype. I will also try to understand how absorption of lipid changes through various stool analysis methods.”

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MWU Veterinary Medicine Students Present Research on International Stage

College of Veterinary Medicine students and their faculty advisors present their summer research projects at the Veterinary Scholars Symposium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

At Midwestern University, research is one of the core tenets of a student’s educational experience. The opportunity for students to be involved in faculty-led research projects gives them the chance to be a part of something bigger than just their studies and to advance the field of veterinary medicine as well as other healthcare fields.

For 13 first- and second-year students in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), their dedication to research and the pursuit of knowledge landed them a spot this summer at the 2023 Veterinary Scholars Symposium (VSS) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This prestigious annual research summit is hosted by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges and Boehringer Ingelheim. This year, approximately 700 veterinary medicine students, faculty, and professionals from all over the world came together to formally present their summer research findings.

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Midwestern University Clinics Implement Epic® Electronic Health Records (EHR) System

Epic®, an EHR System is now available at Midwestern University Clinics.

As part of its commitment to support the One Health Initiative and embrace evolving technology, the Epic® system was added to bring four separate EHR (Electronic Health Records) for the Dental Institute, the Eye Institute, the Multispecialty Clinic, and the Therapy Institute into one system. Many patients seek care in several departments at the University’s Clinics and the Epic® system creates ease of use. Patients can access their healthcare information in one convenient spot, and reach out to their providers, schedule appointments, view test results, and manage the healthcare needs of their families. In addition, the patient records will be accessible throughout the Midwestern University Clinics to provide better healthcare services and allow for interdisciplinary collaboration on the best treatment for patients.

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., Midwestern University President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “I am proud to announce that Midwestern University has decided to become an Epic Software® partner. Epic® is the number one overall rated and most widely used Electronic Health Records system in the United States. Over 250 million patients have an electronic record in Epic®, and Epic® is used in most of the top hospitals, clinics, and university medical systems in the U.S. Those faculty, staff, and students in our clinics will have the opportunity to learn the new software, experience the benefits of an integrated system and, most importantly, help us improve our patient experience.”

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Midwestern University Welcomes “Unexpected” New Member

Basil the calf, a surprise new addition to Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus community, relaxes in the paddock at the MWU Animal Health Institute.

The start of the 2023-2024 academic year is always exciting for the Midwestern University campus community. New faces in new places, the fresh energy of eager arrivals to the many healthcare programs the University offers, and the promise of and hope for the future.

Unexpectedly, a new addition to the Glendale Campus community arrived in the form of Basil, a calf that was born to a cow that was donated to the University’s Animal Health Institute last November. The cow, Dahlia, was screened for pregnancy when she arrived, but it was too early to detect Basil’s impending arrival.

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Midwestern University Honors Future Healthcare Professionals with White Coat Ceremonies

Family, friends, and other loved ones came to support the students as they received their white coats.

Over 1,300 first-year Midwestern University students from the Downers Grove and Glendale campuses had their clinical white coats bestowed upon them by their faculty in late September and early October. The students also took the Oath of Commitment with several important vows including the promise to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge of a healthcare provider, assume responsibility for the healthcare field they are trained in, respect their faculty, and value their predecessors in their profession.

The students who received the white coats are studying curriculums from a variety of healthcare fields including dental medicine, pharmacy, optometry, osteopathic medicine, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, clinical psychology, speech-language pathology, podiatry, cardiovascular science, and veterinary medicine. Their family and friends showed their support for the students and came to cheer them on, and the ceremony was also live-streamed.

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Midwestern University Teams Up with the Peoria MET Professional Academy and Special Olympics of Arizona to Provide Physicals for Local Athletes

Peoria MET Professional Academy students Zoey Pena and Hannah Agube pose for a photo in between assisting MWU faculty and students with providing physicals for local Special Olympics athletes.

On September 9, Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus hosted the third annual Special Olympics MedFest event. Faculty, students, and alumni from Midwestern University’s Graduate Nursing Programs, the Arizona College of Podiatric Medicine, the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Dental Medicine – Arizona, and the Clinical Psychology, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology Programs collaborated with healthcare students from the Peoria Medical Engineering and Technology (MET) Professional Academy to run this program. Together, the volunteers donated 51 physical screenings to special needs athletes from around the Valley. Over the last three years, Midwestern University volunteers have provided approximately 300 physicals to athletes in need through the MedFest outreach program.

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Midwestern University Celebrates Latest College of Health Sciences and College of Pharmacy Graduates

Midwestern University graduates joined the processional.

In August, Midwestern University celebrated three commencement ceremonies on both of its campuses in Glendale, AZ and Downers Grove, IL. The Glendale Campus College of Health Sciences graduated 142 new healthcare providers on August 24, and the Downers Grove Campus hosted ceremonies for the College of Health Sciences and the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove on August 31st for a total of 175 graduates.

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University, shared with the graduates’ families and friends the many achievements the Classes of 2023 accomplished during their years of rigorous study and clinical experiences at Midwestern University. This included participation in internships, research projects, and volunteer service. Toward the end of the ceremony, Dr. Goeppinger encouraged the new graduates to remember the values that MWU taught them during their time as students.

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Health Careers Institute Offers Teens a Look into Healthcare Professions

High school students experienced a series of informational sessions about healthcare fields.

Inspiring the next generation of healthcare professionals takes teamwork and interdepartmental collaboration - a core pillar of Midwestern University’s One Health philosophy. The Downers Grove Campus held its inaugural Health Careers Institute on the Downers Grove Campus. As part of the four-day experience, 25 high school students from the surrounding suburbs discovered more about various professions in the healthcare field and the ways an education at Midwestern University will help students achieve their career goals. On the Glendale Campus, with generous funding from the BHHS Legacy Foundation, Midwestern University held the 25th annual Health Careers Institute for High School Students. This year, the program hosted 64 high school students from all over the state of Arizona, who participated in advanced workshops in anatomy and clinical skills, connected with faculty and students in more than 23 healthcare-related fields, and received mentorship on how to prepare for college and the possibility of a future career in healthcare.

The goal of the Health Careers Institute for High School Students is to expose the high school students to different fields in healthcare, as well as to foster an environment of professionalism and connection, and to encourage their curiosity about healthcare as a whole. “Being able to share knowledge and experiences with high school students who are exploring their career options in healthcare is an amazing way to give back,” said CDMA student mentor Loveleen Kaur (CDMA ’26). “The prospect of shaping their futures, witnessing their curiosity, and helping them discover their path while being a guiding light, was a privilege for me.” Ayah Kabbani, a senior at Universal School in Bridgeview, IL, said, “We got a taste of several medical fields, and what it’s like to work in healthcare. I really enjoyed how interactive it was. I have always respected the healthcare profession, and I come away from this experience with deeper respect. This is not an experience I would get anywhere else. I think everyone should apply to this program.” She expressed that the instructors leading the sessions

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Pre-Dental Students Get In-Depth Look at Dental Medicine at Midwestern University Simulation Course

College of Dental Medicine - Arizona students demonstrate how to use the electric handpieces to 38 local undergraduate students.

For undergraduate students aiming to pursue a career in healthcare, obtaining valuable, hands-on experience is just one of the many ways they can prepare themselves for professional school. The College of Dental Medicine – Arizona (CDMA) and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) understand just how important this is. Since 2010, CDMA and the Midwestern University ASDA chapter have been working together to provide a unique experience that gives pre-dental students a strong foundation from which to spring forward into graduate school. This year, the ASDA Pre-Dental Summer Simulation Course took place on Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus on Friday, August 11th and Saturday, August 12th. The entire event was organized and run by MWU students Emily Tarr (CDMA ’25), Tasha Boyce (CDMA ’25), Breanna Aikens (CDMA ’26), Rand Jaafar (CDMA ’26), Madison Rinne (CDMA ’26), Sonia Abarzak (CGS MABS ’24), and Taylor Burchfield (CDMA ’25), and was supervised by David Hancock, D.D.S., FACD, Assistant Professor, CDMA, and Robert Kramer, D.M.D., Director of Digital Technology, Dental Institute.

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Point of Pride Summit Promotes Inclusive Work Environments for AZ LGBTQIA+ Community

Individuals from across the Valley convened at Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for LGBTQIA+ individuals within Arizona businesses and organizations.

On Thursday, June 15th, Midwestern University partnered with the ONE Community and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce to host the annual Point of Pride Summit. More than 200 individuals, top employers, and industry leaders from across the state of Arizona convened on Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for LGBTQIA+ individuals within Arizona businesses and organizations.

Throughout the day, summit guests participated in relevant educational presentations and workshops which focused on socially responsible and inclusive business policies and practices, as well as issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.

Each workshop was uniquely designed to ensure that guests were provided with information they need to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own teams and businesses. Participants took LGBTQ+ 101 & 201 and examined the terminology needed to understand the distinction between sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.

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PharmAcademy Introduces High School Students to Pharmacy Careers

Students experience a week of informative sessions that show multiple pharmacy career paths.

PharmAcademy is an event held by the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove (CPDG) at Midwestern University to inform high school students about various aspects of a pharmacy career, as they contemplate their future college options. The event was attended by 39 students from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs and held under the direction of Sheila Wang, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCIDP, Professor, Pharmacy Practice at the College of Pharmacy.

Andrew Johnson, a senior at Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School, said, “The program really shows you how many options you have with pharmacy.” He added his horizons were broadened regarding pharmacy topics. Nikita Khurana, a senior at Metea Valley High School, said, “Pharmacy wasn’t on my radar, but now it is. There are so many things you can do with a Pharm.D. degree. I’ll appreciate pharmacists a lot more after this.”

Mohga Massoud, a senior at Hinsdale Central High School, said her favorite session was Mock Code Blue. In this session, the simulation male mannequin underwent cardiac arrest, and the students ran through the process of how a patient would be saved, including chest thumps and administering mock epinephrine. “It tests the skills I’ve had to learn,” she said, adding that she is CPR certified. Mohga is considering three different tracks in her future: Clinical Pharmacy, Ambulatory Care, and Emergency Medicine.

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Speech-Language Pathology Students Raise Awareness about Apraxia

National Student Speech Language Hearing Association Members (NSSLHA) members joined the Chicago Walk for Apraxia.

The Midwestern University student chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) participated in the Chicago Walk for Apraxia. Patients with apraxia have difficulty speaking and executing gestures and movements despite having the desire and physical ability to carry out these actions, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Midwestern University students wanted to raise awareness about apraxia, and they shared their experiences at the walk.

Speech-Language Pathology student Gabby Kaminski (SLP ’26) said, “It’s about getting the apraxia name out there, what it is, and how it can affect them.” Speech-Language Pathology student Kaiyli Whelan (SLP ’26) said, “Every child with apraxia is different. Every child has their own way to be successful, especially in school and their social community. It is about understanding that and being supportive of their different needs to be successful. You don’t realize how many people have apraxia, and how many are impacted by it. It was an opportunity to get involved in the community and see what it’s like for kids and families to live with apraxia.” She also mentioned that it was heartening to see the support system apraxia patients have from their families. Gabby added that the event was a positive experience, and said the emotions of the parents of kids with apraxia affected her. “These kids don’t have a voice, and events like this give them a voice. It lets all the kids out there know they’re not alone.”

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Midwestern University Holds Inaugural Suicide Prevention Walk on Downers Grove Campus

The Midwestern University community and guests gathered for a walk to raise awareness to prevent suicide and take care of mental health.

In recognition of Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month in September, the Exercise is Medicine Club organized its first event, the Suicide Prevention Walk. About 60 Midwestern University students, counselors, advisors, and guests participated in the walk aimed at raising awareness of mental health issues and concerns. This event is an integral component of Midwestern University’s ongoing commitment to student and patient care and promoting overall well-being.

“I’m hoping people learn something from the event, and they understand that we’re all in this together. A lot of people go through the same things. People are not alone. I hope people are able to recognize those signs and symptoms of suicide,” said medical student Harrison Quirke (CCOM ’26), vice president of the Exercise is Medicine Club. Harrison reflected on one of the speeches delivered at the event, and how it emphasized the importance of self-care and positive self-talk. “You need to take care of yourself before taking care of someone else. You can’t take care of someone else if you’re not taking care of yourself. Consider what you’re saying to yourself, and if you would say it to someone else,” Harrison said. Medical student Mary Grace Phelan (CCOM ’26), president of the Exercise is Medicine Club, added, “It’s really important that you try hard to talk to yourself positively. We’re going to be taking care of patients. We need to have positive thinking.”

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Organization Fair Introduces New Opportunities for Students

The Underserved Medicine Club assists underserved populations while simultaneously giving students the opportunity to broaden their healthcare expertise and provide service to those in need.

Midwestern University held its annual organization fair in order to encourage student participation, volunteer work, and collaboration across a variety of healthcare professions. Over 40 student campus organizations, campus departments, community service agencies, and local vendors were present to offer opportunities to students.

Volunteer work and community service are central to Midwestern University’s commitment to educating students to become patient-centered healthcare professionals. Medical student Ezra Kim (CCOM ’26) is the president of the Underserved Medical Club and said they assist the homeless. He said the more students join, the more ideas they come up with, and the more they can help the underserved population. “You get experiences in that area (medical field) especially if you know that this is what you want to do, and you explore how you want to do that,” Ezra said.

Pharmacy student Bianca Chen (CPDG ’25) and medical student Josephine Tsang (CCOM ’26) are members of the Asian Healthcare Association, which offers a monthly volunteer event in a Chinatown clinic. Patients are offered free healthcare for health screenings such as checking blood pressure. Josephine said, “When we go to the clinic, we share a cultural background with the patients and can talk and help them. I’m able to speak Chinese and can help with translating.” Bianca added, “We use the knowledge we’ve learned in class to help patients understand their health better and let them know what they can do to monitor their health.”

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Midwestern University Dental Students Provide Service to the Community

Members of the Midwestern University’s Hispanic Student Dental Association provide healthcare to people in need.

In keeping with Midwestern University’s dedication to community service, students from the College of Dental Medicine-Illinois (CDMI) have invested their time and expertise in volunteer work.

Dental student Maria Flynn (CDMI ’25) said, “As the president of the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA), we put first helping those in most need. We are currently working with the University and Chicago’s 15th District Police Station to provide refugees who have been residing in the police station with dental care, food, clothes, and more.” Maria shared the impact of this experience. “My experience has been incredible and has helped me grow not only professionally, but also as an individual. Seeing the refugees live the way they do in search of a better life for themselves and their families reminded me of coming to the U.S. with my family.” She added she came to the country with her family to become a dentist and create a better life for her and her family.

Dental student Paige Madden (CDMI ’25) is also assisting the community via the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship. “My volunteer work is dedicated to enhancing oral health literacy among the senior population residing in the Chicago suburbs. My aim is to foster a sense of ease when it comes to dental terminology, navigating the complexities of dental insurance, and discovering accessible and affordable dental care options within the community through an engaging and informative oral health lecture series. By providing valuable knowledge and empowering seniors, I strive to improve their oral health outcomes and overall well-being.”

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Downers Grove Mayor Honors American Pharmacists Month, Midwestern University College of Pharmacy

Downers Grove Mayor Robert Barnett and the Village of Downers Grove acknowledge the contributions of Midwestern University during a proclamation about American Pharmacists Month. From left to right are pharmacy student Krystal Martinez (CPDG ’25), pharmacy student Kourtney McKinnon (CPDG ’24), Downers Grove Mayor Robert Barnett, pharmacy student Alexa Tasellari (CPDG ’24), Dr. Chapman, and pharmacy student Sophie Ruger (CPDG ’25).

Members of the Midwestern University community attended the reading of the proclamation of American Pharmacists Month by Downers Grove Mayor Robert Barnett during the Downers Grove Village Council meeting on October 17, 2023. Pharmacy student Kourtney McKinnon (CPDG ’24) was present along with former executive board members, clinic leaders, and Robert Chapman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove and American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Co-advisor.

“As the mayor read the proclamation for American Pharmacists Month, I felt extremely proud to be a future pharmacist. We truly do so much for our patients and community. I felt very appreciative that the mayor took the time to formally recognize not only our Midwestern University chapter of the APhA-ASP organization, but the pharmacy profession as a whole,” Kourtney said. “At the Village of Downers Grove council meeting, our pharmacy organization was given a proclamation for American Pharmacists Month. We were recognized for the work we do within the community. As the former president, I was granted the opportunity to give a speech to the council. I was honored to represent our chapter and program, and I’m thankful for this unique experience.” October is American Pharmacists Month and honors the vast contributions of pharmacists in healthcare and for the communities they serve.

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CDMI student Saed S. Sayegh built and published, a suite of over 25 AI-powered tools for dental proffesionals.

By Saed S. Sayegh, CDMI Class of 2025

Every journey begins with an idea, a spark of inspiration that gradually takes shape and form. My journey began with, a comprehensive platform I’ve built designed to empower pre-dental students with knowledge and guidance. The success of that venture and the conversations with my peers and mentors at Midwestern University revealed a need for innovation not just in preparation, but in practice. This realization was the cornerstone of what would become—a leap toward the future of dentistry through artificial intelligence.

Created with a mission to offer affordable, dynamic, and globally accessible tools, is reshaping the landscape of dentistry with its suite of over 25 AI-powered tools designed with one goal in mind: to enhance the capabilities of dental practitioners and reshape the landscape of dental care. Dentists from 26 countries embraced our platform within the first week of its launch, signaling a widespread and immediate recognition of the need for such innovation in the dental field. is the dental professional's technological ally, working to streamline every facet of modern dentistry from clinical diagnostics to practice management. To list a few, it utilizes the most advanced AI language model for case diagnosis, patient profile interaction analysis, and personalized treatment planning, ensuring a nuanced approach to complex dental scenarios. This comprehensive suite includes tools for the latest developments in dental research, insurance coverage nuances, and anesthesia assessment, catering to the intricate needs of modern dental practices. It aids with medication prescription, emergency protocols, research comparison, and even the minutiae of dental office management, such as equipment error resolution and insurance coding. The system also addresses patient education, pain management, and dentist ergonomics, underscoring its commitment to holistic care and practitioner well-being.

By the end of 2023, we're on track to integrate state-of-the-art capabilities for interpreting intraoral images and X-rays, leveraging AI to provide unparalleled diagnostic accuracy. This development promises to transform the landscape of dental diagnostics, offering practitioners the ability to detect and address issues with a level of precision previously unattainable.

Moreover, the dynamism of is epitomized in our commitment to rapid tool development. If a user identifies a unique challenge or proposes an innovative idea, our platform is primed to bring a bespoke AI tool to life—within an impressive 48-hour window. This agility underscores our dedication not only to keeping pace with the industry's progress but also to driving it forward.

Behind all these technological advancements is a deeper mission: to uplift the global dental community. As we continue to work with professionals worldwide, ensuring that no one is left behind, I take pride in the fact that we're not just providing a service—we're cultivating a global family of empowered dental professionals. is more than just a platform; it's a promise of efficiency, precision, and endless possibilities. As I look towards the future, I see not just as a tool, but as a companion in every dentist's journey towards excellence.

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Appointments, Awards, and Grants

Hilal Arnouk, M.D., Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Associate Professor, Pathology, was named Academic Editor for a special collection titled “Biology of T Cells in Health and Disease” by IntechOpen Limited, London, United Kingdom. He also was invited as a Keynote Speaker and Scientific Committee Member for the 2023 Novel Advances in Cancer Research conference titled “Emerging Nanotechnologies and Nanomedicines in Cancer Therapy” in Philadelphia, PA.

John Ashurst, D.O. (AZCOM), Clinical Assistant Professor, received the Benjamin A. Field, D.O., FACOEP Mentor of the Year award from the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP).

Matthew Boules (CVM ’23) was a recipient of the 2023 American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Award for Proficiency in Primary Care.

Tyler Borko (AZCOM ’27) was awarded the Medical Student Research Scholarship by the American Academy of Neurology for continued work in LGI1 mediated Autoimmune Encephalitis.

Thomas A Caspers, D.D.S. (CDMA), Clinical Assistant Professor, received a Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) in Instructional Design from Western Governors University.

Hunter Delmoe (AZCOM ’26) and Samuel Trevena (AZCOM ’24) have been selected as Governing Council Members for the Medical Student Section of the Arizona Medical Association (ArMA).

Jason W. Eaton, D.D.S., MAGD, FICD (CDMA), Clinical Assistant Professor, received the Lifelong Learning and Service Recognition award from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Dr. Eaton was also appointed to the Reference Committee on Education in the AGD for the 2023-2024 governance year.

Brad Gettleman, D.D.S. (CDMA), Clinical Assistant Professor, was elected as Secretary of the American Association of Endodontics (AAE). Dr. Gettleman will also eventually serve as treasurer, vice president, and president.

Alyssa Jeanne Vest Hart, D.O., FAAFP (CCOM), Clinical Assistant Professor and first-year OMM course director, has received several awards over the last few years including being named the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians Physician of the Year and American Academy of Family Physicians Boundary Breaker Physician of the Year. Dr. Hart is the Program Director at St. Joseph Chicago Family Medicine Residency and in 2023 completed a prestigious fellowship through the National Institute of Program Director Development. In 2023 she was also appointed as the Family Medicine Department Chair for Ascension St. Joseph Chicago and has enjoyed presenting about LGBTQIA+ Healthcare at the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society Conference.

Jieun Kim, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Anatomy, and Erin Leslie, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Associate Professor, Anatomy, were awarded the Wenner-Gren Foundation Post-PhD Research grant for their project titled "Mapping variation in skeletal aging with quantitative ultrasound cortical bone speed of sound and its potential as a novel age-at-death estimator." The Wenner-Gren Foundation is recognized for its support of theory-driven anthropological research globally. Dr. Kim and Dr. Leslie's research was awarded for its originality and its potential contribution to the fields of paleopathology, bioarchaeology, and forensic sciences.

David Jenkins, D.P.M., FACFAS (AZCPM), Professor, received the Global Golisano Health Leadership Award at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, Germany.

College of Health Sciences (CHS-Downers Grove) Occupational Therapy faculty members Lisa Mahaffey, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Professor, Divya Sood, O.T.D., OTR/L, Professor, and Gifty Abraham, O.T.D., OTR/L, Associate Professor, received a $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the project “Tiered Occupational Therapy (TOT): Preparing OT Scholars to Work in School Mental Health.” The project offers a unique opportunity for doctoral-level OT scholars to engage with communities and address the mental health needs of children and youth. Occupational therapy students will undergo intensive, competency-based training and receive tuition reductions to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Nicole McCormick (AZCOM ’25) received a $10,000 scholarship from the Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation and the Alaska Osteopathic Medical Foundation.

Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) students Srujith Medharametla (CCOM '26) and Garrett Borger (CCOM '26), who conducted a research project under the direction of Isabel Martinez-Pena y Valenzuela, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Physiology, are representing Midwestern University as one of five nationwide finalists at the American Medical Association (AMA) Research Challenge Finals. A nationwide multispecialty research conference, the AMA Research Challenge provides a platform for medical students, fellows, residents, and recent international medical graduates to showcase and present their findings. Garrett, Srujith, and Dr. Martinez-Pena y Valenzuela will attend the finals in February to compete for the grand prize.

John C. Mitchell, Ph.D. (CDMA), Associate Dean, Gina Agostini-Walesch, Ph.D. (CDMA), Research Assistant Professor, and Preetha Kanjirath, B.D.S., M.D.S., M.S. (CDMI), Professor, et al. received a five-year $3.4 million grant award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for their hybrid research/training program exploring the connection between oral inflammation and gastrointestinal disorders.

Kathleen Muldoon, Ph.D. (AZCOM), Professor, Anatomy, was honored as the 2023 George Northrup, D.O., Educator of the Year by the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) Foundation at this year’s Osteopathic Medical Education (OMED) Conference in Orlando, FL.

Ryan Orlando (AZCOM ’24) was selected as a student member by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAOFP) Commission on Education for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Alesia Prakapenka, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences, received an Alzheimer's Association International Research Grant through the Sex and Gender in Alzheimer’s Award Program. She was invited to present the funded research project, titled “Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis in Mothers: A Role for Age and Menopause” at the Illinois Women Conquer ALZ's annual meeting in Chicago, IL.

Erin Stephenson, Ph.D. (CGS- Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Anatomy, was named the 2024 Co-Chair of The Obesity Society Membership Committee.

Heather F. Smith, Ph.D. (CGS-Glendale), Professor, Anatomy, won the Apex Award of Publication Excellence in the “Writing - Entire Issue” category for a special issue of The Anatomical Record, “Evolution of a Discipline - The Changing Face of Anatomy.”

David Vargas (CHS-Glendale DNAP ’26) was awarded the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) Scholarship by the United States Air Force.

Julius Vellutato (AZCOM ’26) was recently awarded the Sterling K. Welch Scholarship from the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

Volkmar Weissig, Sc.D., Ph.D. (CPG), Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, was elected as an Ordinary Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Class IV, Natural Sciences. Dr. Weissig also became an Invited Member of the Berlin Scientific Society (BWG).

Jennifer Wild, D.O. (CHS-Glendale), Medical Director, Physician Assistant Program, was selected to a three-year term as a commissioner with the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Several College of Pharmacy, Glendale Campus faculty and students received awards at the Arizona Pharmacy Association Annual Convention in Phoenix:

  • Lindsay Davis, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCCP, ASH-CHC, TTS, FAzPA, FCCP, Professor, Pharmacy Practice, received the Pharmacy Appreciation Award.
  • Kellie Goodlet, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCIDP, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, received the Residency Director/Preceptor of the Year Award.
  • Dawn Gerber, Pharm.D., BCGP, FASCP, FAzPA, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, received the Outstanding Leadership Award.
  • Shareen El-Ibiary, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, Professor and Chair of Pharmacy Practice, received the Bowl of Hygeia Award, the AzPA’s highest level of recognition.
  • Lyndy Abdelsayed (CPG ’24) received the Pharmacy Appreciation Award.

Presentations, Speeches, and Community Service

Hilal Arnouk, M.D., Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Associate Professor, Pathology, was invited to give a talk titled “Current and Future Trends in Medical Education” at the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society’s 2023 Annual Meeting and Winter Scientific Seminar in Lombard, IL. 

Melinda Burnworth, Pharm.D., BCPS, FAzPA (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, et al. presented a virtual webinar titled “Tools for Today: Intentional Inclusion for People with Disabilities. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists” in October.

College of Health Sciences (CHS-Downers Grove) Physician Assistant Program faculty members Samantha Boburka, D.M.Sc., PA-C, Director of Clinical Education, Leah Pieczynski, M.M.S., PA-C, Assistant Professor, and Lauren Trillo, M.M.S., PA-C, Assistant Professor, presented “Make an Impact: How to Become an Effective Preceptor” at the Illinois Academy of PAs Fall CME Conference in Rosemont, IL in October.

Nathaniel H. Darban, Ph.D., CP (CHS-Glendale AZ), Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Science, presented two live presentations, “Ups and Downs of Blood Transfusion” and “Simulation in Perfusion Education and Crisis Management,” as an invited speaker to the Saudi Heart Association 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Lindsay Davis, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCCP, ASH-CHC, TTS, FAzPA, FCCP (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, and Erin Raney, Pharm.D., BCPS (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, presented “Kaleidoscopes: Viewing Self/Team Enhancement Frameworks Through the Lens of Pharmacist Practitioners”; Drs. Davis, Raney, and Elizabeth Pogge, Pharm.D. (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, presented “Precepting Effectiveness: A Habits of Preceptors Workshop”; and Dr. Pogge and Tara Storjohann, Pharm.D. (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, presented “So you think you can mentor? Strategies for successful mentoring” at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHSP) National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference (Virtual) in October.

Colton Lane (AZCOM ’26) in collaboration with Milena Douglas (AZCOM ’27), Matthew Mckoy (AZCOM ’27), Eshwar Karupakula (CCOM ’26), Harsh Patel (CCOM ’26), and Kianna Ruble (CCOM ’26) presented “Cadaveric Investigation of Posterior Interventricular Artery Variation and Review of Clinical Implications” at the American Association for Anatomy (AAA) Regional Meeting in October and at the Arizona Physiological Society (AZPS) Annual Meeting in October.

Don T. Martinez, Jr., M.M.S., PA-C (CHS-Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Physician Assistant Program, presented “Prescribing PrEP: Updates in HIV Prevention ” at the Illinois Academy of PAs Fall CME Conference in Rosemont, IL in October.

Nicole Murdock, Pharm.D., BCPS (CPG), Associate Professor, Pharmacy Practice, presented “Polypharmacy and the life changing magic of tidying up” at the Arizona Chapter of the Case Management Society of America Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ in September.

Thalia Olson (AZCOM ’25) in collaboration with Dureali Mirjat (AZCOM ’26) presented “Cadaveric Investigation of Anatomical Variants in the Thyroid Region and Clinical Implications for Emergency Airway Procedures” at the Arizona Physiological Society (AZPS) Annual Meeting in October.

Thomas Rath, M.P.S., CCP (CHS-Glendale), Assistant Program Director, Cardiovascular Science, virtually presented “Crisis Management During CPB” as an invited speaker to the Saudi Heart Association 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Mitchell Rentschler (AZCOM ’26) presented the poster “Gaseous Microemboli Lead to Platelet Activation During CPB” at the Cardiothoracic Research and Education Forum (CREF) 2023 in San Diego, CA.

Kianna Ruble (CCOM ’26) presented “Preliminary Analysis of Variation in Gonadal Arteries Observed in Cadaveric Specimens” at the American Association for Anatomy (AAA) Regional Meeting in October and at the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons Medical Student Section (ACOS-MSS) Conference in September where she won the Second Place Medical Student Research Poster Award.

Erin Stephenson, Ph.D. (CGS- Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Anatomy, presented “Exogenous Mitochondrial Transfer Increases Energy Expenditure and Reduces Adiposity in Mice” at Obesity Week 2023, the annual meeting of The Obesity Society, in Dallas, TX.

Zeyu Song (CHS-Glendale CVSP ’24) presented the poster “Utilizing Biomarker Expression to Assess Platelet Activation During CPB” at the Cardiothoracic Research and Education Forum (CREF) 2023 in San Diego, CA.

Sinju Sundaresan, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Physiology, was featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program in the segment “Less Snacking, More Satisfaction: Some Foods Boost Levels of an Ozempic-like Hormone.

Christopher Veltkamp (CCOM ’26) in collaboration with McKimmon Engelhardt (CCOM ’26), Eshwar Karupakula (CCOM ’26), Harsh Patel (CCOM ’26), Kianna Ruble (CCOM ’26), Dureali Mirjat (AZCOM ’26), and Thalia Olson (AZCOM ’25) presented “Analysis of High Bifurcation of the Radial Artery, a Cadaveric Study” at the American Association for Anatomy (AAA) Regional Meeting in October.

Scott Volker, Pharm.D. (CPG), Visiting Instructor, Kathleen Fairman, M.A., Ph.D. (CPG), Associate Professor, Pharmacy Practice, and Vanthida Huang, Pharm.D., BSPHM, FCCP (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, et al. presented the poster “Factors Contributing to Long-Term Risk of Developing Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas Recurrence” at IDWeek 2023 in Boston, MA in October.

Volkmar Weissig, Sc.D., Ph.D. (CPG), Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, gave an Invited Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Berlin Scientific Society entitled “125 years of Mitochondrial Science - The Future of Mitochondrial Medicine.” Dr. Weissig also virtually presented an Invited Theodor Billroth Lecture for the International Consortium of Research Excellence (INCORE) entitled “Antioxidants: Promise or Delusion?” Dr. Weissig also hosted and chaired the 14th World Conference on Targeting Mitochondria as President of the World Mitochondria Society; the event was held in October in Berlin, Germany.

As part of the MWU Community Health Lecture Series, the following presentations were given by Glendale Campus faculty for the Glendale Library-Foothills Branch:

  • “Can You Have Gum Disease and Not Know It?” presented by John Francis, D.D.S., M.S. (CDMA), Clinical Associate Professor, Midwestern University Dental Institute
  • “Common Drug-Drug Interactions: Maximize Effects and Minimize Toxicities” presented by Rahul Deshmukh, Ph.D. (CPG), Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • “Occupational Therapy: Restoring Function After Illness or Injury” presented by Charlie Wilson, M.O.T., OTR/L (CHS-Glendale), Clinical Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy
  • “Updates in Obesity Medicine” presented by Carly Ernst, D.O. (AZCOM), Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
  • “How to Fall, and Fall Recovery: Strategies for Active Adults” presented by Patrice Ayala, D.P.T., PT (CHS-Glendale), Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy

Student Groups and University Awards

The American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP) Resident Student Organization Club of the Year award was presented to the AZCOM Emergency Medicine Club during the ACOEP 2023 Scientific Assembly held in Washington, D.C. in August. The AZCOM EM Club was recognized for its outstanding achievements and continuous contributions to emergency medicine and ACOEP.

The Midwestern University Health Outreach through Medicine and Education (H.O.M.E.) multidisciplinary program for homeless and disadvantaged communities was awarded the Community Excellence Award by the Maricopa County Medical Society (MCMS).

In September, the Arizona College of Optometry’s Student Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity (SVOSH) Chapter joined AZ-VOSH in a one-day eye clinic for refugees who are being resettled in Tucson. In all, 185 refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and multiple countries in Africa and Latin America were served. In addition to complete eye exams, free prescription eyeglasses were provided via the use of a special grant.