Welcome Back to Campus

Fall 2023

Downers Grove, Illinois

Glendale, Arizona


A Message from the President

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

New student orientation for the upcoming academic year has begun. Orientation for the new students is an exciting time for all of us as we see new faces seeking new opportunities in our Colleges and Programs. They are here ready to begin their new educational journey toward becoming a healthcare professional or entering a sought-after career in research and biomedical science.

It is a time for all of us to welcome them to our campus community and invite them to become active participants in the many classes, laboratories, and service projects we offer everyone at Midwestern University.

We often hear the phrase “it takes a village” used in many circles and in many ways, but here at Midwestern University it takes all of us to help educate the next generation of healthcare professionals. All of us are ambassadors to help recruit new students to the many wonderful career opportunities afforded in meeting the ever-growing need.

We as a community cannot stand by and hope that future students will want to enter the healthcare professions but rather, we need to expand our outreach to those in high schools, under-graduate programs, and in ancillary healthcare support staff to join the ranks of those in professional programs. It takes our entire village to help the Colleges expand their horizons in outreach, community service, and recruitment.

And, most important, it is upon all of us to welcome those new students who have decided to join our academic community and allow Midwestern University to fulfill its mission of educating the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Thank you all and welcome.

University Unveils New Branding Effort that Includes Logo

The new logo for Midwestern University will be an additional visual identifier.

Midwestern University’s publications, marketing materials, social and web channels, and more have a refreshed look and feel. Over the next few months, the University will gradually roll out a modern branding look that includes a new logo to complement Midwestern’s existing University and College seals.

Midwestern University’s official seal, as well as the seals of its 12 Colleges, will remain unchanged. These seals will continue to be used in official documents, diplomas, and correspondence, as well as in key areas of the University’s campuses, as an important representation of the institution’s history and significance.

The updated branding is the result of over a year’s worth of internal and external research about the University’s image and impact in both healthcare education and the healthcare industry. It features a cleaner, more modern typeface with a new logomark representing both the University’s Illinois and Arizona campuses (an M representing the “Midwest” and a W representing the “West”) as well as a cross shape, the latter of which is used extensively in branded materials such as advertisements, publications, and admissions pamphlets.

Read the complete story.

Midwestern University’s official institutional and College seals remain the same.

Graduate Nursing Programs Receive Notice of Accreditation

The degree programs are designed for working nursing professionals who want to advance their careers.

The College of Health Sciences has received notification of full accreditation for its Graduate Nursing Programs from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The official confirmation was received by the program on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, and is effective for a five-year period from October 31, 2022, the date of CCNE’s program evaluation visit.

The University’s Graduate Nursing Programs encompass a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree; a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degree with an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner focus; a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) with a Nurse Leadership in Global Health focus; and a post-Master’s Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certificate track. Each program is offered online to support working nursing professionals in achieving their educational goals.

“Successful accreditation is both a testament to the exceptional quality of education we provide, as well as a significant achievement through hard work and dedication,” said Kathleen H. Goeppinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University. “Midwestern University is so proud of our faculty, staff, and students, who have worked tirelessly to meet and exceed the rigorous standards set forth by the accrediting body. This accreditation is a wonderful validation of our collective efforts, and we look forward to continuing to provide a high-caliber education to our students.”

Read the complete story.

Chippin’ in for Students Golf Event Assists Student Scholarships

Carl Wacker took on the role of student golfer for the groups. | Event participants enjoyed a day outdoors engaging in a game of golf. | Leila Ammeri expressed gratitude for her scholarship at the awards dinner.

The annual Midwestern University Chippin’ in for Students Golf Classic was held at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton, IL, where more than 100 scholarship donors and Midwestern University faculty, students, and staff attended and participated in a friendly game of golf with the goal of raising funds for student scholarships.

At one of the stops on the golf course, student golfer Carl Wacker (CDMI ’26), hit the first shot for the golf groups. “It’s important to show appreciation for the people who support us,” he said. Carl expressed his gratitude for the education he is receiving as a dental medicine student at Midwestern University. “We have the best faculty, facilities, and support system that aims to make us the best practitioners to send us out in the world.”

Pharmacy student Leila Ammeri (CPDG ’24) received the Spirit of Service Scholarship for her community service and gave a speech thanking the supporters at the awards dinner following the tournament. “I come from a background of immigrant parents who came to America to build their own version of the American Dream. Being from Afghanistan, a country whose people have gone through so much war and terror, a place where women like me are not able to study or receive an education, I find myself very grateful for not only being allowed to have the privilege of receiving my bachelor's, but soon a doctorate degree.”

Read the complete story.

Midwestern University Named One of Arizona's Healthiest Employers

Midwestern University was named one of the Healthiest Employers by the Phoenix Business Journal.

The Phoenix Business Journal has ranked Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus fourth on its annual list of Healthiest Employers (Larger Employers) in the state of Arizona in recognition of the University’s comprehensive employee health initiatives. The Journal evaluates companies based on six categories of criteria, including culture, strategic planning, and leadership.

Midwestern University’s health and wellness programs are designed not only to promote employee health and serve as a positive example for health professions students, but to motivate employees to pursue their own well-being with enthusiasm. The University offers a health and wellness facility for all members of the Midwestern community that encourages them to find the right level of exercise, from handball courts to specialized fitness classes.

Read the complete story.

Partnership Gives CVM Students Wildlife Medicine Opportunities

Ashlyn Davis (CVM '23) holds a long-eared owl as Dr. Alexandra Goe (left) examines a wing injury.

A new partnership with Liberty Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in south central Phoenix, has given Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine fourth-year students a new opportunity to learn about and practice wildlife medicine.

As of April 2023, CVM students in their final year of school can request a four-week elective rotation at Liberty Wildlife, learning about and practicing wildlife medicine under the primary mentorship of Alexandra Goe, D.V.M., Clinical Assistant Professor. While it is common for students who select the wildlife rotation to have a long-standing interest in the care of exotic species, some students are completely new to the field.

At Liberty Wildlife, students learn critical skills like safe handling of wildlife, triage examination, diagnostic testing, treatment administration, anesthesia, and surgery for a variety of species.

Since starting the program, Midwestern University faculty and students have provided primary care for over 500 injured and orphaned animals.

Read the complete story.

Podiatry Students Receive Bako Medical Education Foundation Scholarships

From left: David Jenkins, D.P.M., FACFAS; BMEF (AZCPM), Professor; Payaam Tavakoli (AZCPM '23); Rajat Lahiri (AZCPM '23), Kyle Parker (AZCPM '23); and Jeffrey Jensen, D.P.M., FACFAS, Dean, AZCPM.

The Arizona College of Podiatric Medicine (AZCPM) at Midwestern University, in partnership with the Bako Medical Education Foundation (BMEF), is pleased to announce three recipients of the Bako Medical Education Foundation Scholarships.

AZCPM Class of 2023 students Rajat Lahiri, Kyle Parker, and Payaam Tavakoli were announced as BMEF Scholarship awardees at a banquet held by the College. The Bako Medical Education Foundation Scholarships have been established to support and enhance medical education in the field of podiatric medicine and dermatology.

The grant agreement between BMEF and Midwestern University continues a strong relationship between Midwestern and BMEF and its sponsor BakoDx, whose podiatric experts routinely visit the University to teach biopsies and other procedures, as well as demonstrate lab procedures for students.

Read the complete story.

Animal Health Institute Hosts Local Scout Troops

BSA Scout Troops pose with the rhinoceros skeletons at the Large Animal Clinic.

Members of local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troops visited the Midwestern University Animal Health Institute (AHI) as part of their Veterinary Medicine Merit Badge requirements.

Troop 30 and Troop 3030 from Paradise Valley, AZ, visited the AHI to learn more about veterinary medicine as a career. College of Veterinary Medicine faculty, staff, and students toured the Scouts through the Companion Animal Clinic and the Large Animal Clinic facilities, and afterward answered Scouts’ questions about veterinary careers and education. The Scouts learned valuable information about the roles of veterinarians in public health, as well as the human-animal bond and why it is important.

Read the complete story.

Midwestern University Therapy Institute Adds OT Services for Adults

Midwestern University occupational therapy students work with a patient in a simulated home environment.

The Midwestern University Therapy Institute on the Glendale Campus is now offering occupational therapy services for adult patients.

Charlie Wilson, M.O.T., OTR/L (CHS-Glendale OT), Clinical Assistant Professor, joined the University this year as a full-time faculty member and OT practitioner at the Clinic. “There is a great need for outpatient OT services for adults in the Northwest Valley, especially for individuals who have experienced a neurological incident and are trying to return to managing their daily life tasks,” he says.

Patients experiencing a wide range of conditions, including stroke, acquired brain and spinal injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative conditions, will have resources and training options available at the Therapy Institute. For more information, visit https://www.mwuclinics.com.

Kenneth A. Suarez Research Day Highlights Scientific Knowledge

Students present their research at the annual Dr. Kenneth A. Suarez (KAS) Research Day.

No matter what program students are enrolled in at Midwestern University, there are many opportunities to participate in meaningful and challenging research. Every year, both campuses celebrate the accomplishment of students and their projects by hosting the Dr. Kenneth A. Suarez (KAS) Research Day. The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) and the University Research Committee (URC) hosted the event on the Glendale Campus on Friday, April 14, 2023, and again on the Downers Grove Campus on Friday, May 5, 2023.

In total, 360 posters were presented across both campuses, which included more than 375 faculty and 720 student authors. The majority of the posters involved interdisciplinary collaborations between various colleges and programs, as well as with local industries and other universities. A number of the posters have been or are slated for presentation or publication through various conferences and journal outlets as well. Through this annual day of research, students strengthen their communication skills, collaborate with other departments, and establish connections with other networks of faculty researchers from MWU and outside universities.

Read the complete story.

Students Experience Labs, Lessons in the Annual SEE Program

Students practice working with contact lenses. | Parres Wright, O.D., FAAO, Assistant Professor for the Chicago College of Optometry, assists students with an activity in the low vision session.

Midwestern University held its fifth annual Summer Eye Experience (SEE) program offered by the Chicago College of Optometry (CCO). During the course of the program, students gained exposure to the Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree, learned about an optometry career via hands-on workshops, prepared for admission with their application portfolio, experienced laboratories to learn optometric skills, and viewed a day in the life of an optometry student. There were 28 participants in this year’s SEE event from nine states including Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In order to qualify for the SEE program, potential participants must be students pursuing an undergraduate degree or a recent graduate. Students in their junior and senior years are given first consideration to join the program.

John Gialousakis, O.D., Ed.M., FAAO, Director of Curriculum Development, Associate Professor, and Chair of the Admissions Committee for the Chicago College of Optometry said, “The SEE at CCO program was designed for those interested in pursuing a career in optometry, as well as those who are still unsure and would like to see if optometry is for them. Participants gain insight into the optometric profession, including the application process, as well as experience what it would be like to be an optometry student at CCO.”

Read the complete story.

Midwestern University Honors Graduates with Commencement Ceremonies

Students celebrate their graduation from Midwestern University.

Midwestern University celebrated the graduations of master’s and doctoral degree recipients who are beginning their professional careers in healthcare at several ceremonies during the months of May and June on the Downers Grove, IL, and Glendale, AZ campuses. More than 1,600 graduates participated in the 13 commencement ceremonies.

As part of the ceremonies, Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University, acknowledged the many achievements of the graduates during their years of rigorous study and clinical experiences. Dr. Goeppinger encouraged the graduates to remember the values they learned as Midwestern University students.

“As you go forward from Midwestern University, go with absolute pride. Your faculty believe in your abilities and have prepared you to be part of a wonderful profession that gives back and cares for others,” she said. “If you can only be one thing -- be kind. Be kind to your patients, your family, your colleagues, and most importantly, be kind to yourself.”

The commencement ceremonies featured remarks from members of the graduating classes and included special recognition for students beginning their healthcare careers in the military.

Read the complete story.

Groovin' in the Grove Race Tradition Continues

The anticipated Groovin' in the Grove race returned this year with 91 runners.

The annual Groovin' in the Grove 5K Run & Walk at Midwestern University was held May 6, 2023, on the Downers Grove Campus, and raised $3,000 for Sharing Connections, a nonprofit organization that assists local people in need with furniture and other household items.

The run was co-sponsored by Midwestern University’s Sports Medicine Club and Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (SAMPOS), with 91 runners signed up from Midwestern University staff, faculty, students. Children also participated in the Little Groovers run.

Nick Maentanis, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Campus Recreation, said, “This was the first year the race has been run since May 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023, we were excited for the return of our Groovin' in the Grove 5K race to bring another great event back to campus.”

Read the complete story.

Ceremony Honors Pharmacy Residency and Fellowship Program Completion

The College of Pharmacy honors its residents and fellow upon program completion.

Three residents and one fellow who completed their pharmacy and fellowship programs were honored at a special recognition ceremony at Midwestern University’s Downers Grove Campus on Friday, June 9.

The honorees were Jack Chang, Pharm.D., Michael Dickens, Pharm.D., Alexandra Statczar, Pharm.D., and Farah Sukkari, Pharm.D. Dr. Chang spent three years at Midwestern University as a fellow and is a May 2019 graduate of the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove. He finished the PGY2 Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Fellowship. Dr. Sukkari is a March 2022 graduate of the College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove and completed the PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency. Dr. Dickens completed PGY2 Infectious Diseases Residency, and he is the last resident in this program, as it is not offered next year. Dr. Statczar finished PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency.

Dr. Statczar discussed her experience in the program: “I have been so fortunate to train under preceptors that practice at the top of their fields in a variety of disease states. I have expanded my clinical knowledge in various chronic disease states and feel well-prepared to start my career as an ambulatory care pharmacist.”

Read the complete story.

Local High School Students Explore Careers in Veterinary Medicine

High school students from ASU’s Migratory Student Summer Academy explore topics in veterinary medicine on the Glendale Campus.

Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine partnered with Arizona State University’s School of Transborder Studies on Thursday, June 8 to host a special hands-on experience for 54 high school students from ASU’s Migratory Student Summer Academy (MSSA).

Upon arrival at Midwestern’s Animal Health Institute, MSSA students were split into four groups, which were led by Midwestern faculty. During the event, the students explored veterinary anatomy, using morphological features to identify different animal species. They also gained insights into veterinary pathology, performing examinations to identify lesions on organs and experiencing the daily work of veterinary pathologists. In addition, the students learned about the life and career of a large animal veterinarian, practiced bandaging techniques, and even performed equine reproductive exams on models.

The event concluded with remarks from Carla Gartrell, D.V.M., J.D., Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine. “The College of Veterinary Medicine takes pride in having the privilege to host the student participants of the MSSA. We firmly believe that education and exposure serve as the keys that unlock opportunities for young individuals. In this regard, this event played a significant part in introducing these students to the world of veterinary medicine. We recognize this event was just a small step in their journey, but we are hopeful that it planted the seeds of enthusiasm and curiosity for this wonderful profession,” said Dr. Gartrell.

Read the complete story.

OT Students, Faculty Unite with Disability Advocacy Organizations

Participants in the basketball tournament include (from left): Anne Kiraly-Alvarez, O.T.D., Jacob Mahaffey, Lisa Mahaffey, Ph.D., Ashley Lane, Trisha Mallare, Courtney Bland, Riley Rynders, Sam Dooley, Aline Ngouemeta Mbognou, Linda Chin, Remon Basely, and Talya Flores.

The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) hosted the Wheelchair Basketball Tournament on the Downers Grove Campus. The evening was filled with basketball games in the gymnasium, food, drinks, and raffle prizes. Participation in the wheelchair basketball tournament raised $1,500 for the Synergy Jr Bulls, which is part of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. This organization provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to engage in community-based social and recreational programs.

The SOTA professional development committee also hosted guest speaker Mickey Rowe, who presented at the American Occupational Therapy Foundation Breakfast with a Scholar event. Mr. Rowe, Founding Artistic Director of the National Disability Theatre, presented a talk on his new memoir, Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage. He demonstrated that the things that make us different are often our biggest strengths.

The Occupational Therapy staff and students also joined numerous disability advocacy organizations to march in the 2023 Disability Pride Parade. For more than 10 years, SOTA students have also organized and run the children’s booth at the end of the parade. This year, children and adults enjoyed face painting, games, and craft activities. According to the parade website, the mission of the Disability Pride Parade is:

  • To change the way people think about and define “Disability”;
  • To break down and end the internalized shame among people with Disabilities; and
  • To promote the belief in society that Disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with Disabilities can take pride.

Middle Eastern Pharmacists Association Marks 10 Years of Service to Community

MePA offers a variety of services, screenings, and events to the community.

Since its establishment in 2013, the Middle Eastern Pharmacists Association (MePA) on the Downers Grove Campus has made a significant impact on the community. More than 400 students have volunteered their services, conducting free community health screenings and organizing educational events, benefiting nearly 1,200 patients. Sally Arif, Pharm.D., BCPS, Professor, Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove, serves as the founding advisor for MePA.

“I have always believed that student pharmacists can be influential drivers for health access through community health programs designed to meet the needs of ethnically-minoritized populations. I’m proud to see MePA’s sustainable impact as the first student pharmacist organization in the country focused on improving health awareness of preventable disease for immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa,” Dr. Arif said.

Read the complete story.

Mentorship Program Empowers Future Female Healthcare Providers

Midwestern University students are active members of the Women in Medicine and Science Mentorship Program.

To help more women navigate their way to a fulfilling career, Midwestern University, in partnership with Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Estrella Mountain Community College, and Maricopa County Community Colleges, has developed the Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) Mentorship Program.

This spring, student mentors from the Midwestern University WIMS Mentorship Program invited their undergraduate mentees to the Glendale Campus for an exciting, hands-on evening in the new Clinical Skills and Simulation Center. Mentees from ASU, GCU, Estrella Mountain Community College, and the Maricopa Community Colleges attended the event, which was the second on-campus activity as part of the WIMS program that started in October 2022.

The event began with mentors and mentees mingling and enjoying hors d’oeuvres, many of them meeting face-to-face for the first time. Jacqueline Spiegel, M.S., PA-C, Professor and Director, Clinical Skills Simulation Center, spoke to the group about pursuing careers in healthcare and provided an introduction to clinical skills and simulation. In total, 178 Midwestern University students have volunteered to be mentors this past year, and more than 153 undergraduate students signed up across the various colleges and universities to receive one-on-one mentorship.

Read the complete story.

CCOM Students Lobby U.S. Lawmakers on Healthcare Issues

Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine students travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers as part of the DO Day on Capitol Hill.

Students and faculty members from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) participated in a national event in Washington, D.C. to inform lawmakers about the importance of osteopathic medicine and encourage action on vital healthcare issues.

Organized by the American Osteopathic Association, DO Day on Capitol Hill is an opportunity for osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) and medical students to engage with legislators and communicate their position on important health policy issues. Members of the CCOM delegation included 18 students representing seven different states. They conducted several meetings with lawmakers including Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin to discuss protecting patient access to care, expanding graduate medical education, and advocating for student loan reform by encouraging Congress to support the REDI Act, which would allow borrowers to defer student loan payments until the completion of their programs.

“I think it’s important for medical students to participate in this type of advocacy opportunity. We not only learned how to advocate for ourselves and our profession, but bonded with other students, physicians, and legislators as we all worked together to discuss a healthier and more beneficial future for physicians and patients. It brought big-picture healthcare issues to light which I feel is important for every medical student to understand,” said Riya Pathare (CCOM 2026).

Read the complete story.

CCOM Student Nonprofit Announces New Community Partners, Internships

By Keon Karimabady (CCOM 2024)

CCOM students continue to expand Med Ed Materials, a non-profit organization that provides medical education to low-income and uninsured populations.

Med Ed Materials is a non-profit organization founded by two CCOM students in May 2021. To improve health literacy, we produce and distribute evidence-based educational handouts for low-income and uninsured populations. Since our inception, we have continued to expand. With the launch of our companion app on the iOS App Store in June 2022, more than 1,000 unique users across 41 different countries have accessed our full catalog of over 70 handouts.

Our members aim to develop innovative solutions to pressing healthcare issues and have launched several new initiatives, including our partner program, to meet with community organizations across the nation and develop strategies to leverage our free handouts, including in-person tabling sessions, to make a difference in local communities. Our partners include family medicine and eye care clinics as well as a local food pantry serving over 5,600 individuals each month.

With the success of our partner program, we launched our summer internship program to empower college and graduate students as they pursue careers in healthcare. The curriculum includes personalized mentorship and analysis of landmark medical papers in weekly journal clubs. Our interns have expanded our social media and developed handouts on family media use plans, the benefits of dog walking, and prescription savings.

Learn more about Med Ed Materials or view our handouts.

OT Students Travel to Malawi on Medical Mission Trip

Patricia Steffen-Sanchez (left) demonstrates a positioning device for infant feeding crafted from a bucket.

By Patricia Steffen-Sanchez, M.S., OTR/L, BCP (CHS-Glendale), Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

This past May, a faculty and student team from the Occupational Therapy Program embarked on a medical mission trip to Malawi, Africa, along with two film students from Huntington University Arizona Center for Digital Media Arts in Peoria to document the experience. Malawi, commonly known as the "Warm Heart of Africa," staggers under the growing weight of poverty and the rapid spread of diseases which continue to steal the futures of so many orphans, widows, and entire communities. Their mission was organized in collaboration with the Passion Center for Children, a dynamic partnership between individuals, churches, and organizations committed to making a difference in Malawi.

The Champion's Club program, operating within the Passion Center for Children organization, represents a pioneering initiative in Malawi and focuses on identifying, assessing, and equipping children with special needs, known as Champs, and their families with the necessary support. Given the challenging circumstances of living in one of the world's poorest countries, children with special needs often face neglect, marginalization, and limited services. This program extends its reach to Champs across six centralized regions, encompassing 26 villages. Collaborating with the Community Health Network, this program delivers vital aid through guidance, training, resources, and genuine care, aiming to address the Champs' holistic development in spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical dimensions.

This mission trip primarily addressed pediatric practice in rural, low socioeconomic areas in and around Zomba, Malawi, with faculty and students assessing and recommending culturally relevant environmental adaptations and treatment strategies for children with disabilities. One of the main goals was to train parents and guardians, center staff, and village healthcare volunteers on appropriate strategies for positioning, feeding, management of abnormal muscle tone, sensory processing, and occupation-based activities that are sustainable, appropriate, and culturally relevant for rural Malawi lifestyles. We prioritized needs due to a profound lack of resources and the medical complexities of the children.

As the OT students and faculty reflect on this experience, what stands out most is the use of creativity and resourcefulness to adapt “traditional” interventions to what we had available in their environment. This experience was invaluable, as immersion into the culture allows a deeper understanding of habits, routines, resources, cherished occupations, and accessibility, allowing us to provide meaningful therapy while reflecting on biases and adjusting our personal values and beliefs without imposing external judgments on the beautiful traditions in Malawi.

Appointments, Awards, and Grants

Peter Alfano (CGS-Downers Grove MBS ’23) was awarded the Gordon Sato and Wally McKeehan Travel Grant Award to attend the Society for In Vitro Biology meeting held in Norfolk, VA in June to present research conducted with faculty mentor Julie Swartzendruber, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Associate Professor, Microbiology & Immunology. He also presented at the Autumn Immunology Conference 2022 held in Chicago.

Mackenzie Andrews (CDMA ’25) was one of three winners in the Clinical Research and Public Health category of the 2023 Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research Application (SCADA) for her research project “Does Mouthguard Lamination Technique Affect Hockey and Baseball Impact Force?” The award was presented by the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) in conjunction with the 47th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR) that took place in March.

Hilal Arnouk, M.D., Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Associate Professor, Pathology, was named as editor for a special collection titled “Advances in Fine Needle Aspiration Cytopathology” by IntechOpen Limited, London, United Kingdom.

Tayloran Atwell (CGS-Downers Grove MBS ’23) was awarded the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Travel Grant to attend the ARVO 2023 annual meeting in April to present research conducted with faculty mentor Ari Chakraborty, Ph.D., MPhil (CCO), Assistant Director, Chicago College of Optometry.

Danielle Barnett-Trapp, D.O. (AZCOM), Clinical Assistant Professor, Family Medicine Clinic, received the President’s Award from the Arizona Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (AzACOFP). The award was presented to Dr. Barnett-Trapp by outgoing AzACOFP President Michelle Mifflin, D.O. (AZCOM), Clinical Assistant Professor, Family Medicine.

Melinda Burnworth, Pharm.D., FASH, FAzPA, BCPS (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, and Titiola Afolabi, Pharm.D., BCPPS (CPG), Associate Professor, Pharmacy Practice, were invited to partner with the Cure Mito Foundation to create an online resource specific to pediatric mitochondrial disease, also known as Leigh syndrome, at aboutleighsyndrome.com.

Kathleen Fairman, M.A., Ph.D. (CPG), Associate Professor, Pharmacy Practice, and Melinda Burnworth, Pharm.D., FASH, FAzPA, BCPS (CPG), Professor, Pharmacy Practice, were honored by the CPG Classes of 2023 and 2024 (respectively) as Teacher of the Year.

Kellie Goodlet, Pharm.D. (CPG), Associate Professor, was selected to receive the 2023 Residency Director/Preceptor of the Year Award by the Arizona Pharmacy Association (AzPA).

Wendy Lin (CCOM ’25) was awarded the Outstanding Student Leader Award by Midwestern University for her leadership in the Asian Healthcare Association and International Health Club organizations on campus. Wendy has been spearheading monthly community health screenings in Chicago’s Chinatown and initiating numerous service events, talks with Professors, and donation drives for the local underserved Chicago community through the International Health Club.

Shuaa Rizvi (AZCOM ’27) received the Honor B. Fell Award and the SIVB Student Travel Award from the Society for In Vitro Biology (SiVB). Shuaa won First Place Award for her outstanding oral presentation titled “Identification of Stratifin as a Potential Biomarker for Oral Cancer Progression” at the 2023 In Vitro Biology Annual Meeting in Norfolk based for research conducted with faculty mentor Hilal Arnouk, M.D., Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Associate Professor of Pathology. Shuaa also presented at the Great Lakes Chapter ASPET Regional Meeting 2023.

Michelle Swanson-Mungerson, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, was named a National Association of Osteopathic Medical Educators (NAOME) Fellow at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine meeting in Baltimore this past spring. Membership in the Academy is reserved for faculty at osteopathic medical schools who meet or exceed designated standards and recognizes their sustained commitment to scholarship in osteopathic medical education. Acceptance as a NAOME Fellow involves a substantial peer-reviewed application process including recommendations from CCOM colleagues and osteopathic medical educators from across the country. Dr. Swanson-Mungerson was chosen based on her excellence in teaching, co-authorship of a medical immunology textbook, and demonstrated commitment to osteopathic medical education. As a Fellow, Dr. Swanson-Mungerson will continue to participate in NAOME scholarship and foster collaborations among colleges of osteopathic medicine to improve education for osteopathic medical students.

Sydnie Taylor (CDMI, MPH '26) received a national fellowship from the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research to fund a summer research project with Kristina Martinez-Guryn, Ph.D., RD (CGS-Downers Grove), Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences. They will investigate the role of gastrointestinal fungi in tongue-coating microbiota and taste receptors.

Kara Thomas, D.V.M., CVMA (CVM), Clinical Associate Professor, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association (AzVMA).

Muneebah Vaid (AZCOM '27) received a third-place award at the Great Lakes Chapter ASPET Annual Meeting Poster Competition, Graduate Division in June 2023 for research conducted with faculty mentor Isabel Martinez-Pena y Valenzuela, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Physiology.

Larry Williams, D.D.S., M.P.H. (CDMI), was elected to the position of National Trustee for the Academy of General Dentistry with a term beginning November 2023. The Academy of General Dentistry represents general dentists in both Canada and the United States and as Trustee, Dr. Williams will work with other Trustees addressing issues affecting the practice of general dentistry in the United States and Canada.

Kathleen Wong (AZCOM '24) received a $1,000 award from the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP). The award is given annually to qualified medical students with an interest in family medicine. Ms. Wong also received a Midwestern University Spirit of Service Scholarship.

The following Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty and students received awards at the 2023 annual meeting of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association:

  • 2023 Excellence in Osteopathic Medical Education Award: Tracy Middleton, D.O., FACOFP, Chair, Family Medicine,
  • 2023 Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award: Charles Finch, D.O., FACOEP, Chair, Integrated Medicine, and Shannon Scott, D.O., FACOFP, Associate Dean and Medical Director, Multispecialty Clinic
  • 2023 Resident of the Year Award: Spencer Larson, D.O. (AZCOM '20)
  • 2023 Student Distinguished Service Award: Forrest Bethel (AZCOM '23)
  • 2023 AzACOFP Family Physician of the Year: Danielle Barnett-Trapp, D.O., Clinical Assistant Professor, Family Medicine Clinic

The Midwestern University Graduate Medical Education Consortium announced the following awards and acknowledgments for the residents from their sponsored programs:

  • Spencer Larson, D.O., Family Medicine Resident at Mountain Vista Medical Center, received the Resident of the Year Award from the Arizona Osteopathic Medicine Association (AOMA).
  • Gavelyn Poonnopatam, D.O., Family Medicine Resident at Canyon Vista Medical Center, received the Resident of the Year Award from the Arizona Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP).
  • Catherine Vu, D.O., Family Medicine Resident at Canyon Vista Medical Center participated in the AAFP Family Medicine Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C., in May

Presentations, Speeches, and Community Service

Carl Bryce, M.D., FAAFP (AZCOM), Clinical Assistant Professor, Comprehensive Care Clinic, presented the poster, "Development of a Colonoscopy Training Program in Family Medicine Residency" at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) 2023 Annual Conference in Tampa, FL.

Jen’a Hunter (CGS-Downers Grove MBS ’24) presented research conducted with faculty mentor Isabel Martinez-Pena y Valenzuela, Ph.D. (CGS-DG), Assistant Professor, Physiology at the 2023 Chicago SfN Annual Meeting in March.

Cristina Incorvaia (CHS-Glendale PT ’23) presented “Implementing a community-based yoga program in a family emergency shelter: a feasibility and acceptability case study” at the World Physiotherapy Congress, in Dubai, in June.

David Jenkins, D.P.M. (AZCPM), Professor, and Alicia Stevons (AZCPM '26) presented oral presentations and posters at the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) Conference in May. AADMD focuses on healthcare for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Wendy Lin (CCOM ’25) and Colin Lo (CCOM ’25) presented their summer research project “Self Report Underestimates COPD Exacerbations but is Associated with BAL Neutrophilia and Lymphocytosis” at the American Thoracic Society Conference in Washington DC in May. Their research was conducted at the San Francisco VA Medical Center in San Francisco, California, under the direction of Principal Investigator Mehrdad Arjomandi, M.D. Their research project analyzed the accuracy of self-report episodes of COPD exacerbation by comparing self-reported exacerbations from patient surveys to exacerbations found in electronic medical records and BAL inflammatory markers in a subset of the study population. Results showed that both self-identification and BAL inflammatory markers are important in accounting for episodes of COPD exacerbation, as a subset of exacerbations are missed by either method alone.

Brad MacNeil, Ph.D. (CHS-Glendale Clin Psych), Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences, presented the following in June:

  • “Psychiatric medication use among Canadian adults with an eating disorder: Medication types, combinations, and predictors” paper at the International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED) in Washington, D.C.
  • “Exposure with response prevention therapy for the treatment of OCD and eating disorders with body satisfaction” virtual workshop to mental health clinicians through O7 Therapy and the Egyptian Eating Disorders Initiative (EEID), Cairo, Egypt
  • “Evidence-based treatment of adult eating disorders” presented to doctoral interns, practicum students, and clinical staff at Southwest Behavioral Health as part of their Virtual Didactic Lecture Series, Glendale, AZ

Heather F. Smith, Ph.D. (CGS-Glendale), Professor, Anatomy, gave a presentation on ethical publishing behavior in the International Federation for Associations of Anatomy’s webinar series on academic publishing. Dr. Smith was also invited to serve as a panel presenter on academic publishing at the annual conferences of the American Association for Anatomy.

Jaron Wilson (AZCOM ’25) presented a platform talk at the annual meeting of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) in Las Vegas in March. Jaron is a J. Robert Gladden Society member and Nth Dimensions scholar and was asked to present on the impact these organizations have on medical students from minority groups.

Yara Zaioor (CGS-Downers Grove MBS ’23) presented research conducted with faculty mentor Alesia Prakapenka, Ph.D. (CGS-Downers Grove), Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences, at the 2023 Chicago SfN Annual Meeting in March.

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

  • “Caring for Farm Animals on Reservations,” presented by Jessie Ziegler, D.V.M., M.S., DACVIM (CVM), Assistant Professor
  • “Fitness Over 50,” presented by Patrice Ayala, PT, D.P.T., GCS (CHS-Glendale), Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy
  • “Get Out and Start Exploring Again: Tips for Travel Medicine,” presented by Jennifer Wild, D.O. (CHS-Glendale), Medical Director, Physician Assistant Program

Student Groups and University Awards

The Midwestern University Body Donation Program received the Community Partner Award at the Glendale Fire Department (GFD) Awards Ceremony in May. The Body Donation Program faculty and members of the AZCOM Emergency Medicine Club partnered with the GFD to provide paramedic and firefighter training on life-saving techniques on BDP donors.

Speech-Language Pathology students on the Downers Grove Campus earned Gold Chapter Honors for their chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). The national NSSLHA organization recognized the chapter for its exceptional performance in member recruitment and engagement, community outreach and service, legislative advocacy, and fundraising.

The Speech-Language Pathology Program at the College of Health Sciences, Glendale Campus, was awarded a 2023 SPEAK OUT!® Program Development Grant from the Parkinson Voice Project.