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David Connett, DO ’84, elected OMBC President

Vice Dean David Connett, DO '84David Connett, DO ’84, vice dean, medical director and an associate professor of Family Medicine for the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) at Western University of Health Sciences has been elected president of the Osteopathic Medical Board of California (OMBC). Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Connett to the OMBC in May 2012, and OMBC members recently elected Connett to the position during a conference call. In addition to this role, Connett serves as Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons of California (OPSC) president-elect and is a key volunteer with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

AOA Board of Trustees

Geraldine O’Shea, DO ’93, (wife of Mark Eastman, DO ’93, and mother of Amelia Eastman, DO ’07) has been elected to the position of Second Vice President on the Board of Trustees of the American Osteopathic Association. She is joined on the Board by Barbara Walker, DO ’84, who was just elected to her third consecutive three-year term on the AOA’s Board of Trustees and who has also held the position of Second Vice President (as well as First Vice President). James Dearing, DO ’84, just finished two consecutive three-year terms on the Board (2007-2013). The Board’s new President is Norman Vinn, DO, who is a southern California family physician, the founder of Housecall Doctors Medical Group, Inc., and a strong supporter of COMP.


COMP-Northwest celebrated its third Convocation and white coat ceremony on August 3, welcoming 105 new students to its Lebanon, Ore. campus. The keynote speaker for Convocation, which officially opens the academic year, is Jim Willis, who retired March 1, 2013 as director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs after 48 years of public service. The keynote speaker for the white coat ceremony, when students don their first white clinical jackets, was Katherine Fisher, DO ’83.

An Oregon state senator who also is a DO vocally opposed state Senate committee approval of a bill granting $4.9 million in state-funded scholarships to Oregon Health and Science University, but not to COMP-Northwest and other students who want to practice in Oregon’s rural areas.

A new research lab at COMP-Northwest will help faculty study neurodegenerative diseases.

Follow COMP-Northwest on Facebook.

Alumni News

Charles Maynard, DO ’83, authored a new book, which is due out soon. Thriving Through Devastating Illness (Intermundia Press 2013) discussses dealing with doctors, insurance companies, and family, and it is based on his numerous years as a physician and patient.

LaDonna Johnson, DO ’87, recently retired from the Student Health Services office with Oregon State University and is now living in Las Vegas, NV.

Maged G. Samaan, DO ’92, and Mrs. Dalia Samaan, generously donated $100,000 to COMP to create the Doctor Maged G. Samaan Endowed Scholarship in Family Medicine.

Keith Curtis, DO ’95, practices at Raincross Medical Group in Riverside, CA with John Branch, DO ’85, who is an original founding member of that practice.

Sheryl Young, DO ’97, owns her own aesthetics practice in Georgia, REJUVENATE-U.

James Carlson, DO ’98, recently joined the obstetrics and gynecology physicians at East Cascades Women’s Group in Bend, OR. Dr. Carlson received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming and completed his residency and internship at Botsford General Hospital in Michigan. He has practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Oregon since 2002.

Arun Agrawal, DO ’01, is a board-certified anesthesiologist, practicing at Redlands Community Hospital through Beaver Medical Group.

Lubna Isho, DO ’01, is currently practicing family medicine with Magan Medical Clinic in Covina.

Brian Scott, DO ’01, is an ER physician currently working out of Kingman Regional Medical Center in Kingman, AZ.

Assistant Professor Brian Loveless, DO ’02, passed his proficiency examination offered by the Osteopathic Cranial Academy on June 20. This exam consists of a written, oral, and practical portions as well as a case study submission, and is offered to physicians who have had at least 3 years of clinical practice.

Khanh Pham, DO ’02, is a board-certified anesthesiologist currently practicing at Redlands Community Hospital through Beaver Medical Group.

Pei Yuen Tang, DO ’02, is practicing family medicine with Beaver Medical Group in San Bernardino.

Jason Chiriano, DO ’02, is currently with Loma Linda University Medical Center. He is board certified, practicing trauma and vascular surgery.

Jeffrey Lewis DO ’03, is practicing anesthesiology at Redlands Community Hospital through Beaver Medical Group.

Marcel Fraix, DO ’03, is celebrating 5 years of service with WesternU, as Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and NMM/OMM, as well as Chair of both the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Clinical Sciences Departments.

Paul Sucgang, DO ’04, is the owner/operator of two family practices with optometry services located in San Gabriel and Pomona.

Jesus Sanchez, DO ’04, is celebrating 5 years of service as Assistant Professor of NMM/OMM and Family Medicine.

Joachim Brown, DO ’05, MSHS ’06, was recently hired as an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine for COMP.

Ilse Levin, DO ’06, has served on the Council of Science and Public Health since 2006, first as a resident and then in a full seat. She currently serves as alternate delegate for ASAM, and has been a member of the AMA House of Delegates since 2004. Dr. Levin has also served in the MedChi, Massachusetts and California houses of delegates. In 2006, she was honored with the AMA Foundation Leadership Award and in 2011 was appointed to the National Commission on Correctional Health Care Board of Directors. Also in 2011 she became an ex-officio member on the ASAM Board of Directors. In 2012, Dr. Levin was appointed as the AMA liaison to the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has represented the AMA to the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2010. As a National Health Service Corps Scholar, Dr. Levin has devoted her career to working in the most underserved communities in the United States. She currently works for the nonprofit Unity Health Care Inc., in a community medicine clinic in Washington, D.C., and as a physician in the D.C. Department of Corrections.

Park Street Clinic in Lebanon, OR, welcomed psychiatric physician Mandilin Hudson, DO ’09. Dr. Hudson practices general adult and adolescent psychiatry, integrating mental health treatment with primary care. She utilizes a variety of treatment methods including psychotherapy, medication management, psycho-education and group therapy. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Willamette University and completed residency training at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, serving patients of Samaritan Family Medicine and Samaritan Mental Health. Dr. Hudson is the first mental health resident to join Samaritan following graduation from the program and will see patients from East Linn County by provider referral at Park Street Clinic two days a week.

Mid-Valley Pediatrics in Lebanon, OR, welcomes its newest provider, Beth (Card) Gallant, DO ’10. Dr. Gallant earned a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University and spent a portion of her medical school rotations at Samaritan’s hospitals in Corvallis, Albany and Lebanon. She completed residency training in pediatrics at Palms West Hospital. When Dr. Gallant was 3 years old, her father was injured in a logging accident, and she credits the medical community with saving his life. She was inspired by that experience to pursue a career in medicine. An Oregon native, Gallant is happy to be back in the area and part of a close-knit community again.

The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians of California (ACOFPCA) inducted its new board members at the 37th Annual ACOFPCA Scientific Medical Seminar on August 2, including:

Faculty News

Congratulations to the 2012-13 COMP Faculty Award Winners:





Professor and Chair, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology Lony C. Castro gave a CME lecture at WesternU/COMP’s Alumni CME Day May 4, 2013.  The title of her talk was “Preconception Care of Women with Pre-existing Diabetes Mellitus.”

A team led by Dr. Brian Kraatz of COMP has unearthed a new fossil of teeth representing an unknown animal – a large cane rat – previously unknown to science. Several websites have picked up the news, including: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/scientific-study-in-uae-unveils-previously-unknown-animal-1.1202170

A paper published this spring by Matt Wedel of COMP and CPM is profiled in the current issue of New Scientist. The New Scientist story is available to subscribers at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929262.300-a-tall-tale-how-the-sauropod-got-its-neck.html and the paper itself is freely available at https://peerj.com/articles/36/.

Brion Benninger, MD, MSc, attended the 30th annual American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA) meeting in Denver, Colorado July 9-13. Dr. Benninger was accompanied by 12 COMP-Northwest students and his anatomy technicians.

Dr. Vicki Wedel has been invited to join the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Investigation, the journal published by the International Association for Identification.  The journal is received by forensic sciences including forensic medicine, anthropology and criminalistics.  She also received a commendation from Sheriff Adam Christiansen of Stanislaus County, CA, for her work in helping his department re-analyze their cold cases, the oldest of which they’ve been successful in identifying was a 1971 Jane Doe. Most recently, Dr. Wedel has been invited by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to review and comment on the training modules its National Disaster Medical Services uses to train anthropologists who are going to be deployed in disaster responses.

Dr. Richard Sugerman recently had an abstract accepted for presentation at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Association for the Behavioral Sciences and Medical Education (ABSAME), to be held in October in Newport, R.I. The presentation, “Comparison of Student Empathy Scores Across Four Graduate Health Professions,” is a result of ongoing collaborative research with Dr. Beth Boynton and Dr. Suzie Kovacs from CVM, and Associate Professor Georgeanne Vlad from CAHP.  ABSAME was founded in 1975 as an interdisciplinary professional society dedicated to strengthening behavioral science teaching in medical schools, residency programs, and in continuing medical education. The theme for this year’s meeting is “Humanizing Health Care: Reducing Disparities through Interprofessional Teams.”

Edward Barnes II, MD, FACP present “Pearls to Managing the ESRD Patient” at the annual Western Foot and Ankle Conference, held June 20-23, 2013 in Anaheim, Calif.

Assistant Professor Vishwanath Venketaraman, PhD, and his team (including lab members and collaborators) published three articles in May 2013:

Dr. Venketaraman was also invited to serve as a reviewer on an NIH Special emphasis panel (ZAI1-LR-MJ1) that reviews U01 grants.

Student News

In June, the Lebanon Express reported that two College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest students each won $4,000 scholarships from the Oregon Medical Association Medical Scholarship Fund during the OMA’s second annual party on April 19 in Portland. Second-year medical student Richard Holman was one of the four scholarship winners from an Oregon-based medical and physician assistant program. First-year medical student Dan Bruce was a fifth “wild card” scholarship winner. The unconventional scholarships, awarded based on a random drawing at the party, are intended to call attention to and help reduce the burden of student debt, according to a recent OMA press release.

Three COMP-Northwest students, Burk Schaible, DO ’16, Dan Mosher, DO ’16, and Jacob Sypher, DO ’16, were among eight medical students nationwide who completed the Medical Students for Life Summer Fellowship.

A group of COMP-Northwest students is volunteering in Kenya this summer.

COMP-Northwest student Erin Gray will compete in a 20-kilometer race walk at the world track and field championships in Moscow on Aug. 13.

Read the latest updates from the students themselves in the latest Student Government Association Newsletter.

Events & Conferences

August 28: Alumni Summer Mixer. Celebrate summer and reminisce with fellow WesternU Alumni. Join us for an evening of complimentary appetizers, drinks and lively conversation as you meet up with former classmates at Buster’s Lounge at Dave and Busters, Ontario Mills Mall, 6:30-8:30 p.m. To RSVP, contact Susan Terrazas at sterrazas@westernu.edu or 909.706.3476 or Austin Braunwalder at abraunwalder@westernu.edu or 909.469.8495 by August 26.

August 30-September 1: Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California’s Annual Fall Conference in Monterey, CA. WesternU/COMP exhibit table on August 30 and 31 in the Intercontinental The Clement Monterey (750 Cannery Row)

September 20-22: Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon’s Fall CME Conference in Portland, OR. WesternU/COMP-Northwest exhibit table on September 20 and 21 in the Embassy Suites, Downtown Portland (319 SW Pine Street). WesternU/COMP reception, Saturday, September 21, 5:45-8:00 p.m., Embassy Suites

September 30-October 4: American Osteopathic Association’s OMED Convention in Las Vegas, NV. WesternU/COMP exhibit booth (#708) on September 30-October 2 in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Shorlines A. WesternU/COMP reception, Wednesday, October 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Border Grill Las Vegas (inside Mandalay Bay)

October 24: WesternU’s Pumerantz Lecture in the evening on campus. Details to follow.

November 9: WesternU’s A Tribute to Caring at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA. Save the date!

See a full list of upcoming events on the Online Alumni Events page.

For more information or to RSVP for these events, please contact the Alumni Office at (909) 469-ALUM or alumni@westernu.edu.

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