DO pride

Reasons to be #DOProud on National Doctors’ Day 2022

The pioneers, frontline care providers, leaders and innovators within the profession represent countless reasons to be proud. Here are some of many.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 30, 2022.

In honor of National Doctors’ Day, which is observed annually on March 30, we’re celebrating everyone in the osteopathic family. Within this profession, there are fantastic physicians in every specialty, including those on the frontline, as well as pioneers in racial and gender equity, health care leaders and innovators.

Overall, these individuals and groups within the profession represent countless reasons to be proud to be a DO. Although there are many additional noteworthy members of the profession, on this day of recognition, here is a short overview of some of those who make us all #DOProud.

Leaders & service providers

Darrell Grace, DO — Founder of the NOMA Health Fair

At every OMED (besides 2020/2021) since 2005, the National Osteopathic Medical Association, led by Dr. Grace, has arranged for a group of medical volunteers to coalesce at a local homeless shelter or mission to provide a day of free care and wellness exams. In this Q&A from March 2020, Dr. Grace explained how the health fair came to be and how DOs can get involved.

J.D. Polk, DO (left), and Shannon Moynihan, MD, work the console during a space shuttle mission.

J.D. Polk, DO — NASA chief health and medical officer

Dr. Polk wears multiple hats at the space agency, where he is in charge of the health of all NASA employees—including its astronauts, who are monitored for their entire lives. Read more about his ongoing work and the agency’s planned mission to the moon and then to Mars.

Military service leaders

Ronald R. Blanck, DO — Lieutenant General (Retired), 39th Surgeon General of the United States Army, 1996-2000

Marco Coppola, DO — Commanding General, 2nd Brigade, Texas State Guard

Timothy Plackett, DO, MPH — Lieutenant Colonel
Leading a program focused on training Army medical personnel to care for patients at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Dr. Sommer on active duty (on left)

Darren Sommer, DO, MBA, MPH — Lieutenant Colonel, Army reservist

White House physicians

Kevin O’Connor, DO — White House physician

In 2021, Dr. O’Connor became the current White House physician, though he has been President Joe Biden’s primary care physician since 2009.

Sean Conley, DO — Former White House physician

Dr. Conley was President Donald Trump’s physician from 2018 to early 2021.


African American DOs

Black osteopathic physicians have played a major role in pushing the profession forward and improving patient care. Read about 10 Black physicians and their contributions to the profession.

William G. Anderson, DO (center), welcomes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., PhD (left), and the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy to his home. At the time, Dr. Anderson lived in Albany, Georgia.

William G. Anderson, DO — Civil Rights pioneer

One of the physicians on the list above is Dr. Anderson. He was the first African American surgical resident in Detroit, the first African American president of the AOA, and a co-leader of the Albany Movement, the first mass movement in the civil rights era when protestors marched to end community segregation.

During Black History Month 2021, he spoke to AOA staff about his life. Read more about his Civil Rights work, his upbringing, and fighting segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Barbara Ross-Lee, DO — First African American woman to serve as Dean for a U.S. Medical School

Dr. Ross-Lee, also currently the president-elect of the American Osteopathic Foundation and chair of AACOM’s Racism and Injustice in Healthcare Education Adaptive Working Group, has blazed a trail in osteopathic medicine and became a role model to multiple generations of African American female physicians.

Barbara Ross-Lee, DO

Latinx DOs

DOs have made substantial impact in health care and also made significant strides toward increasing the number of Latinx physicians. Learn more about Latinx DO efforts to provide care to underserved areas and mentor underserved or minority students.

John K. Lynch, DO – Former program officer for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Minority Health and Research

Dr. Lynch is also the director of the NIH’s vascular neurology fellowship program.

Rebeccah Rodriguez Regner, DO — Serves on the health and human services advisory board for Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC), a community organization that offers accessible health care to populations in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

Dr. Rodriguez Regner also serves as a mentor with the Latin Medical Student Association.

Women in medicine

Women have been involved in osteopathic medicine from the very beginning. Six women were in the inaugural class of the first osteopathic medical school, according to the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, and women in osteopathic medicine have been impactful ever since.

In February, The DO spoke with Sonia Rivera-Martinez, DO, about her experience as a woman in medicine.

Karen J. Nichols, DO, former AOA president, addresses her colleagues as then-AOA President John W. Becher, DO, looks on in this 2015 photo.

K. Kay Moody, DO, MPH — Physician wellness organizer and leader

Dr. Moody is an outspoken advocate for physician burnout awareness, the founder of emDocs, a virtual community of over 16,500 emergency physicians, and the creator and CEO of Glacier Rock Wellness Ranch, a wilderness community for physicians to share the joys and challenges of practicing medicine.

Karen Nichols, DO — Trailblazing leader in the profession

Dr. Nichols was the first DO chair elected on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) board of directors, and the first female president of the AOA in 2010-11. She also played a key role in the transition to a single GME accreditation system. Read more about her efforts and the significance of her selection by the ACGME.

Hala Sabry, DO, MBA — Founder of National Women Physicians Day

Every year on Feb. 3 since 2016, the medical profession has celebrated National Women Physicians Day (NWPD). Dr. Sabry, an emergency physician in the Seattle area, founded the holiday as a way to increase the visibility of female physicians and the issues they face.

Dr. Sabry is now The DO’s social media columnist. In February, she highlighted impactful Black physician and medical student voices on social media platforms.

Julieanne Sees, DO — National Academy of Medicine

Dr. Sees is also a pediatric neuro-orthopedic surgeon.

Quidest Sheriff, DO — Left practicing medicine to help support physician mental health

Once it became clear that the pandemic would take a toll on the mental health of her colleagues, Dr. Sheriff quit her job in March 2020 to found an online community focused on providing mental health support to female physicians. Learn more about the development of her venture and the services it offers to physicians in need.

DOs who are making significant contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lauri Hicks, DO — Director of the CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship

After assisting in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s responses to Ebola, H1N1 and other respiratory outbreaks, Dr. Hicks is now working on the agency’s COVID-19 response effort. Read The DO’s Q&A with her from March 2020.

Stan Grogg, DO — AOA liaison to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

Since December 2020, Dr. Grogg has shared relevant, up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccines and ACIP’s emergency meetings with the AOA. 

Julie Ledgerwood, DO — Chief medical officer and chief of the Clinical Trials Program at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of NIAID/NIH

Dr. Ledgerwood oversaw the initial trials of the Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) clinic at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Read The DO’s story about her and her osteopathic colleagues at the NIH from 2013.

Mona Masood, DO —Founder of the Physician Support Line

The Physician Support Line is a free, confidential peer-to-peer hotline for all physicians. Dr. Masood founded it in March 2020. Today, more than 800 volunteer psychiatrists help their peers via the support line ((888) 409-0141).

Larry Dean Smith, DO — Indian Health Service (IHS) director

As acting clinical director of the Colville Service Unit under the Portland Area IHS, Dr. Smith is responsible for the care of all members of the 12 tribes of the Colville Nation who live on a reservation in Washington state’s Okanogan County. An estimated 80% of his patients have risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness. Learn more about the steps he’s taken during the pandemic to keep his patients safe.

Cassandra Calabrese, DO, and her father Leonard Calabrese, DO

Leonard Calabrese, DO, and Cassandra Calabrese, DO — Father/daughter team, rheumatology physicians and researchers

Since COVID-19 started, the Drs. Calabrese have been working together to research the inflammatory phases of and immune responses to the virus. Read The DO’s Q&A with them from October 2020 about their work categorizing symptoms for a new inflammatory syndrome in infected adults.

Residents & fellows

Jessica Behringer, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Radiology

Lt. Larissa Brandenburg, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Military Medicine

John Carter, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Anesthesiology

Joshua A. Herring, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Family Medicine

Ankita Mahajan, DO, MPH — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Anna Mercer, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Osteopathic Medicine

Richard M. Michelin, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Orthopedics

Ryan Shilian, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Allergy and Immunology

Ethan Weckstein, DO — AOF Outstanding Resident of the Year in Addiction Medicine


Nicholas Harriel, OMS IV — SOMA President

When COVID-19 hit the U.S., Harriel leaned into his commitment to the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) and the students he had connected with through the organization. Read more about how he first got involved with SOMA and how the organization has helped him maintain a sense of normalcy during the pandemic.

In 2021, Harriel, along with other med students, discussed the minority tax, tokenism and other DEI issues they have encountered.

Nicholas Harriel, OMS III

Students volunteered at COVID-19 vaccination clinics

About 175 medical students from the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine campus in Tulsa (OSU-COM) and 54 medical students from the Tahlequah campus (OSU-COM Tahlequah) helped with the COVID-19 vaccination effort under physician faculty supervision in 2021. Several students wrote about their experiences, which you can read here.

DOs who represent the profession in the media/entertainment

Jeffrey Grove, DO, (left), Ken Davenport (center), and Michael Jackowitz, DO, (right) won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Mirtha Macri, DO — Featured on Netflix’s Lenox Hill

Dr. Macri is prominent on Netflix’s Lenox Hill, a documentary series that follows the professional (and often personal) lives of four New York physicians working in various areas of a major hospital. The DO spoke to her in August 2020 about the experience of seeing patients on camera.

Kaleb Redden, DO — Finalist on The Titan Games

Dr. Redden, a sports medicine specialist in Idaho, spent three weeks in January 2020 taking part in The Titan Games, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s competitive strength show on NBC. The DO spoke with him in July 2020 about his journey from college football to osteopathic medicine as well as his time on the show.

Michael Sampson, DO — Ringside physician for All Elite Wrestling

Dr. Sampson previously held the same position with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for five years before joining AEW, and played a major role in helping the company bring entertainment to the world safely during a pandemic. He spoke with The DO last winter about his career in sports medicine and what it’s like to provide ringside care.

Mia Taormina, DO — Contributing COVID-19 expert of NPR/WBEZ’s Reset, a news talk show.

Mirtha Macri, DO

Contributors to The DO

In 2021, DOs and osteopathic medical students contributed many stories and sources to The DO, providing unique insights and frontline perspectives. In February, The DO launched a revamped version of the publication, and brought on Vania Manipod, DO, to serve as the publication’s editor-in-chief.

We also compiled a 25-member editorial advisory board, along with columnists, composed of DOs and osteopathic medical students, to help guide us in our mission to create a publication written by DOs and osteopathic medical students for DOs and osteopathic medical students.

Stay tuned for all the stories and news that are to come in 2022. The names and details about the EAB members are at the bottom of every page on The DO on our masthead.

One comment

  1. Giuseppe Guglielmello

    I was a very proud DO. I am 4 board certified internal medicine, pulmonary, critical care and sleep physician and fellow for the ACOI. I was about to embark on my goal of becoming a sleep program director. The ABIM shut the door on me and the osteopathic societies are doing little to advocate for me and my colleagues who are in similar situations. This impacts us as DOs tremendously and should be put to the forefront as an issue. Yet I read nothing anywhere. I feel the AOA should be our advocates. This discrimination should be moved to the highest courts and even Capitol Hill. I am very disappointed in the society who is supposed to be our advocate. This Doctor day and DO week are an extra sore spot for me and many more of our colleagues.

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