KCU alumna named AOF Lifetime Achievement Award winner; several other alumni honored

By Felicia Vaught Oct 12, 2023
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Four Kansas City University (KCU) alumni were honored during the American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) 2023 Honors Gala that took place October 6, 2023, at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort in conjunction with the American Osteopathic Association's (AOA) Osteopathic Medical Education Conference. KCU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine served as a Bronze sponsor of the event.

Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, CS (COM ‘81), received the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award by the AOF. The award is given to an individual whose extraordinary accomplishments and service bring a sense of pride to the osteopathic profession and achieves greatness through integrity, commitment to service, generosity and community involvement. The distinguished accolade was conceived with a clear purpose: to pay homage to those exceptional individuals whose unwavering dedication and pioneering efforts have not only propelled the field of osteopathic medicine forward, but also left and inedible mark on its principles, practices and legacy.

Dr. Nichols is a prominent figure in the field of osteopathic medicine, renowned for her exceptional contributions in health care and medical education. With a career spanning several decades, Nichols has made significant strides in advancing the osteopathic profession, empowering women in medicine and promoting patient-centered care. She has served as president of the AOA, Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, American College of Osteopathic Internists and was the first woman to hold all of those positions. She is also one of the first four DOs elected to the board of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“Dr. Nichols’ contributions throughout her three decades of service to the profession will serve as foundational pillars upon which future generations of students, practitioners, educators and community leaders will build their understanding and practice of osteopathic medicine,” said Dawn Tartaglione, AOF president.

The AOF and American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) honored Nicole Fremarek, DO (COM ‘19), as the recipient of the 2023 AAO Outstanding Resident of the Year in Osteopathy award. Dr. Fremarek’s dedication to osteopathic medicine and neuromusculoskeletal health is evident through her recent completion of an osteopathic and neuromusculoskeletal medicine residency. Fremarek has also served as co-chief resident of Family Medicine at University of Michigan Health West, where she is noted for demonstrating strong leadership in research, quality improvement and patient safety.

Marta Bringhurst, DO (COM ‘15), was named North Carolina’s 2023 State Emerging Leader by the AOF and the North Carolina Osteopathic Medical Association. Dr. Bringhurst serves as director of Osteopathic Education at Harnett Health Family Medicine in North Carolina. She is passionate about teaching medical students and residents in primary care and specialty osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) settings. She is also an assistant professor of OMM at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM) and is core faculty for CUSOM’s Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine-3 Residency.

Patrick Nakashima-Moran, DO (COM ‘15), was tabbed Missouri’s 2023 State Emerging Leader. Dr. Nakashima-Moran serves as second vice president of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons Board of Trustees. His professional engagement extends to organizations such as the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians and the AOA, underscoring his dedication to the osteopathic medical community.

KCU extends congratulations and a deep appreciation to these distinguished alumni who are changing health care for good!

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