Michael Erickson, a third year medical student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in Harlem, has won the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) 2014 “National Student DO of the Year” award.
The prestigious award, bestowed on one student annually from among more than 18,000 osteopathic medical students in the country, acknowledges a student’s commitment to their school, community and the osteopathic profession. Mr. Erickson was selected as the TouroCOM Student DO of the Year in December 2013 and was automatically entered into the national competition.
Like MDs, DOs complete four years of basic medical education and pass comparable licensing exams. However, osteopathic schools encourage graduates to enter primary care. DOs also receive additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), which gives them a diagnostic and therapeutic advantage in providing the most comprehensive care.
“This honor comes as no surprise to any of us at TouroCOM,” said Dean Robert Goldberg, DO. “Mike’s energy, dedication and compassion speak volumes. The recognition is well-deserved.”
“Michael demonstrates the osteopathic principles of leadership, community service, dedication, and professionalism,” said Sarah Wolff, chair of the Student DO of the Year National Selection Committee of AACOM. “He is a true ambassador of the osteopathic profession.”
During his three years at TouroCOM, Mr. Erickson has served in numerous student government leadership positions, including president of the Student Government Association and chief medical student for Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, N.J. He has received many awards and distinctions for his commitment to osteopathic medicine and also community service, for which he has logged at least 300 hours. He has taught anatomy to grade school children, participated in community health fairs, promoted osteopathic medicine and healthcare in Harlem and the New York community, helped the homeless, and provided nutritional information and education on HIV prevention and awareness, among other activities. He has also presented on many topics related to osteopathic medicine.
Last June, he celebrated his twenty-seventh birthday by beginning work at a health clinic in Nairobi, Kenya. During his time at what is described as Kenya’s second most poverty stricken area, he saw a range of issues including malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and HIV. He helped deliver babies, treat machete lacerations and identify parasites.
“Michael is an innate leader. Whether he is leading his contemporary band on stage, or heading the student body at DO Day on the Hill, he has a unique ability to unite a group of people and encourage them to work together,” wrote the TouroCOM selection committee in a letter of recommendation to the Student DO of the Year National Selection Committee of AACOM. “He makes everyone feel comfortable. Whether he is addressing the President of the AOA, or a homeless man on the streets of Harlem, Michael treats everyone with the same respect and dignity that all human beings deserve.”
A graduate of Arizona State University with a B.S. in psychology, Mr. Erickson enrolled at TouroCOM in 2010 to earn a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences. He entered the DO program the following year. Prior to moving east, he had been working in his home state of Arizona at the medical examiner’s office in Maricopa County, assisting with investigations, and at the Donor Network, a tissue and eye recovery organization, doing corneal recoveries.
Mr. Erickson said he is grateful but also humbled by the news that he is receiving the national award. “It is such an honor to receive this type of distinction. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by amazing people who are very supportive. Together, we will continue to work together for progress in our profession that we love.”
For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/.