50 Heroes: John H. Harakal, D.O.

October 19, 2020

John H. Harakal, D.O.Students in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine graduate with thorough, hands-on knowledge of the musculoskeletal system – a knowledge that is hugely beneficial regardless of practice specialty or research focus. While that knowledge is foundational to osteopathic medicine, the driving force behind its teaching and practice at TCOM was John H. Harakal, D.O. 

A 1957 graduate of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Harakal joined the TCOM faculty in 1975 and was founding chair of the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.  Remembered as a beloved colleague, mentor, and friend, Dr. Harakal was adamant that the principles of osteopathic medicine to treat body, mind, and spirit be maintained.  In a 1990 interview with fellow TCOM faculty member Dr. Ray Stokes, Dr. Harakal put it this way, “Without the principles and the philosophy [of osteopathic medicine], of course, we have nothing. We become just another medical school. That is our uniqueness, our difference. 

During his distinguished career, Harakal served on the National Board of Examiners for Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, and as Chairman for Osteopathic Philosophy, Principles and Practice.  From 1980 to 1992, he served as president of the Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation.  HSC honored Dr. Harakal with its Founders’ Day Medal in 1985the same year he was presented the A. T. Still Medallion of Honor by the American Academy of Osteopathy. 

Today, his legacy has been extended through creation of the Harakal Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Endowment Fund to benefit TCOM students and residents in pursuing both academic and research excellence in osteopathic manipulation.  The fund of nearly $500,000 has a goal to reach $1 million or more, thereby ensuring that the passion and vision of Dr. Harakal is served in perpetuity to the benefit of students at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.


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Join us throughout 2020 as we celebrate the people, events and innovations that made UNTHSC all it is today — and look ahead to the next 50 years.

For the 50th anniversary, team members nominated people whose contributions make them HSC Heroes. Each week, a new Hero will be revealed.

View the list of all our Hero profiles published so far this year. There is a new one each week.

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