TCOM faculty, students and alumni honored by AOF

By Steven Bartolotta

Dr. Janice Knebl Sees Patients During Covid On September 23, 2020.

A top-flight career of quality, compassion and excellence received an exclamation point as the American Osteopathic Foundation named Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Dr. Janice Knebl the 2020 Physician of the Year. Dr. Knebl, TCOM’s Interim Chair of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, received the honor at the AOF’s 2020 Honors Virtual Gala.  

This award is very special to me since I was nominated by many of my fellow osteopathic physicians and colleagues nationally and also from my patient,” Dr. Knebl said. “Receiving national recognition is very humbling when I think about all the other deserving osteopathic physicians across the country. The award also is so very special since it recognizes my contributions as an osteopathic physician and clinician. 

We are thrilled that the AOF has awarded Dr. Knebl this award,” said Dr. Frank Filipetto, Dean of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Her energetic commitment to our profession through her leadership roles, her dedication to osteopathic medicine, and the care she provides to our elderly are true examples of an Osteopathic hero!”  

Dr. Knebl is a pioneer in the treatment of older adults and has made a lasting impact on geriatric training for osteopathic medical students and health care professionals at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.  In 2015, Dr. Knebl and her team helped craft the “WE HAIL” program, Workforce Enhancement in Health Aging and Independent Living, with funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration. 

Dr. Knebl is very active on a national level in the osteopathic profession, and has been the Chair of NBOME and AOA-COCA.  She is currently serving on AACOM’s prestigious Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship and was recently appointed to the National Quality Forum Geriatrics and Palliative Care Standing Committee. Earlier this year, Dr. Knebl was named a UNT System Regents Professor.   

I have been so very fortunate to have been given the opportunity by the osteopathic profession to attend an osteopathic medical school and become an osteopathic physician,” Dr. Knebl said. “I have been very blessed by God to have an energy level and ability to learn and serve patients. It has been my true joy and passion to care for older adults as a physician so this award recognizes what I have truly loved doing since my graduation from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982. 

Dr. Knebl wasn’t the only one to be honored by the AOF, as two TCOM students, one alumnus and a spouse of a student received recognition.  

Conner Reynolds, a TCOM fourth-year student, was selected to receive the prestigious AOF/AOA’s Presidential Memorial Leadership Scholarship Award. The scholarship, presented by the American Osteopathic Foundation and the American Osteopathic Association, is for $7,500.  

“Receiving this prestigious award is one of the biggest highlights of my career,” Reynolds said. “However, none of it would have been possible without a school that provides opportunity, professors who built strong foundations, invaluable mentors who molded my perspectives, patients who trusted me with their care, and family and friends who supported me at every step. This award honors not only myself, but every single person who believed in me along this journey into medicine. 

 Reynolds will be applying for Diagnostic Radiology residency when virtual interviews begin in the fall, as he pursues a career in Interventional Neuroradiology.  

Molly Farrell, a TCOM fourth-year student, was one of the just three osteopathic students selected across the nation as a finalist.  

“I’m incredibly excited and thankful to be named a finalist for such a prestigious and generous award,” said Farrell. “During my undergraduate studies, I supported myself with student loans, scholarships, and working in the restaurant industry at night while I attended classes during the day. Medical education is extremely expensive. Although I appreciate all the loans that I have been awarded to help me pursue my dream of becoming a physician, such a high debt does weigh heavy on my mind. My experiences have helped me truly appreciate the value of a dollar and therefore I treat being a finalist for such an award as an exceptional honor.” 

Farrell is planning to apply for a neurosurgical residency.  The Golden Ticket Scholarship recognizes those who, despite financial obstacles, have achieved academic excellence, displayed leadership, made a commitment to community outreach and embody the osteopathic tenants and philosophy. 

Megan Maples, spouse of 2020 TCOM graduate Craig Maples, was honored with the Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial AwardThe recipients exemplify the role of a professional’s partner by providing immeasurable support of his or her partner, family, and the osteopathic profession, while being an individual in their own right. 

TCOM alumni were also recognized for their great work in the profession as Dr. Ankeeta Mehta, a 2015 graduate, was awarded the 2020 AOF and American College of Osteopathic Surgery Outstanding Resident of the Year.

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