The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians announced that John F. Donnelly, M.D., of the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, is the recipient of its 2015 Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award.
Donnelly, professor of family medicine in the Boonshoft School of Medicine, has been practicing medicine for 27 years. Following residency and an early career in Texas, Donnelly came to the Boonshoft School of Medicine in 1997.
“My teaching philosophy is to motivate, challenge and encourage learners to give their best effort, thereby empowering them to provide their patients with health care of the highest quality,” Donnelly said. “I strive to foster in learners a love of patients, the joy of medicine, a zest for professional development and lifelong learning.”
Therese M. Zink, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, describes Donnelly as a medical student magnet. He is dedicated to each and every one of his 400-plus medical students. He is said to know each student’s first and last name.
The class of 2015 selected Donnelly to be its graduation speaker, instead of following the tradition of selecting a nationally recognized celebrity. Medical students also have awarded him the Teaching Excellence Award nine times.
Recent graduate Tracy Fong, M.D., praised Donnelly. During one of her final clinical examinations, she froze.
“Dr. Donnelly was my evaluator, and he gently encouraged me to take a step back, clear my head and told me that I was a very capable student and had it within me to do the exam,” Fong said. “With his words lingering in my head, I gained the confidence to not only complete the exam, but to do well on it.”
Donnelly has secured grants to start several innovative programs, including the Healer’s Art course, a five-week class that brings together students with practicing physicians to explore the role of healer. He also implemented the Finding Meaning in Medicine program for third- and fourth-year medical students.
In 2003, Donnelly took a medical leave of absence. When he returned to the Boonshoft School of Medicine, he brought back his story and knowledge regarding the art of medicine.
“Perhaps Dr. Donnelly’s own illness and recovery journey have formed the importance of being a healer to his patients and instilling that same value in his students,” Zink said. “Mentoring the next generation of physicians and healers is important to him.”
He has received many awards, including the American Association of Medical Colleges Humanism in Medicine Recognition (four times) and the Arnold Gold Humanism in Medicine Foundation Award. He was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society in 2002.
While practicing at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Donnelly received the John P. McGovern Outstanding Clinical Teacher Award three times and from 1989-97 both the Outstanding Teacher in Family Practice Award and the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award.
In addition to serving on many Boonshoft School of Medicine committees, Donnelly volunteers with several church and community groups including the Church of the Holy Angels, St. Vincent De Paul, Reach Out of Montgomery County and Cedarville University. He also is a youth coach, referee and umpire for several Dayton-area programs.
He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Dallas, Irving, Texas. He earned his M.D. degree at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School and completed his residency training at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School and Memorial Hospital Southwest Memorial Family Practice Residency Program, followed by a clinical teaching fellowship in family medicine at the Family Practice Faculty Development Center, McLennan County Medical Education and Research Foundation in Waco, Texas.
He is board certified in family medicine and is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He and his wife, Kim, reside in Oakwood and have three children, Mary Grace, Erin and James.
The OAFP annually presents the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award to a family medicine educator who meets and exceeds the criteria of being a capable teacher of family medicine, successful administrator/practitioner, productive researcher/scholar and inspiring leader. Candidates also must have 10 years post-residency (or equivalent) experience, be actively caring for patients and be a member of OAFP.
In 2014, Gary L. LeRoy, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, was honored with the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award.
Donnelly will receive the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award at the 2015 OAFP Awards Dinner on Saturday, July 25, 7-10 p.m., at the Marriott Columbus Northwest in Dublin, Ohio.
Registration to attend the dinner is $42 per person; there is no charge for OAFP members. Reservations can be made by calling the OAFP at 800-742-7327.