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Center for Health Sciences
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Spring 2007



American College of
Family Practice

March 14-17
Alumni Reception, 5-7 pm
Gainsville 2
Gaylord Palms Resort
Kissimmee, Fl

Oklahoma Osteopathic Association 107th Annual Convention
“Osteopathic Medicine:
The Dance of Life”
May 3-6
Cox Business Services
Convention Center
Oklahoma City, Ok


Friday, May 11
8:30 am - Senior Breakfast
Founders Hall

10 am - Rehearsal
Dunlap Auditorium

5 pm - Military Officers
Commissioning Ceremony

6:30 pm - Awards Banquet
at the DoubleTree Hotel at
Warren Place


Saturday, May 12
10 am - Tulsa Community
College Southeast Campus

Spring Fling CME
May 18-19

Emergency Medicine

June 8-10
Summer Classic
Golf Tournament

Monday, June 1
Oaks Country Club,
Tulsa, Ok


Office of
Alumni Affairs

Ryan N. Miller
Director of Alumni Affairs
Renee’ Motte-Williams
Administrative Assistant III
fax: 918.561.5876

Oklahoma State University
Center for Health Sciences
College of Osteopathic Medicine
1111 West 17th Street
Tulsa, OK 74107-1898

John J. Fernandes,
D.O., M.B.A.,

President & Dean
Marla M. Schaefer, M.S.
Ellen L. Stockton
Art Director
Peggy Billups
Graphic Designer
Terry R. Drenner
Martin P. Coleman, M.F.A.
Web Designer

The COMmunicator is a quarterly newsletter published by the OSU Center for Health Sciences,
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Alumni Association.



Joe Coffman, D.O.Hello Alumni Friends,

I hope everyone had a great holiday season; it is hard to believe spring is already here. We are entering a busy time for the alumni association as we prepare for our Spring Fling CME, graduation, and the OOA Convention.  I would like to acknowledge the recent exciting news of approved funding for improvements to the OSU Medical Center in Tulsa (see story inside). Many of us spent time as students and residents at this institution and can proudly anticipate its secured future in delivering quality medical education, research and healthcare.

We are expecting a great Spring Fling CME this year and hope to see you in attendance. It will be held May 18-19 at the DoubleTree Hotel Downtown Tulsa. An excellent slate of topics and speakers this year will entice you to register if you haven’t already done so. Feel free to contact the alumni office for further information.

The alumni affairs staff and I will be heading to the ACOFP Convention, sunscreen in hand, in Kissimmee, Fla., in a few weeks. We are planning an alumni gathering during the week, so for those attending the convention please come by for fellowship. Don’t forget to stop by the OSU-CHS booth in the exhibit hall. 

Thanks for your support and I hope to cross paths with many of you during the next several months.

Joe Coffman, D.O., ’95
President-Executive Board
OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine
Alumni Association

Summer classic
Golf Tournament

Make your plans now to be a part of the Summer Classic Golf Tournament on Monday, June 18 at the Oaks Country Club in Tulsa. Proceeds benefit the alumni association endowed scholarship program.

golf logo

For information or to register call
(918) 561-8226 or
(800) 677-1972

Medical Education

The Oklahoma State University Medical Authority has approved $10.6 million in phase I capital improvement projects for the OSU Medical Center. The projects, scheduled for completion by July 2008, include enhancements and/or expansions to residency program space, Labor & Delivery/NICU, and operating rooms, and the emergency department. Funding for the projects will come from the $40 million appropriation approved in 2006 by the Oklahoma state legislature.

John Fernandes, D.O., M.B.A., president and dean, said these improvement projects for residency programs will directly and positively impact the number and quality of physicians serving Oklahoma patients. “Our goal is to
make OSU Medical Center a world-class facility for medical residency. The phase I projects are an important step in that direction.”

Phase 1 Projects Include:
Residency Commons, Classroom, Sleep room
and Administration Space

Budget – $1 million

Labor & Delivery and NICU Renovation & Expansion
Budget – $3.5 million

Operating Room Build-Out & Expansion
Budget – $6 million

Emergency Department Flow Optimization
Budget – $100,000


Rural Health Reports
on State's Health

The OSU Center for Rural Health has released a study of the state’s rural health that provides a baseline assessment of health and health care of Oklahomans.

The State of the State’s Rural Health 2007 Edition presents a picture of the state of Oklahomans' health, including rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory disease. It also examines smoking, obesity, health insurance coverage and ratio of primary care physicians to population.

“Among other things, this report indicates that people in rural areas lack access to primary care to a greater extent than people in urban areas,” Val Schott, director of the rural health center, said. Adding that the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine plans to increase its entering medical class size to help meet the need for more primary care physicians, he said, “Increased access to health care in rural communities contributes to the economic base of those communities, which helps alleviate the problem of less economic opportunity in rural Oklahoma.”

View the report at

rural health

The State of the State’s Rural Health, an annual report, was presented in January by the OSU Center for Rural Health. Attending the event were Dan Hourigan, field representative for Senator Tom Coburn; William Pettit, D.O., OSU assistant dean for rural health; Kim Holland, state insurance commissioner, and Val Schott, director of the OSU Center for Rural Health.

AHEC Externship
Rural Physicians
Get To Do It All

In support of OSU’s mission of providing physicians for rural and under-served Oklahoma, medical students can find out what it is like to be a doctor in a small town. The OSU Oklahoma Area Health Education Center summer externship gives students an early rural experience in keeping with OSU’s mission. 

Toni Hart, program coordinator, matched students with OSU osteopathic medicine alumni physicians Tim Sanford, D.O., ’98, Okmulgee; H. Chayne Fisher, D.O., ’93, Seminole; Thomas Osborn, D.O., ’81, Holdenville; and Steven Ivan, D.O., ’02, Ada, for a month of rural medicine.

doctor and student
Tim Sanford, D.O., and student doctor Cara Johnston

Cara Johnston worked with Dr. Sanford in his family medicine practice, learning how healthcare is integrated into a rural community. “He asked me questions all the time and if I didn't know something, he had me read up on it. I had homework every night,” Johnston said.

Brenda Jeffrey worked with Dr. Fisher, a general surgeon, and Dr. Osborn, a family practice-geriatrics physician. Students Zachary Fowler and Sara Cook worked with Dr. Ivan at the Ada Family Medical Clinic. 

Fowler said he learned how patients’ symptoms and presentations guide a physician to proper treatments. “On my last day, I got to do histories and interview patients. I was able to use what I learned.” Cook’s rotation affirmed her decision to be a rural physician who sees a variety of patients. “I learned more about medications, about what to prescribe and why.”

The students learn quickly, Dr. Sanford says. “When they begin rotations you have to slow yourself down, but by the end of month you can see how much they have learned.” 

“I try to impart a practice philosophy, not drugs and dosages; they can learn that other places. I try to pass on the practice of preventive care, preventing problems down the road. It is nice to be able to pass along wisdom of things you learned the hard way.”

“The doctors asked me questions and helped me reason through things. I got to observe clinical medicine and it opened my eyes to its possibilities,” Jeffrey says. “In a rural practice, you get to do it all.”

Cassani Lecture

cassani lecture
Stephanie Bagley
(left) with Starla Cassani,
Melonie Ferry, MS I and John Cassani, D.O., ’80.

Bagley is with Oklahoma Life Share and was guest speaker for the annual Colby Cassani Foundation Endowed Lecture Series in November. The series informs students about the importance of organ donation and transplantation. It was founded by Dr. John and Starla Cassani after the accidental death of their son, Colby. Dr. Cassani and his wife donated Colby’s organs for transplantation.

Braving the Storm

gregory rogers portrait
Gregory Rogers, D.O., ’83
, and his wife, Judy, are applauded during the
State of the State address in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

When an ice storm pummeled McAlester, knocking out power and shutting down schools and businesses,  Gregory Rogers, D.O., ’83, and his staff provided medical care at his clinic, using lanterns, flashlights and a generator.

Gov. Brad Henry acknowledged Dr. Rogers’ efforts during his State of the State address in February. 

Rogers is emphatic about acknowledging everyone who pitched in. “This was just one good deed among thousands that took place,” he said. 

Spring Fling
& EMR Slated

The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Alumni Association will host its 21st annual Spring Fling Continuing Medical Education event May 18-19 at the DoubleTree Hotel Tulsa Downtown. The CME offers 17 Category 1A credit hours for all who attend both days. 
The OSU Office of Continuing Medical Education’s 10th annual Emergency
Medicine Review in the Rural and Suburban Setting will be held June 8-10 at the DoubleTree Hotel Tulsa Downtown. This program offers 25 hours of AOA Category 1A CME credits. This activity has been reviewed and is acceptable for
up to 25.25 Prescribed Credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

On-line registration available at:
Phone: (800) 274-1972, (918) 586-4615, (918) 586-4617 FAX: (918) 586-4618

Alumni Notes

Gretchen Black, D.O., ’00, a United States Air Force pediatrician, was part of a joint humanitarian mission aboard the USNS Mercy in May 2006, joining personnel from U. S. and foreign military, and non-governmental organizations. The group provided care to under-served populations. The tour included the southern Philippine islands, Indonesia, Bangladesh and ended in East Timor. Dr. Black participated in pre-screening for pediatric surgeries and urgent care patients in Bangladesh. While aboard the Mercy, she served as acting Pediatric Commander.

Charles Henley, D.O., M.P.H., ’77, vice chair and Founders and Associates chair for research in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, has been named a Bishop Fellow by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation for the 2007-08 academic year. The fellowship program prepares qualified senior family medicine faculty to successfully take on roles of greater responsibility in academic medicine. The program includes the use of self-development, mentorships with current deans, and formal educational programs.       

In Memoriam

Sam G. Cornelius, D.O., age 67, of Midwest City, Okla., passed away Jan. 16.  He was a 1975 graduate of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and practiced in Oklahoma for many years.

Michael Wayne Norwood D.O., ’82, age 51, of Van Buren, Ark. passed away Dec. 26, 2006.