Past Alumni Award Recipients
Robert J. Dimeff (’85)
Sports medicine specialist Robert J. Dimeff, M.D., has worked with all levels of athletes, from amateur to professional and international. The director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Dr. Dimeff currently serves as team physician for the NHL Dallas Stars hockey team, the University of Texas at Dallas athletic department, and the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy. He has previously served as team physician for professional sports teams in Cleveland including the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
‘’Of his many accomplishments, Dr. Dimeff’s greatest may be his education of future health care professionals through teaching, lectures, writing and continuing education programs,’’ said alumni board member Karin Riggs, M.D. (’88). He joined UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2009 after a distinguished nearly 20-year career at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where he mentored the next generation of sports medicine physicians and surgeons as the director of the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship. At UT Southwestern, he is a professor of orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, and family & community medicine. A Charter Member and Past President of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine (AMSSM), Dr. Dimeff’s research interests include a wide range of sports injury treatment and prevention programs.
“A passion for serving students through every area of career advising for both medicine and pharmacy students has motivated Anita Pokorny to make a positive impact on NEOMED students for more than 25 years,” said Dawn Hubbard, M.D. (’95).
As director of NEOMED’s Career Center, Pokorny prepares students to apply for residency programs and expertly leads them in the job-seeking process. Under her direction, NEOMED’s Career Services program was recognized by the Association of the American Medical Colleges (AAMC) with the 2014 Careers in Medicine (CiM) Excellence in Medical Student Career Advising Program Award acknowledging creativity, innovation and leadership.
In addition to her advising and administrative duties, Pokorny serves as an assistant professor in Family and Community Medicine. She teaches courses in Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine, Human Values in Medicine and the Capstone/Epilogue for the College of Medicine. Pokorny also teaches in the Pharmacy Patient Community Experience course for the College of Pharmacy. Beloved by students and inspiring to her colleagues, she has received more than a dozen Outstanding Service Awards from classes of the College of Medicine, as well as the Olson Blair Award for Administrative Excellence.
John Young-Ling Chiang, Ph.D.
Internationally known for his research in the mechanism and regulation of bile acid and cholesterol metabolism in diabetes, obesity and liver diseases, Dr. Chiang has been a National Institutes of Health-funded investigator for more than 30 years and has received the NIH MERIT award. He is a professor of biochemistry and molecular pathology in the Department of Integrative Medical Sciences at NEOMED.
Dr. Chiang has been actively involved in the development of the Molecular Pathology course and laboratory, and has taught medicine and pharmacy classes since 1979. He has served as dissertation or thesis director for 15 students and as postdoctoral mentor for 14 researchers. His recruitment and guidance of junior faculty at NEOMED has made the University a leader in the field of liver disease. In 2013, following more than 35 years of service to medical education and research at NEOMED, Dr. Chiang was named a Distinguished University Professor—the first faculty member at the University to be so honored.
Dr. Chiang’s distinguished scholarship includes extensive publication of original articles and book chapters, service on numerous editorial boards, and involvement in advisory and grant review panels. “For his sustained excellence and for his professional accolades and contributions to research and education, the Alumni Association Board of Directors enthusiastically presents Dr. Chiang with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award,’’ said alumni board member Cindy Zelis, M.D. (’96).
Andrew Schoenfeld, M.D., M.Sc. (’03)
An assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and director of spine surgical research, Andrew Schoenfeld, M.D., M.Sc. (’03) is also a core faculty member at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. While serving four years in active duty with the United States Army, Dr. Schoenfeld deployed to Afghanistan with the 115th Combat Support Hospital. Concurrently, he worked as the director of orthopaedic research for the William Beaumont Army Medical Center/Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Orthopaedic Residency Program and was the clinical director of the Medical Evaluation Board for Fort Bliss, Texas. Dr. Schoenfeld earned the Meritorious Service Medal, the Order of the Spur and a Bronze Star Medal for his military service. Following military service, Dr. Schoenfeld served as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Schoenfeld was one of the first individuals to systematically describe the scope of combat-related spinal injuries among American military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. His research interests also include racial-, ethnic- and gender-based disparities in musculoskeletal healthcare, as well as the impact of universal health insurance on healthcare disparities.
“Dr. Schoenfeld has been an amazing leader in research in the area of orthopedics. For this and his admirable military service, we are honored to award him the Distinguished Alumni Award.”
– Susan M. Ray, M.D., F.A.C.P. (’84), Alumni Awards Committee Member
Janice Spalding, M.D. (’87)
A product of Northeast Ohio, Janice Spalding, M.D. (’87) grew up in Stark County and was a first-generation college student who earned a medical degree as a mother of two. In addition to running a family medicine practice, she has devoted her considerable skills to curriculum innovation; teaching; and student advocacy, mentoring and advising. Dr. Spalding has served as interim chair of the Department of Family Medicine and as an invaluable participant in such initiatives as MEDCAMP, the Summer Practicum, the Family Medicine Interest Group and the Human Values in Medicine program. This inspiring teacher has been honored many times as doctoral hood presenter and Outstanding Clinical Teacher.
Dr. Spalding’s greatest passion is for working to eliminate disparities in health care for underserved populations. She was instrumental in developing the underserved track at Cleveland State University and contributed to the strategic planning of curriculum, faculty and site development initiatives to promote the enrollment and matriculation of primary care physicians in underserved urban areas. Following up on that success, Dr. Spalding is now involved in developing a new track for students to serve in rural areas of high need.
“Dr. Spalding has dedicated herself to educating and serving NEOMED students for over 2 decades in varying capacities. For this tireless commitment to NEOMED’s mission we are proud to award her the Distinguished Service Award.”
– Paula V. Hendryx, M.D. (‘87), Alumni Awards Committee Member
Kim Stearns, M.D. (’85)
Kim L. Stearns, M.D. (’85) serves with distinction as the team physician for the Cleveland Indians and was instrumental in the success of our first Alumni Spring Training Trip to Phoenix and Goodyear, Arizona in March 2016. The idea was to create a unique opportunity for alumni to have special access to the Indians, and it was enormously successful. Dr. Stearns connected us with the manager of Arizona operations, who personally provided the group with access far beyond the usual. Due to Dr. Stearns’ affiliation, members of the alumni group stood on the field for batting practice, just feet away from some of the Cleveland Indians’ most talented players. Every attendee said they had a phenomenal experience. None of this would have been possible without Dr. Stearns, who delivered on all that he promised and helped significantly to build alumni ties.
Dr. Stearns is an orthopaedic surgeon and has been employed by the Cleveland Clinic since 2006. Specializing in sports medicine and adult reconstruction, he practices at Lutheran Hospital, Strongsville Family Health Center and Middleburg Heights Orthopaedics. In addition to his role as team orthopaedic surgeon for the Cleveland Indians, he serves as head team physician for the Lake County Captains. Dr. Stearns also is a consultant for the Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment, Cleveland Playhouse, Live Nation Entertainment and the Rockettes. He is a clinical assistant professor of anatomy at NEOMED, as well as an assistant professor of surgery at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.
Dr. Stearns has said that he always knew he wanted to be an orthopaedic surgeon. An athlete growing up, he developed an insider’s view of the career of an orthopaedic surgeon from having his own injuries treated.
“Dr. Stearns’ efforts helped us provide a fun and unique experience for our alumni and their families. This honor is a token of appreciation of his support for the mission of the NEOMED Alumni Association.”
– Craig S. Eynon M.Ed, Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving
Robert Liebelt, M.D., Ph.D.
Robert Liebelt, M.D., Ph.D. is one of the two visionaries who gave birth to our institution. Stories of his ability to bring together groups in his role as charter dean of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, serving alongside provost Stanley Olson, are legendary. Among his many appointments, Dr. Liebelt served NEOUCOM in its early years as professor of anatomy; provost and dean; and associate dean for clinical sciences; as well as holding leadership positions as director of medical education at St. Thomas Hospital and associate director of medical education at Summa Health. At the age of 89, he still lectures at St. Thomas and Akron City Hospitals on alcoholism, an area in which he served our community for nearly two decades as Chief of Addiction Medicine at the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADM) Board.
A modest man and committed clinician, Dr. Liebelt became Akron’s second Dr. Bob (the first being the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous). With his “chalk talks,” he helped students appreciate addiction as a disease and addicts as people. Bob is also notably open to new ideas. This laboratory scientist developed well-informed interests in the role of alternative, complementary approaches to wellness, including the use of bee products and acupuncture. Known as an anatomist, researcher, medical administrator and addiction specialist, Robert Liebelt has achieved success in all of these endeavors and has earned widespread affection for his generous mentorship.
“Dr. Liebelt has a long and storied history with Northeast Ohio Medical University and medical education in Northeast Ohio at large. His commitment to NEOMED over his lifetime has impacted the lives of nearly all of our alumni and he continues to be actively engaged in the institution.”
– Mark D. Arredondo, M.D. (‘07), Alumni Awards Committee Member
Peter Devito, M.D. (’91)
Peter DeVito, M.D. (’91) is an associate professor of surgery at Northeast Ohio Medical University. Dr. DeVito serves as a Phase I Selection/Interview Admissions Committee member for both NEOMED and Youngstown State University. He is also chairman of the Program Directors Advisory Committee and the Residency Selection Committee. Dr. DeVito has displayed tremendous leadership by recruiting several NEOMED graduates to give back to the University by serving on the Admissions Committee.
Dr. DeVito has been in the private practice of general surgery in Youngstown for 19 years. He has served as the president of staff at Northside Medical Center during a tumultuous time in which the hospital system went through five CEOs in just six years. His steady leadership was vital to the turnaround of Northside, which helped save more than 3,000 jobs in the Youngstown/Warren area.
In addition to his work on the admissions committees, Dr. DeVito also volunteers at NEOMED as the house clinic preceptor and is involved with free clinics in Youngstown, where he is known to never turn away a patient. Dr. Devito is the team physician for Poland Seminary High School athletics and he serves on numerous hospital boards and committees, including the Southwoods Surgical Hospital, which has been recognized as the top hospital in Ohio and ranked third in the U.S. by USA Today.
After receiving a bachelor of combined science at YSU, Dr. Devito went on to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree at NEOMED and completed his general surgery residency at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown as chief resident.
“Dr. Devito is a well-respected and effective educator in addition to his private practice,” said Dawn Hubbard, M.D. (’95), chair of the Alumni Awards Committee. “He has been instrumental in the turnaround of Northside and has gone to great lengths in building a mutually beneficial relationship with NEOMED. In addition, he is a caring family man who serves in a number of volunteer roles to improve his community. We are very honored to name Dr. Devito as the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.”
Joseph Zarconi, M.D. (’81)
Joseph Zarconi, M.D. (’81) is the associate dean for clinical education and a professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University. In addition to his esteemed teaching career, Dr. Zarconi has left a tremendous impact on NEOMED spanning more than two decades by serving on 22 committees dating back to 1992, oftentimes as the chairman. Currently, he is the co-course director of the Clinical Epilogue and Capstone Course. Dr. Zarconi also serves on the Curriculum Management and Assessment Committee and as the module coordinator for the Reflections on Doctoring course. As the faculty chair for the Writer’s Guild, Dr. Zarconi mentors NEOMED students and further inspires them to get engaged in the annual William Carlos Williams poetry competition, which is open to medicine students throughout the U.S.
Dr. Zarconi’s excellent rapport with students has helped him to receive an extensive list of awards and honors, including the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award; the ACGME Parker J. Palmer Courage to Lead Award; the Liebelt-Wheeler Award for Faculty Excellence; and induction into NEOMED’s Master Teachers Guild. From Commencement keynote and White Coat Ceremony to Commencement grand marshall and oath reader, he has been named speaker at a variety of NEOMED events throughout the years. He also regularly volunteers his time to treat patients at the Open M Free Clinic in Akron, Ohio.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in biology from Youngstown State University, Dr. Zarconi earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from NEOMED. He completed his internal medicine residency at Akron Children’s Hospital, where he served as chief resident.
Dr. Zarconi and his wife, Deborah, have two sons, Christopher and Michael.
“Dr. Zarconi has distinguished himself at NEOMED with his service and teaching, including developing and running the ‘Reflective Practice’ HVM class alongside Dr. Delese Wear,” said Susan M. Ray, M.D., FACP, (’84), co-chair of nephrology and clinical professor of internal medicine at NEOMED. “He has spent years educating NEOMED students in both nephrology and how to be caring, honorable physicians. He loves this institution, believes in its mission, and has spent his career making NEOMED a better place for education. He embodies what most of us aspire to be in our careers.”
Philip King, Pharm.D. (’13)
Philip King, Pharm. D. (’13), is a recent graduate of the Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy. Dr. King matched with The University of Toledo Medical Center for his PGY-1 residency in pharmacy practice, where he completed a longitudinal teaching certificate program. During his first year of residency, he also served as a member-at-large for the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) National Resident Advisory Committee. Currently, Dr. King also served at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital and Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences as a PGY-2 internal medicine resident. In August 2015, he returned to NEOMED as a faculty member in the College of Pharmacy and began practice as a clinical lead pharmacist in stroke and cardiovascular at Summa Health System.
Dr. King has remained actively engaged at his alma mater through the Alumni Association since graduation. He stays up-to-date on current alumni happenings by actively participating in the organization’s social media channels. He also participated as a panelist during the 40th Anniversary Reunion Weekend NEOMED 101 Seminar, attended several reunion events, and helped recruit fellow classmates to attend. A great representative for early alumni engagement, Dr. King was featured as one of NEOMED’s “5 Under 5” alumni spotlights during Philanthropy Week 2015 – a week designed to educate current NEOMED students about opportunities to remain engaged with their alma mater upon graduation.
“Dr. King demonstrates how, even as recent graduates, alumni can participate and stay connected to their alma mater,” said Mark Arredondo, M.D. (’07), Alumni Association Awards Committee member. “His passion to be involved through social media, attending events and serving as a role model for current NEOMED students, even though he lives miles away, is what the Alumni Association is all about.”
“Giving back to your alma mater is essential,” said Dr. King. “Whether it is through acts of service or through financial giving, the future of NEOMED depends on support from alumni. Giving back is more than a way to say ‘thank you’ to a University that has genuinely invested in your future.”
For his dedication to the mission and values of the Alumni Association and the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Awards Committee is pleased to present Dr. King with the 2015 Alumni Association Appreciation Award.
Mark Savickas, Ph.D.
Dr. Mark Savickas has been an inspiring figure to Northeast Ohio Medical University students, spanning back to the early days of the University. He began his career at NEOMED in 1977 as an assistant professor of behavioral sciences, before being promoted to associate professor in 1983. Beginning in 1984, Dr. Savickas spent 25 years as the chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department. Later in his career, he served as a professor of family and community medicine. Dr. Savickas’ distinguished academic career also includes stints as a visiting professor in Portugal, Belgium, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Dr. Savickas has served as lead editor or as a member of the editorial board for 22 scholarly journals that span the globe. He has been named as “fellow” in many professional academic associations and has received several prestigious awards that include Distinguished Achievement Award by the Society for Vocational Research and the Leona Tyler Award for Distinguished Contributions to Counseling Psychology. Dr. Savickas was also presented the International Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Psychological Association and was named to the Ohio Psychological Association’s Hall of History for contributions to vocational psychology.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in school psychology from John Carroll University, Dr. Savickas earned his Ph.D. in guidance and counseling at Kent State University.
“Dr. Savickas’ tenure as a faculty member and contributions in various roles have impacted the lives of many NEOMED graduates,” said Paula Hendryx, M.D. (’87), Alumni Association Awards Committee member. “His dedication to instruction and service to NEOMED is remarkable and is well-deserving of this lifetime achievement honor.”
Michael Miladore, M.D. (’82)
Dr. Michael Miladore is an associate professor of clinical orthpaedics surgery at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He serves as a preceptor for third- and fourth-year College of Medicine students, an instructor in the anatomy lab, a member of the admissions committee, a member of the Orthopaedic Interest Group, and he was the first alumnus to serve on the University’s Board of Trustees.
His teaching and instruction also extend to his current roles as adjunct clinical assistance professor of surgery/orthopaedics at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and as a preceptor for the physician assistance program at the University of Mount Union.
Dr. Miladore has held numerous affi liations with Youngstown-area health systems, including Northside Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Health Center and Surgical Hospitals of Southwoods, and he continues to serve on the Board of Directors for ValleyCare Health Systems of Northside Medical Center. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Forum Health-Western Reserve Care System and the Surgical Hospitals of Southwoods, and as president of medical staff for Forum Health-Northside Medical Center.
His professional service to Youngstown State University includes his current position on the President’s Council and the Penguin Club Board of Directors, as well as his role as team physician for the Youngstown State University Department of Athletics from 1989 to 2011.
Dr. Miladore is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an active member of the Ohio Orthopaedic Society, and he has served on advisory committees for the Ohio State Medical Association and the Choffin Career and Technical Center for Adult Health Professions.
Dr. Miladore received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo where he served as chief resident.
He and his wife, Dianne Bitonte Miladore, M.D. (‘81) have three sons, Michael Miladore, M.D. (‘10), Nicholas Miladore, M.D. (‘12), and Joseph Miladore, fourth-year student in the College of Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University.
Thomas Boniface, M.D. (’83)
Dr. Thomas Boniface is clinical professor and chair of orthopedic surgery at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He holds numerous leadership and instruction roles at the University, teaching as part of the third-year medicine clerkship, clinical prologue/bootcamp and the longitudinal doctoring course.
Dr. Boniface also holds numerous committee and advisory appointments at the University, including his service as an admissions committee member and advisor of the Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group.
In addition to his academic leadership, Dr. Boniface has operated a private practice, Boniface Orthopaedics Inc., in Boardman, Ohio, since 1988, and he has served as vice chair of the Department of Surgery at St. Elizabeth’ Hospital in Boardman since 2010. He served as site director for the St. Joseph’s Hospital Orthopedic Surgery Residency from 2005-2010, was section chief of orthopaedics at St. Elizabeth Health Center from 1995-2010 and was medical director of the Orthopaedic Surgery Center at Beeghly Medical Park in Youngstown, Ohio, from 2003-2011.
Dr. Boniface is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Ohio State Medical Society, the Mahoning County Medical Society and the Society for Patient Centered Orthopaedics, and he has received numerous faculty and preceptor awards for his service to the profession.
Dr. Boniface received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Mount Caramel Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, where he served as chief resident. He completed additional training in pediatric orthopaedics at Columbus Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Boniface and his wife, Elisabeth Young, M.D. (‘85), have four children.
Lois Margaret Nora, M.D., J.D., M.B.A.
Dr. Lois Margaret Nora is president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). ABMS is a not-for-profit organization that supports its 24 medical specialty Member Boards in developing and implementing educational and professional standards to certify physician specialists and encourage lifelong learning and assessment.
Prior to joining ABMS in 2012, Dr. Nora served as interim president and dean of The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, Pa., one of the nation’s newest medical schools. From 2002-2010, she served as president and dean of the College of Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University. During Dr. Nora’s tenure, institutional accomplishments included the founding of a College of Pharmacy and College of Graduate Studies; a founding partnership in the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron; and selection as one of Ohio’s best workplaces, among others.
Previously, Dr. Nora served as associate dean of academic affairs and administration and professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and assistant dean and assistant professor of neurology at Rush Medical College in Chicago.
Dr. Nora’s scholarly work focuses on issues in medical education, particularly the student environment, and issues at the intersection of law and medicine. Her honors include the American Medical Women’s Association President’s Recognition Award, the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Educational Affairs Merrel Flair Award in Medical Education, The Phillips Medal of Public Service from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the 2010 Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy Dean’s Leadership Award, among others.
Dr. Nora received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Rush Medical College, a Juris Doctorate degree and certifi cate in clinical medical ethics from the University of Chicago and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics.
She is board certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is participating in Maintenance of Certification.
George Litman, M.D.
Dr. George Litman is professor and chair of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He has held numerous leadership roles at the University, having served as the section head of cardiology and associate dean for clinical affairs.
Dr. Litman joined Akron General Medical Center in 1972, founding the institution’s cardiology program and serving as the chief of cardiology until 2008. He served in multiple leadership roles at Akron General, including chair of the Department of Medical Education, chair of the Cardiology/Cardiovascular Surgery Committee, chair of the Research Review Board, among others. In 2002 he became medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Akron General, and he continues to serve as chair of Heart and Vascular Center Credentialing Committee, chair of the Heart and Vascular Center Governance Committee and chair of the Congestive Heart Failure Readmission Committee. He also serves on the Akron General Medical Center Board of Trustees.
During his clinical practice Dr. Litman has been active in clinical research with interests in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure.
Dr. Litman received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Boston University School of Medicine, completed his internal medicine residency at University Hospital in Boston and the Boston Veteran’s Affairs Hospital, and completed a fellowship in cardiology at Emory University.
He is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, and he is active in numerous professional associations as a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, fellow of the American College of Physicians, fellow of the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Intervention, and board of trustee member of the Akron Area Chapter of the American Heart Association.
Dr. Litman and his wife, Judy, have four children and four grandchildren.
Prior to 2014
- 2013: Theresa Gillis, M.D. (’89)
- 2012: Brian Williams, M.D., M.B.A. (’91)
- 2011: John P. Crow, M.D. (’85)
- 2010: Richard W. Hertle, M.D. (’84)
- 2009: Raymond P. Onders, M.D. (’88)
- 2008: Gary Gorby, M.D. (’83)
- 2007: Barry Steinberg, Ph. D., M.D., D.D.S (’91)
- 2006: Serpil Erzurum, M.D. (’83)
- 2005: Mary Jane Barchman, M.D. (’85)
- 2004: Crystal Mackall, M.D. (’84)
- 2003: John Bissler, M.D. (’85)
- 2002: Gary Clayman, M.D. (’86)
- 2001: Eric D. Kodish, M.D. (’86)
- 2000: Stephanie Zaza, M.D. (’90)
- 1999: Philip Stepaniak, M.D. (’83)
- 1998: Patrick G. Gallagher, M.D. (’85)