Each year, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians presents the Friend of Family Medicine Award “to an elected official, member of the media (individual or organization), or community individual who has worked on, been involved with, or reported on issues related to family medicine in Ohio.”
The 2021 Friend of Family Medicine is Mike Appleman, M.A. Ed, instructor and director of primary care education at Northeast Ohio Medical University. Appleman has been a part of the NEOMED community since 2015.
In a letter nominating Appleman for the OAFP award, College of Medicine students called their professor “a consummate professional” who “goes above and beyond our expectations to support all aspects of family medicine for students, physicians, and the public.”
Appleman holds multiple leadership roles in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He is associate director of NEOMED’s Integrated Pathway programs: Rural Medical Education Pathway, Social Justice Pathway, and the Urban Primary Care Pathway. The Pathways are student-centered learning communities within the College of Medicine, established to help students learn how to serve and advocate for diverse and underserved populations.
In his teaching and service roles, Appleman is course co-director for two courses, an M2 Primary Care Delivery Systems course and an M4 Social Determinants of Health course. He also teaches in the longitudinal Patient, Physician and Community course and its Reflective Practice component. He also serves as faculty advisor for several student interest groups: Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG), Rural Medicine Interest Group (RMIG), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), and OutReach, an arm of the Student-Run Free Clinic at NEOMED. He also serves as a voting member on the Clinical Curriculum Subcommittee and Curriculum Committee.
As an active contributor in admissions and on the Diversity Council, Appleman is passionate about diversity and inclusion in higher education and the medical profession.
In addition, Appleman recently helped start the Accelerated Family Medicine Track (AFMT) and collaborated on the Health Resources and Services (HRSA) Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) grant program. The AFMT allows selected students to complete College of Medicine requirements in three calendar years, then enter a family medicine residency at a NEOMED-affiliated hospital after graduation. The SDS program is a scholarship program to award Underrepresented Minorities (URM) and socioeconomically disadvantaged students with tuition dollars. The SDS program is for students going into primary care in underserved areas.
OAFP Resident Member AuBree LaForce, M.D. (’21) wrote, “From the beginning to the end, he has been a positive force that has led not only me, but the entire cohort of RMED students.”
Asked about the recognition, Appleman said, “I am honored to receive the award. I love working with our students. They face many challenges throughout medical school, and I endeavor to be a positive force in their lives for their own personal and professional development, but also in how they approach their future patients. I strongly believe we need more family medicine and primary care physicians to address health disparities that plague our nation, and NEOMED is well-situated to achieve that aim.”