Leadership, Excellence, Achievement, Dedication

Those four words describe Karen J. Nichols, DO. As the first female president in the history of the American Osteopathic Association, and one of only two female physicians on a medical staff of 185, Dr. Nichols was a born leader – one willing to take chances and travel in unchartered territory.

In 2011, to commemorate her exemplary leadership, the American Osteopathic Foundation created an award in Dr. Nichols’ name – The Nichols LEAD Scholar Award – which was endowed by friends and family. This award provides Osteopathic medical students with funding to support their education in Osteopathic medical schools and rewards excellence in the classroom and leadership in their respective communities. The goal of this fund is to take a purposeful approach to leadership and encourage women and men to get the training needed to lead.

In 2015, Dr. Nichols and her husband, James Nichols, made the decision to provide for the AOF in their estate. “As we planned for the future and discussed our will with our attorney and estate planner, it was an easy choice to include the AOF. I owe everything to the profession. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t an Osteopathic physician. How could I not pay it forward?” said Dr. Nichols.

Dr. Nichols encourages everyone who has benefitted from the AOF to consider including the Foundation in their estate plans. “It’s so simple to do and I feel good about helping the future of Osteopathic medicine,” said Dr. Nichols.