2014 Lifetime Achievement Award

October 15, 2014

Michael Italo Opipari, DO, considered by many as the father of Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institutions (OPTI), has spent more than four decades not only practicing and teaching osteopathic medicine, but pioneering systems and standards for osteopathic medical residents that will continue to influence generations of osteopathic physicians for years to come.  

Serving for 20 years as the chair of the Council on Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training for the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and as an advisor for the AOA’s Council on OPTIs for eight years, Dr. Opipari continues to influence the future of the profession as a member of the AOA/ACGME Joint Education Committee and as an advisor on the Council he formerly chaired.

The OPTI, concept was the vision of Dr. Opipari he introduced to the AOA Board of Trustees in the late 80s, but it wasn’t until the late 90s that osteopathic residency programs had to be incorporated into an OPTI. He felt strongly that hospitals and colleges could work together and not compete--an idea that took time for acceptance--but now is one that differentiates, and even strengthens the profession by offering high quality, cost efficient training.

In addition to his profound contributions to postdoctoral training, he has held numerous leadership positions including president of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI) and chairman, governing board of the statewide campus system of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM).  

Born in Detroit in 1937 to Italian immigrants who stressed the value of education and hard work, Dr. Opipari graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1959 and went on to the Chicago College of Osteopathy, where he received his osteopathic medical degree in 1964.  He completed his internship and residency at Detroit Osteopathic Medical Hospital, followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine—where he also taught for a year.

Dr. Opipari spent the next 40 years teaching at MSUCOM. He also served in a variety of educational and administrative positions with the Detroit Osteopathic Hospital Corporation and the Henry Ford Health System.  He has authored and co-authored nearly three dozen scholarly publications, abstracts and book chapters.  
Board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology, Dr. Opipari practiced medical oncology for 26 years and is a Master Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (FACOI), a Fellow in the Academy of Osteopathic Directors of Medical Education and an Honorary Fellow in the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.  

Dr. Opipari has been a recipient of numerous awards for distinguished service, and even had one established in his name in 2002 by MSUCOM.  He has received the Great Pioneers in Osteopathic Medicine Medal and two Presidential Citations from the American Osteopathic Association and a Phillips Medal of Public Service from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Opipari’s pioneering work and perseverance to establish the OPTI system illustrates how one person--a distinguished physician, educator and leader--can truly make a difference. The AOF is proud to recognize Michael Italo Opipari, DO, MACOI, FAODME, FACOS (Hon.) with its highest honor, the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Michael I. Opipari, DO