2016 W. Douglas Ward, PhD, Educator of the Year Award

September 29, 2016

Tyler Cymet, DO, entered the profession purposefully, choosing osteopathic medicine for its distinctive approach to health care. After graduating from Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1988, he completed an internal medicine residency at Yale University School of Medicine and earned a Masters of Education in Health Professions at Johns Hopkins School of Education.

During his 16 years on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine teaching staff, Dr. Cymet. mentored many students, fostering their research projects and professional development. Research has always been critical to Dr. Cymet’s work, and he passes this curiosity and dedication on to students.  During his tenure as DOCARE International president, he challenged the organization to increase student opportunities. Now, about 300 students each year rotate at DOCARE clinics, providing care for some of the world’s most underserved communities. 

Dr. Cymet currently works as Chief of Clinical Education at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), where he helped standardize end-of-rotation assessments for the colleges of osteopathic medicine. He also works closely with the U.S. Armed Forces to increase the number of military scholarships awarded to DOs and share the osteopathic philosophy with military recruits and hospitals around the world. 


Alesia Wagner, DO was Regional Medical Director for US Healthworks Medical Group of California, overseeing 35 occupational medical centers. This challenging role required her to meet with employers and insurers to get them to understand workers’ prognoses and treatments—and she was so good at it, others asked her to lead their meetings, too. It was all education, even though she didn’t think about it that way at the time. “It was my forte, and I didn’t even know it,” she says.  

She started her career as an educator when Touro California was seeking clinic sites for students to train. Although she lived in Las Vegas, she began taking students, creating new pathways for osteopathic education where none previously existed. As Dr. Wagner developed the core residency program and electives at Lake Mead Hospital, she rose to Director Medical Education and Family Medicine Residency Director, leading what became one of the school’s biggest training sites.  


When she returned to academia in 2013, Dr. Wagner in essence became a student, studying how to be a good teacher. “I wanted to improve my teaching skills so I deliver the best product to my students.” A true proponent of lifelong learning, she completed the Costin Scholars Program for Osteopathic Educators in September 2015. She received her DO degree from the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1983.

Her true impact is evident in the students who learn, train and grow under her guidance.  Dr. Wagner encourages students to actively participate in leadership roles within the profession. “Since I helped secure a student seat on the OPSC board, I always try to make the time to attend board meetings with the student representatives, even though I have rotated off the board. I think being there, standing behind them, gives them more confidence to speak up and make their opinions heard.” Her own notable leadership roles include OPSC president and president of the ACOFP California chapter.

“In an era where the respect and empathy for patients seems to get drummed out of physicians during their years of training, Dr. Wagner excels at instilling and perpetuating these values in our students,” praises Patricia Rehfield, DO, MPH, Chair of the TUCOM Primary Care Department. 

Tyler Cymet, DO
Alesia Wagner, DO