2017 AOA Presidential Memorial Leadership Award Winner

October 12, 2017

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) established the Presidential Memorial Leadership Award with the AOF to honor the legacy of AOA Past Presidents and recognize current osteopathic medical students making great strides toward becoming one of the top student leaders. Student Doctor Kirby was nominated for this award by AOA Past President Norman E. Vinn, DO and Jan Wilcox, DO, VCOM Dean, who calls her "one of those students who can always be counted on for enthusiastic support of and wholehearted involvement in a multitude of osteopathic endeavors." 

Kirby's leadership experience speaks volumes. She has served as the Student Osteopathic Medical Association's (SOMA) national public relations director since April 2016 and is the 2017 SOMA Foundation national chairperson. As national liaison officer for SOMA's VCOM-Virginia chapter, she oversaw fundraising and efforts to raise osteopathic awareness in the community. "Serving as national liaison for SOMA helped me find my place in medicine, find myself, and provided opportunities for my strengths in medicine to really flourish," she says. 

As an active member of many organizations, including the SOAP Notes A Capella singing group, Kirby values staying connected with her colleagues. She faithfully attends her national and regional meetings, and somehow finds time to do more. "I always aspire to be involved either by being one of the first to volunteer or by leading. It's my way of making the road easier for the next person, since so many have paved the way for me."


Kirby graduated summa cum laude from Middle Tennessee State University in 2012 before enrolling in Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her many awards include the SOMA Foundation’s Humanism in Medicine scholarship sponsored by Thieme Medical Publishers for her embodiment of the osteopathic philosophy and the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents' Student Doctor of the Year Award- VCOM-Virginia. 

Student Doctor Kirby participated on two medical mission trips in Central America, and is dedicated to community engagement and volunteer opportunities. She has expanded awareness of osteopathic medicine in many ways from teaching children at local elementary schools to providing free OMT screenings for Virginia Tech undergraduate students. In her words, "This award is personal for me--another reminder of the family atmosphere of the osteopathic profession. I'm so thankful for what the AOF does every year to give scholarships to students. It means a lot to know that hard work and dedication to what you enjoy can pay off in ways you could never imagine."

For her outstanding academic achievements and leadership, the American Osteopathic Foundation is please to award Katherine D. Kirby, OMS IV, with the 2017 AOA Presidential Memorial Leadership Award. 

Katherine Dale Kirby, VCOM - Virginia