2017 W. Douglas Ward, PhD, Educator of the Year Award

October 16, 2017

The Educator of the Year designation recognizes osteopathic teachers who display not only the highest standards of excellence, but also an unwavering dedication to the tenets of osteopathic medicine and a true passion for passing those tenets on to future generations of DOs. Richard Terry, DO, embodies these highest of ideals with every student and resident he teaches. 

He so strongly believes in maintaining osteopathic education throughout residency that he established an OMM department at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center, where he serves as Director of Medical Education. In this role, he is intimately involved in the teaching of the osteopathic philosophy to students and graduate physicians. "The osteopathic approach emphasizes the holistic approach to our patients. Integrating manipulative medicine into the standard physician approach improves patients' well being and produces a doctor that is more-well rounded," he says. 

As an educator, Dr. Terry spends as much time listening as he does talking - a factor crucial to both his success and the successes of his students. "There is nothing more important than listening to your patients before forming judgment. So many of a patient's complaints aren't always medical, and it's crucial to teach students to carefully listen before jumping to a conclusion," he explains. 

John Kopko, DO, who trained under him, describes Dr. Terry’s approach to medical education as "rooted in a sense of service to both his community and his pupils. Despite the fact that his time is at a premium, our education is a priority second only to the health of his patients."

From a rural area, Dr. Terry was exposed to osteopathic medicine through his grandmother's DO, a primary care doctor whose holistic, "cradle to grave" practice appealed to him. Once he decided to pursue a health career, osteopathic medicine was always his first choice. Dr. Terry earned his degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1988 and completed a family medicine residency at the University of Rochester, where he was the first DO accepted into their program. Dr Terry also completed an MBA in Healthcare Management at the University of Massachusetts. 

While he began his career in rural practice, he soon found he wanted to do more. "I love what I do, and I wanted to be able to teach and influence others to become not just family physicians, but osteopathic family physicians," he recalls. So he began volunteering to teach at a residency about 60 miles away, and then became part-time faculty, then program director and DME.

Now an Assistant Dean of Regional Clinical Education at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)and the Chief Academic Officer of the Lake Erie Consortium for Osteopathic Medical Training, Dr. Terry's primary role includes developing regional campuses and training sites that combine undergraduate medical education with GME training. Under his leadership, Arnot Health's OGME Department that now trains over 100 LECOM students 110 osteopathic residents. Dr Terry has developed several smaller training sites with UME and GME in rural New York.  "There's definitely an advantage to the osteopathic training model. We are so receptive to alternative and innovative training models, and that shows in the physicians we produce," he says.

Dr. Terry's colleagues describe him as a warm, knowledgeable, compassionate physician cherished by his patients and admired by colleagues. "Dr. Terry is a visionary, and his dedication to GME and his involvement with osteopathic medicine is unprecedented, says Amit Sharma, DO, Family Medicine Chief Resident at Dr. Terry's program. 

For all of these reasons, the AOF is proud to honor Dr. Richard Terry with the 2017 W. Douglas Ward, PhD Educator of the Year Award. 

Richard Terry, DO