2018 AOF Burnett Osteopathic Student Researcher Award

October 8, 2018

The American Osteopathic Foundation’s Burnett Osteopathic Student Researcher award recognizes an osteopathic medical student for his or her true dedication to osteopathic-oriented research.

Heather Johnston, a fourth-year medical student at the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM), sees research and clinical evidence as vital to the future of osteopathic medicine. “Increasing the database of osteopathic research is key to providing scientific evidence that osteopathic techniques can result in beneficial changes for our patients in a multitude of circumstances,” she says.

The study that earned Student Doctor Johnston this award examined the clinical effect of OMT in treating anxiety as well as the ability of OMT to balance the autonomic nervous system. As the lead student researcher, Johnston designed and performed research protocol as well as obtained funding and approval for the project. 


“She has consistently demonstrated excellent leadership skills working with our junior scholars. [She] singlehandedly rescued a dormant research project deemed by others too tough to tackle and has seen it through to its completion successfully,” says David Hume, DO, and Assistant Professor at AZCOM. 

In 2016, she received AZCOM’s prestigious Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Teaching & Research Scholarship, which incorporates teaching, research, curriculum development, and additional training in osteopathic medicine through the addition of a fifth year to medical school. To date, she has one manuscript published and one accepted for publication on another clinical topic.

“Being acknowledged for my research work to date enhances motivation for future research projects that I will partake in,” says Student Doctor Johnson. For her early successes and commitment to future research, the American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) is pleased to present Heather Johnson, OMS IV, the 2018 Burnett Osteopathic Student Researcher Award. 

Heather Johnston, OMS IV