The AOF W. Douglas Ward, PhD, Educator of the Year Award honors osteopathic teachers who display unwavering dedication to the tenets of osteopathic medicine and a true passion for passing those tenets on to future generations of DOs. The 2018 award is being presented to an educator, through and through: J. Michael Wieting, DO. Watch the award video here.
Currently the Senior Associate Dean at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM), he also serves as professor of both physical medicine and rehabilitation, and osteopathic manipulative medicine at the school.
“I went to medical school to be a doctor, not an educator. But in residency it was driven home to me that good physicians are good educators of their patients on a one-to-one basis. A good physician must explain well, motivate people, and meet patients where they are,” says Dr. Wieting of his journey toward becoming a lifelong teacher.
Dr. Wieting earned his DO degree from the Oklahoma State University - College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1990. Prior to that, he completed a Master of Education (summa cum laude) from Oklahoma’s Central State University. He completed residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics and a fellowship in electrodiagnosis and sports medicine at Michigan State University (MSU).
Early in his career, Dr. Wieting joined a group of six physiatrists in private practice. They always had medical students, residents and fellows training with them, which led to the decision to start a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Subsequently, he became the Director of the program. Since then, he has overseen residency training programs at MSU, where he is also a clinical professor in the department of physical medicine & rehabilitation, and contributes to LMU-DCOM’s family medicine, internal medicine and orthopedic surgery residencies.
Dr. Wieting says his real goal as an educator is to provide a bridge for his students to get from where they are to where they’re trying to be. “I had a mentor once tell me the way to pay him back for letting me stand on his shoulders and learn from him was to one day let others stand on my shoulders and learn from me. I look at that as my obligation to the profession, my way to leave a legacy.”
Brian A. Kessler, DO, FACOFP Vice President and Dean, LMU-DCOM, says, “His students know he gives the best of himself in the classroom setting. He encourages students to expand their horizons through research and leadership positions and, above all, expects them to embrace the same dedication to service that he holds and carry it forward in their careers.”
Dr. Wieting’s students laud his dedication to osteopathic philosophy, how he takes one-on-one time to mentor them, and commitment to making a difference for patients and in the community. “I try to emulate him whenever I can, giving back to the osteopathic profession in all facets and mentoring all those that come after me. If it was not for Dr. Wieting, I would not be the osteopathic physician I am today,” says former student and colleague Amir Mahajer, DO.
For all of these reasons, the American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) is proud to honor J. Michael Wieting, DO, with the 2018 AOF W. Douglas Ward, PhD Educator of the Year Award.