The AOF is pleased to recognize John E. Balmer, DO as the 2023 Physician of the Year.
In Spartansburg, Pennsylvania, where the need for primary care was starkly evident, John Balmer, DO stepped up by establishing his practice in an underserved rural area. There, he serves as the primary caregiver for residents across five counties in Central Pennsylvania, extending a lifeline of top-notch Osteopathic medical care to those who might otherwise go without.
“One of my first site visits when I became Associate Dean of Clinical Education for LECOM was Dr. Balmer's clinic in Spartansburg, PA,” recounts Michael Rowane, DO, who nominated Balmer for the award. “His office was a resource and welcoming center for all members of the community. Several students were assigned to this site, and all participated in learning something from each patient. He provided complete comprehensive care to a diverse community, including an Amish population that allowed few their confidence. He had theirs.”
Dr. Balmer actively engages LECOM students in his practice, granting them the invaluable opportunity to observe and treat patients under his guidance. Recognizing the housing challenge faced by medical students in the area, he went the extra mile by setting up a complimentary bed and breakfast near his office. This thoughtful gesture has eliminated barriers that previously hindered students from gaining essential experience in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.
Dr. Balmer's own educational journey is nothing short of impressive. He earned his DO degree in 1990 from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) and obtained an MS degree in Medical Education from LECOM. He expanded his studies with post-graduate education in Education, holding a BS in Nursing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Balmer's commitment to learning extended to Paramedic Studies with Western Pennsylvania Physicians Inc. and Emergency Medical Technician Studies at the Lancaster County EMT Institute. He further honed his skills through training at the Academy of Pain Research, Latrobe Area Hospital, and Millcreek Community Hospital.
His professional experience is a testament to his dedication. Dr. Balmer has had a diverse career, including private practice, overseeing rural health clinics at Spartansburg Regional Health Center, serving as an administrator for the Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine Plus One Residency Program, and instructing as a Clinical Assistant Professor & Osteopathic Principles and Practice Instructor at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).
Dr. Balmer's extensive committee and governance experience, with organizations such as the American Academy of Osteopathy, demonstrate his commitment to his field, and his selection to contribute to lectures, laboratory activities, and regional and national presentations further underscores his expertise. He continues to actively pursue opportunities for continuing education, staying at the forefront of the Osteopathic profession.
The AOF Physician of the Year Award is among the American Osteopathic Foundation’s highest honors. It recognizes one DO each year whose extraordinary accomplishments, integrity, commitment to service and patient health are unmatched.