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Student Societies

At the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, students benefit from academic and emotional support through the Societies program, a pivotal component of our Wellness program. Upon enrollment, students are randomly assigned to one of the ten Fort Lauderdale Campus societies or one of the seven Tampa Bay Regional Campus societies.

These Societies create small communities with approximately 25 students from each class. Each society is led by a faculty leader, two academic advisers, several faculty members, and dedicated students serving as peer mentors, providing academic guidance, emotional support, and a sense of community. Students actively participate in the same society throughout their four years of medical school, fostering a personalized experience on multiple levels.

Fort Lauderdale Societies: Anderson, Burns, Klein, Lippman, Silvagni, Silverman, Still, Terry, Turner, Zafonte

Tampa Bay Regional Societies: Blavo, Hanbury, Howell, Johnson, Patel, Sandhouse, Wallace

Anderson Society

William G. Anderson, DO

Dr. Anderson, the first African American president of the American Osteopathic Association in 1994-95, has dedicated his professional life to enhancing, promoting, and leading osteopathic medical education and the osteopathic professions. From his days as a surgeon and leader of the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia alongside Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Anderson has focused not only on improving the health of individual patients but also on enhancing the health of the broader society.

View the Anderson Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Blavo Society

Cyril Blavo, D.O., M.S., M.P.H., T.M., FACOP

Dr. Cyril Blavo, the assistant dean of preclinical education at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Tampa Bay Regional Campus, boasts over 30 years of service at NSU where he has held diverse leadership roles and served as a professor of pediatrics and public health. Recognized for his outstanding contributions to teaching, research, and service, Dr. Blavo has been honored with seven Golden Apple awards for excellence in teaching. He has also received the Arnold Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award, recognizing his exemplary compassion, competence, and respect in delivering care.

Actively engaged in community service, Dr. Blavo is particularly passionate about global health. As the president and CEO of International Health Initiatives, Inc., he spearheads various humanitarian projects worldwide, spanning locations such as India, Nepal, Ghana, and Haiti. Born in Ghana and educated across Ghana, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Dr. Blavo takes pride in his tribal name, Mawushie, which translates to "God's hands," symbolizing his profound commitment to service and caring for others.

The Blavo Society, encapsulated by the Latin phrase "Ut Omnes Unum," meaning "That All May Be One," reflects Dr. Blavo's genuine spirit of unity and service

View the Blavo Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Burns Society

Louisa Burns, D.O.

Dr. Louisa Burns, a trailblazer in osteopathic medicine, emerged as one of the early women to achieve prominence in the field. After graduating from the Pacific College of Osteopathy in 1903, she swiftly ascended to become a leading researcher in osteopathic medicine. In 1906, Dr. Burns joined the faculty of Pacific College, where she imparted knowledge on physiology and served as a clinician for the subsequent eight years.

As her career evolved, Dr. Burns held influential leadership positions within osteopathic organizations, including the A.T. Still Research Institute and the Louisa Burns Osteopathic Research Laboratory.

View the Burns Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Hanbury Society

George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D.

George L. Hanbury II serves as the sixth president and CEO of Nova Southeastern University, Florida's largest not-for-profit private university. Assuming office in July 2011, he promptly realigned the university's mission, vision, and established eight core values to guide its trajectory beyond 2020.

Before his presidency, Dr. Hanbury dedicated 12 years to NSU as executive vice president and chief operating officer. With a 30-year successful career as a city manager in Fort Lauderdale, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk, he brings extensive leadership experience.

Dr. Hanbury has received numerous accolades, including the 2017 Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Laureate, City of Fort Lauderdale Walk of Fame inductee, 2015 Sun Sentinel Excalibur Award winner, and the 2014 South Florida Business Journal Ultimate CEO honoree. Actively involved in civic activities, he serves on various boards, including the Broward Workshop Executive Committee and the Sunshine State Conference.

the Hanbury Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Howell Society

James T. Howell, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. James Howell, the assistant dean of professional relations and a professor of public health at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, earned his M.D. degree from New York Medical College. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps, holding the position of chief of the Preventative Medical Division at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Following a preventive medicine residency in Palm Beach County, Florida, Dr. Howell obtained a master's degree from the Harvard School of Public Health and completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government certificate program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

In his career, Dr. Howell held several senior health positions in Florida, notably serving as the inaugural secretary of the Florida Department of Health. Joining the Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty in 1999, he embarked on a second career as a medical educator. In this capacity, he engages with future physicians, acts as a faculty adviser to clubs and societies, and contributes to the college's global health initiatives and students' political advocacy efforts.

View the Howell Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Johnson Society

Kenneth E. Johnson, D.O, FACOOG, and Michelle Johnson, D.O.

Dr. Kenneth and Dr. Michelle Johnson are proud alumni of Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Michelle Johnson began her medical journey at NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, later transferring to the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she graduated with honors in 1996. Following graduation, she completed her family practice training at Palmetto General Hospital. Dr. Kenneth Johnson graduated from the College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He pursued further specialization in OB/GYN, completing his training at Columbus Medical Center, affiliated with Northwestern University’s medical school in Chicago, Illinois.

Throughout their careers, Drs. Kenneth and Michelle Johnson have remained committed to shaping the future of osteopathic medicine. In addition to their clinical practice, they have dedicated their time to training aspiring physicians and contributing to medical research to enhance health care standards for all.

View the Johnson Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Klein Society

Robert Klein, D.O.

Dr. Robert Klein, who passed away in 2004, graduated from the NSU College of Osteopathic Medicine with the highest honors in 1991. He served as a highly esteemed faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine for over a decade, leaving an indelible mark on his colleagues and students. His acute intellect propelled him to achieve the top position in the nation on levels I, II, and III of the COMLEX board exams, showcasing his exceptional command of medical knowledge.

Beyond his scholarly achievements, Dr. Klein is fondly remembered for his kindness, gentleness, brilliance, and unwavering dedication. He was not only a respected physician but also a cherished friend and son.

View the Klein Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Lippman Society

Fred Lippman, Ed.D.

Dr. Lippman has made significant contributions to the osteopathic medical profession and the broader health care landscape. Throughout his extensive and distinguished career, he served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives for 20 years (1978-1998), and he earned the title of the "father" of Florida’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program. Due to his dedicated efforts, Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine’s AHEC Program was founded in 1985, becoming the state's inaugural AHEC.

View the Lippman Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Patel Society

Kiran C. Patel, M.D.

Dr. Kiran C. Patel earned his medical degree in Ahmedabad, India, and practiced in Zambia before relocating to the United States with his wife, Pallavi Patel, M.D., on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. He then attended New York’s Columbia University, where he earned a specialization in cardiology. After moving to the Tampa Bay, Florida, area in 1982, Dr. Patel became recognized as a distinguished cardiologist, but he had a further mission— to make health care efficient, affordable, and accessible. In 2017, Dr. Patel and his wife committed $200 million to NSU, enabling the university to enhance and expand its osteopathic medicine and health care sciences programs. The financial commitment included a $50-million gift and an additional $150-million real estate and facility investment that led to the creation of the new Tampa Bay Regional Campus in Clearwater. Additionally, Dr. Patel is chair of the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding—a nonprofit organization that develops and funds several health, education, arts, and culture programs.

View the Patel Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Sandhouse Society

Mark Sandhouse, D.O., M.S.

Dr. Sandhouse, a distinguished alumnus of NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine and the inaugural OPP Fellow, has dedicated his professional life to advancing the understanding and application of osteopathic principles in medical practice. Serving on the College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty, Dr. Sandhouse has collaborated with the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and the Educational Council on Osteopathic Principles. His efforts have focused on standardizing osteopathic terminology and curriculum content at a national level, ensuring alignment between national board examinations and the standardized curriculum, and upholding the integrity and validity of these examinations.

Continuing his commitment to advancing osteopathic medicine, Dr. Sandhouse serves as a clinical role model for students, residents, and fellows, further reinforcing the principles of osteopathic medicine in the medical community.

View the Sandhouse Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Silverman Society

Bradley I. Silverman, D.O.

Dr. Silverman, who passed away in 1999, was a beloved member of NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine’s charter graduating class in 1985. During his career, he became passionately involved in the breast cancer field. He became chief of surgery and then chief of staff elect at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. In 1998, Dr. Silverman made a significant contribution to the medical field by pioneering a new procedure called sentinel node dissection that helped make breast cancer surgical procedures significantly less invasive.

View the Silverman Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Silvagni Society

Anthony J. Silvagni, D.O. Pharm.D.

Since becoming dean of NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998, Dr. Silvagni has implemented numerous innovative ideas that have triggered growth and accomplishments. His commitment to providing students with the most comprehensive educational experience possible has helped implement several enhancements, including an increased emphasis on local and international missions, the establishment of an OSCE curriculum that uses standardized patients in medical student/resident training, and a dramatic increase in faculty/student-driven research.

View the Silvagni Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Still Society

A. T. Still, M.D. , D.O.

In 1874, Dr. Still pioneered a revolutionary system of medicine known as osteopathy. This approach emphasized diagnostic and treatment methods grounded in the principle that the human body should be viewed and treated as a unit. Through experimentation and clinical observation, Dr. Still refined the art of osteopathic treatment, focusing on direct application to the musculoskeletal system.

In a landmark development in 1892, he introduced the first formal classes dedicated to teaching osteopathic medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. This initiative led to the establishment of the American School of Osteopathy, marking the inception of the nation's first osteopathic medical school.

View the Still Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Terry Society

Morton Terry, D.O.

When Dr. Terry passed away on January 11, 2004, he left behind an extraordinary professional legacy that will continue to live on through the six colleges and numerous programs that comprise NSU’s Health Professions Division. Throughout his legendary life, Dr. Terry masterminded several bricks-and-mortar successes, including Osteopathic General Hospital, Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine (SECOM), Southeastern University of the Health Sciences- and the historic merging of Southeastern University of the Health Sciences with Nova University in 1994.

View the Terry Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Turner Society

James Turner, D.O.

Dr. Turner, who graduated from Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine (SECOM)-the precursor to Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1988, has spent the past two decades establishing an illustrious career dedicated to community, state, and national level service. Dr. Turner served as director of emergency medicine at the Charleston Area Medical Center and as an emergency physician at New Century Emergency Physicians of West Virginia, Inc. Other points of distinction for Dr. Turner encompass numerous publications, lectures, and accolades that include the NSU College of Osteopathic Medicine's Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award in 1999.

View the Turner Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Wallace Society

Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S., M.S.

Dr. Elaine Wallace serves as the fifth dean of NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been a lifelong leader in medical education. Her career achievements include developing new techniques in osteopathic manipulative medicine, particularly the development of torque unwinding. Additionally, she played a pivotal role in establishing one of the first standardized patient programs in the United States. She introduced a spirituality curriculum into osteopathic education and developed leading medical outreach programs. Dr. Wallace’s life work embodies the osteopathic attention to mind, body, and spirit.

View the Wallace Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members

Zafonte Society

Ross Zafonte, D.O.

Although it has been over two decades since Dr. Zafonte graduated from the inaugural Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine (SECOM) class in 1985, he has never lost touch with the institution that provided him with this entrée into the osteopathic profession. He became the first alumnus to participate in NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine’s academic societies by making a significant contribution to a worthy cause.

Dr. Zafonte serves as a chairperson of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and the chief of physical medicine & rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Zafonte is also a principal investigator on several federal grants.

View the Zafonte Society leadership, advisers, and faculty members
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