John Donnelly, M.D., named Family Medicine Educator of the Year

Vital Signs » Winter 2015
John Donnelly

The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians has awarded John F. Donnelly, M.D., its 2015 Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award.

Donnelly, professor of family medicine, has been practicing medicine for 27 years. Following residency and an early career in Texas, Donnelly came to the Boonshoft School of Medicine in 1997.

“My teaching philosophy is to motivate, challenge, and encourage learners to give their best effort, thereby empowering them to provide their patients with health care of the highest quality,” Donnelly said. “I strive to foster in learners a love of patients, the joy of medicine, a zest for professional development, and lifelong learning.”

Therese M. Zink, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, describes Donnelly as a medical student magnet. He is dedicated to each and every one of his 400-plus medical students. He is said to know each student’s first and last name.

The class of 2015 selected Donnelly to be its graduation speaker instead of following the tradition of selecting a nationally recognized celebrity. Medical students also have awarded him the Teaching Excellence Award nine times.

Donnelly partnered with others to secure grants to start several innovative programs, including the Healer’s Art course, a five-week class that brings together students with practicing physicians to explore the role of healer. He also implemented the Finding Meaning in Medicine program for third- and fourth-year medical students.

In 2003, Donnelly took a medical leave of absence. When he returned to the Boonshoft School of Medicine, he brought back his story and knowledge regarding the art of medicine.

“Perhaps Dr. Donnelly’s own illness and recovery journey have formed the importance of being a healer to his patients and instilling that same value in his students,” Zink said. “Mentoring the next generation of physicians and healers is important to him.”

He has received many awards, including the American Association of Medical Colleges Humanism in Medicine Recognition (four times) and the Arnold Gold Humanism in Medicine Foundation Award. He was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society in 2002.

While practicing at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Donnelly received the John P. McGovern Outstanding Clinical Teacher Award three times and from 1989-97 both the Outstanding Teacher in Family Practice Award and the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award.

In addition to serving on many Boonshoft School of Medicine committees, Donnelly volunteers with several church and community groups, including the Church of the Holy Angels, St. Vincent De Paul, Reach Out of Montgomery County, and Cedarville University. He also is a youth coach, referee, and umpire for several Dayton-area programs.

He earned his M.D. degree at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School and completed his residency training at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School and Memorial Herman-Texas Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program, followed by a clinical teaching fellowship in family medicine at the Family Practice Faculty Development Center, McLennan County Medical Education and Research Foundation, in Waco, Texas.

He is board certified in family medicine and is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The OAFP annually presents the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award to a family medicine educator who meets and exceeds the criteria of being a capable teacher of family medicine, successful administrator/practitioner, productive researcher/scholar and inspiring leader.

Last edited on 02/16/2016.