From the Dean: Winter 2019

All of us at the Boonshoft School of Medicine are fortunate to witness the passions of our students. Their curiosity and energy seems to shine more brightly each year. Medicine is an ever-changing profession. Thankfully, there is even more to know and do.

Clearly, the pursuit of a medical education has changed over time. We are at the forefront of these new developments, exemplified by the technologies and educational science leveraged throughout our curriculum, and the outstanding achievements in research our faculty make every year. We have built on these strengths to offer the most supportive and collaborative learning environment of any medical school in Ohio.

One of our greatest assets is the commitment we have to advancing diversity, which dates back to our founding. We are a national leader in these efforts, routinely besting much larger schools in attracting the best and brightest students from every background and circumstance.

Valuing difference is one of our hallmarks, as we believe our students are best readied for medical practice when they understand and reflect the communities they serve. The progress makes us seem prescient, as studies show that organizations work best when they embrace and celebrate diversity. We welcome the news, but for us it was always simply the right thing to do.

Look no further than Horizons in Medicine, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary. This program has supported the dreams of countless disadvantaged and underrepresented high school students from the Dayton area, developing their potential for health care careers. Those who participate boast an 80 percent college admissions rate, and many of the program’s alumni have gone on to attend the Boonshoft School of Medicine every year.

We are so proud of all that has been accomplished, and yet we know that more work remains to be done. Our students both inspire and propel our progress, as the work of student groups continues to build supportive networks and communities that promote acceptance and understanding at our medical school.

Much of their strides have been facilitated by the work of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Building on that, our new Diversity and Inclusion Program manager at the Boonshoft School of Medicine is striving to advance our school through recruiting and supporting faculty members from minority and underrepresented backgrounds.

We feature these and other truly outstanding people in this edition of Vital Signs. One of our remarkable M1s shares her arduous journey to medical school through warzones and military hospitals as a medical technician in the U.S. Air Force. And two alumni detail efforts to launch the Global Health Clinic within our Family Medicine Residency Program to aid refugees to Dayton.

Our medical school’s efforts to strengthen health in our local communities also have potential to impact medical care across the nation. You’ll learn about a former chair of pediatrics who has established a scholarship dedicated to students interested in pediatrics and related areas of primary care. Our associate dean of medical education shares some of her journey after completing her 26th year at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, and we spotlight one of our dedicated volunteer faculty who has served students for more than a decade.

I hope you feel the same inspiration I do as you read their stories. They’re proof of the passions that underscore everything we do at the Boonshoft School of Medicine. It’s why we have been able to accomplish so much. Our students, faculty, and staff know that our strengths come through leveraging our community’s unique backgrounds and perspectives. We have tirelessly committed to the rewarding work of changing lives — one person at a time, face to face, day after day.

What we do here at the Boonshoft School of Medicine is truly special. Without the support of the Wright State family and our alumni and friends, none of this would be possible. I want to thank you for your continued devotion to our mission and for zealously supporting the welcoming and uplifting spirit that makes our medical school so great.

Margaret Dunn, M.D., M.B.A., FACS

Vital Signs » Winter 2019
Horizons in Medicine program celebrates 40th Anniversary

As transformational leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. have taught us, hope is perhaps one of the greatest gifts. It has no expiration date and no limits. It transcends time and space, the person who gave it, and even the one receiving it. Hope has an infectious quality and — instilled in the hearts of others — it has the audacity to persist. 

Vital Signs » Winter 2019
Brenda Roman, M.D., associate dean for medical education, completes 26th year at Boonshoft School of Medicine

Growing up in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Brenda Roman, M.D., associate dean for medical education, dreamed of working in a job that would let her express her creative skills. But after receiving high math and science scores on the ACT exam, Roman’s high school guidance counselor encouraged her to consider a career in medicine.

“I originally wanted to be an art teacher as I loved being creative,” Roman said. “But the more I explored medicine through volunteering at a hospital, the more I felt that it would be a ‘good fit’ in serving people.”

Vital Signs » Winter 2019
Efforts continue for advancing diversity at Boonshoft School of Medicine

Appreciating diversity is of utmost importance in the practice of medicine. In their day-to-day lives, medical doctors encounter a wide range of patients from all walks of life. By becoming more familiar with all the differences present in their communities, doctors take their care to the highest level, providing not only competent treatment but also supportive understanding of the issues impacting those communities.

Vital Signs » Winter 2019

A cardiologist by training, Arthur Pickoff, M.D., is an ardent supporter of those working in primary care. While serving as chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine from 1998 to 2014, he worked shifts at Dayton Children’s Hospital and regularly encouraged his students to pursue their passions.                                                                   

Vital Signs » Winter 2019
Robert Eick, M.D., M.P.H., ’13, works to improve U.S. health care system

After Robert Eick, M.D., M.P.H., ’13, graduated from the Boonshoft School of Medicine, he matched into a family medicine residency program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He truly enjoyed caring for patients and found fulfillment in directly helping to improve their wellbeing. But he realized he might be able to have a greater impact in a different role.

Vital Signs » Winter 2019

Health care providers at Five Rivers Family Health Centers know refugee stories well. For many years, the center has served as an access point for refugee patients, helping to welcome our new neighbors to Dayton.

Vital Signs » Winter 2019

Nationally, statistics on stroke are bleak. It affects 800,000 people every year and it is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. However, researchers at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine are working to improve the statistics. 

Vital Signs » Winter 2019

Shanice Akoto, a medical student enrolled in the Boonshoft School of Medicine Physician Leadership Development Program (PLDP), was working in her practice placement at a women’s health center when she learned that many of the women from high-risk communities were using marijuana before and during pregnancy. 

Vital Signs » Winter 2019

Susan Edwards named provost of Wright State University

Susan Edwards, Ph.D., previously vice provost for faculty affairs at Appalachian State University, has been named the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Wright State University, effective May 10, 2018.

Juliet Corcillo
Vital Signs » Winter 2019

Juliet Corcillo, a first-year medical student from Staten Island, New York, served nine years in the U.S. Air Force before entering medical school. Her experiences as a medical technician were formative in her decision to pursue a career in medicine. 

Kyle Henneke
Vital Signs » Winter 2019

For Kyle Henneke, the first year of medical school has been an eye-opening experience.

“Because I’m bringing a lot of clinical experience with me, I’m finding that I’m constantly experiencing epiphanies and making connections,” said Henneke, who was an emergency room nurse before enrolling at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. “I’m deepening my knowledge, which is why I wanted to come to medical school in the first place.”

Vital Signs » Winter 2019

Ralph Joseph Smith, M.D., ’83

Ralph Joseph Smith, M.D., passed away at the age of 63. He is survived by wife Robin Boone Smith; son Jason Gregory Smith (Kim); daughters Chelsea Morgan Smith (AJ) and Abigail Elizabeth Smith; siblings Jim, Tim, Brian (Bonnie), Bernard, Donald (Chandra), Roseanne Freeman (Kenny), Janice Popp (Dave), Kathy Caldwell (Jim); two grandchildren; and 19 nieces and nephews. Smith practiced pediatric emergency medicine.                                                          

Nedra Anne Soltow, M.D., ’86

Dr. Eric Young
Vital Signs » Winter 2019

Those who practice family medicine know that there are always new findings to learn. The field’s knowledge is so expansive that some are intimidated by the requirements of continuing education. This fact, in addition to the feeling that he couldn’t be an expert in all aspects of family practice, was enough to move Eric Young, M.D., ’94, to consider shifting to another specialty, but not before having a few adventures along the way.

Vital Signs » Winter 2019

We’re proud of our alumni and graduates of our residency programs and want to spread the word about your achievements. If you have professional news or personal updates to share — or simply want to stay in touch — please contact the Office of Advancement at or 937.245.7634.

Dr. Pavlatos
Vital Signs » Winter 2019

As a boy, Thales Pavlatos, M.D., saw the impact that his father, a medical doctor, had in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio. That was back when doctors still made house calls and developed relationships with their patients that commonly lasted a lifetime. His father worked as a family physician decades ago, but Pavlatos still hears stories from patients who remember their parents or grandparents receiving care from his dad.