AOMA Award Honorees

Congratulations to the 2021 AOMA Award Winners

Lifetime Achievement
Frank Kitei, DO

Frank D. Kitei, DO, graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in 1973, winning the Grand Rounds Award his Junior and Senior years. After completing his Family Practice Program, Dr. Kitei practiced in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania prior to relocating to Phoenix, Arizona in 1979, where he began his own Medical Group, Union Hills Family Physicians.Dr. Kitei is Board Certified in General Practice and Family Medicine, as well as Quality Management, Utilization, and Managed Care. He is also a Certified Civil Surgeon for the U.S. Center for Immigration Services.

Dr. Kitei has served on multiple hospital staffs, including Abrazo Scottsdale, Honor Health Deer Valley, and Community Hospital, where he was Chief of Staff, Chair of Quality Measurement/Utilization Review, and a Board Member.He was a member of the Health Services Advisory Group and served on its Sanctions Committee. As a Board Member of the AOMA for 10 years, he Chaired the Health Committee and is a past recipient of the AOMA Outstanding Mentor.

The Governor of Arizona appointed Dr. Kitei as the DO Representative on the Joint Board of Medical Examiners and he served on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Affiliate Board, in addition to Humana’s Board of Quality Management for the Western United States.

Besides numerous Board appointments, Dr. Kitei had the honor of being chosen as the first Medical Director of Health Choice Arizona, the HMO for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, serving for over a decade.

Dr. Kitei has donated his time and expertise as the Medical Director of the North Phoenix Pop Warner Football Association, and a mentor and teacher of the late Paul Steingard, DO’s T.O.P.S. Program for over 10 years. He has been a mentor, teacher, leader, and inspiration to physicians and students in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania for over 45 years having instructed students as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale, Arizona, the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California, and at his alma mater PCOM.

Dr. Kitei’s proudest achievements are his 50 years of marriage to his wife, Lynne D. Kitei, MD, and his accomplished sons, Brett J. Kitei, Attorney at Law and Daniel J. Kitei, DO, Neurologist.

President’s Award
Datcha Dorvil, DO, MPH, DIMPH

Datcha Dorvil DO, MPH, DIMPH, has served in rural underserved areas for almost a decade. As a young girl growing up in New England, she learned the value of service, hard work, faith, and the importance of an education from her hard-working mother who emigrated from Haiti to start a better life in the United States.

Dr. Dorvil attended Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts majoring in Biology and Community Health. While at Tufts University, she was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and within a span of four years successfully completed a combined DO/MPH degree program at the University of New England Medical School College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) in Biddeford, Maine. During that time, Dr. Dorvil began her work with underserved communities as part of the National Health Scholars Corp, participating in mission trips within the United States and abroad including the Republic of Benin, India, and Ecuador. She completed a dual residency program in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics from Michigan State University/Kalamazoo Center of Medical Studies (MSU/KCMS) and obtained a Professional Diploma in International Medicine & Public Health (DIMPH) through the Institute for International Medicine (INMED). 

Dr. Dorvil has continued her dedication to working with underserved communities. After residency, as a National Health Service Corp member, she went to work with the Navajo community putting her skills to use in outpatient and inpatient medicine in both internal medicine and pediatrics. After her tenure with the Corp ended, Dr. Dorvil remained in northern Arizona working with the Navajo, Hopi, and other rural communities.

When COVID-19 hit the United States in 2020, its impact on the Navajo Nation was especially devastating. Dr. Dorvil was involved right at the start of the pandemic and continues to hold a frontline position in the war against COVID-19 and other diseases caring for the Navajo community and the surrounding rural areas.

As a strong advocate of social justice for minorities, she works tirelessly to expose and resolve systemic racism and inequities in health care. Dr. Dorvil’s professional goal is to continue to serve and empower vulnerable individuals and groups to help create healthier communities through community-based prevention and intervention projects.

Dr. Dorvil has served on the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association Board of Trustees since 2015 and is an Alternate Delegate to the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates.

When Dr. Dorvil is not working, she loves attending church, studying the Bible, traveling, learning about new cultures, spending time with family and friends, enjoying time in nature, and having wonderful adventures with her fur babies.

A quote by Albert Schweitzer, which holds a special place in Dr. Dorvil’s heart, is: “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”

Excellence in Osteopathic Education
Jeffrey Morgan, DO, MA, EdD, FACOI

Jeffrey Morgan, DO, EdD, MA, FACOI, has been involved in the education of medical students since he was a resident and has been actively engaged in the training of medical, physician assistant, and podiatric students in Arizona since 1997, affiliated with Midwestern University and A. T. Still University. After serving six years in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, Dr. Morgan attended Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Mount Clemens General Hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan. After residency, Dr. Morgan returned to Arizona in 1995. A general internist and Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists, he provided primary care medicine in Arizona for 18 years prior to joining A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) in July 2013 as associate professor of internal medicine and public health. Dr. Morgan served as dean of ATSU-SOMA from 2016 until 2021.

Dr. Morgan is a past president of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, and currently serves as Speaker of the House of Delegates for the Association. He is active as a delegate to the AOA House of Delegates. He has been previously honored by AOMA with the Physician of the Year Award in 2013 and the President’s Award in 2005.

Dr. Morgan has served on the board of trustees of the Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona (MICA) since 2004.

In addition to his professional and academic endeavors, Dr. Morgan is active in community service both in Arizona and abroad. He is a volunteer for Camp Paz, a camp for children whose lives have been interrupted by the death of a loved one, and is a member of an interdisciplinary medical team providing health care to underserved communities in remote regions of Guatemala.

As a dedicated lifelong learner, Dr. Morgan is a graduate of both the Osteopathic Heritage Health Policy Fellowship and Midwestern University’s Master of Arts in bioethics programs. He recently completed his doctor in education at A.T. Still University and is a graduate of the Costin Institute for Osteopathic Medical Educators.

He attributes all of his successes to the endless love and support of Christine Morgan, EdD – his best friend and spouse of over 30 years.

Outstanding Mentor
Lawrence Sands, DO, MPH

Lawrence Sands, DO, MPH, is vice-chair of the Department of Osteopathic Family and Community medicine, as well as clinical associate professor of preventive medicine and public health at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM). In addition to co-directing the family medicine clinical clerkships, he is the course director of the public health, medical ethics and jurisprudence course for first year osteopathic medical students, instructor for the first and second year osteopathic clinical education courses, and a lecturer for other MWU colleges and programs. Dr. Sands also is an associate professor within Midwestern University’s College of Graduate Studies (CGS) where he is on the faculty for the Master in Public Health program.

A second generation DO with over 25 years of experience working as a public health physician, Dr. Sands has served in various leadership positions within state and local public health agencies including: chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District in Las Vegas, Nevada; community health services director and biodefense preparedness and response medical director for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health in Phoenix, Arizona; and state epidemiologist and infectious disease services chief for the Arizona Department of Health Services.

A past president of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA), Dr. Sands remains active as a member of the Nominating Committee, the Professional Education Committee, and as a Delegate to the AOMA House of Delegates. He is also an Arizona delegate to the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates.

Dr. Sands currently serves on the steering committee for the Health Improvement Partnership of Maricopa County (HIPMC). Since 2013, he has served on the board of directors for Adelante Healthcare, a federally qualified community health center (FQHC) serving communities within Maricopa County, including three years as board chair.

Board certified in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Sands received his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM). He completed a residency in preventive medicine and public health, in addition to an MPH degree in health planning and administration, at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Prior to entering the public health field, Dr. Sands practiced as a primary care physician in Michigan.

Dr. Sands and his wife Edee, a recently retired art teacher, happily make their home in Scottsdale. They are proud parents of Talyah in Washington, D.C., and twin daughters Margot in Oakland, California, and Michaela who lives close by in Scottsdale with her husband Sam and their dog Theo.

Emerging Leader Award
Kendra Gray, DO, MS, FACOG

Kendra Gray, DO, MS, FACOG, is a board certified OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist who recently completed her fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix. She is an obstetric hospitalist with Phoenix Perinatal and Associates.

Dr. Gray attended Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM). During her fellowship she completed a Masters of Science in Clinical and Translational Sciences from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Gray’s path to becoming a physician was fueled while employed as a medical assistant at a busy primary care practice owned by Angela DeRosa, DO who encouraged her to pursue her passion for patient care. While in medical school, she was active in student government and advocacy. Dr. Gray earned multiple scholarships and awards during medical school, including the Midwestern University Obstetrics and Gynecology Departmental Award during her fourth year.

Dr. Gray has completed award-winning research and had multiple publications related to various topics in women’s health. She has a particular passion for implementation of multidisciplinary quality improvement projects related to maternal trauma, maternal obesity and race in medicine.

Dr. Gray has had the privilege of giving back to the osteopathic community by serving on the AOMA board of trustees since 2015. She is an adjunct clinical instructor at AZCOM and an associate professor and OB/GYN Clerkship Director at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona and is a mentor for many osteopathic students and residents.

She serves her community as a member of the Perinatal Maternal Mortality Review committee for the State of Arizona and is responsible for making recommendations regarding health policy changes related to decreasing maternal morbidity and mortality in our state. She volunteers for the AHCCCS Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee whose mission is to evaluate the scientific evidence of the relative safety, efficacy, effectiveness, and clinical appropriateness of prescription drugs available to patients in the state.She is the Arizona state liaison for the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine and a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Simulations Working Group. The Association of Professors of Gynecology & Obstetrics (APGO) recently recognized Dr. Gray with the 2021 APGO Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Gray has lived in Phoenix for the past 17 years with her husband, Jonathan, 10-year-old daughter, Lydia, and 5-year-old son, Roman. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio but is now proud to call Arizona her home.


Physician of the Year
Joseph Zachariah, DO

Joseph Zachariah, DO, credits his journey in osteopathic medicine to his mother, Ammini Zachariah, a nurse who worked with William Winslow, DO, in Dallas, Texas and whose skill, compassion, and caring left a deep impression.

He attended the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating near the very top of his class in 1987. He still takes to heart the axiom of a mentor, Jack Gramer, DO, “you can make a diagnosis near 90% of the time from a thorough history and physical.”

Dr. Zachariah did his rotating internship at Doctor’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he had the privilege of being tutored by Ruth Purdy, DO, the pioneering internist who taught him about listening, empathy, and leading by example. He was also taught by Robert Palma DO, about the value of always starting with a broad differential diagnosis.

He went on to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan for his residency in Internal Medicine, fellowship in Infectious Disease and joined as Senior Faculty. During his time there Dr. Zachariah received Resident, Fellow, and Teaching Attending of the year awards.
The opportunity for private practice brought him to Phoenix, Arizona in 1997. He met the love of his life Teresa Heatly, MD, a Pulmonary & Critical Care physician who shares his love of medicine along with camping, backpacking, and hiking. A few years into practice they took a four-year sabbatical; while they could still “see, hear, smell, and walk without creaking”, to camp in all the National Parks of America and traveled to about 70 countries.

After his travels, Dr. Zachariah returned to private practice with a new appreciation for life and its fragility. He practices at Banner Baywood & Banner Heart Hospitals in Mesa, Arizona and chairs the Infection Prevention and Antibiotic Stewardship Programs there. He is the lead clinician in their

COVID response team during this pandemic and has received the Phoenix Magazine “Top Doctor” award multiple times. Dr. Zachariah is a popular speaker regularly giving lectures on infectious disease at AOMA conferences.

Arriving in Dallas, Texas as an impressionable teenager who just wanted to assimilate as fast as he could, to now receive the call about this honor was unexpected and humbling and he dedicates it to the mentors, colleagues, nurses, and patients who were generous with their knowledge, time, and patience. 

Distinguished Service Award
Gregory Whitaker, DO, DPM, MS-HCA, FASA

Gregory Whitaker, DO, DPM, MSHCP, FASA, is a dedicated anesthesiologist who applies evidenced based practice to the uncompromising care of his patients. He consistently demonstrates his commitment to the osteopathic profession, his patients, and the community with his actions and engagement.

Self-improvement through continued education is a consistent element of Dr. Whitaker’s professional life, as evident by his academic accomplishments. Not wishing to limit his medical knowledge as a Podiatrist, Dr. Whitaker took the unusual step in continuing his education by gaining acceptance to osteopathic medical school. After graduating from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, he completed his post-graduate residency training in anesthesiology at The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, where he was Chief Resident. Afterwards, Dr. Whitaker served as an anesthesiologist as a United States Army Medical Corps Officer and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon his return from overseas, he served as Anesthesia Medical Director for William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Upon transitioning to the private sector, Dr. Whitaker continued his professional development by earning a Master in Health Care Administration from Grand Canyon University.

Dr. Whitaker is an adjunct clinical professor of anesthesiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. He is a volunteer instructor for airway management for the HonorHealth Military Partnership and the City of Scottsdale Fire Department PHTLS course.
Dr. Whitaker serves on the Legislative Affairs Committee for the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, is the Secretary for the Arizona Society of Anesthesiologists, is Co-Chair on the Peri-Operative Committee for HonorHealth Osborn Medical Center and is one of the Division Managers for Envision Healthcare/Valley Anesthesiology Consultants.

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York was particularly hard hit. Dr. Whitaker spent three weeks treating patients in the ICU at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. Working 12-hours shifts for three nights strait, the experience was invaluable when Arizona became a hot spot for the virus.

Dr. Whitaker and his wife, Tracey have enjoyed all that Scottsdale and the Valley has to offer since 2014.

Distinguished Service
Crystal Van Slyke, MEd

Crystal Van Slyke, MEd, is the Assessment Manager at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) and an precious resource to the students.

Mrs. Van Slyke has worked in higher education for over fourteen years providing academic support to students. Her passion for education was sparked immediately when her role in education allowed her to work with students seeking a change in life or on a path towards personal growth. Her outgoing and compassionate personality are an excellent fit with her position. An Arizona native, originally from the Yuma area, she received her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management at Arizona State University and completed her Master’s in Educational Leadership at Concordia University. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” by William Butler Yeats, sums up perfectly her own desire to learn and the fervor felt working with students.

In his nominating statement, Jay Olson, OMS IV, said, “When I first started at AZCOM, Mrs. Van Slyke was the first to welcome you to the dean’s office; her warm demeanor was always greatly appreciated and her wealth of knowledge about AZCOM policies and connections is invaluable. Her friendly and professional manner as she assists us in making plans for continued success through the AZCOM curriculum is a reliable constant. Although not a physician, she only wants the best for us and is very deserving of the service award as I have witnessed her going above and beyond for students both academically and empathically.”

Mrs. Van Slyke and her husband Greg have been married for 20 years and have five children and eight grandchildren.

Resident of the Year
Samantha Easterly, DO, MA
Samantha Easterly, DO, MA, is a passionate osteopathic advocate in her second year of family medicine residency at Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona.

A native of Oregon, Dr. Easterly attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, receiving her bachelor’s of science in exercise science which her love of the human body. This impelled her to pursue her medical degree and osteopathic medicine was the only way to go.

As post-graduate transition to medical school, Dr. Easterly completed a master of arts degree in biomedical sciences at Midwestern University. She then matriculated to Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she completed an additional year-long student fellowship focused on osteopathic research and treatment.

As a medical student at AZCOM, she was actively involved with the student chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, receiving the national emerging leader award from ACOFP in 2017.

Dr. Easterly served as the student delegate from AZCOM on the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA) House of Delegates, and the Student Trustee on the AOMA Board representing AZCOM, where she participated in lobbying at the state and national levels for the profession that she loves.

During her tenure as the Student Trustee from AZCOM, in 2018 Dr. Easterly co-chaired a committee that developed the Patient Wellness PopUp Exhibits funded by a grant from A. T. Still University. The project earned a HEMMY (Health Education Media Maker Yearly) Award from the Arizona Public Health Association.
She is currently the Resident Trustee for AOMA. She is honored and grateful to be granted this award.

Upon completing her residency in 2022, Dr. Easterly plans to remain in Arizona and establish a family medicine practice with a focus on OMM.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, Dr. Andrew Bitney, who is also an osteopathic family medicine physician.

Student Distinguished Service – AZCOM
Jay Olson, MS, OMS IV

Student Doctor Jay Olson, MS, is a member of the Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2021. Jay grew up in small town Minnesota, attended St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and moved to Arizona in 2015 for his Masters in Biomedical Science before matriculating to AZCOM in 2017.

Jay has been very active in the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association as a volunteer and leader, serving on the House of Delegates, Board of Trustees, and Student Legislative Affairs Committee. He also is involved with the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, representing AZCOM on a national level.

Lori Kemper, DO, Dean of AZCOM selected Jay for the second year in a row to receive this award, saying “Under the difficult circumstances of COVID-19, Jay went above and beyond to create opportunities for students to connect and succeed. His Match Day Video brought messages of good wishes and congratulations to the students from faculty, students, and community partners on a day when we all should have been together to celebrate.”

Outside of health care, Jay enjoys volunteering with RipplePHX – an HIV/AIDS awareness group in Phoenix, cooking, and spending time with his chihuahua, Romy.

Jay will begin his post-graduate family medicine residency at the Comanche Community Memorial Hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Student Distinguished Service – SOMA
Errin Gallagher, OMS IV

Erinn Gallagher, OMS IV, moved from Indiana to Prescott, Arizona in 2016 to complete a year-long, full-time AmeriCorps VISTA service term at Northland Cares HIV Clinic. Not only did she fall in love with Northern Arizona, she was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for her projects: a clinical quality management program, a TAPI award-winning in-house vaccination clinic, and Yavapai County’s first HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) program and is one of the few northern Arizona representatives on the HIV Statewide Advisory Group (SWAG). She has maintained her engagement with the group throughout medical school.

Erinn was President of ATSU-SOMA Class of 2021 leading a class of 100 medical students studying at 11 community health centers across the country, she facilitated regular avenues of connection and inter-communication between geographically spread and uniquely situated students. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted clinical medical education and residency applications, Erinn became a staunch advocate for her peers.

Assigned to North Country Health Care, she completed clinical rotations in rural, indigenous, and underserved communities.

Erinn matched into the Colorado Plateau Family and Community Medicine Residency Program in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is thrilled to continue to foster community in Flagstaff, where she lives with her cat, Bo, and explore the Arizona backcountry, rivers, and canyons. In her free time, she helps out at Kinłani Mutual Aid, Flagstaff Family Food Center, and other local partners working to meet the basic needs of her neighbors