Craig Cassidy, DO, FAOCO
Craig R. Cassidy, DO, FAOCO, has been an AOMA member since coming to Arizona and joining Sanford Moretsky, DO, in practice in 1981. A Fellow of the American College of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, he is consistently nationally and locally recognized as a top ophthalmologist in Phoenix. He is the team ophthalmologist for the Arizona Rattlers and the Phoenix Mercury and previously served in that capacity for the Phoenix Suns.
Before attending Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences to pursue his degree in osteopathic medicine, Dr. Cassidy received his bachelor of science in pharmacy and worked as a registered pharmacist in Kansas. After graduating from medical school, he completed an internship at Zieger-Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan and was Chief Resident at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital and Kreske Eye Institute.
Dr. Cassidy and his wife Colleen have been married for 40 years and have five children and four grandchildren.
Dr. Cassidy has served on the AOMA Board of Trustees since 2003 representing the osteopathic specialists. His wisdom and experience provide much-appreciated insight for AOMA governance. He is very deserving of this recognition.
Peter S. Wertheim, MS, DHL
Peter S. Wertheim, MS, DHL, served as Executive Director of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association from June 2014 to January 2020. Pete’s career in health care public policy spanned the legislative and government sector, private industry, and not-for profit. For 20 years he was dedicated to developing and implementing good public policy. Early in his career he served as a legislative research analyst and policy advisor to the Arizona House of Representatives. His work as the Chief Legislative Liaison at Arizona Department of Health Services led to the critical funding for a new forensic unit at the Arizona State Hospital. He served in the private sector as a health care lobbyist and was Vice President for Strategic Communications for the Arizona Hospital and Health care Association.
In 2013, Pete became the Communications and Public Affairs Manager for the City of Prescott, just six days before the tragic Granite Mountain Hotshots fire that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters. His authentic and compassionate mitigation of media relations during this painful time helped the community navigate this horrific ordeal.
Pete received numerous awards for his contributions, including the Senator Nichols Award from the Arizona Public Health Association, the Health Policy Hero Award from the American College of Physicians, the IASIS Health care Chairman’s Award, and the Maurice Miller Advocate of the Year Award from the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers. The Phoenix Business Journal recognized Pete with a 2019 Most Admired Leader Award.
Sadly, Pete lost his battle with glioblastoma multiforme in May 2020. We miss you, Pete.
Excellence in Osteopathic Education
Marc A. Kaplan, DO
Marc A. Kaplan, DO, is a family practice physician in Sierra Vista, Arizona, establishing Kaplan Family Care Center in 1986.
A (near) native Arizonan, Dr. Kaplan grew up in Phoenix. After completing an associate degree at Phoenix College, he earned his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University and received his doctor of osteopathic medicine from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Dr. Kaplan fell in love with southern Arizona, specifically Sierra Vista, after serving in the U.S. Army as a General Medical Officer and Flight Surgeon at Ft. Huachuca. He is an icon in the community of Sierra Vista, serving the area for nearly 40 years. His enthusiasm for teaching osteopathic students and residents is unparalleled. In addition to maintaining his private practice, he is the Family Medicine Residency Program Director for Canyon Vista Medical Center ensuring future primary care physician residents obtain top-quality education.
Dr. Kaplan has been an AOMA member since 1983 and is a staunch supporter of the Association, its members, and the medical profession. He served as the physician member of the Arizona Board of Optometry from 1995-1999 and is a Member Emerius of the Board of Trustees of the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center. In 2009, Dr. Kaplan was recognized by the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants with the PA and Physician Team of the Year Award.
Dr. Kaplan and his wife Sandy have been married for 22 years. They have three children and five grandchildren.
Denise R. Sackett, DO
Denise R. Sackett, DO, is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Science Medicine at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA). A graduate of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Sackett is board certified in family medicine. She and her husband S.K. Sackett, DO, own Sundance Medical Associates, LLC in Gilbert, Arizona. Patients, students, and family are her passions.
Dr. Sackett has been a preceptor for students for her entire medical career. Three years ago, she realized that teaching was a real passion and decided to join the academic community at ATSU-SOMA. She has quickly become a favorite faculty member for the students as her passion for teaching is demonstrated daily in her preparation for teaching activities in medical skills, small groups, and lecture format. Her liveliness and enthusiasm is contagious and students enjoy being taught by her and learning along the way. Dr. Sackett is also a dedicated advisor to her students. She keeps an open door and keeps in touch with her students. She has SOMA students shadow her at her private clinic, advises the Student Chapter of the ACOFP, and volunteers to discuss work/life balance and owning a private practice.
Emerging Leader Award
Brandon Abbott, DO, MPH, FAAP
Brandon H. Abbott, DO, MPH, FAAP, has done more in his short career than many who are years his senior. He is a board-certified internist and pediatrician practicing at North Country Healthcare in Flagstaff, Arizona, focusing on transitional care for children with chronic medical illnesses. A member of the first graduating class of A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, Dr. Abbott earned a Master of Public Health at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine during medical school. He completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo before returning to Arizona.
Dr. Abbott is also a part time staff physician for Doctor on Demand, a telemedicine company. He has served on the AOMA Board of Trustees since his days as a student and has contributed to our Association through his leadership, expanded GME through his involvement with the new family medicine residency program at North Country Healthcare beginning in 2020, advocated in policy to testify for increased GME funding, and volunteered his time at many functions such as DO Day at the Legislature and presented lectures at AOMA CME events.
Dr. Abbott and his wife Tiffany live in Flagstaff with their daughters Matilda and Ona.
Student Distinguished Service – AZCOM
Jay Olson, MS, OMS III
Student Doctor Jay Olson, MS, is a third year medical student at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. 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 AOMA 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.
Following graduation in 2021, he looks to begin a psychiatry residency, ideally in Arizona.
Outside of health care, Jay enjoys volunteering with RipplePHX – an HIV/AIDS awareness group in Phoenix, cooking, and spending time with his chihuahua, Romy.