Founder's Day 2015October 21, 2015
By Nancy West
The annual observance of Founders’ Day honors the founders of Philadelphia College
of Osteopathic Medicine: Oscar John Snyder, DO, and Mason Wiley Pressly, DO. The profiles
of the honorees that follow provide examples of those who continue to embody the dedication,
loyalty and service that the College’s founders exhibited.
O.J. SNYDER MEMORIAL MEDAL RECIPIENT
OLIVER C. BULLOCK, DO ’78
Dr. Bullock might never have become an osteopathic physician if it weren’t for a bad
cold. His wife convinced him to go to a new doctor in the neighborhood, the late John
Covington, DO ’71, whom the community was raving about. “They said there was something
special about him, so I went. He was recruiting minorities for PCOM at the time and
he asked, ‘Did you ever think about going to medical school?’” recalls Dr. Bullock,
who was then a high school biology teacher. “He gave me the phone number for Carol
A. Fox, MM [retired associate vice president for enrollment management and alumni
relations liaison]. I decided to call her for an appointment, and that got the ball
Throughout his 27 years at PCOM, Dr. Bullock has emphasized the importance of community
health. “You don’t just treat the patient,” says Dr. Bullock, chair of the department
of community medicine. “You must also take care of the community the patient comes
from.” That mantra is at the heart of his practice and teaching.
Dr. Bullock began practicing medicine in the Philadelphia community where he grew
up, first setting up shop in the church where his parents were married after it was
converted to a healthcare center by the National Health Service Corps. He soon realized
that many patients did not understand or listen to what the doctor was saying. “Many
of them would bring in a whole bag of medicine and dump it out, not understanding
what a single pill was for or how you were to take them,” he recalls. “It was obvious
that we needed to educate the community, so we started doing health fairs on a regular
When he joined the PCOM faculty in 1988, Dr. Bullock advocated for the importance
of community health, and the College supported his efforts in a number of ways. “We
decided to start with the kids because many have a fear of a physician’s office,”
Dr. Bullock explains. Working with the assistant director of The Muppet Show and The
Nick Swindlin Puppet Theater, Dr. Bullock and the PCOM staff developed a program to
allay children’s fears and increase their understanding of medical instruments by
featuring puppet characters on an imaginary trip to a physician’s office. PCOM staff
took the puppet show to elementary schools throughout the Philadelphia School District.
The show was in such constant demand that a video and companion coloring book were
produced and are still used today by PCOM student groups providing community education.
Dr. Bullock’s dedication to community health also inspired the College’s Boards of
Trustees to build brand new facilities for all PCOM Healthcare Centers in Philadelphia.
“The boards recognized that we were doing good work, and they wanted our facilities
to reflect that,” he says.
Dr. Bullock takes pride in his service on the Pew Foundation Health Commission, which
was well ahead of its time in predicting today’s healthcare trends, and as chair of
the Pennsylvania State Board of Osteopathic Medicine from 2000 to 2003. Among many
PCOM accolades, he was the recipient of the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy
Award, and served as vice chairman of the PCOM Diversity Council.
Reflecting on his many years of teaching, Dr. Bullock says, “I want our students to
learn that no matter what specialty they choose, the most successful doctors are the
ones who can communicate the best with their patients and possess that essential combination
of caring and competence.”
O.J. SNYDER MEMORIAL MEDAL RECIPIENT
JOSEPH A. DIETERLE, DO ’70
Dr. Dieterle remembers visiting his family physician’s office as if it were yesterday.
“Dr. Robert A. Hibbs was a classic of his day,” he recalls. “He worked alone in his
office, the library of a stately old home with stained woodwork, a fireplace and beautiful
paintings. He had no nurse or receptionist. If you needed care, you just showed up
during office hours. As a child, I had a ‘doctor bag,’ and he would give me old stethoscopes,
empty vitamin bottles, head mirrors, and tongue blades to fill it.”
As Dr. Dieterle’s interest in becoming a physician grew, Dr. Hibbs became his mentor.
Then suddenly, when Dr. Dieterle was a junior in high school, Dr. Hibbs died. “I was
floundering without a compass,” Dr. Dieterle says about that time.
After Dr. Hibbs’ passing, Dr. Dieterle and his family turned to “two young, enthusiastic
osteopathic physicians for care—Stuart Baer, DO ’63, and John C. Crawford, DO ’56.”
Over time, they became Dr. Dieterle’s new mentors, each writing him a letter of recommendation
to Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Dr. Dieterle soon discovered a passion for pediatrics. “I really enjoyed caring for
children and watching them grow, interacting with parents and observing all the joys
and pleasures,” he notes. After graduating from PCOM and completing an internship
at Flint (Michigan) Osteopathic Hospital, he became the first osteopathic resident
at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he was also named chief resident
during his last year.
With encouragement from the late Thomas M. Rowland, Jr., former PCOM president, Dr.
Dieterle decided to join the faculty at PCOM. He ultimately became chairman and professor
of the Department of Pediatrics—a department that he strengthened and to which multiple
subspecialties were added. Dr. Dieterle also started a program that trained 26 pediatric
“The students, interns and residents were so stimulating,” recalls Dr. Dieterle. “They
were my mentors. They asked the questions, and I had to be ready for them. They made
me learn. I read a lot to stay on top of things.”
During his tenure at PCOM, Dr. Dieterle also served as vice president of medical affairs
and dean, as well as director of medical education. He initiated the College’s DO/MBA
dual degree program as well as the Minority Student Scholarship Fund.
In 1989, he realized a lifelong dream: practicing in the community where he lived.
He took over a private practice in Somers Point, New Jersey, with Dr. Mark Jacobson
that grew to include three locations and nine osteopathic physicians; five were PCOM
alumni. “It was great fun,” he recalls. “I enjoyed bumping into patients wherever
I went.” A number of PCOM students fulfilled rotations within the practice under Dr.
Now retired from pediatric practice, Dr. Dieterle is an emeritus professor and has
served on the College’s Boards of Trustees since 2003.
Reflecting on his career, he takes pride in serving as the only osteopathic president
of the Philadelphia Pediatrics Society, as well as serving on the Governor’s Task
Force for Perinatal Health and the Childbirth Education Association. Among his many
recognitions, in 2003, Dr. Dieterle was inducted into the La Salle University Hall
of Athletes for his swimming records as a National Collegiate Athletic Association
All-American. In 1982, he received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation
Award for Distinguished Teaching. He was the 2012 recipient of Shore Medical Center’s
A distinguished fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians and the
American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Dieterle was the first pediatric resident in the
United States to take both the osteopathic and allopathic boards. “I always hoped
that these achievements would bring well-deserved recognition to PCOM,” he says. “I
had the best of both worlds during my career—teaching at an outstanding medical school
and taking care of children.”
MASON W. PRESSLY MEMORIAL MEDAL RECIPIENT
VALERIE L. MOORE, MS (DO ’15)
Ms. Moore describes herself as an optimist. “Everyone has within them the possibility
not only to survive but to thrive,” she says. “I always try to help people be the
best they can be and, at the same time, I try to be the best person I can be.”
Throughout her years at PCOM, Ms. Moore has demonstrated that philosophy in countless
ways. She has served in numerous leadership positions and volunteered hundreds of
hours to community service projects. Among her many achievements, she takes great
pride in serving as chair of her class. “You are elected to this position by your
classmates during the first six weeks of class,” she says. “For my classmates to have
enough confidence in my ability and to trust me with that position after such a short
time was humbling.”
She is also proud of her involvement with the Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Alliance,
a program that implements health initiatives, distributes community resources and
provides patient advocacy for women and children throughout the metropolitan Philadelphia
area. “This program recognizes that women are often the nucleus of the family. We
focus on helping them maintain healthy habits and positive decision making with the
hope that this will radiate a positive impact on the rest of the family,” she explains.
Ms. Moore also coordinated the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event for Women Against
Abuse. “We recruited male PCOM students to walk in high heels on City and Monument
Avenues to raise awareness about women and children who are victims of domestic violence
and abusive situations,” she says. “I saw this as an opportunity to take a stand that,
as physicians, we are responsible for making sure our patients are in a safe environment.”
She is most humbled by her selection as the recipient of the 2015 Mason W. Pressly
Memorial Award. “My peers and faculty members who have worked with me know my strengths
and weaknesses. With all that knowledge, they still found me a worthy candidate to
represent PCOM on such a high level. This is truly an honor,” she states.
Ms. Moore looks forward to a residency and career in pediatrics, noting that she told
her mother she wanted to be a “baby medical doctor” when she was just three years
old. “I’m very excited about using the osteopathic philosophy with our littlest, most
vulnerable population,” says Ms. Moore.
“I strongly believe that the ideals and principles of osteopathic medicine are essential
to who we are and how we practice as physicians,” she emphasizes. “I challenge my
colleagues and commit my personal efforts to moving forward the foundational ideals
of osteopathic medicine, being proud of my osteopathic identity, striving to continue
laying a firm groundwork of support for rising osteopathic students and always trusting
my hands’ ability to facilitate patient healing.”
MASON W. PRESSLY MEMORIAL MEDAL RECIPIENT
LAUREN E. SMITH (DO ’16)
Ms. Smith’s journey to become an osteopathic physician began in an unlikely way: with
the study of anthropology. Although she began her undergraduate studies as a biology
major, she was drawn to anthropology in her sophomore year. After switching majors,
she made several trips to conduct research in Belize, where her passion for underserved
communities was ignited.
“I spent a summer working as an intern with the Ministry of Health in Belize amidst
one of the most severe outbreaks of dengue fever that country has ever experienced,”
she says. “I also volunteered regularly at a local rural hospital; therefore, I was
able to see how this outbreak was addressed from both public health and clinical standpoints.
I realized there was a severe lack of communication between the public health and
clinical sectors of the government, and worked with both parties to make the prevention
and treatment plan for dengue fever more feasible and effective.”
Ms. Smith returned to Belize a few months later to conduct her own anthropological-based
study, during which she interviewed the community to understand their cultural conceptions
of dengue fever. “My research provided key data for improving future prevention and
control strategies, and highlighted the importance of community integration and education
in public health interventions,” she explains. “For me, this was more than just a
‘third world’ aid experience. I became passionate about educating the community in
order to make them healthier and safer. Seeing the impact that medicine can have on
a community inspired me to pursue medicine as a career.”
After learning about osteopathic medicine, she instantly saw it as “a natural fit
for me. Anthropology looks at ‘the whole’ of what it means to be human,” she says.
“It examines the physical, social and cultural aspects of humanity. My belief in this
system of thought strongly coincides with the holistic approach to health care offered
by osteopathic medicine, as wellness encompasses the physical, mental and spiritual
realms of a person.”
Her passion for osteopathic medicine and teaching led to an osteopathic manipulative
medicine (OMM) teaching fellowship at Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic
Medicine. “Going into OMM during my first year of medical school, I loved working
with my hands, and the practice really made sense to me. I love OMM, and I think it
serves a place in every aspect of medicine.”
Ms. Smith plans to pursue a residency and career in general surgery and also plans
to continue teaching OMM as a preceptor for other medical students and by giving lectures.
“I see a strong need for OMM to be incorporated into the field of surgery,” she emphasizes.
“In terms of pre-op and post-op care, I think it could really improve outcomes.”