Fourth Year DO Student Awarded Medical College's Highest Honor
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Justin Paul Canakis (DO ‘21) Awarded Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal

January 14, 2021

Medical student Justin Canakis (DO '21) wears PPE and stands next to his father in an endoscopy patient care roomJustin Canakis (right) stands alongside his father Jerrold Canakis, MD, (left) at the TidalHealth Delmarva Endoscopy Center in Ocean Pines, Maryland.

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has announced that Justin Paul Canakis (DO ‘21) is the 2021 recipient of the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal. This award is presented to a student for his or her outstanding achievement and service to the College, the community and the osteopathic profession. Recipients are selected by representatives from across the College community. Mr. Canakis will receive his award at the virtual award ceremony which will be held on Friday, January 22.

Osteopathic medical student Justin Canakis smiling in a suit and tie.“During medical school, I had the opportunity to lead some wonderful organizations and give back to the community—to be recognized for these efforts is humbling and truly an honor,“ shared Mr. Canakis.

Mr. Canakis has shared his love of learning with various volunteer organizations and fellow students. Mr. Canakis has devoted many volunteer hours to the nonprofit Health Career Collaborative, which aims to bring health education and information about healthcare careers to inner-city high schools. Mr. Canakis has participated in this program all four years at PCOM and served as president of the College’s chapter during his second year.

During his time at PCOM, Mr. Canakis designed and taught curriculum on emergency medicine and public health while also mentoring students on SAT prep and summer camp opportunities. He recalls the day the nonprofit’s founder, Dr. Barry Mann, brought a da Vinci Surgical System to a high school for students to learn about technology in medicine, sharing, “It was exciting to see our students get the chance to operate a state-of-the-art surgical robot and garner curiosity about the future of medicine.”

Upon graduating, Mr. Canakis hopes to pursue a career in internal medicine. “I think internal medicine is awesome,” he says. “You get to be part of a medical team that manages a wide spectrum of pathologies. You have the opportunity to specialize and do procedures, and you get to develop longitudinal relationships with your patients.”

Mr. Canakis is a native of Ocean City, Maryland. He completed his bachelor of science degree at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Mr. Canakis is the second Canakis brother to receive this award. His brother Andrew Canakis, DO '18, was the 2018 recipient of the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal.

Learn more about Founders' Day 2021 and the other award recipients.

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