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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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  • About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.

    For more information, contact:
    Daniel McCunney
    Associate Director, News and Media Relations
    Email: danielmc1@pcom.edu
    Office: 215-871-6304 | Cell: 267-449-1360

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