PCOM Announces Founders’ Day 2021 Awards Honorees
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PCOM Announces Founders’ Day 2021 Honorees


January 19, 2021

PCOM's Founders' Day Medals show portraits of the medical College's foundersThe O.J. Snyder and Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medals are awarded to deserving faculty, alumni and students that contribute to the College, the osteopathic profession and local communities.


Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has announced that Carol L. Henwood, DO ’83, RES ’85, FACOFP dist., a board-certified family practice physician, Justin Paul Canakis (DO ’21), and Akila Raja, MS (DO ’21), are this year’s recipients of the O.J. Snyder Memorial Medal and the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medals, respectively.

Dr. Henwood, Mr. Canakis and Ms. Raja will be honored at the College’s virtual Founders’ Day ceremony on Friday, January 22 from 10-11 a.m. on Facebook and YouTube.

Carol L. Henwood, DO ’83, RES ’85, FACOFP dist.Carol L. Henwood, DO ’83, RES ’85, FACOFP dist.

O.J. Snyder Memorial Medal Recipient

Carol L. Henwood, DO ’83, RES ’85, FACOFP dist., a board-certified family practice physician who has worked in the Philadelphia suburbs for more than three decades, is this year’s recipient of PCOM’s 2021 O.J. Snyder Memorial Medal. Dr. Henwood works for Main Line Health Family Medicine in Royersford, PA, providing a wide variety of health services—from chronic care to well visits and women’s health. A stalwart of the osteopathic profession, Dr. Henwood is a distinguished fellow and past president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and past president and an advisor for the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Family Physicians Society. She also served as the first female president of the PCOM Alumni Association; Dr. Henwood and her family have been longtime philanthropists and volunteers on behalf of the College. She holds membership positions within the American Osteopathic Association and the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association. Dr. Henwood is a recognized expert on the patient-centered medical home concept, and in 2012 was invited to address the White House on the Affordable Care Act and patient engagement. And she is an avid contributor to medical literature. Learn more about Dr. Henwood.

Osteopathic medical student Justin Canakis smiling in a suit and tie.Justin Paul Canakis (DO ’21)

Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal (PCOM)

Justin Paul Canakis (DO ’21) is this year’s recipient of the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal (PCOM). Mr. Canakis, a native of Ocean City, MD, spent many hours while in medical school volunteering for the nonprofit Health Career Collaborative, which brings health education—and exposure to healthcare careers—to inner-city high schools. Mr. Canakis participated in the program during all four years at PCOM; during his second year, he served as president of the College’s chapter. Mr. Canakis has also designed and taught curriculum on emergency medicine and public health while mentoring students on SAT preparation and summer camp opportunities. Mr. Canakis has found time for medical research at PCOM as well, collaborating on a study that explored the efficacy of teleconferences to educate providers in medication-assisted treatment to manage chronic pain and opioid use disorder. Mr. Canakis receives the Mason Pressly award three years after his brother, Andrew Canakis, DO ’18, received it for his stellar PCOM career. Learn more about Mr. Canakis.

Photo of fourth year medical student Akila Raja, MS (DO '21) wearing her white coat at the Mason Pressly medalAkila Raja, MS (DO ’21)

Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal (PCOM Georgia)

Akila Raja, MS (DO ’21) is this year’s recipient of the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal (PCOM Georgia). Ms. Raja, a native of Canada whose parents moved to Florida when she was in first grade, has spent the past four years at PCOM Georgia working to drive change and to promote healthcare advocacy and professional opportunities for her fellow students. Ms. Raja’s interest in addiction medicine led to her leadership in the development of a campus-wide substance dependence advocacy event in 2019. It drew more than 100 participants, with a prestigious panel from across Georgia coming to campus to share their personal and professional stories related to substance use and its treatment. She also rose to leadership posts in student organizations, including vice president of the Sigma Sigma Phi honors fraternity and regional director at PCOM Georgia’s Camp Cardiac and Camp Neuro summer workshops for Georgia high school students interested in the STEM fields. Most recently, Ms. Raja worked to found a chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society at PCOM Georgia. The chapter, of which she serves as president, recognizes medical students, residents and faculty who practice patient-centered care by modeling the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect and empathy. Learn more on Ms. Raja.

About the awards

The O.J. Snyder Memorial Medal is presented in memory of the co-founder of PCOM and is the College's highest award, which recognizes leadership and service to the osteopathic profession and to the institution. The Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal is presented to students for their outstanding achievement and service to the College, the community and the osteopathic profession. Recipients are selected by representatives of the overall College community.

PCOM alum Melissa Neumann Schwartz, DO ’91, is the  recipient of the 2021 Alumni Association Certificate of HonorMelissa Neumann Schwartz, DO ’91, RES ’96, FAOCOO, FAAOA

PCOM Alumni Association Certificate of Honor recipient

Also receiving honors at this year’s Founders’ Day celebration is Melissa Neumann Schwartz, DO ’91, RES ’96, FAOCOO, FAAOA, founder of the Montgomery County ENT Institute and an otolaryngologist in private practice, who will receive the PCOM Alumni Association Certificate of Honor. Learn more about Dr. Schwartz.

About Founders' Day

Founders’ Day celebrates the birth of PCOM in 1899 by Drs. Snyder and Pressly, who sought to bring the osteopathic philosophy of whole-person healthcare to Philadelphia. The virtual ceremony on January 22 will celebrate the accomplishments of the 2021 Founders' Day award recipients who embody the dedication, loyalty and service to the College that our founders, O.J. Snyder and Mason W. Pressly, exhibited. In addition to attending the ceremony, the PCOM community is invited to congratulate these award recipients by leaving a message on the College's Founders’ Day Kudoboard.

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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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