Dr. Craig Phelps

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – A.T. Still University President-designate Craig Phelps, DO, has been named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2012 Most Admired CEOs and Top-Level Executives.

Dr. Phelps was chosen as one of the Phoenix-area’s 25 most admired executives based on past achievements and ongoing outstanding leadership. Consistent values, vision, solid decision-making, and commitment to quality were among the criteria for this award. He was recently recognized at the 4th Annual Most Admired CEOs & Top-Level Executives Awards Dinner, which recognizes honorees for passion, inspiration, and motivation in their work and community.

Dr. Phelps currently serves as executive vice president for strategic initiatives and will assume the position of president following President Jack Magruder’s retirement July 1. Dr. Phelps is a 1984 graduate of A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Medicine and became provost of ATSU’s Arizona campus to develop ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (Arizona’s first dental school), and School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.

Dr. Phelps is the primary care physician for the Phoenix Suns.


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MESA, Ariz. – A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) celebrated commencement ceremonies Saturday, Aug. 6 at Phoenix Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Ariz. 433 students received either master of science or doctoral degrees at the dual ceremonies.

Over 2,400 family members and friends of the graduates attended the two separate ceremonies. 256 online graduates celebrated at the 9 a.m. ceremony, and the 11:30 a.m. ceremony was for the 177 residential program graduates.

Graduates received degrees in human movement, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, audiology, doctor of health sciences, physical therapy, and athletic training.

“In September 2010 we adopted a new university mission to be the preeminent university for the health professions, quite a lofty aim for a small private school,” said ATSU-ASHS Dean Barbara Maxwell, PT, D.P.T., M.Sc., Cert, THE, ’06. “So what is it that will make us preeminent? I would argue that what leads us to preeminence is our graduates. They will lead the way.”

As part of the commencement ceremonies, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree was awarded to keynote speaker Dianne V. Jewell, PT, D.P.T., Ph.D., CCS, FAACVPR, founder and CEO of The Rehab Intel Network located in Ruther Glen, Va.

During her commencement addresses, Dr. Jewell lauded the graduates for their career choices and accomplishments. “You could have chosen a different, less challenging path. Instead, you found your calling in service to others who are vulnerable and often surprised by the situations in which they find themselves,” she said. “They will depend on your knowledge, skill, expertise, compassion, and empathy. They will trust you to put their interests ahead of your own and to persevere when the odds against you appear to be overwhelming.”

Dr. Jewell holds a doctoral degree in health services research and organization. She is a board certified clinical specialist in cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy. Her current clinical interests include the application of fitness principles across the continuum of care and alternative delivery models for physical therapy services to patients without health insurance.




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MESA, Ariz. – A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) held its spring commencement ceremony for six online programs March 5 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Approximately 222 students earned a master of science or doctoral degree at the ceremony.

Graduates received degrees in human movement, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, audiology, doctor of health sciences, and physical therapy. This was the first time most students had met each other in person, as they all acquired their degrees through online courses.

“These graduates demonstrated their commitment to their profession and to life-long learning,” said ASHS Dean Barbara Maxwell, PT, D.P.T., M.Sc., Cert. THE, ’06. “As working healthcare professionals their learning has greater impact as it transcends immediately to the clinical setting and directly to patient care.”

Founded in 1995, ATSU-ASHS is committed to educating and preparing its students to practice at the forefront of a rapidly growing healthcare system.

During the commencement ceremony, a keynote address was given by Ellen Owens-Summo, M.Ed., DTR, director of health education, professional development at the Greater Valley Area Health Education Center (GVAHEC).

During her address, Owens-Summo spoke highly of the importance of mentoring in the healthcare career pipeline. “Mentoring is not always about giving advice, it is also about taking time to listen, provide words of encouragement, and being willing to advocate on the behalf of others,” she said. “Without mentors, we would be less likely to take risks, strive to do a better job, and lack accountability for reaching our goals.”

Owens-Summo holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition from Ball State University in nutrition and dietetics. She is a member of the National Wellness Institute and assisted in the development of the Arizona Living Well Institute. She is a member of the American Public Health Association, and currently serves as president of the Arizona Public Health Association.

GVAHEC focuses its work around three overarching goals, which have been determined by the state Area Health Education Center office. They are: recruitment into health careers, interdisciplinary and inter-professional community-based training for health professions students, and promoting the delivery of quality healthcare for Arizona’s rural and urban medically-underserved communities, including health promotion and prevention programs.


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Henry Trahan, Au.D.; Tabitha Parent-Buck, Au.D.; and Thomas G. Rigo, Ph.D.

Thomas G. Rigo, Ph.D., associate professor, ATSU-ASHS Audiology program, was recently presented with The Academy of Doctors of Audiology’s (ADA) Joel Wernick Award at the ADA conference held in San Antonio, Texas, November 4-6. The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding educational contributions within the professions of audiology or hearing science. Dr. Rigo was nominated by audiology’s graduating class.

The award honors Joel Wernick, Ph.D., who was an active supporter of the ADA from its inception. He was a prominent scientist, teacher, author and industry executive that exemplified service through his commitment to dispense education and his willingness to share his own knowledge for the benefit of his peers and the profession.

Knowing early on that he had a passion for teaching and introducing students to audiology, Dr. Rigo has taught and administered audiology programs at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and ATSU-ASHS for more than 25 years. In addition to his work in the classroom and the clinic, Dr. Rigo has published in numerous scholarly journals and presented extensively in the areas of auditory processing disorders, aural rehabilitation, and multi-modal perception of speech. He is also a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Rigo also serves on the Arizona Licensing Committee for Hearing Aid Dispensers, Audiologists, and Speech Language Pathologists.

Graduating audiology students said this of Dr. Rigo in their nomination letter: “There is no one else we can point to who has influenced the development of so many future audiologists or has done it with more joy, energy, and passion than Dr. Rigo. He exemplifies the true spirit of audiology in everything he does for the profession. The award would recognize both his long-standing and continuing commitment to excellence as an educational leader and his role as an active and vocal advocate of the Doctor of Audiology degree.”

In 2002, Dr. Rigo was appointed to the Department of Audiology at ATSU-ASHS. He stepped into a role that would allow him to assist with the development of an accredited audiology program from the ground up. Today, the ATSU Audiology program is one of the top residential Au.D. programs in the country. Since the first class of Au.D. students at ATSU-ASHS matriculated, Dr. Rigo has been voted the Outstanding Teacher of the Year, every year. Dr. Rigo was selected because of his unmatched ability to adapt to each student’s learning style.

“Dr. Rigo is a highly dedicated professional with a dynamic teaching method, whose effective communication abilities and classroom activities have an exceptional way of promoting understanding, motivating students to learn, and reinforcing students’ knowledge and skills,” said Tabitha Parent Buck, Au.D., associate professor and chair, audiology. “In spite of his gifts, he is humble and approachable and enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge with others, particularly his students.”

Dr. Rigo has been described by students and colleagues as an “exemplary professor, colleague, and audiologist. He stands out from other professionals in his contribution to teaching and advocating for audiology. His joy, enthusiasm, and drive for the profession are infectious and others should look to him for inspiration in how to succeed in their careers and lives.”

Dr. Rigo has been a pioneer of the audiology profession since beginning his studies in Communication Disorders more than 30 years ago. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in communicative disorders and audiology from Florida State University.


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Funds keep University programs and technology on cutting edge to benefit communities

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) granted A.T. Still University (ATSU) eight awards totaling more than $5.86 million. These gifts will greatly benefit the Kirksville, Mo., and Mesa, Ariz., communities, and beyond. In all, ATSU was awarded more than 60 percent of HRSA’s Federal Health Professions grant funding in Missouri and more than 75 percent of all grants in Arizona.

“These significant grants will allow ATSU to better serve our communities and to carry out our mission to serve rural areas and underserved populations in Arizona and Missouri,” said ATSU President Jack Magruder. All grant funds are dedicated to specific areas and cannot be used for anything else.

Three of the eight grants are for five-year projects. A $1.75 million award will establish a department of family and community medicine at ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (SOMA), located in Mesa, for the purpose of training community health centers (CHCs) to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.

ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH), also located in Mesa, and the School of Health Management (SHM), headquartered in Kirksville, Mo., received $1.5 million for a workforce development initiative to produce oral health leaders for community health centers and public health settings.

A grant of $1.11 million was awarded to the ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) to intensify instruction and assessment in health literacy, public health, and electronic medical records, emphasizing the medical home model of care.

The five remaining grants were received through the HRSA’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Each ARRA grant is worth $300,000 and that $1.5 million is allocated for the acquisition and use of teaching resources and classroom technology, including simulated patients, defibrillators, and a video communications system.  These grants were awarded to ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS), SOMA, and KCOM.

Douglas Wood, D.O., Ph.D., ATSU Senior Vice President – Academic Affairs, said that “the funding from these awards will first and foremost benefit the patients and the healthcare professionals in primary care, public health, and underserved locations. These new resources will help ATSU to concentrate on sound and innovative education and compassionate practice.”

HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the primary federal agency for improving healthcare service for the underserved. HRSA provides leadership and financial support to healthcare providers, healthcare professionals, and is committed to improving the healthcare system in rural communities.


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