Commencement Speaker

2019 Ceremony

Dr. Karen Nichols

Dr. Karen Nichols

Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, CS is most recently the Dean of the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine serving since 2002 until stepping down July 2018. She took a leave to serve as President of the American Osteopathic Association 2010-2011. Prior to serving as Dean, she was Assistant Dean, Post-Doctoral Education and Division Director (chair), Internal Medicine at the Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine since 1997. She was in the private practice of internal medicine and geriatrics in Mesa, Arizona from 1985 through 2002. A graduate of the Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) with a DO degree, she holds a Master’s degree in Management with a specialty in Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University.

Dr. Nichols has received numerous awards. In 2015, she was selected for the highest honor given by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the Distinguished Service Award. Also in 2015, she received the Robert A. Kistner, DO Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Nichols received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association. Her awards include being named as the recipient of the first Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association Physician of the Year Award, Physician of the Year from the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (twice) and the J.O. Watson named Lectureship from the Ohio Osteopathic Association. She was the 2012 recipient of the KCU-COM Alumna of the Year award. She has received Distinguished Service Awards from the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine Alumni Association and the KCU-COM Alumni Association, holding an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from that same institution. Dr. Nichols also holds honorary degrees from University of Pikeville – College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University – College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences – College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and A. T. Still University – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She has served as President of the American Osteopathic Association, President of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association and President of the American College of Osteopathic Internists and was the first woman to hold all those positions. She is Immediate Past President of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago Board of Governors. Dr. Nichols is one of the two first DOs nominated by the AOA and elected to the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education board. She is the Vice Chair of that board and serves on the Executive Committee, and Policy Committee, chairing the Governance Committee.