LEWISBURG (WVDN) – Two West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) alumni can add their names to West Virginia Executive magazine’s Health Care Hall of Fame.
Catherine “Mindy” Chua, D.O., Class of 2001, and Tom Takubo, D.O., Class of 1999, along with eight other health care professionals, were inducted to the hall of fame during an awards program on Feb. 22 in Charleston. Each award recipient’s story can be found in the Winter 2022 edition of West Virginia Executive.
This is the third year the magazine has honored individuals who have had an impact on health care in West Virginia. Each year, WVSOM alumni and administrators have been honored. Previous winners include Christopher “Dino” Beckett, D.O., and Craig Boisvert, D.O. This is the first time WVSOM has had two recipients in the same year.
WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., paid tribute to Chua and Takubo, as well as the other recipients at the awards ceremony.
“You are the true health care heroes on the front lines every day,” Nemitz said. “The challenges of the past two years have tested all of us, and all the inductees honored today are inspirational in their dedication to serving others.”
Chua said she was humbled to be recognized.
“I see that Dr. Boisvert was a recipient last year. He is someone who I remember was very committed to both his patients and to the field of osteopathic medicine,” Chua said of the recognition. “There is a lot of conversation right now about ‘imposter syndrome,’ and I sometimes look around myself and feel just that. To say that I’m deeply honored would be an understatement. I hope that I can continue to live up to this honor by providing excellent care to and leadership for our community.”
Chua is the chief medical officer and incident commander at Davis Health System. She shares the honor of “hall of famer” with Takubo, who an owner and partner at Pulmonary Associates of Charleston and is majority leader of the West Virginia State Senate. Takubo has been recognized as bringing the most advanced lung diagnostics system to West Virginia.
He said his successes throughout his career may not have been possible without the guidance of other physicians.
“There have been so many great clinicians that I have had the privilege of learning from and continue to learn from,” Takubo said. “I would only hope that those who have shared their knowledge and insight feel just as honored by this award knowing that their contributions have played a significant role in helping fellow West Virginians.”
The Health Care Hall of Fame seeks nominations for individuals who have had a positive influence in the state, whether by starting a unique business to meet a need, developing medical devices to improve treatment, acting as a trailblazer in the profession, leading efforts to treat underserved populations or finding new ways to address West Virginia’s health issues. The health care heroes can be on the front lines as doctors and nurses or work behind the scenes in roles such as researchers, entrepreneurs or volunteers.
Takubo said he is not surprised that two WVSOM graduates are being recognized this year, since WVSOM has long produced outstanding physicians who practice throughout the state.
“It is no surprise WVSOM graduates are doing great things. In fact, I suspect an entire volume could be dedicated to our graduates alone. Everywhere you go, WVSOM graduates are changing the landscape of health care in the Mountain State and providing promising legacies for generations to come,” he said.
Chua shares Takubo’s sentiment, saying that because people perceive WVSOM as a small school, it often does not get as much recognition as “the big guns.”
“When you look at the percentages of allopathic and osteopathic doctors in the state and compare that to the percentage of the same achieving this honor, it does speak volumes as to the quality of doctors graduating, and more importantly, the commitment of those graduates to the communities we serve,” Chua said. “From its inception, the goal of the school was to provide quality doctors to serve in the rural, underserved areas of West Virginia, and this is validation that they are achieving that mission.”