Four individuals honored with the Patenge Medal of Public Service award


By: Brianna Robinson

Four distinguished leaders have been selected to receive the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s highest honor, The Walter F. Patenge Medal of Public Service award. Known for their commitment to excellence in medicine, government and public service, the winners are Kenneth Elmassian, Kari A. Hortos, Kris T. Nicholoff and Lawrence L. Prokop.

Elmassian has been a practicing anesthesiologist at McLaren Greater Lansing where he has served as the chief of staff and chair of the Department of Surgical Services, as well as the director of cardiovascular and thoracic anesthesiology. As a clinical professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, he has become a mentor to the many residents and students who have passed through the college’s anesthesiology residency program.

Prokop, associate professor of health programs and 1980 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University Medical Center. Prokop’s 40 years of practice in osteopathic medicine has been split between patient care, medical education and research. Most notably, he wrote the only full medical acupuncture course for medical students in the United States, which he continues to teach today.

Hortos, a 1982 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, is board certified in internal medicine and completed her fellowship training in nutrition support and metabolism at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She serves as associate medical director of Seasons Hospice and recently retired from the college in 2019 as a professor of internal medicine and osteopathic medical specialties, as well as an associate clinical professor. Hortos is widely recognized as a tireless champion of access to health care for underserved populations.

Nicholoff is CEO and executive director of Michigan Osteopathic Association, or MOA, and hosts Healthy Michigan on the Michigan Business Network. Nicholoff serves on several community boards and foundations including the Michigan Dental Association Foundation, Sparrow Home Care and First Tee of Mid-Michigan. Because of his efforts, the MOA has become a leader on issues such as safe opioid use, increasing access to addiction treatment, improving vaccination rates, fighting human trafficking, advocating for catastrophic care and promoting wellness.

The award is named for Walter F. Patenge, the first president of the Michigan Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Board.

As part of necessary precautions in response to the COVID-19 situation, this year’s award recipients will be recognized next year, May 2021, during a special celebration.