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WesternU COMP-Northwest professor named OPSO DO of the Year

by Rodney Tanaka

January 16, 2024

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WesternU COMP-Northwest Assistant Professor and Chair of Family Medicine Jenna Collins, DO, with her OPSO DO of the Year award. (Luke Rauch, WesternU)

The Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons of Oregon (OPSO) named Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (COMP-Northwest) Assistant Professor and Chair of Family Medicine Jenna Collins, DO, as its DO of the Year.

“I know how many amazing physicians are out there,” Collins said. “To be called out was quite an honor. I was humbled and honored to receive it.”

This prestigious honor is a testament to Dr. Collins’ outstanding contributions to the field of osteopathic medicine and her influential role in shaping future medical professionals, said COMP and COMP-Northwest Acting Dean David A. Connett, DO ’84, FACOFP dist.

“Dr. Collins’s dedication to medical education, combined with her exceptional clinical skills, sets a high standard for what it means to be a physician and an educator,” he said.

In her role as Vice Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at COMP-Northwest and COMP-Pomona, Dr. Collins introduced innovative strategies that significantly enhanced the educational experience. Her ability to implement transformative ideas has been pivotal in elevating our medical programs and positively impacting our students, Connett said.

Her recent promotion to Chair of the Department of Family Medicine is another milestone in her illustrious career, Connett said. This role underscores her profound understanding of family medicine and her commitment to patient care, medical education, and community service. Her visionary approach in this new capacity continues to inspire her colleagues and students.

“As we celebrate Dr. Collins’s receipt of the OPSO DO of the Year award, we recognize that this accolade is not only a reflection of her individual achievements but also of her status as a trailblazer in osteopathic medicine,” Connett said. “Her unwavering dedication and innovative leadership in every role she has undertaken have left an indelible mark on our institution and the medical community at large. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Collins on this well-deserved honor and thank her for her continued dedication and inspiring work.”

Collins teaches Clinical Medicine and Reasoning, so she sees first-year students every week for their entire first year of medical school. To show their support, 27 first- and second-year COMP-Northwest students attended the OPSO Holiday Party Dec. 3, 2023, where Collins was set to receive her award, though she had to cancel due to illness. She said she will frame the photo of all her students at the event and have them sign it.

“That’s what makes my heart sing, knowing what I can do for the students moving forward,” Collins said.

Collins practiced for 20 years in the Pacific Northwest prior to joining COMP-Northwest in 2020. She grew up in Washington, earned her DO degree from Des Moines University, and completed her residency at Eastmoreland Hospital in Portland, Oregon, where WesternU Provost Paula Crone, DO ’92, served as her residency director at the time.

She then returned home to Colville, Washington, to join her father’s practice in 2000. She and her father, Lon Hatfield, MD, worked together at the Healing Arts Center until he retired in 2014. Their practice focused on community-based integrative family medicine where she supported her patients’ health goals and innate healing capacity using the tenets of Osteopathic medicine along with counseling on diet, exercise and mental health, and providing Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) to support them in living their healthiest life.

After her father retired, Collins and her family returned to Oregon for her to practice at Samaritan Heartspring Wellness Center in Corvallis. She joined WesternU amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and in doing so realized “how much it would fill me up to teach students and have this osteopathic generation moving forward while fostering their ability to question and develop clinical reasoning skills specifically to benefit their future patients’ needs. This is what makes my job so wonderful and allows me to give back to my profession,” she said.

“I love the interaction with the students to see where things connect with them,” Collins said. “I am a consummate curiosity seeker in learning how to do things better. I always tell them I’m beta testing something on them. How do we help them to learn the best? I want their feedback. They know I am here to make it better for them. Sometimes it doesn’t work and that’s OK. That’s how it moves forward.”

Students need to learn what makes osteopathic medicine unique, and they need to see DOs setting the example of caring for patients in a holistic, hands-on manner, Collins said.

“Osteopathic medicine needs to be expanded again versus being pushed under the rug as it has in the past behind allopathic medicine. Hands-on is so important. I can’t stress that enough,” she said. “During COVID, when patients were coming in to see me, they hadn’t seen anybody the whole month. Even if I would shake hands or put my hand on their shoulder, it was the only touch they had all month. We don’t survive that long living like that. We foster that ability to touch in students, which will bring about more healing than words alone.”

COMP-Northwest students attended the OPSO Holiday Party Dec. 3, 2023 to show their support for Dr. Collins receiving the DO of the Year award.

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