Presidential Honors and Honorary Degrees
The President's Medal is awarded to a member of the University community in recognition of extraordinary and unique service and contributions to PNWU. Criteria for recipients include:
- Distinction in service and commitment to the University.
- Achievement in a profession and/or extraordinary merit.
- Achievement in medicine.
- Demonstrated initiative toward the improvement of University program or campus activities.
2012 Presidential Citation Recipients
Bob Haney, trustee, awarded for his generous support as the first major donor in developing the PNWU College of Osteopathic Medicine and for his service as a founding trustee.
2013 Presidential Citation Recipients
John Cadwell, MD, donor and voluntary advisor to the president. Dr. Cadwell and his wife Priscilla met a great need for the University and the COM, building the space that bears their name, the Cadwell Student Center. Dr. Cadwell additionally served as advisor to the president, sharing his business knowledge and helping to strengthen the University.
C. Keith Riffe, CPA, JD, stepped into the role of Chief Business Officer to lend his experience as a CPA as well as his long history of serving on nonprofit boards for various organizations in the Yakima Valley. Keith volunteered for many months before his appointment as CBO, a role he retired from in 2013.
2014 Presidential Citation Recipients
Representative Norman Johnson recognized for meritorious service as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives since his election to the legislature in 2008. Through Representative Johnson’s legislative leadership and notoriety in Olympia, he has expedited awareness of the PNWU mission for rural health care. His ability to work effectively across the aisle has provided unmeasurable benefit to PNWU.
Representative Johnson has sponsored legislation, resulting in $800,000 of funding for the development of PNWU-COM graduate medical education. His leadership on Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1183 in 2011 resulted in clinical rotations being accessible to all medical students. Furthermore, Representative Johnson sponsored legislation uniting higher education research professionals to benefit the economic and health care development of Washington State.
Representative Eileen Cody recognized for meritorious service as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives since her election to the legislature in 1992. Representative Eileen Cody has been a tireless champion for health care access for Washingtonians and for the education of health care professionals to provide that access. Furthermore, Representative Eileen Cody has been extremely effective in creating bipartisan support for health care policies that benefit Washington residents, thereby supporting a PNWU value of ‘Health Care for All.'
Representative Cody continues to demonstrate solid support for health care education, always seeing the PNWU vision and fully recognizing the importance of the University mission to educate health care professionals to serve rural and underserved populations.
2015 Honorary Degree
PNWU's first honorary degree was awarded to Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson, DO, MA, USPHS (ret). Dr. Johnson is an osteopathic physician with a breadth of senior public health leadership experience in civilian and military sectors. She serves on various for-profit and non-profit boards and advisory committees, and provides consultation on a range of health care topics. She has particular expertise in global health, and serves on the AOA’s Bureau of International Osteopathic Medicine.
RADM Johnson served in the U.S. Public Health Service (Rear Admiral, Upper Half.) Her last active duty assignment was with the U.S. Coast Guard as director, health and safety (“surgeon general”). She managed the Coast Guard’s health care system, including 150 sickbays and clinics. She also had responsibility for the Coast Guard’s safety and work-life programs.
Other government assignments included senior scientific and management positions with the Food and Drug Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She has held clinical positions at the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she was an Epidemiologic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer and staff epidemiologist with the Center for Infectious Disease.
Dr. Johnson received her D.O. degree from Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine.
She is board certified in Public Health/ Preventive Medicine and Psychiatry. She is also a certified Clinical Pharmacologist, Certified Addiction Specialist and Certified Food Services Executive. In addition to her medical degree, she earned a master’s degree in Hospital and Health Administration. She has been conferred five honorary doctoral degrees.
Dr. Johnson has extensive international health experience, and has provided consultation or clinical care on all seven continents. She has particular interests in health care in underserved areas, global health, behavioral health, quality assurance, and emergency preparedness and disaster relief. She was actively involved in the disaster response to the recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. She has been a DoCare volunteer on six international missions. For over a decade she has been a consultant to the National Science Foundation on development of the health care system for Antarctica.
Dr. Johnson writes three regular medical and nutrition columns, and recently co-authored the book, Lizard Bites and Street Riots – Travel Emergencies and your Health, Safety and Security. She is a member of the Department of Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, and has served on other expert committees including the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine. She served on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Board of Trustees, and has been an adjunct faculty member at several medical schools.
2016 Presidential Citation Recipient
Karen S. Hyatt
The Board of Trustees of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in recognition of the extraordinary personal and professional contributions of Karen S. Hyatt to the University award this day the Presidential Citation Medal.
Karen S. Hyatt joined the PNWU Board of Trustees in March 2005, serving three full terms, concluding in June 2015. Karen is a past chair of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences Board of Trustees, having been awarded the title of Board Chair Emerita following her two-year term as chair.
Karen’s insights and leadership for PNWU have been outstanding and have contributed to the growth and stability of the institution in its formative years. Her keen understanding of the health care needs of the Pacific Northwest have been invaluable to the institution’s strategic planning. Her guidance in health policy has directly benefited PNWU and its College of Osteopathic Medicine. Karen’s insights and actions have stabilized PNWU through the formative years to its present point of excellence.
Karen served as legislative consultant and registered lobbyist during the 1976-1980 legislative sessions. She was responsible for the formulation and execution of the lobbying program and political action committee and legislative education of the membership of the state long-term care association. She served as the representative for the Washington State Health Facilities Association to several state and federal committees dealing with nursing homes, long-term care and certificate of need/health planning. Karen has also testified before various state and federal bodies on issues concerning long-term care, national health insurance, Medicare and on behalf of PNWU.
Karen is currently serving her second term as President of the Capitol Theatre Committee and serves on the Washington Health Care Association Political Action Committee, the Government Affairs Committee, and the advisory committee to the President. Karen also remains active with PNWU, serving on committees, advocating for PNWU, and supporting the University through fund raising efforts and as a Trustee Emeritus of the Board.
For these contributions to PNWU, health care in Washington State, and many others, we proudly honor her with this Presidential Citation and Medal, May 21, 2016.
2017 Presidential Citation Recipient
John E. Bassett, PhD
Whereas, Dr. Bassett is native of Washington DC and a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he is also a graduate of the University of Rochester earning a PhD in English; and
Whereas, Dr. Bassett has served higher education in both state supported and independent colleges and universities; and
Whereas, Dr. Bassett is a highly esteemed educator, scholar, and administrator at national level having received, among others, the Henry Paley Award for career leadership serving students in independent higher education from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in 2016 and having been named Outstanding Alumnus at Ohio Wesleyan University in 2013; and
Whereas, Dr. Bassett has served the United States Department of Education’s Commission on Higher Education Accreditation as a leader in accreditation standards setting and contributed to the excellence of higher education outcomes; and
Whereas, Dr. Bassett has promoted collaboration among higher education leaders across the state of Washington and specifically between Heritage University, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Washington State University, Central Washington University, and the University of Washington, thus advancing inter-professional education and practice; and
Whereas, Dr. Bassett shared his vast knowledge of accreditation with Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences leadership and guided early leaders in the pursuit of regional accreditation; and
Whereas, Dr. Bassett has served as a valued mentor to two Presidents of PNWU; and
Whereas, Dr. Bassett has publicly promoted PNWU in the Yakima Community and the Pacific Northwest; and has supported the mission, vision, and values of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.
Therefore, the Board of Trustees of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences pay tribute to John Bassett, PhD, and honors him for his extraordinary achievements and contributions with this Presidential Citation, awarded this 20th day of May, 2017.