LECOM Trustee Emeritus Joseph Stella, D.O., passes away

Joseph Stella, DO, 93, of Whitehall, Pa., a past president of the American Osteopathic Association and Trustee Emeritus of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, passed away Saturday, May 22, 2010.

Dr. Stella became a LECOM Trustee in 1995 and has a distinguished career in medical education. He was a retired naval officer who practiced family and emergency medicine for more than 40 years.

Joseph Stella, DO.
Photo by Michael Fitzgerald, courtesy of the American Osteopathic Association.

He graduated from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, and following service during World War II, he started practicing medicine in Hawaii. In 1963, he moved to Allentown, Pa., where he practiced family medicine and later began a career in emergency medicine. He served as Associate Director of Medical Education at Allentown Osteopathic Hospital and Program Director for the Emergency Medicine Residency at Lehigh Valley Hospital. Dr. Stella was President of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association in 1971 and assumed the presidency of the AOA in 1987.

Dr. Stella’s experience in medical education has provided invaluable guidance in the growth of LECOM in Erie and Bradenton. In 2008, Dr. Stella received the LECOM President's Award during its commencement ceremonies. The Award honors the personal achievements of an individual who has contributed to the growth and development of LECOM as a leader in primary health care education and delivery.

He was a recipient of the Phillips Medallion of Public Service from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and held an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. His alma mater, KCOM, honored Dr. Stella with an Honorary Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree and named him the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1994.

More recently, Dr. Stella was lauded at the AOA Conference in New Orleans in 2009 with the American Osteopathic Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted as an AOA Great Pioneer in 2008 and was the second-longest serving member of the AOA House of Delegates.

May 26, 2010
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