Student D.O. of the Year

Simal Ali

Huge thank you to the Committee comprised of Rachael Connington, MD. MS, Gurjinder Kaur, PhD, Stephen Jones, PhD, Andrew Galfano, Shreya Patel, Roshana Brown (Committee Lead), Sam Briggs, and Benjamin Rourke for their help in choosing Simal for this acknowledgement.

2023/2024 - Simal Ali

"On behalf of the Student DO of the Year (SDOY) Committee, it is our honor to present to you the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) Middletown Campus’ student doctor of the year award winner, Simal Ali.

Simal came to Touro and immediately built off the leadership and entrepreneurial skills displayed throughout her undergraduate career at Drexel University. In January of 2021 she founded the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group which grew under her leadership to include sub-committees focused on nutrition, physical activity, education, and community health. She recruited national speakers to bolster our students' education on these topics, published in The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine and in The DO magazine, launched a popular webinar series, and revitalized a community garden on campus. She has presented to high school and pre-medical students as well as other local and national organizations about the importance of lifestyle medicine. For this work she was awarded the Donald A. Pegg Student Leadership Award and grant through the American College of Lifestyle medicine. Simal was a founding member of Touro’s chapter of the American Medical Women's Association which has also hosted events, recruited speakers, and offered mentorship to female medical students on our campus.

Throughout her didactic and clinical years, Simal has made contributions to the Cultural Competency curriculum in medicine on both a local and national level. As an OMS2 she crafted an original lecture “Caring for the Muslim patient: A Hijabi’s Perspective” which she first presented at TouroCOM to medical students, PA students, faculty, and deans. Her lecture quickly gained attention in the medical community and she was invited to deliver her important message at national medical conferences, symposiums, other medical schools, and on podcasts. For the third year in a row TouroCOM will welcome Simal to deliver her talk to first year medical students as part of the Cultural Competency curriculum. In addition to advocating for patient-centered care Simal is passionate about mentorship. She regularly offers mentorship to junior medical students and young Muslim professionals through a virtual program that provides career-based, educational, and faith-based guidance.  Because of these activities our committee feels that Simal not only embodies the type of osteopathic physician that represents the mission of our COM, but that she has truly enhanced the education of the several hundred students that she has come into contact with during her four years on our campus.

Simal is a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and a recipient of the U.S. Army Health Professionals Scholarship.  As an OMS-2, she oversaw the coordination of a 133-person unit at the Army’s Medical Department Direct Commission Course in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Simal has also been an active member of Touro’s Armed Forces club to provide mentorship for her fellow military classmates. Most recently, Simal was selected in the Military Match to complete her residency in Pediatrics at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

It should be clear by now that Simal’s passion for medicine and cultural competency permeates far beyond the reaches of our campus. She is a warm, approachable student who is as engaging as she is humble. Her professors are effusive in their praise of her efforts in the classroom; always there, always prepared, always contributing and asking insightful questions, setting the standard for those around her. She is a member of Sigma Sigma Phi, a winner of the Donald A. Pegg Student Leadership Award, and a newly-induced member of the Arnold P. Gold Humanism Society. We are thrilled to add Student DO of the Year to her list of awards.

These achievements are only highlights of the many accomplishments Simal has achieved during her four years at Touro COM - Middletown. We cannot wait to see what Simal will accomplish during her residency and her service in the U.S. Army in what will surely be a long, successful career as an osteopathic physician. In summary, we are honored to nominate Simal Ali for consideration for the National Student D.O. of the Year award."

Excerpt from Letter of Recommendation

SDOY Selection Committee


The Student DO of the Year Award (SDOY) is an award presented annually by the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP), a council of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), to students who go above and beyond the average osteopathic medical student. Each School or College of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM/COM) will select a school SDOY via the process summarized below, and these school winners will go on to compete for the National SDOY Award. The National SDOY will be announced at the AACOM Annual Meeting in April and will be the recipient of a monetary award (amount will be formally announced at a later date).

The SDOY Award Recipient must be a full-time student at a SOM/COM and cannot be a previous school or national Student DO of the Year (SDOY) recipient. This individual should represent the following ideals and values:

● Leadership

● Commitment to Community Service

● Dedication to the Profession

● Professionalism

● Embodiment of the Osteopathic Philosophy

Nomination Process

Anyone can nominate someone/multiple people for the SDOY award. Although not necessary, you are welcome to add a statement of support for your candidate that will be considered during the selection process. Submit your nominations for SDOY via the following link ( or the form above.

School Selection Process

The school selection committee consists of the SOM/COM Student Government President (or School SDOY Chair), one representative from each SOM/COM Class council (i.e. Class President), a student randomly appointed by the SOM/COM Student Government, one Clinical Science Professor, one Basic Science Professor, and the SOM/COM Dean (or proxies selected by these individuals should they be unwilling or unable to serve). If you are a school with an alternate teaching site there will be equal representation from each campus on your selection committee. **When filling out your application, please LIST items unless a description is requested! PLEASE include a BRIEF explanation of acronyms or programs for purposes of clarification.** Your application packet and essay will be submitted to your School’s SDOY Chair, who will remove all identifying information from the essay and then distribute it to your local selection committee. The essay portion will be scored “blinded” and the application portion will be “un-blinded”. Grading rubrics have been included in this packet. The committee members will submit their score sheets to the School SDOY Chair, who will tally up the totals for each portion. The essay portion counts for 30% of the total score. Then the application will be distributed counting for 60% of the total score. The Selection Committee will then meet and discuss each of the candidates taking into account the nomination form and impression each of the candidates, acknowledging their efforts from a more personal standpoint (this can not influence your score more than 10%). If there is a tie, the Dean will cast the deciding vote. The essay, application, and ranking scores will be summed to determine the school's SDOY.

National Selection Process

Each winner's application, along with a letter of recommendation from the school SDOY committee and a photograph of the winner, will be submitted online to the COSGP National Secretary, who serves as the National SDOY Chair. She will then remove all identifying information and submit the packet to the National SDOY Selection Committee. The National Committee consists of: the AACOM Associate Vice President for Medical Education, one randomly selected SOM/COM faculty member who is an osteopathic physician, one randomly selected member of the Steering Committee of the Society of Osteopathic Medical Educators, last year's National SDOY Winner, one randomly selected member of the COSGP Student Services Committee, the SOMA President, and one randomly selected member of the Bureau of Emerging Leaders. At this level, all material is “blinded” and the worth of each section has changed. The application packet will count for 50% of the score, the essay will count for 30% of the score, and the nomination statement and letter of recommendation from the school SDOY committee and nomination (when applicable) will collectively count for 20% of the score. All score sheets will be submitted to the National SDOY Committee Chair, who will then tally the scores. The individual with the highest total score will be named the National SDOY. In the event of a tie, the National SDOY Committee Chair will serve as the tiebreaker. For more information or with any questions, please contact your COM/SOM’s SDOY Chair or Kristen D’Orazio, COSGP National Secretary and National SDOY Committee Chair, at