KYCOM honors esteemed professor during ceremony

Julia H. Smith, D.H.Ed., M.S., associate professor of anatomy, was named this year’s John A. Strosnider, D.O., Memorial Lecturer at the annual Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) Founders Dinner on Sept. 10. The award recognizes Smith’s service to the medical school and the community, which spans more than two decades and countless student physicians.

Established in honor of John A. Strosnider, D.O., founding dean of the medical school, the award is presented annually. Previous recipients include G. Chad Perry III, Burlin Coleman, Bennie Ray Bailey, Paul E. Patton, William H. Owens, Terry Dotson, Harold H. “Hal” Smith, Walter E. May, William Betz, Edward G. Stiles and Steve R. Harris.

KYCOM Dean Joe Kingery, D.O., MBA, FACOFP, FAAFP, was even a student of Smith’s during his time as a medical student and reflected on her commitment to the medical school. 

“Dr. Smith truly believes in KYCOM’s mission of medicine in the mountains,” said Kingery.

Smith, a lifetime Eastern Kentuckian, received her bachelor’s degrees from Georgetown College in biology and environmental science, a master’s in biology with an emphasis in ecology from Morehead State University and finally, her doctorate of health education from A.T. Still University. 

Responsible for opening and maintaining the first anatomy lab at KYCOM, Smith came to the “hill” 24 years ago, hired by Strosnider while teaching at then Pikeville College. Though at the time, Smith wasn’t entirely sure of the role she was about to begin. 

“What each of us planned for our lives sometimes isn’t what God planned for us,” said Smith. 

During the ceremony, surrounded by friends and colleagues, Smith recalled lessons learned and unconventional stories from KYCOM’s early years. She spoke to the responsibility and privilege she felt for the anatomy lab and the important learning experiences it provided to student physicians. 

“Strosnider believed and saw potential in both the medical school and me, and for that, I will always be grateful,” reflected Smith.