During homecoming at Alderson Broaddus University earlier this month, Mary Vacala ('88) received the 2013 Hu C. and Avanelle Myers Award.
The Hu C. and Avanelle Myers Award was established in 2002 to honor AB graduates who have not only excelled clinically as a physician assistant, but also in leadership within the profession.
Vacala came to Alderson Broaddus with two degrees prior to entering the physician assistant program: a bachelor's degree in health, physical education and athletic training and a master's degree in exercise physiology and adapted physical education, both from Western Illinois University. Following her degree from AB, she earned another master's degree from the University of Nebraska, summa cum laude in orthopedic surgery.
She has taught numerous courses, serving on the faculty of no less than six institutions of higher learning. She has given hundreds of presentations and workshops, including a presentation at the National Physician Assistant Conference held in Washington, DC in May of 2013. She has authored several publications. In 2007, she was named a Distinguished Fellow by the American Association of Physician Assistants.
Vacala has served as an athletic trainer at hundreds of sporting events nearly all over the country, most notably with the United States Olympic Committee and serving as chief athletic trainer for wrestling, judo, team handball, weightlifting, table tennis, fencing, and modern pentathlon at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. She has also served with the United States Wheelchair Games and the Paralympic Games. From 1998 to 2000, she served as the Anti-Doping Crew Chief for the United States Indoor National Track & Field Championships in Atlanta.