Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, FACP, CS-F recently retired as the Dean of the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she served from 2002 to 2018. She was on leave to serve as President of the American Osteopathic Association 2010-2011. Prior to serving as Dean, she was Assistant Dean, Post-Doctoral Education and Division Director (chair), Internal Medicine at the Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine since 1997. She was in the private practice of internal medicine and geriatrics in Mesa, Arizona from 1985 through 2002. A DO graduate of the Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM), Dr. Nichols holds a Master’s degree in management with a specialty in healthcare administration from Central Michigan University.
Dr. Nichols has received numerous awards, including the first Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association Physician of the Year Award, Physician of the Year Award from the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Association, the J.O. Watson named Lectureship from the Ohio Osteopathic Association, Distinguished Service Awards from the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine Alumni Association and the KCU-COM Alumni Association, and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from that same institution. She was the 2012 recipient of the KCU-COM Alumna of the Year Award, and received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association. Dr. Nichols also holds honorary degrees from University of Pikeville – College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University – College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, A.T. Still University/Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Western University of Health Sciences – College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific.
She has served as president of the American Osteopathic Association, president of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, and president of the American College of Osteopathic Internists, and was the first woman to hold all of those positions. Dr. Nichols has served on the boards of the KCU-COM and the American Osteopathic Foundation. By invitation, she frequently speaks nationally on leadership, end-of-life care, and outreach issues for osteopathic medicine.