Dario Marotta, Class of 2022, has been named ACOM’s 2020-2021 Student Doctor of the Year (SDOY). Each year, the ACOM Student Government Association requests nominations of students who demonstrate the principles of leadership, community service, dedication and professionalism. Osteopathic colleges across the country select one student from their institutions to compete for the national SDOY award.
Marotta is a non-traditional student from Normal, Illinois. After spending six years in Illinois law enforcement, serving as a Detective Sergeant of the Criminal Investigations Division and later as a United States Secret Service-trained mobile device forensic examiner, Marotta chose to attend medical school.
“I chose ACOM because I felt they valued my unique life experiences,” Marotta said. “My interview was conversational, everyone was warm and welcoming, and I felt the fact the school was relatively new gave me a chance to contribute to future ACOM graduating classes.”
Marotta has a passion for research. His career began in his second year of medical school when he was selected for an internship funded by the National Cancer Institute. He attributes this time to igniting his love for research and he has since published 15 manuscripts over the last year.
To date, much of his work has focused on cognition, health-related quality of life and access to care in the setting of advanced brain cancer. Marotta continues to expand his work to include deep brain stimulation in patients with movement disorders, vision loss in those with idiopathic intracranial hypertension and imaging modalities in patients with acute ischemic stroke.
Currently, Marotta is completing his third-year clinical clerkships at Southeast Health and in the Dothan area. He is working on multiple research projects with national and international collaboration, including a study in partnership with Southeast Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. Marotta’s hope is to pursue a residency in neurosurgery with the goal to become an academic neurosurgeon.
“I hope to one day teach in a medical school and/or residency environment,” Marotta said, “I look forward to mentoring future medical students, much like those who have made my medical and research career possible.”
Medical school has provided many opportunities and Marotta says his most rewarding experience is being able to work with fellow classmates and give back to the community.
“I co-founded a community garden at the Ark, a local non-profit ministry and food bank in Dothan, with classmates of mine,” Marotta said, “We turned a half-acre vacant lot into a vegetable garden and food source for the residents who are recovering from addiction, abuse and other adversity.”
As Student Doctor of the Year, Marotta will represent ACOM for the national Council of Osteopathic Student Government President’s SDOY competition.
“Being selected as ACOM’s Student Doctor of the Year is an absolute honor and means the world to me,” Marotta said. “I am deeply grateful for the unwavering confidence and support of my peers and the faculty and staff at ACOM through this award.”