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KU School of Medicine grads earn neurology awards

Justin Coogle, M.D., and Canaan Coker, M.D. win neurology awards at 2019 KU SOM graduation

Graduating from the University of Kansas School of Medicine was memorable enough for Justin Coogle, M.D., and Canaan Coker, M.D. Being recognized by the KU Department of Neurology for prestigious student awards added an extra special touch to the milestone achievement.

Coogle earned the American Academy of Neurology's Excellent Student Award, which recognizes a graduating medical student who has promising career potential in neurology as seen by the faculty and residents of the student's institution.

Coker was the recipient of the Dewey K. Ziegler Neurology Award, which is presented by the KU Department of Neurology to an outstanding senior medical student who is pursuing a career in neurology. The award honors Ziegler's more than 50 years of service to neurology and to KU, including serving as the department's first chair from 1966 to 1984 and professor emeritus from 1990 until his death in 2012.

"We're proud of our students," said Gary Gronseth, M.D., FAAN, chair of the KU Department of Neurology. "These awards represent the emphasis the Department of Neurology and the KU School of Medicine place on neuroscience education."

The honorees were presented with engraved Deluxe Troemner Hammers during the May 18 graduation ceremonies at Memorial Hall in Kansas City.

"Graduating medical school is a landmark achievement in my life, but being recognized by the incredibly talented Department of Neurology at KU, who inspired and mentored me in my journey to becoming a doctor, and by the AAN, is an honor that I will never forget," said Coogle, who will move on to a residency in child neurology at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. "I hope to do them proud."

Similarly, Coker credits the department with helping to shape his passion for neurology. After a preliminary year in internal medicine, he will complete a neurology residency, both at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"There is no greater feeling than being recognized for doing what I love. The Department of Neurology at KU Medical Center was instrumental in helping to shape my passion for the field. I became captivated by the impact neurology has on everyone's day-to-day lifestyle, the complex pathophysiology and the ceaseless drive for future growth," he said. "To know the faculty at KU admires my dedication to the specialty enough to present me with the Ziegler Award is truly humbling. I will do everything within my power to make them proud of the neurologist I become."

Both graduates were active inside and outside the classroom throughout their medical school careers.

An avid competitive gamer, Coogle presented a Grand Rounds lecture in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences on video games, esports and internet gaming disorder. He also is the author of a published Christian paranormal fantasy fiction novel and spent a week as a student physician and volunteer on a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Meanwhile, in addition to serving as a KU School of Medicine Ambassador, director of Diabetes Night at the JayDoc Free Clinic and a volunteer for the Alzheimer's Association, Coker was recognized as a JayDoc Outstanding Student Volunteer and received a Travel Award through the KU Office of International Programs for global health endeavors in Peru.

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Neurology
Mailstop 2012
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-6970
Fax: 913-588-6965