Like Father, Like Son


March 13, 2024

The ACOI Fellowships Spotlight the Legacy of Osteopathic Medicine Through the Generations

Parents are often proud when their children follow in their footsteps, and for two father/son osteopathic internist pairs that level of pride was elevated at the ACOI 2023 Fellows Convocation as they marked a historic moment of shared success and family legacy.  

Peter G. Gulick, DO, MACOI, and Jeffrey A. Gulick, DO, FACOI, and Robert L. DiGiovanni, DO, MACOI, and Ernest L. DiGiovanni, DO, FACOI, are the first father/son pairs in recent history to be inducted as ACOI Fellows and Master Fellows simultaneously. While the Fellows Convocation featured 35 individuals receiving their FACOI designation and 15 DOs receiving their MACOI designation, rarely has an event featured family duos.  

The two fathers received the MACOI designation at the same time as their sons who received their FACOI honors. For the Gulick and DiGiovanni families, this milestone was not just about professional accomplishments; it was a testament to the enduring bonds of family and the shared passion for osteopathic medicine.  

Peter G. Gulick, DO, MACOI, and Jeffrey A. Gulick, DO, FACOI


Dr. Peter Gulick is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine where he also serves as the Internal Medicine Osteopathic Residency Program Director. Dually certified in Medical Oncology and Infectious Disease, Dr. Gullick says the event and accompanying recognition for both he and his son were thrilling for him and his family.  

“It’s an indescribable moment having your own son get an award while you’re getting an award. Recognizing us both together on the same stage and honoring us both was really exciting! The stars were aligned that he got accepted as a Fellow at the same time that I got accepted as a Master. It couldn’t have been a better recognition for us both.”

He recalls how receiving his FACOI years ago at the recommendation of a peer was special, but it was being nominated to become a Master Fellow that truly surprised him. “Being recognized an MACOI caught me totally off guard. I have no words to describe what the feeling was to earn these recognitions from the ACOI.”

Dr. Peter Gullick’s son, Dr. Jeffrey A. Gulick, an internal medicine physician, said he was inspired to pursue the distinction of being a Fellow by the osteopathic physicians in his family, including his wife, Dr. Elisabeth Chapaton- Rivard DO, who is also an FACOI.

“It meant the world to me to have something so special and memorable to share with my father who has always been an inspiration in medicine and life. Being able to walk the same path at the same time was a memory that I will always hold dear in my heart.”

He says that the ACOI has become an important fixture to him, not only in maintaining his CME, but also in the development and support of relationships with colleagues and peers. “It continues to support me in my endeavors to become a teaching faculty member/DME in the future.”

Dr. Jeffrey Gulick has high hopes for the recent addition to his family to carry on the family Fellows tradition. “This past week I became a father for the first time to our son Zackary. I can hope that one day that he too will be able to walk in the footsteps of the osteopathic physician and maybe become the third generation to join the Fellowship.”

Robert L, DiGiovanni, DO, MACOI, and Ernest L. DiGiovanni, DO, FACOI


Robert L. DiGiovanni, DO, MACOI, is a rheumatology specialist in Largo, Florida. As a Past President of the ACOI he lists his membership and his service to the ACOI over the last 35 years as one of the most rewarding endeavors in both his professional and personal life. He said he recalls his Fellow Convocation in 1994 in Washington, DC when his whole family came to watch him receive his FACOI designation. “My wife Monica and our children were there. Ernie would have been 11 years old, and I never would have guessed that I'd be attending his convocation 30 years later!”

“Fast forward 30 years. It was such an honor to be nominated to receive the MACOI award by my dear friend and colleague, Joseph J. Namey, DO, MACOI. I've attended many Fellows Convocations over the years, and I was always in awe of the Gillum Society's members in attendance. Their contributions to osteopathic internal medicine have been legendary. Being recognized and inducted into their ranks was unbelievable to me. But imagine how I felt while seeing my son, Ernest L. DiGiovanni, DO, receive his FACOI at the very same ceremony! That may have been the best thing of all! In attendance was Ernie's family, including my 93-year-old father, Leonard G. DiGiovanni, DO, FACOFP.”  

Robert L. DiGiovanni’s son, Dr. Ernest L. DiGiovanni, is a practicing gastroenterologist within the VA healthcare system who trains GI fellows from two different osteopathic training programs. “Osteopathic medicine is a family affair for the DiGiovannis, and we also have tremendous pride in the profession and passion for helping establish a strong future for osteopathic internal medicine. Pursuing the FACOI distinction was important to me not only for personal reasons but also to reaffirm my continued commitment to our profession and its future.”

“My father has always been an exemplary role model not only in the world of osteopathic internal medicine but most importantly as a father. The FACOI distinction was an important milestone to me personally to follow in his footsteps. We have a family photo from my father’s FACOI Convocation in 1994, including myself and my sister at ages 11 and 8, and we now have a family photo from our 2023 FACOI/MACOI Convocation that includes my children at ages 10 and 7, who will hopefully carry the same degree of pride and commitment through their futures as I’ve had since observing my Dad’s accomplishments at their age. The words “special” and “proud” probably don’t cover what this meant to us.”


You Can Nominate a Future Fellow or Master Fellow

FACOI and MACOI nominations are now open through May 31, 2024.

Encourage your colleagues to apply for the honorary degree of Fellow (FACOI). Physicians must be certified in internal medicine (AOBIM or ABIM) and ACOI active members (for at least two years). Your sponsorship and endorsement will be requested via email after your nominee has applied. View the list of eligible members.  

The Gillum Society of Master Fellows (MACOI) honors Active members who have demonstrated outstanding past and present contributions to the College or to osteopathic internal medicine. Nominations should take the form of a letter detailing the individual's accomplishments and activities deserving consideration. Please review the eligibility requirements.  

ACOI will recognize the new fellows in person at ACOI 2024, October 30-November 2, 2024, at the Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of ACOI.

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