Mississippi Family Doctor Selected as Olympic Torchbearer

Dr. Timothy Alford of Kosciusko, Miss., to Carry Olympic Flame Jan. 19 in Calgary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contact:
Janelle Davis
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
jdavis@aafp.org

LEAWOOD, Kan. -- The American Academy of Family Physicians today announced that AAFP member Timothy Alford, M.D., a family physician in Kosciusko, Miss., has been selected by Coca-Cola as an Olympic Torchbearer for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, February 12–28, 2010.

Alford has been a family physician for more than 25 years in rural Mississippi. During this time and against great odds, he has worked to strengthen public education and wellness. Residing in a state that has the highest obesity rate in the United States, many of Alford's patients struggle with the chronic medical problems associated with obesity.

Alford encourages patients to exercise regularly as part of a healthy, active lifestyle. Furthermore, he takes to heart the importance of practicing what he preaches; he runs every morning at the local high school track. Averaging 30 miles per week for the past 32 years, Alford has totaled 48,000 miles, or two trips around the world.

"I'm humbled to have the opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame,"Alford said. "In carrying it, I honor the thousands of family doctors in the United States and across the world. They're the ones who carry the torch of wellness and prevention everyday as they care for their patients."

As a member of the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians and as the MAFP Foundation President, Alford helped establish a Rural Health Scholars Program that encourages high school and college students to consider becoming primary care physicians. The program also provides scholarships to students for their medical education. While serving on his local school board, he worked to mandate physical education and revise nutritional standards within Mississippi's public schools. He also served as president of his local PTA.

In his local community, Alford was chairman of his county's Habitat for Humanity program and also served as founding chairman of his local Education Foundation. Habitat for Humanity built three houses during his
tenure. He maintains a wildlife sanctuary and habitat on his farm. Additionally, he is a member of First United Methodist Church in Kosciusko where he serves on the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee.
On the state level, Alford recently was voted president-elect of the Mississippi State Medical Association. Nationally, he served for many years on the AAFP's Commission on Legislation, including two years as chair.

Alford was selected to be an Olympic Torchbearer in recognition of his constant dedication to promote healthy, active lifestyles while simultaneously working to encourage civic engagement in his community.

Alford and his fellow Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame through Calgary, Canada, January 18–19, 2010, as it makes its way to Vancouver and the Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on February 12, 2010. The Olympic Torch Relay, presented in part by Coca-Cola, will last for 106 days, cover more than 27,000 miles and link together more than 1,000 communities and places of interest throughout Canada. More about Alford's personal story can be found at www.LivePositively.com(www.LivePositively.com).

Alford graduated with a bachelor's degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. in 1978 and earned his doctorate at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in 1983. He completed his family medicine residency at the Columbus Medical Center in Columbus, Ga. in 1986. Alford is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and holds the AAFP Degree of Fellow, an earned degree awarded to family physicians for distinguished service and continuing medical education.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).