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Indiana Family Physician and Former Governor Receives Highest Honor From American Academy of Family Physicians
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5223
Established in 1973, the John G. Walsh Award is one of the highest honors bestowed by the AAFP. Designed to recognize long-term commitment, rather than any single significant contribution, the Walsh award is given on the basis of dedicated, effective leadership toward furthering the development of family medicine. The Walsh award is not an annual award, but is given at the discretion of the AAFP board of directors.
Bowen was affectionately known as “Doc” by his constituents. His commitment to wide-ranging patient care led him to family medicine early in medical school. After completing medical school, Bowen served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II. He landed on Okinawa on D-Day. After discharge from the Army in 1945, Dr. Bowen opened a family medical practice in Bremen, Ind. He mixed his practice of medicine with public service from 1952 to 1972.
He served as county coroner and then was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1956. Because the House met only 60 days every other year, he was able to spend most of his time taking care of patients. Later, the House began to meet every year. He lost a race for re-election by four votes in 1958 but was elected to seven consecutive House terms beginning in 1960. Bowen became minority leader in 1965 and speaker in 1967. He served as Speaker through four legislative sessions (1967, 1969, 1971, and 1972).
After unsuccessfully seeking the Republican nomination for Governor in 1968, Dr. Bowen was elected to that office in 1972. The same year voters also ratified a Constitutional amendment allowing Governors to serve successive terms. Dr. Bowen won re-election in 1976 to become the first Governor to serve two consecutive four-year terms.
His tenure in Indiana’s highest public office was marked by development of a statewide emergency medical services system and adoption of a medical malpractice law that later became a national model.
After leaving office, Dr. Bowen became professor of medicine and director of undergraduate family medicine education at the Indiana University Medical Center. Late in 1985, President Ronald W. Reagan nominated him as Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services. Quickly confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Bowen served in the cabinet until President Reagan left office in January 1989.
In 1991, the Bowen Research Center at Indiana University School of Medicine was named for Dr. Bowen and at his direction, focuses on primary care as the best defense against preventable disease.
Bowen’s dedication to the advancement of the specialty of family medicine includes many years of service and leadership. A member of the AAFP since 1949, Bowen has served on numerous AAFP commissions and committees.
“Dr. Bowen exemplifies all the best that this award represents and indeed he typifies what the specialty of family medicine is all about,” said Dr. Rick Kellerman, board chair of the AAFP.
Bowen earned his medical degree in 1942 from the University of Indiana Medical School. His autobiography, “Doc, Memories From a Life in Public Service,” is available through the Indiana University Press.
The late Dr. John Walsh, for whom the award is named, devoted his entire career to family medicine. He distinguished himself by becoming the first person ever to hold the presidency of three major family medicine organizations: the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Board of Family Medicine and the Family Health Foundation of America.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest 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 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.
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