John S. Cullen, MD, FAAFP, a family physician in Valdez, Alaska, is chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors. The AAFP represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. As AAFP Board chair, Cullen advocates on behalf of family physicians and patients to inspire positive change in the US health care system.
Cullen has practiced the full scope of family medicine in a rural community of 4,000 people in Alaska for more than 25 years. Cullen works in an independent small group practice and is director of emergency medical services at Providence Valdez Medical Center where he also provides maternity and inpatient care.
He has been actively involved in residency and medical student teaching for more than 20 years, providing comprehensive training in rural health care. He is an associate clinical professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.
From 2007 to 2013, Cullen served on the Alaska State Medical Board. During this time, he also served on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. He has visited several states to evaluate their rural health care systems and critical access hospitals.
A member of the AAFP since 1994, Cullen has served on numerous commissions and committees, including the Committee on Awards, the Commission on Governmental Advocacy, the Commission on Chapter Affairs and the Commission on Membership and Member Services. Cullen has also served on the AAFP’s Working Group on Rural Health and the AAFP’s Task Force on Emergency Medicine. He is the co-author of the AAFP’s position paper on emergency medicine, and he has served as both delegate and alternate delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates since 1996.
At the state level, Cullen is an active member of the Alaska Academy of Family Physicians. He has held numerous leadership positions, including president and president-elect.
Throughout his career, Cullen has received several awards. In 2010, he was a finalist for the AAFP’s Family Physician of the Year award. He received the Alaska AFP’s Family Physician of the Year award in 2008. In 2011 he and his son William were awarded an American Red Cross Hero award for saving a mother and baby who were involved in an icy river car crash.
Cullen earned his Bachelor of Science degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego. He earned his medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine–Tucson. Cullen completed his residency at the Stanislaus Family Medicine Residency Program in Modesto, California, in 1994. Cullen is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has the AAFP Degree of Fellow, an earned degree awarded to family physicians for distinguished service and continuing medical education.