Jeffrey Zavala, MD, FAAFP, is a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians. The AAFP represents 129,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. As an AAFP board member, Zavala advocates on behalf of family physicians and patients to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system.
Zavala was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in a town of 300 people in the mountains at 9,000 feet. From age 5 to 16, summers were spent in Iowa working on his grandfather’s dairy farm.
Zavala’s residency training was completed in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was the Chief Resident and obtained a Sports Medicine Certificate of Added Qualifications. Following residency, he and his family relocated to Red Lodge, Montana, a town of 2,000, where he practiced full-scope family medicine, including emergency department work. He also served as ambulance and ski patrol medical director. In 1994-1995, he took a year to do a fellowship and faculty position in Memphis, Tennessee, and learned endoscopy and operative obstetrics.
Throughout his career, Zavala has been involved with the AAFP and state chapters with the goal of serving his fellow family physicians. He has done mission work in Mexico and Honduras and was part of an AAFP ALSO team that went to Kyrgyzstan.
After 18 years in rural Montana, Zavala and his family moved to Utah to allow one of their daughters to pursue her dream of being an Olympic ski racer. While there, he joined a large multispecialty private practice and served on its leadership board. In 2013, he and his family returned to Montana so that he could pursue a Chief Medical Officer position for the medical group at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, Montana. Zavala is now the Montana/Northern Wyoming Chief Medical Officer for the Medical Group for Intermountain Health.
Zavala attended the University of Denver as a Sports Science major, hoping to work in the fitness world. After taking anatomy and physiology, he felt a strong pull to health care and applied to medical school. Zavala matriculated to the University of Colorado School of Medicine and immediately connected with the family medicine program and faculty.