Richard Roberts, MD, JD, Recieves National Honor from American Academy of Family Physicians

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


PHILADELPHIA — Richard Roberts, MD, JD, professor of family medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, and a family physician in Belleville, Wisc., was awarded the 2012 John G. Walsh Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians at its annual meeting here.

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. The late Dr. John Walsh, for whom the award is named, devoted his career to family medicine. He distinguished himself by becoming the first individual ever to hold the presidency of three major family medicine organizations: the AAFP, the American Board of Family Medicine and the Family Health Foundation of America, now the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

An active member of the AAFP since 1981, Roberts has served many roles, including chair of various committees and task forces, board chair and president from 2000 – 2001. He was instrumental in the Future of Family Medicine Project that began in 2002. Leaders of the seven national family medicine organizations — AAFP, AAFP Foundation, ABFM, Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors, North American Primary Care Research Group and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine — embarked on a serious re-examination of the specialty and the U.S. health care system.

The group’s goal was to develop strategies to renew and transform the discipline of family medicine to meet the needs of patients in a changing health care environment. Roberts served on the FFM Project Leadership Committee and as chair of the FFM Project Task Force on Leadership. The result was a diverse examination of family medicine and 10 strategic recommendations that have served as a guide for transforming the specialty. The project published its final report as a supplement to the March/April 2004 issue of Annals of Family Medicine. The implementation phase of the project began in early 2004.

Roberts has worked closely with a wide range of physician groups, including service as a director on the boards of the American Medical Accreditation Program and the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Panel to the Technology Evaluation Center of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. He has been a member of guideline panels of the AAFP, American College of Cardiology, American Urological Association, United States Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and World Health Organization. Roberts has served as a consultant to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board.

Roberts is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Patient Safety Foundation and the National Advisory Council of the California Health Benefits Review Program. He currently serves as board chair of the Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association.

At the international level, Roberts serves on the executive (board of directors) and is president of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA). He has led U.S. delegations to Brazil, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. He has been a member of several U.S. delegations to WHO international consultations on urinary health.

Roberts is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. He completed his family medicine residency at the University of California-Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Law, Madison. Roberts 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. He is also a fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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