Texas Family Physician Receives Public Health Award at American Academy of Family Physicians Annual Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223

SAN DIEGO — David S. Buck, MD, MPH, a family physician from Houston, Texas, was awarded the 2013 Public Health Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians at its annual meeting in San Diego. The AAFP’s Public Health Award recognizes individuals who have made or are making extraordinary contributions to the health of the American public. The award was one of seven presented for exceptional achievement in the field of family medicine.

Buck has dedicated his career to improving access to quality health services for the indigent and homeless, a purpose he found while working alongside Mother Teresa and the Missions of Charity in Calcutta, India, after graduating from college in 1984. Witnessing first-hand the region’s broken systems of care prompted Buck to pursue a master’s degree in public health and a doctorate in medicine. He has worked tirelessly during the last 25 years to improve the quality of health care for the underserved in the Houston metropolitan area, which has one of the highest rates of uninsured people in America.

His commitment to being a servant-leader began early in his medical career. As a medical student, Buck developed two medical clinics and a free dental clinic for the underserved, and in 1997 set out to build a homeless health care network. In 1999, Buck founded Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston, a consortium of more than 30 community-based agencies, health care clinics, educational institutions and public organizations working together to increase access to quality health care for the homeless. The organization, which started as a small two-room medical clinic serving fewer than 2,000 people, has flourished into Houston’s third federally qualified health center serving nearly 10,000 men, women and children. Buck currently serves as HHH president.

Additional achievements include:

  • In 2006, Buck established the innovative and successful Jail Inreach Project that aims to reduce re-arrest rates and combat the rapid cycling of the mentally ill homeless population through the Harris County Jail. The project serves as a model for other communities looking to break this dangerous and expensive cycle.
  • In 2006, Buck also established the non-profit Doctors for Change, a group of more than 100 physicians and professionals whose mission is to develop solutions for improved access to health care in Houston/Harris County.
  • Last year, the federal Government Accountability Office appointed Buck to its 15-member Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program advisory board created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Buck also currently serves on numerous local and national boards to advance underserved and homeless medical care. Locally, he serves on the governing board of the Harris County Healthcare Alliance. On the national level, he also serves as vice chair of The Street Medicine Institute, as Houston-Galveston program chair of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, as chair of Healthcare for Special Populations, and on the board of the I Am Waters Foundation. He also serves on the Research Coordinating Committee for the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council.

Buck is actively involved in education of medical students and residents as associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and adjunct associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

He has been an active member of both the AAFP and Texas Academy of Family Physicians since 1993.

Buck received his undergraduate degree from The Colorado College in Colorado Springs, his masters of public health degree from University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his family medicine residency at University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York. Buck also completed Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved Program at The University of California, San Diego, and the Clinical Scientist Training Program Baylor University.



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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 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 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).