AAFP Names Top Physician, Education and Humanitarian Advocates

Six family physicians honored for outstanding contributions to family medicine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Friday, Sept. 27, 2019

Contact:
Janelle Davis
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6253
(913) 912-0377 (mobile)
jdavis@aafp.org

PHILADELPHIA —The American Academy of Family Physicians announced the recipients of its most prestigious awards at its annual meeting this week. Six family physicians from across the nation were recognized for their outstanding contributions to family medicine and the health of the public.

Each of these awards recognizes a family physician who has made exceptional advances in furthering the health of their communities through service and education.

- Warren Ferguson, MD, was awarded the AAFP’s Public Health Award. The Public Health Award recognizes the important contributions that family physicians make to advancing the health of the public at the national, state or local levels.

Ferguson is professor and vice chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.  

The University of Massachusetts Health and Criminal Justice Program was established in 2003 to provide health services for the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Ferguson oversaw clinical services for incarcerated persons, physician recruitment and competencies, and established a criminal justice track in the preventive medicine residency program.

Ferguson’s work has also focused on community re-entry strategies for individuals released from jails and prisons. He currently leads the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health and the Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health. Extramural grants have included funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality.

- C.Ted Mettetal, MD, a family physician in Athens, Texas, was awarded the AAFP’s Humanitarian Award. The Humanitarian Award honors extraordinary and enduring humanitarian efforts by an AAFP member, both within and beyond the borders of the United States.

Mettetal is a practicing family physician and the founder and executive director of Hope Springs Water. The organization was established in 2010 after Mettetal travelled to the developing world as part of a medical team and saw people suffering due to a lack of access to clean water. HSW’s mission is to bring clean water, improved sanitation, and public health and hygiene education to the people in underdeveloped parts of the world.

Mettetal led the earliest projects in Nicaragua and Belize where HSW reclaimed 150 abandoned wells and restored access to clean water. In 2011, HSW began working in Africa – funding wells, developing rainwater collection and storage systems, and wastewater treatment facilities. Volunteer teams continue partnering with local governments, NGOs and school systems to teach hygiene practices.

To date, the organization has brought its mission to 12 countries and has completed more than 85 water projects, bringing clean water and sanitation to more than 100,000 people.

- Ted Wymyslo, MD, a family physician in Columbus, Ohio, was awarded the AAFP’s Robert Graham Physician Executive Award. This award is reserved for an AAFP member whose executive skills in health care organizations have contributed to excellence in the provision of high quality health care by family physicians and their impact on improving the overall health of the nation.

Wymyslo is the chief medical officer of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers. He works with OACHC leadership and the member practice sites throughout Ohio to improve quality of care, control costs, enhance the workforce and expand utilization of the medical home model of care.

With more than 35 years as a clinician, Wymyslo has also held leadership roles in graduate medical education, residency training, public health initiatives, free clinic and homeless health care, and medical home advocacy in Ohio and across the nation. His recent work includes leading an effort to find solutions to Ohio’s opioid crisis.

- Peter Carek, MD, a family physician in Gainesville, Florida, received the Thomas W. Johnson Award. The award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to family medicine education in undergraduate, graduate and continuing education spheres.

Carek is professor and chair in the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. During the past decade, he has played a prominent role in guiding changes in family medicine education at the national level through his work with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Carek’s contributions to family medicine research are reflected in his roles with the North American Primary Care Research Group. He serves as chair of the Education Committee and as a board representative of the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors on the NAPCRG board.

Carek has authored more than 70 articles for peer-reviewed journals and has delivered more than 100 invited presentations during meetings of national and international medical organizations.

- Nancy Dickey, MD, a family physician in Bryan, Texas, was awarded the John G. Walsh Award. This award honors those individuals whose dedication and effective leadership has furthered the development of family medicine. It recognizes long-term dedication, rather than any single significant contribution, and effective leadership toward furthering the development of family medicine. This award is not granted on a regular basis but is awarded at the discretion of the AAFP Board of Directors.

Dickey currently serves as a professor in the Department of Primary Care Medicine and the Department of Medical Humanities in the College of Medicine and as a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health, at Texas A&M

Health Science Center. She also carries the title president emeritus of the Health Science Center, having served in the role of president for over a decade prior to stepping out of administration and into teaching and policy development.

Dickey also serves as executive director of the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute which serves in a consultative role with hospitals and communities across the state of Texas to facilitate best practices in patient safety, enhanced quality of care and physician excellence. The institute was created during her time of leadership at the Health Science Center and exemplifies the importance of translating sound policy into practice, not only in traditional academic health centers but across the spectrum of practice sites and care delivery.

Dickey was the first female president of the American Medical Association. She was also selected to be a member of the Institute of Medicine, a component of the National Academy of Sciences.

- Eduardo Gonzalez, MD, a family physician in Tampa, Florida, for more than 20 years, has been named the AAFP’s 2020 Family Physician of the Year. The national award honors one outstanding American family physician who provides patients with compassionate, comprehensive care and serves as a role model in his or her community, to other health professionals and to residents and medical students.

Gonzalez was taught by his mother from a young age that enjoyment comes from giving and not from recognition—a lesson that has guided his career as a family physician. He is described by colleagues as a brilliant diagnostician who combines knowledge and technical skill with an ability to make personal connections with patients that make them feel valued, special, and like family. His patients range in age from newborns to the elderly, and he often cares for multiple generations within a single family.

Gonzalez is a respected educator at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, where he is a tenured professor in the Department of Family Medicine. He is also an active member of his community, where he has volunteered regularly at clinics and for the past 9 years has helped direct the BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, a student run clinic that serves people who may otherwise go without the care they need. Gonzalez also leads Project World Health—a student organization that has been committed to medical missions in the Dominican Republic for the past 20 years. His dedication to community and world health continues to inspire medical students, physicians, and other health professionals to extend their healing touch to the people who need them most.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 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.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).