People in the News/Awards -- January

January 31, 2011 10:05 pm News Staff

A number of AAFP members received various honors and awards recently.

In the wake of the recent shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in critical condition, former Arizona AFP president Carlos Gonzales, M.D., of Patagonia, was asked to give a ceremonial American Indian blessing during a Jan. 12 memorial service.

More than 14,000 individuals attended the memorial service, including President and Mrs. Obama, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and the families of the victims, according to a release from Laura Hahn, EVP of the Arizona AFP.

Gonzales is an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He completed his residency program at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque.

AAFP member Michael Lewis, M.D., of Charleston, W.Va., has been named the new cabinet secretary for West Virginia's Department of Health and Human Resources.

Before his appointment, Lewis served in various roles at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., including as professor of family medicine and vice chancellor for health sciences.

Lewis earned his medical degree from the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has named AAFP member R. Bob Mullins Jr., of Montgomery, Ala., as the state's new Medicaid director.

A graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Mullins was president of the Alabama Medical Association in 2004-05.

As the state's Medicaid chief, Mullins will be in charge of a $45 billion agency that provides health care coverage to more than 900,000 low-income and disabled Alabama residents.

AAFP member Neal Palafox, M.D., M.P.H., of Mililani, Hawaii, has been named director of the Hawaii Department of Health.

As director, Palafox will serve as the chief health and environmental official for the state, overseeing department operations and serving on key boards and committees. He will also direct five state health-related agencies, including the Health Planning and Development Agency, the Office of Environmental Quality Control, and the Executive Office on Aging.

Palafox most recently served as professor and chair of the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Hawaii at Monoa John A. Burns School of Medicine and formerly served as director of the medical school's family medicine residency program.

Palafox received his medical degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of California, Los Angles, Family Medicine Residency Program in Santa Monica. He earned a master of public health degree from the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Family medicine resident Ravishankar Ramaswamy, M.D., was awarded the H. Winter Griffith Resident Scholarship( during the AAFP Conference on Practice Improvement last month in San Antonio.

Ramaswamy received the award, which recognizes excellence in practice improvement and patient-centered care, for his work related to organizing group visits for patients with diabetes at the Underwood-Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Woodbury, N.J.

PeaceHealth Medical Group also was honored during the practice improvement conference. The conference and Family Practice Management presented the Eugene, Ore., practice with the 2010 Family Practice Management Award for Practice Improvement for its efforts to redesign the practice with a team care-based model of medicine.

AAFP member Russell Robertson, M.D., of Chicago, has been named vice president of medical affairs at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago and dean of its Chicago Medical School. His appointment is effective on March 1.

Robertson is an educator, university administrator and chair of the Council on Graduate Medical Education. In his new position, he will oversee ongoing academic programs, including curriculum development and student services; cultivate and develop clinical partnerships; and direct operations at the medical school.

Most recently, Robertson was professor and chair of the department of family and community medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. He received his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and completed his family medicine residency at the Grand Rapids Family Medicine Residency Program in Michigan.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced that Christopher Urbina, M.D., M.P.H., of Denver, will be the new executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In this role, Urbina also will serve as the state's chief medical officer.

An AAFP member, Urbina is the director of Denver Public Health at Denver Health, where he has been responsible for expanding the reorganization of public health services toward a more community-oriented approach. Urbina also is co-chair of the statewide initiative known as the Colorado Public Health Improvement Plan - From Act to Action, which sets the course for creation of a cohesive public health system in Colorado.

Urbina earned his medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver and completed a family practice residency at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He also earned a master's degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has appointed AAFP member Theodore Wymyslo, M.D., of Dayton, Ohio, to be the new director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Wymyslo is the current director of Family Medicine Dayton, a patient-centered medical home initiative; the former program director of the Miami Valley Hospital Family Practice Residency Program; and the former medical director of the Miami Valley Family Health Center.

Wymyslo is a graduate of the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus. He completed his residency at Mount Carmel Family Medicine in Cincinnati and has received service awards from the Ohio AFP and the Montgomery County Medical Society.