Family Physician Finds Medical Career a Stepping Stone to Public Service

AAFP News Now Spotlights Joseph Hardy, M.D.

January 18, 2013 03:25 pm Sheri Porter

Have you ever wondered what motivates a physician who has years of experience in patient care to add public service to an already demanding schedule? Take, for example, Sen. Joseph Hardy, M.D., who was elected a Nevada state senator in 2010 and served in the state's general assembly for eight years prior to that.

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Sen. Hardy -- Dr. Hardy to his patients -- completed his family medicine residency training at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix in 1979. Hardy took his first official political oath 20 years later as a city councilman in Boulder City, Nev.

According to Hardy, he realized many years ago that he preferred researching, debating and creating law to being compelled to follow laws passed by others.

This physician-turned-public servant also spent nearly a decade in the U.S. military, serving in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1973-1979 followed by assignment to active duty at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S.D, from 1979-1982.

After he left the Air Force, Hardy threw himself into the demanding work of building a private medical practice in Boulder City; in 2004, he became an employed physician at Fremont Medical Center in Henderson, Nev. Recently, Hardy shifted gears again to take a position as clinical professor at Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in Henderson.

Along the way, Hardy and his wife Jill raised eight children and watched their family grow to include 17 grandchildren.

Hardy belongs to the AAFP and the Nevada AFP where he sat as president in 1998. That same year, the NAFP selected him as its family physician of the year. There have been other awards as well. In 2003, Hardy was honored with the Nevada State Medical Association Community Service Award, and he received the Preceptor of the Year award from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno.

Other organizations that count Hardy among their membership include the AMA, the Nevada State Medical Association, and the Clark County Medical Association.

Hardy served as chairman of the board of the Boulder City Community Health Services and was chief of staff of the Boulder City Hospital as well as chief of emergency services there. He chaired the hospital's internal and family medicine department in 1997. Hardy also spent more than a decade at the St. Rose Dominican Hospital in nearby Henderson, Nev., and filled numerous leadership roles there between 1990 and 2001.

This family physician has lent his medical expertise to the Easter Seals Board, the Maternal Child Advisory Board, and the Nevada Health Insight Board of Directors.

But back to those state senatorial duties. Since his election in 2010, Hardy has poured hours of time into various committee assignments, including work focusing on government affairs, health, revenue, senior citizens, veterans and adults with special needs.

Hardy relishes his busy agenda and already plans a run for a second senatorial term in 2014.

AAFP News Now recently sat down with Hardy to talk about his work as a state senator and how his training as a family physician has enhanced his ability to serve the public in other ways.