KMA to Honor Contributions to Medicine, Public Health with Awards Recognition During 2019 Annual Meeting

Posted September 17, 2019

During its 2019 Annual Meeting later this week, KMA will honor a number of individuals for their contributions to medicine, public health and their communities.

The KMA Distinguished Service Award will be awarded to Gordon Tobin, M.D. of Louisville.  Doctor Tobin is a KMA Past President and a passionate champion for KMA and for public health.  He is actively involved in the Supplies Over Seas program, providing desperately needed equipment and supplies to underserved populations around the world.  He is also a proponent of the Healing Place, a nationally recognized addiction recovery center. Doctor Tobin has a passion for helping others in numerous ways.  He has spoken at the AMA Advocacy Conference about the importance of rural clinical care and the need for funding additional residency positions.  He has given generously of his time, serving on clinical mission trips and working to bring pediatric patients to Kentucky to receive charitable reconstructive surgery, often providing this care himself.  His longstanding service to patients and the betterment of public health and his deep commitment to the organization, makes Doctor Tobin a well-deserving recipient for this award. Doctor Tobin was been nominated by the Greater Louisville Medical Society.

The KMA Community Service Award will be given to Patrick Withrow, M.D. of Paducah for his tireless dedication to addressing two public health issues plaguing Kentucky—substance abuse and smoking. As the Outreach Director for Baptist Health, Doctor Withrow has spoken in 11 counties to over 15,000 students about the dangers of e-cigarettes and the and the negative effects of using substances on brain development. His innovative presentations engage students by allowing them to examine brain tissue and participate in exercises to demonstrate how the brain works. He has been a passionate advocate for statewide tobacco-free school bans across the state. In 2019 he testified before several legislative committees and was named a 2018 Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion by The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. His dedication to public health is evident in all of his work, a shining example of moving medicine and improving outcomes for tomorrow.

The KMA Debra K. Best Outstanding Layperson Award will be given to the students and leadership of Johnson County Middle School. Several students, with support from school leadership, created a task force called “Juul Breakers” to address the issue of vaping. They led a campaign titled “juulsnotkuul” to bring awareness and education to students about the dangers of e-cigarette use. These students also testified before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Senate Bill 218, which addressed student smoking and vaping prevention.  They have been courageous and devoted in their efforts, even when facing bullying from students and others in their communities.  Their work has drawn the attention of community leaders and state legislators. The students of Johnson County were nominated by Mr. Tony Maxwell, past Layperson recipient and Principal of Middlesboro Independent Schools.

The KMA Educational Achievement Award will be given to Keri Remmel, M.D. Doctor Remmel is a Professor of and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She received her Doctorate in Communications Disorders and Linguistics from Louisiana State University and her medical degree from the University of Louisville. Upon joining the University of Louisville faculty in 2000, Doctor Remmel has assumed various leadership roles, rising to Chair of the Department of Neurology. One of Doctor Remmel’s passions is in research and she has served as a Principle Investigator on over 20 clinical trials and grants. Perhaps her greatest achievement to date has been her work in establishing one of the most prestigious stroke centers in the country. This center, according to one letter of support, “is a mecca for training fellows in stroke and critical care” because of her leadership, the center is a participant in “every single cutting-edge clinical trial in stroke.”  Doctor Remmel is also a highly regarded teacher, with many of her students having gone on to pursue fellowships in stroke and are now considered stroke and critical care leaders around the country.

The KMA Advocacy Awards are presented to individuals who have effected positive change in the healthcare space through their advocacy efforts. These will be given to Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and Senator Max Wise of District 16 in south central Kentucky.

Ben Chandler established the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in 2001 with funds secured from a $45 million settlement from one of Kentucky’s largest insurance companies with a goal of addressing the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since its creation, the Foundation has invested more than $27 million in health policy research and advocacy, as well as demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Under Chandler’s leadership, it has led initiatives aimed at improving access to care, preventing obesity, and reducing the impact of adverse childhood experiences. Through his work with the Foundation, Chandler has been a tireless supporter of public health education and has partnered with numerous outside organizations, including the KMA and Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care for their 2018 “Focus on Flu” campaign, which sought to mitigate the effects of another deadly flu season in Kentucky. Chandler also serves as Chair of the Coalition for a Smoke Free Tomorrow, a group made up of various stakeholders from across the state who seek to speak with policymakers with a single voice on tobacco-control issues. In 2018 the Coalition successfully secured a $.50 increase in the state’s tobacco tax, and in 2019 helped pass Kentucky’s first tobacco-free schools law.

Senator Max Wise of Campbellsville represents the 16th District which encompasses Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell, Taylor, and Wayne Counties. He is chairman of the Education Committee and a member of a number of others, including Health and Welfare. In 2014 he defeated a Republican Senate Candidate in the primary by differentiating himself on one issue – tort reform. This began the march toward the passage of the medical review panel legislation. Sen. Wise has had an open-door policy for KMA, supporting efforts around prior authorization and tobacco free schools, as well as cracking down on pharmacy benefit managers, calling them to task during hearings and championing the issue in the Senate.