COLUMBUS, Ohio —The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians has announced that Carlos Menendez, MD, will receive its 2017 Family Physician of the Year Award.
Menendez is the medical director for Family Health Services of Darke County Inc. in Greenville, Ohio, where he has practiced family medicine since 1986. Family Health is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) with four locations including Greenville, Arcanum, New Madison and Versailles.
“The work we do as family physicians is challenging and intellectually stimulating, particularly in a rural practice. What is most rewarding are the personal interactions. We are very blessed to share the high and low points of our patient’s lives,” said Menendez.
Menendez and his family came to Greenville in 1986 after fulfilling a National Health Service Corps obligation. Then, Family Health was a small practice housed in a renovated garage. He would make trips to migrant farm camps to deliver care out of the back of a station wagon; see patients in the emergency room because it was not staffed; make rounds in the hospital; and tend to patients in the office, their homes, and in skilled nursing facilities.
“He is always willing to go above and beyond what it expected for his patients, for Family Health, and for his community. Dr. Menendez has spent his entire career serving the underprivileged as a physician for our FQHC — delivering babies, providing nursing home care, and even home visits,” said Jean Young, executive director for Family Health.
“Dr. Menendez exemplifies the characteristics we look for in our best family physicians. He is a man of integrity who always follows through on his promises, makes good decisions in difficult situations, is not afraid of trying new ways to approach old problems, and remains well balanced in the face of adversity. His energy has driven much of the successful growth of Family Health Services, one of our strongest community health centers in our network of FQHCs across Ohio,” said Ted Wymyslo, MD, chief medical officer for the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers.
Menendez oversaw Family Health’s growth from a small medical practice with five providers to a multi-specialty practice with 41 providers and 200 employees. He directed the practice’s accreditation through the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care as both a community health center and a patient-centered medical home.
“As we all more frequently are discussing how to address and prevent burnout, I would suggest we look at the lives and careers of family physicians like Dr. Menendez, who has achieved so much, but maintained an air of balance, joy, passion, and fulfillment in what, to many, would appear to be an overwhelming array of professional responsibilities. It is readily apparent that his personal and professional decisions are made with both his heart and his head, and all of us who are fortunate enough to know him have benefited by the example he has given us on how to live well,” continued Dr. Wymyslo.
Menendez has lived a life of balance between professional and personal responsibilities by joining the two. A father of two grown sons, Matt and Joe, Menendez would take his sons when they were growing up with him for hospital rounds, sometimes after attending church on Sundays. Matt and Joe would say hello to the other physicians and nurses and would then sit in the physician break room while Menendez visited his patients. Menendez would always make time to watch Matt and Joe at their sporting events or extracurricular activities, which was no small feat for a busy family physician.
“Through the scope of his work as a family physician, Dr. Menendez has demonstrated a commitment to humanity and selflessness with no manipulation or expectation for direct personal or organizational gain. He is the most genuine, compassionate, and committed physician (and human being) I have ever met. Through his leadership, vision, and dedication, Family Health has grown from a few physicians and services to a totally integrated health center that offers healing and wellness in mind, body, and spirit for patients and the community,” said Laurie White, PhD, director of behavioral health and wellness services and director of program planning and development for Family Health.
“Throughout my 26 years at Family Health, I haven’t witnessed one single instance where he has wavered in integrity, clinical excellence, advocacy, judgement, patience, nor commitment to quality care. I have always been in awe of his steady strength, consistent demeanor, and dedication to fairness and equality for both patients and staff,” said White.
Menendez graduated with his bachelor of science in biology from the University of Dayton and earned his doctor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, New York. He completed his residency training at Akron General Medical Center Family Practice Residency, where he served as chief resident. Menendez is board-certified in family medicine. He grew up outside of Buffalo, New York, and attended St. Francis of Athol Springs High School.
Menendez and his wife, Patti, reside in Greenville and have two grown sons, Matt (Jenny) and Joe (Allie).
The OAFP annually presents the Family Physician of the Year Award to an individual who meets and exceeds the criteria of being an outstanding family physician role model; maintaining high professional standards and service orientations; providing high quality and family-centered, continuing health care; and being active in community, education, or other public affairs. Also, candidates must have 10 years post-residency (or equivalent) experience, currently be in practice, and be a member of the OAFP.
Dr. Menendez will receive the Family Physician of the Year Award at the 2017 OAFP Awards Dinner on Saturday, August 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Marriott Columbus Northwest in Dublin, OH. Registration to attend the dinner is $44 per person; there is no charge for OAFP members. Reservations can be made by calling the OAFP at 800-742-7327.
Also during the awards ceremony, John (Jack) O’Handley, MD, of Columbus, will be presented with the OAFP Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award.
The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians is a statewide, professional association with more than 4,900 members, including practicing physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students. The scope of family medicine encompasses all ages, both sexes, and every disease entity. Family physicians provide comprehensive, continuing care to all members of the family. For more information, visit www.ohioafp.org.