The Vermont Medical Society recognized five Vermonters for their outstanding contributions to the health and well being of the state’s residents during its 204th annual meeting held Nov. 4, in Woodstock, Vt.
Retired Brattleboro family physician Robert Tortolani, M.D., was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for exceptional dedication to his patients and mentoring of medical students from the University of Vermont, Dartmouth College and University of Massachusetts. A former VMS president, Dr. Tortolani worked tirelessly to advance the cause of accessible, quality patient care in Vermont, and was singular in his service to his patients, community, VMS and the American Medical Association.
The Distinguished Service Award, the highest award VMS can bestow upon one of its members, is given on the basis of meritorious service in the science and art of medicine and for outstanding contributions to the medical profession, its organizations, and the welfare of the public.
James Hebert, M.D., a University of Vermont Medical Center surgeon and Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at UVM professor, was named the Physician of the Year for the outstanding contributions he has made to the medical profession and the patients of Vermont. Dr. Hebert has been a long-time member of VMS, including serving as the organization’s president in 2015 and 2016.
The Physician of the Year Award is granted annually to a physician licensed in the state of Vermont who has demonstrated: outstanding performance in the quality of care given to his/her patients; skillful and compassionate patient care; and, dedication to the welfare of his patients in accordance with accepted principles of good medical practice.
Northwestern Medical Center surgeon Stephen Payne, M.D., received the Physician Award for Community for his work to shine a light on many of the difficult issues underlying the daily practice of medicine such as abuse and drug and alcohol addiction, and spousal and child abuse.
The Physician Award for Community Services is granted annually to a physician who has compiled an outstanding record of community service, which, apart from his or her specific identification as a physician, reflects well on the profession.
The Citizen of the Year Award was awarded to Senator Claire Ayer of Addison, Vt., for her tireless advocacy for the citizens of Addison County and for legislation that improves the delivery of healthcare to Vermonters. As a dedicated legislative leader, she has made significant contributions to advancing health reform in the State of Vermont.
The Citizen of the Year Award is given to a non-physician resident of the state of Vermont who in the past and presently has made a significant contribution to the health of the people of Vermont.
Retiring VMS Executive Vice President Paul Harrington of Middlesex, Vt., was honored with the Founder’s Award for his excellent service to the people of Vermont through his work at the Society, with Senator Jim Jefford’s staff in Washington, D.C., and as a member of the Vermont House of Representatives. During his 15-year tenure leading VMS, Harrington used his vast knowledge of the health care system to meaningfully impact a number of major health care reform efforts, including the creation of Catamount Health Plan, Blueprint for Health, Vermont Health Connect, and Green Mountain Care Board, as well as Vermont’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The Founders’ Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision, and achievement in improving the health of Vermonters and all Americans.