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MADISON — Gordon Haugan, MD, received the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Physician Citizen of the Year Award during its Annual Meeting April 5 in Green Bay. Doctor Haugan is a pediatrician with Prevea St. Mary’s Health Center in Green Bay and was nominated for the award by Prevea Health President and CEO Ashok Rai, MD.
The Physician Citizen of the Year award recognizes physicians who have volunteered their time and talents to improve their communities. Awarded annually, it honors recipients for civic, cultural, economic and charitable services they provide.
In nominating Dr. Haugen for the award, Dr. Rai said, “Dr. Haugen broadened his commitment to the well-being of children beyond the walls of the clinic.”
In 1991, Dr. Haugen brought together a group of community leaders in Green Bay to found what is now the Center for Childhood Safety, Inc. following the severe brain injury of a bright, young patient. Doctor Haugen was then—and still is—passionate about educating children and their families throughout northeast Wisconsin on the prevention and elimination of childhood injuries that lead to disability or death.
“The greatest single health threat facing kids today is unintentional injury,” said Dr. Haugan when he accepted the award. “Every year more kids die of that than the combined total of homicide, suicide, genetic defect, pulmonary disease, cardiac disease, cancer and AIDS. I think former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said it best, ‘If disease were killing our kids at the rate of unintentional injury, the public would be outraged and demand that this killer be stopped.’ And that’s what we’re trying to do in a fun way.”
Since it was established, the non-profit Center has shared safety information with over 150,000 children, parents and caregivers through its guided safety education programs that focus on bike helmet safety, child passenger safety and overall in-home safety. It also has provided more than 1000 students in the Green Bay area with free bike helmets, proper fittings and bike safety education and has provided over 250 free car seat safety checks and installations each year.
A new initiative called the “Safe Sleep Community Collaborative” will raise awareness about safe sleep for infants and will provide pack-n-plays for needy families who do not have the means to provide a safe sleep environment for their babies.
As the Center’s programs have expanded and its impact has grown, Dr. Haugen has remained actively involved, according to Kristin Bouchard, chair of the Center’s Board of Directors.
“Dr. Haugan has never wavered in his support for the organization that he founded. He has led the organization as President of the Board of Directors through funding and staff changes, is a tireless fund- and ‘friend’-raiser for the Center and attends monthly board meetings on his day off,” said Bouchard. “Because of his continuous support and dedication to the children of Northeast Wisconsin, thousands of families in our area have been touched by the Center for Childhood Safety’s educational message.”