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Society honors two Physician Citizens of the Year

Paul Durbin, MD (left), and Tim Westlake, MDWisconsin Medical Society members Paul Durbin, MD, of Racine, and Tim Westlake, MD, of Oconomowoc were honored as the Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2017 Physician Citizens of the Year by the Society’s Board of Directors during its June 24 meeting in Madison.

Awarded annually, the Physician Citizen of the Year award recognizes physicians who have volunteered their time and talents to improve their communities. It honors recipients for civic, economic and charitable services they provide beyond their regular practice.

Paul Durbin, MD
Doctor Durbin, an internal medicine physician who practices with Ascension, was nominated for the award for his “exceptional kind and compassionate care, not only for his patients in clinic, but anyone he meets in the community.”

In her nomination, colleague Kimberly Leslie called Dr. Durbin a huge advocate for Racine’s homeless community, noting that he volunteers monthly at the local homeless shelter. But she said what motived her the most to nominate Dr. Durbin for this award was his involvement with Convoy of Hope, an organization headquartered in Missouri that brings together local churches, businesses, community services and health care organizations for a one-day event that provides residents in need with groceries, medical and dental screenings, haircuts, children’s shoes, job and career services, family portraits and more—at no charge.

In 2013, Dr Durbin volunteered at a Convoy of Hope event in Kenosha in the health service area and was so moved by all the guests that attended the event, he wrote a letter to Convoy to see if they would come to Racine. He recruited his church to be “the host” church and volunteered to set up and run the medical services. He helped recruit over 120 medical volunteers, including 19 health care professionals representing Cardiology, Infectious Disease, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Pharmacy, Audiology, Podiatry, Dental and more. The daylong event held last September served over 3000 guests, and provided medical services for 170 people—an effort Dr. Durbin hopes to bring back to Racine in the future.

“I think it’s clear Dr. Durbin is a true champion for his patients and his community who exemplifies what we’re looking for in a physician citizen of the year,” said John Hartman, MD, vice chair of the Society’s Board of Directors.

Tim Westlake, MD
The second recipient, Dr. Westlake, is an emergency medicine physician with ProHealth Care who also serves as vice chair of Wisconsin’s Medical Examining Board and is the MEB’s member on the state’s Controlled Substances Board. He was nominated for the award by colleague Michael McNett, MD, for his “commitment to addressing the prescription opioid abuse epidemic and expanding medication-assisted treatment throughout Wisconsin, resulting in Wisconsin being a paragon for all states.”

Doctor Westlake has championed physician involvement in shaping Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) legislation and also was instrumental in the development of the MEB’s Opioid Prescribing Guideline and requiring education on the guideline for Wisconsin-licensed physicians. He organized the Healthcare Coalition to Address Opioid Abuse with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Rep. John Nygren, and Attorney General Brad Schimel, and he has been involved in countless public events promoting healthy expectations around pain management.

He also has been involved in the continuing development of the enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is already considered a national model, and at the federal level, Dr. Westlake worked with Senator Ron Johnson on the Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing—or PROP—Act.

“Thanks in no small part to these collaborative efforts and others, we are beginning to see real changes that are leading to positive outcomes for our patients and our communities; and for that, we honor him,” said Dr. Hartman.

Back to July 6, 2017 Medigram