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Dr. Carlos Vallbona, professor received the second The Award recognizes a BCM physician

Vallbona receives clinical professionalism award
HOUSTON -- (May 25, 2006) -- Dr. Carlos Vallbona, professor of family and community medicine at BCM, received the second annual Ben and Margaret Love Foundation Bobby Alford Award for Academic Clinical Professionalism.

The Award recognizes a BCM physician for professionalism and humanism, and the ability to role model these qualities in the practice of medicine.

Although it can be difficult to truly define professionalism, it implies that a physician is acting in the best interest of the patient and always with a commitment to excellence.

Dr. Thomas Wheeler, Harlan J. Spjut professor and interim chair of pathology at BCM, nominated Vallbona for the award.

"Dr. Vallbona exemplifies the finest attributes of a physician and his life has served as a role model for countless numbers of house-staff and junior faculty for over four decades," said Wheeler. "In an era when medicine is considered a business and economic factors have dominance in the delivery of health care, Dr. Vallbona's exemplary life serves to remind all physicians and health care workers of our true calling."

Vallbona started his career at BCM in 1955 as a third-year pediatric resident where he worked under the direction of Dr. William Spencer at the Southwestern Poliomyelitis Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center at Jeff Davis Hospital.

In 1969, Vallbona became chair of community medicine and his primary responsibility was to provide medical faculty to staff the neighborhood health centers of the Harris County Hospital District. HCHD is the fourth largest public metropolitan health system and was one of the first large health systems to provide integrated primary and preventive health care to medically underserved communities. Under the leadership and vision of Vallbona, the department formed an alliance with key HCHD personnel and community physicians and created the Community Health Program.

Strategizing for future-health care needs, Vallbona partnered with the staff of the City of Houston and Harris County health departments, and The University of Texas School of Public Health, to identify community health-care problems and opportunities. Under his vision, operational improvements such as the creation of a database of HCHD patient visits, and the use of a miniature credit-card-like medical record carried by patients were instituted over the years.

In addition to his role with the HCHD, Vallbona also serves on the Board of Directors for Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston, a joint program of BCM and SEARCH Homeless project whose mission is to promote health, hope and dignity for Houston's homeless through accessible and comprehensive care.

Any physician faculty at BCM or one of its affiliated institutions may be nominated for the award. Nominations are reviewed and a recommendation is then made by an appointed Selection Committee.

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