Jump to content
School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine discoveries

March 5, 2013

Tony Kuzel honors founding chair of Family Medicine Department

Tony Kuzel, M.D.

Tony Kuzel, M.D.

As Tony Kuzel, M.D., was finishing his family medicine residency in Chicago, Ill., he started looking for the right medical center where he could begin his career. He heard exciting developments were happening on the MCV Campus and wrote Fitzhugh Mayo, M.D., chairman of what was known then as the Department of Family Practice, to ask about job opportunities. Mayo saw something special in Kuzel’s letter and encouraged him to apply for a faculty position at the department’s site in Fairfax.

The position was a good fit, and Kuzel joined the faculty. In his nearly 30-year career at the School of Medicine, Kuzel has appreciated the groundwork Mayo laid for family medicine and the elder physician’s guidance.

Fitzhugh Mayo, M.D.

Fitzhugh Mayo, M.D.

“I learned what incredible accomplishments Dr. Mayo had as the first chair of family medicine,” Kuzel said. “He was a part of the group that told the Virginia General Assembly that we had a crisis in primary care. He was a pioneer for reestablishing the discipline.”

Throughout the time the two physicians spent together on the MCV Campus, Kuzel continued to learn from Mayo. In 2003, Kuzel followed in his mentor’s footsteps and was named chairman of what is now the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health.

As the School of Medicine prepared to open the new McGlothlin Medical Education Center, a state-of-the-art training facility for medical students and residents, Kuzel reflected on how Mayo’s contributions have helped the school and health care in Virginia progress. Inspired by these accomplishments, he made a $10,000 gift to the medical school’s campaign in honor of Mayo. Typically donors at this level are recognized with their name inscribed on the building’s donor wall, but Kuzel elected to have Mayo’s name appear instead of his own.

“It is clear that this medical school understands the need for primary care is especially important,” Kuzel said. “Since he was so committed to ensuring that Virginians would have access to quality primary care, it is only fitting to have his name on the wall.”