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November 26, 2018

Trio of alumni receive state honors for dedication to underserved

Three doctors who trained on the MCV Campus received state honors this fall for their dedication to the underserved and helping to create a world where people live healthier, happier lives.

Randy Merrick, M'85, named a 2018 Unsung Hero by the Virginia Health Care Foundation

Randy Merrick, M’85, named a 2018 Unsung Hero by the Virginia Health Care Foundation

Randy Merrick, M’85, was honored as a 2018 Unsung Hero by the Virginia Health Care Foundation, a public-private partnership dedicated to increasing access to primary health care for uninsured Virginians and those in underserved areas.

In 2006, Merrick cofounded the Orange County Free Clinic, which has gone on to serve nearly 1,000 patients. In addition to managing his private practice, Merrick volunteers at the free clinic as board president and medical director. He visits the clinic daily, treats patients every Tuesday evening (plus fills in for other doctors as needed) and makes house calls to patients without transportation.

As a preceptor for the School of Medicine, Merrick welcomes six to seven students per year to his practice for individual four-week rotations. He makes sure their time with him includes regular visits to the free clinic.

“Always quietly helping others, Dr. Merrick’s kindnesses abound,” VHCF says of Merrick in a video played at the awards ceremony. “He even paid for the Holiday Inn to house local homeless shelter residents when the shelter had to be fumigated for bedbugs. Known for his genuine character and compassion, it’s no wonder that this unsung hero is beloved by all.”

Virginia Family Physician of the Year

Housestaff alumnus Mitchell B. Miller, M.D., named Virginia Family Physician of the Year by the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians

Housestaff alumnus Mitchell B. Miller, M.D., named Virginia Family Physician of the Year by the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians

Mitchell B. Miller, M.D., H’82, who has practiced family medicine in Virginia Beach for more than 36 years, recently was named Virginia Family Physician of the Year by the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians.

While this is the first time Miller has received the Virginia Family Physician of the Year award, the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians in 2006 named him Volunteer of the Year for his work in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

“My volunteer activities have been very important to me,” Miller says. “I recently returned from the Remote Area Medical event in Wise, Virginia, where we served the indigent patients from the Appalachian region.”

Michelle Whitehurst-Cook, M’79, H’82, senior associate dean of admissions in the medical school, recruited Miller to volunteer for RAM. The two trained together as family medicine residents on the MCV Campus in the early 1980s.

Like Merrick, Miller has served as a preceptor to VCU medical students during their family medicine rotation. He says he accepted the Virginia Family Physician of the Year on behalf of all family physicians in Virginia.

“It acknowledged the dedication that my colleagues show on a daily basis to taking care of the citizens of Virginia despite the many barriers to doing so — from regulations and insurance companies to financial and others — they place the well-being of their patients above all else,” Miller says. “So this award was really a celebration of the difference that family physicians can and do make.”

Salute to Service

Rebecca Sinclair, M'98, received a 2018 Salute to Service Award from the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation

Rebecca Sinclair, M’98, received a 2018 Salute to Service Award from the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation.

Internist Rebecca O. Sinclair, M’98, received the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation’s 2018 Salute to Service Award for Outstanding Service to the Uninsured and Underserved.

The foundation created a video highlighting her life’s work with the Prince William Area Free Clinic, where she served as medical director. Sinclair’s commitment resulted in the development of the county’s only free medical and dental program that provides comprehensive medical care to Prince William County’s low-income, uninsured residents.

Through her work and leadership, the clinic expanded from episodic care, housed in the health department, to a health center offering medical services by appointment 41 hours a week — affording county residents a true medical home.

“This woman is passionate, energetic, persistent, creative and appears tireless,” says Carol S. Shapiro, M.D., M.B.A., who has known Sinclair since she began her work with the clinic. “She truly cares about our community, the working poor and indigent. Words like ‘can’t’ or ‘impossible’ are not in her vocabulary.”

The MSV Foundation created the annual Salute to Service Awards in 2004 to recognize outstanding efforts of physicians, residents and medical students who are dedicated to creating and nurturing a caring health promotion and disease prevention environment by providing service on behalf of patients everywhere.

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Updated: 04/29/2016