Awards & Accolades

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians (GAFP) honors members exemplifying excellence in the practice of family medicine and for their national, state chapter and community-based leadership roles and contributions to clinical research and healthcare.


2014 Award Recipients:

Family Medicine Physician of the Year
The highest award bestowed on a GAFP member recognizes excellence in peer leadership in professional affairs and outstanding contributions to family medicine and to the community.
Folashade Omole, MD, FAAFP – Dr. Omole, currently a Professor, Series 1 at Morehouse School of Medicine, practices the full scope of Family Medicine including prenatal and delivery care through care of the elderly. She is the volunteer supervisor of the MSM student run free clinic. Having been an active member since 2000, she has held numerous positions in the GAFP, including a term as Treasurer, which placed her on the Board of Directors.  She has also served in several capacities for the AAFP, including AAFP representative to the AAO-HNSF Tinnitus and Allergic Rhinitis Clinical Practice Guideline Panels, Advisory Panel member to the AAFP National Research Network, Chair AAFP Tobacco Cessation Advisory Committee, 2013 AAFP CHPS Public Health Award Committee member, Council of Academic Family Medicine’s National Advocacy Network member, and Chair, AAFP Disaster Preparedness Member Advisory Panel.
Family Medicine Educator of the Year
Awarded to a member dedicated to teaching, mentoring and educating to help advance the specialty of family medicine.
Fred Girton, MD, FAAFP  –   Having served as Professor and Chair of the Family Medicine Department at Mercer University, the Chief of the Department of Family Medicine and the Residency Director of the Family Medicine Program at MCCG (Navicent) and the Chief and head of departments in previous locations, Dr. Fred Girton’s career in medical education has been robust and distinguished. Students have noted his concern for their education and his firm grasp of the knowledge as well as a keen ability to share that knowledge with them.  Dr. Alice House, a former student, resident and faculty member of Dr. Girton’s states that “he is actively engaged in leading students to discover, learn and become leaders in healthcare; he is truly dedicated to mentoring both students and residents to perform at the highest level of achievement; and he has been involved in multiple research projects with students and residents resulting in publications and presentations.”  A GAFP member for 38 years, Dr. Girton served as GAFP President from 2001-2002 and also served on the GAFP Board of Directors for much of this time.
Community and Volunteer Service Award
Awarded to a member who excels in service to their community and makes outstanding contributions in welfare, education, health, government, or the arts.
Jonathan Mitchell Cook, DO, FAAFP -  Dr. Cook won the GAFP Family Medicine Community and Volunteer Services Award for his work at Mercy Health Center in Athens.  Mercy is a medical clinic that assists uninsured patients needing medical and dental services.  He also assisted Mercy in obtaining a grant from the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance.  In addition, Dr. Cook has served on foreign medical mission trips to Honduras for the last 15 years through his local faith community. Dr. Cook has been a member of the GAFP for 19 years and served on the GAFP Board of Directors most recently as President in 2013 and Board Chair in 2014.
Resident of the Year
Awarded to the resident who exhibits dedication to family medicine through leadership and involvement in his/her residency program and in the community.
Phil Carter, MD  - According to Dr. Frank DonDiego, his Program Director, Dr. Carter performs in the top 20% of his class, is rated very highly as a teacher by the medical student rotation as well as by other residents, and he is the resident with the highest in-training exam score for his class each year. Dr. Carter is also highly involved in the community in that he volunteers at the Rome Free Clinic, participates in sports physicals at the local high schools and participates as the sideline physician for one of the local high schools.  And, that’s just local to the Rome area.  Dr. Carter serves on GAFP’s Board of Directors as a Resident Board Member in his second year, and is active on the Student and Resident Committee this year.  Last, but most certainly not least, he has attended the AAFP National Conference for Students and Residents as the Rome residency representative for the past two years.
The Keith Ellis, MD Award
Given to a Chief Resident or Co-Chief Resident who displays excellent leadership skills in their family medicine residency program.
Jason Varghese, MD – According to his Program Director, Dr. Julie Dahl-Smith, Dr. Varghese devotes outstanding leadership skills in Family Medicine both at GRU and in the community.  She states that “he is held in highest regard by the community, patients, peers and faculty.  Truly an outstanding resident!” Among his many activities and accomplishments other than chief resident includes his work with the Resident Recruitment Committee, Quality Assurance Committee, Electronic Health Records Task Force, Program Educational Committee and the Resident Support Group.  He attended the AAFP’s Chief Resident Leadership Conference as well.  Congratulations, Dr. Varghese!
GAFP Annual Research Poster Competition Winners
Evaluated by a national and local committee and recognized by category at the GAFP Annual Scientific Assembly.
Pre-Med Category: 1st place:   Self-Reported Factors Affecting Medication Compliance – Cameron Baxter, Ethan McBrayer, and Morgan Smith (Pathway to Medical School Students)Tie 2nd place: Factors Associated with Patient Perception of Quality of Primary Care – Kendra Hogan, Chijioke Ohamadike, and Stephen Yarbrough (Pathway to Medical School Students)Tie 2nd place: Perceived Risk of Lung Cancer and Willingness of Patients Who Smoke Tobacco to Receive Lung Cancer Screening with Low-Dose CT Scan – Jennifer Ahweyevu, Leah Ellis, Rob Land, and Lindsey Wells (Pathway to Medical School Students)

Medical Student Category:

1st place:  Combined abuse of clonidine and amitriptyline in a patient on buprenorphine maintenance treatment – Erika Sigman, Trent Dittmer (Medical Center of Central Georgia/Navicent Health and Mercer University School of Medicine)

2nd place: Improving the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Rate at UNC Hospitals - Susan Piggott, MPH (Emory School of Medicine; University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Health Care & Prevention Program)

Resident Category:

1st place:  POEMS Syndrome: A Case Report of a Rare Disease and Difficult Diagnosis – P.J. Lynn, MD; Natalie Nekouian, DO (Floyd Family Medicine Residency Program)

2nd place: Smart-7 Study: A Pilot Study to Evaluate a Patient Self-monitoring Intervention to Improve Cardiovascular Health – Ambar Kulshreshtha, MD (Emory University School of Medicine)

3rd place:  Neuromyelitis Optica – Early neurologic symptoms with absence of ocular manifestations – Venkat S.
Manubolu, M.D (Emory University School of Medicine)

Practicing Physician Category

1st place:  High Risk For Obstructive Sleep Apnea But Negative Sleep Study: What is the possible diagnosis? Khaldoon Al-Moosawi, MD, MPH (Atlanta Medical Center)

2nd place: A Brief Educational Intervention to Improve Staff Management of Disruptive Behaviors in the Nursing Home – Nikki Lorene Rodriguez, MD (Emory University School of Medicine)

3rd place:  Can Cola Soda Be Used as a Gargle for Sore Throat? – Marc Berger, M.D (Blue Ridge Integrative Health Care)