2018 Award Winners

2018 Award Winners


Samuel Buford Word Award

Paul W. Burleson Award

Ira L. Myers Service Award

William Crawford Gorgas Award

William Henry Sanders Award

AMASA Scholarship Winners

50-Year Club Inductees

Samuel Buford Word Award

Ralph Lee Irvin Jr., M.D.

The Samuel Buford Word Award is the highest honor given by the Medical Association and is presented in recognition of service to humanity beyond the usual scope of medical practice, with such services having been rendered at some personal sacrifice. Created in 1971, this award is named in memory of S. Buford Word, M.D., of Birmingham, who at the time of his death was serving as president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. The 2018 Samuel Buford Word Award recipient is Ralph Lee Irvin Jr., M.D., of Mobile.

When the Medical Society of Mobile County began receiving calls in the hundreds from patients who were left in need after the closing of a pain clinic, Dr. Irvin was willing to be placed at the top of a list as a resource. As one of the physicians in the area who could care for patients with pain pumps, his contact information was passed along to patients with pain pumps, and Dr. Irvin did not shy away from what became more than an ordinary challenge. He not only cared for his own patients but the influx of several hundred more pain pump patients over the course of a year and a half while also working closely with the investigators with the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners to ensure the safety and health of the patients. His story was featured in April 2017 as part of the Association’s Physicians Giving Back online series detailing the inspiring stories of Alabama’s physicians making a difference in their communities.

Dr. Irvin received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in 1980. He completed his residency in anesthesiology with the Medical University of South Carolina in 1983 and served as Chief Resident.

Dr. Irvin has been in private practice in Mobile since 1983 and is board certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine. He is a member of the North American Neuromodulation Society, the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and the Society of Pain Practice Management. He is also a Diplomat with the American Board of Anesthesiology.

He has been a member of the Medical Society of Mobile County and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama since 1983.

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Paul W. Burleson Award

Steven P. Furr, M.D.

The Paul W. Burleson Award is presented to a physician member of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in recognition of a medical career that encompasses not only high ethical and professional standards in patient care, but also includes extraordinary service to physician organizations at the county, state and national levels. Named in recognition of Paul W. Burleson, M.D., renowned Alabama physician and benefactor, the award has been given annually by the Medical Association since 2000. The 2018 recipient of the Paul W. Burleson, M.D., Award is Steven P. Furr, M.D., of Jackson.

Dr. Furr received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and his medical degree from the University of South Alabama School of Medicine. He did his residency training at the University of Alabama in Huntsville as part of the Family Practice Program.

He is a Diplomat with the American Board of Family Medicine, a Fellow with the American Academy of Family Physicians and a Fellow with the Federation of State Medical Boards. Dr. Furr is a Certified Medical Director with the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and a Certified Medical Examiner. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Christian Medical & Dental Society (Lifetime Member), Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation, Alabama Medical Directors Association, Alabama Physicians for Life, University of South Alabama Alumni Lifetime Member and University of South Alabama College of Medicine Alumni Lifetime Member.

Dr. Furr has been a member of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and the Clark County Medical Society since 1984. During that time, he has served as president and secretary-treasurer of the Clarke County Medical Society, as well as counselor, life counselor, vice president, president, and on numerous committees for the Medical Association including the Medicaid Ad Hoc Committee, Long-Range Planning and Finance Committee, Governmental Affairs Committee, Technology Subcommittee, Nominating Committee and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Workgroup. He is also very active in the American Medical Association serving as alternate delegate for Place #4 and #1, delegate, vice chair for the Alabama Delegation, teller, Organization of State Medical Association Presidents and Southeastern Delegation Executive Committee.

During his many years of practice, Dr. Furr has received numerous accolades including Outstanding Teaching Resident from the University of Alabama/Huntsville, Reader’s Digest Medical Assistance Programs International Fellow, National Health Service Corp Scholarship, Outstanding Young Men of America, Outstanding Service Award from the United Methodist Women of the First United Methodist Church of Jackson, Special Mission Recognition Award from the United Methodist Women of the First United Methodist Church of Jackson, Denman Evangelism Award of the Demopolis District of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, Outstanding Service Award from the Family Practice Alumni Association of the University of Alabama School of Medicine’s Huntsville Program, the American Medical Association/Glaxo SmithKline Emerging Leaders Development Program, Membership Outreach Award from the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (Alabama Beta Chapter), the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame Class of 2012, the University of South Alabama National Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2017 Hetti Butler Terry Community Service Award from The University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association.

Dr. Furr is an accomplished presenter, often lecturing on issues such as medical technology, licensure, ethics, leadership and pain management. Most recently, he is a member of the faculty of the Medical Association’s Prescribing and Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs: Prescribing Issues Related to America’s Opioid Crisis series.

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Ira L. Myers Service Award

James R. Andrews, M.D.

The Ira L. Myers Service Award is presented to members of the Medical Association who have served the medical profession faithfully and meritoriously during their lifetime. The award was first given in 1986 to, and is named in honor of, Ira L. Myers, M.D., Alabama’s State Health Officer who served from 1963 to 1986. The 2018 Ira L. Myers, M.D., Service Award is presented to James R. Andrews, M.D., of Birmingham.

Dr. Andrews is one of the founding members, chairman and medical director of Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham and a founding partner and medical director of the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Fla. He is also co-founder of the American Sports Medicine Institute, a non-profit institute dedicated to injury prevention, education and research in orthopaedic and sports medicine. He is president and chairman of the Andrews Research and Education Foundation also dedicated to prevention, education and research at the Andrews Institute. He has mentored more than 314 orthopaedic/sports medicine Fellows and more than 84 primary care sports medicine Fellows through these Sports Medicine Fellowship Programs.

He is recognized for his skills as an orthopaedic surgeon as well as his scientific and clinic research contributions in knee, shoulder and elbow injury prevention and treatment. In addition, he has made major presentations around the world, and has authored numerous scientific articles and books. Dr. Andrews authored a book, Any Given Monday, about prevention of sports injuries for athletes, parents and coaches. The book is based on his life in sports medicine and was released in January 2013 by Simon & Schuster.

Dr. Andrews graduated from Louisiana State University in 1963 where he was Southeastern Conference indoor and outdoor pole vault champion. He completed LSU School of Medicine in 1967 and his orthopaedic residency at Tulane Medical School in 1972. He had surgical fellowships in sports medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1972 with Dr. Frank McCue III, and at the University of Lyon in France in 1972 with the late professor Albert Trillat, M.D., who is known as the Father of European knee surgery.

He is a member of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, past president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and served on that board as treasurer and secretary. He has served on the board of directors of the Arthroscopy Association of North America as well as the International Knee Society. He is Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical School, the University of Virginia School of Medicine, University of South Carolina Medical School, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of South Alabama, and Clinical Professor of Orthopaedics, Department of Orthopaedics, Tulane University School of Medicine. He has been awarded a Doctor of Laws Degree from Livingston University, Doctor of Science Degree from Troy University and a Doctor of Science Degree from Louisiana State University.

Presently, Dr. Andrews serves as medical director and orthopaedic surgeon for Auburn University Intercollegiate Athletics and Senior Orthopaedic Consultant at the University of Alabama. He serves on the Medical and Safety Advisory Committee of USA Baseball and on the board of Little League Baseball, Inc.

Dr. Andrews is senior consultant for the Washington Redskins football team and orthopaedic medical director for the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. He is also the medical director of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. He has been a member of the Sports Medicine Committee of the United States Olympic Committee having served during two previous quadrennial. He also served on the NCAA Competitive Safeguards in Medical Aspects of Sports Committee.

He currently serves on the Tulane School of Medicine Board of Governors and has previously served as a member of Troy University’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Andrews also serves as the National Medical Director for Physiotherapy Associates, a national outpatient rehabilitation provider. He serves on the Board of Directors of Fast Health Corporation and Robins Morton Construction Company.

Dr. Andrews was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and was named recipient of their Distinguished Sportsman Award in 1992. In 1996, he was inducted into the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction. He was featured as one of LSU’s 2007 Southeastern Conference Stories of Character. In 2008, Dr. Andrews received the LSU Cox Communication Academic Center for Student-Athletes Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award and was inducted into the State of Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and was named recipient of the prestigious Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award. Dr. Andrews is a 2009 recipient of the “Live the Dream Award” presented by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was presented the 2009 Distinguished American Award by the Auburn Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College of Hall of Fame. In 2014 he was presented with the Contribution to Amateur Athletics Award by the University of Georgia Hall of Fame.

Dr. Andrews was the recipient of the 2014 NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award honoring an individual who has provided significant leadership in the role of advocate for intercollegiate athletics and has done so on a continuous basis over the course of their career, presented at the NCAA Annual Meeting. He was inducted as a member of the “Louisiana Legends” and also named by the State of Louisiana as one of 200 most influential people in Louisiana history since Statehood. Dr. Andrews has also received the “Mr. Sports Medicine” award of the AOSSM at the annual meeting in 2014. He was inducted into the AOSSM Hall of Fame at the annual meeting on July 10, 2015. He was presented the honor and rank of Distinguished Eagle Scout on July 23, 2015. Dr. Andrews was selected to the University of West Alabama Athletics’ Hall of Fame on August 24, 2015.

A native of Homer, La., Dr. Andrews has called Birmingham home since 1986. He also resides part-time in Pensacola Beach, Fla. He and his wife Jenelle have six children — Andy, Amy, Archie, Ashley, Amber and Abby — and nine grandchildren.

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William Crawford Gorgas Award

Richard C. Whitaker

The William Crawford Gorgas Award is presented to a citizen of the State of Alabama who is not actively engaged full time in the field of health, who has been outstanding in health work, and who does not hold a medical degree. The award is named in memory of Gen. William Crawford Gorgas, M.D., surgeon general of the U.S. Army, who conquered Yellow Fever and curbed the plague of malaria. Gen. Gorgas is recognized as Alabama’s greatest contributor to science and humanitarianism. The 2018 recipient of the William Crawford Gorgas Award is Richard C. Whitaker of Montgomery.

Mr. Whitaker is the Director of Governmental Affairs (Chief Lobbyist) for the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and has served the Medical Association since 1974. In this position, he has been consistently ranked both by the legislators themselves and the Associated Press as one of the 10 most effective lobbyists at the State Capitol. He is also the Executive Director and Treasurer of Alabama Medical PAC (ALAPAC), the medical profession’s political action committee.

Prior to working for the Medical Association, he was the Reading Clerk of the Alabama House of Representatives. Mr. Whitaker, better known as Dickey, is a graduate of the University of Alabama. He resides in Montgomery and has two daughters and a son.

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William Henry Sanders Award

Larry D. Dixon

The William Henry Sanders Award is presented to an outstanding person, lay or professional, engaged in full-time public health work, and who has served above and beyond the call of duty. The Sanders Award was created in 1966 in honor of William Henry Sanders, M.D., who served as Alabama’s State Health Officer from 1896 to 1917. The 2018 recipient of the William Henry Sanders Award is Larry D. Dixon of Montgomery.

During the years, Mr. Dixon watched as downtown Montgomery grew up outside his office window, both figuratively and literally. After serving a term on the Montgomery City Council in 1975 to 1978, he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives. In 2010 Mr. Dixon retired after serving seven terms in the Alabama Legislature – four years in the Alabama House of Representatives before being elected to the Alabama Senate.

Mr. Dixon brought his experience with continuing education to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in 1972 and established the Association’s education department, which has continued to flourish by producing original continuing medical education programs for Alabama’s physicians, as well as nurse practitioners and certified registered nurse practitioners.

He served four terms on the U.S. Federation of State Medical Boards and was the first president of the Administrators in Medicine, an organization he helped charter. He has also served on committees of both AIM and FSMB. In 2009 he received the Meritorious Service Award from FSMB, and in 2014 FSMB awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2016, and the Medical Association honored him by renaming the building that houses the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners to the Dixon-Parker Building.

His many accomplishments include being a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Airport Authority; board member of the finance committee and past member of the administrative board of First United Methodist Church; charter member of the Certified Medical Board Executives; member of the advisory committee of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; and member of the board of directors of the FSMB Research and Education Foundation.

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