Members in the News

2016 Samuel Buford Word Award

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 2016 Samuel Buford Word Award recipient is Richard “Dick” Lester Jr., M.D., FAAP, of Huntsville.

Dr. Lester earned his medical degree from the Vanderbilt Medical School with residencies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, and Boston Children’s Hospital. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving in the medical corps in San Francisco and the Philippine Islands. Dr. Lester served the Huntsville community for more than 40 years as a general pediatrician, joining with another pediatrician in the area to form Huntsville Pediatric Associates. Dr. Lester would often make house calls taking his wife and children along on the visits.

Dr. Lester was chair of the Huntsville Hospital Medical Education Committee, the Continuing Medical Education Committee, and the Department of Pediatrics. He developed the Neonatal Ethics Committee for the hospital in the 1980s, which expanded into the Medical Ethics Committee, and he remained the chair until his retirement. In 1970, Dr. Lester and Dr. Vin Houie co-authored an article about otitis media treatment for Pediatrics, which was named one of the top 20 most important articles in the journal’s 20-year history. Dr. Lester is president of the Huntsville Arts Council, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Association, and board member of the Huntsville Ballet and The Children’s Theater. He was president of the Madison County Medical Society and is a member of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

2016 Paul W. Burleson Award

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 2016 recipient of the Paul W. Burleson, M.D., Award is Linda H. Anz, M.D., FAAP, of Opelika.

Dr. Anz earned her medical degree from the University of Louisville followed by an internship, residency and fellowship at the University of Miami first specializing in pediatrics then pediatric endocrinology. She is currently in private practice with Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine in Opelika.

She has a long history of service and contributions to medical societies as well as civic organizations. She served as vice president and president of the Alabama Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics from 1997 to 1999 and held numerous other positions with the chapter including mentoring young chapter leaders. She has served on the Medicaid Physician Task Force and is involved in the medical and hospital community in Lee County. In 2011, she was the Alabama Chapter’s first recipient of the Carden Johnston Leadership Award. Nationally, Dr. Anz served as chair of the National Nominating Committee from 2002 to 2005 and has served as the District X representative to the Chapter Forum Committee and member of the advisory committees to the Board on Membership, Finance, Information Technology, Community and Specialty Pediatrics, Education and Marketing and Publications. She has served on the national AAP Committee on Membership since 2009 and currently serves as chair. She is a member of the American Medical Association, Alabama Chapter AMA, past president of the Lee County Medical Society and Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

Active in her community, Dr. Anz is a founding member of Child Advocacy Center, a choir member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, board member and past board chair for Lee-Scott Academy.

2016 Ira L. Myers Service Award

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 2016 Ira L. Myers M.D., Service Award is presented to John M. McMahon Jr., M.D., of Daphne.

Dr. McMahon was a U.S. Army lab technician prior to attending the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He chose the relatively new specialty of emergency medicine and completed his residency training at Richland Memorial Hospital. He practiced briefly in Nashville then returned to Columbia to join the emergency medicine faculty at Richland where he soon became director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Dr. McMahon quickly became recognized nationally as an expert in emergency medical services. In 1988, he returned to Alabama to practice at Springhill Memorial Hospital in Mobile. During his 28 years of practice in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, he continued to provide expertise emergency medical services and co-authored legislation that contributed to the modernization of Alabama’s EMS system.

Dr. McMahon has been a member of the State Emergency Medical Control Committee since 1994 and has served as the chair of the Gulf Coast EMS System Regional Trauma Advisory Council’s Quality Improvement Committee. He has led the development of Alabama’s EMS medical director’s course and for more than 20 years served as the medical director for the City of Mobile’s firemedic service. He continues to remain active in teaching as a clinical preceptor for the University of South Alabama’s physician assistant program, a clinical instructor for medical students, and as an instructor for EMT courses, ATLS and ACLS courses. He is a member of the Medical Society of Mobile County and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

2016 Ira L. Myers Service Award

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 2016 Ira L. Myers, M.D., Service Award is also presented to Lionel “Lyn” Z. Naylor, M.D., of Decatur.

Born in Louisiana, Dr. Naylor graduated from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, completed his internship at Midstate Baptist Hospital in Nashville, and trained in general surgery at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. After he finished his residency in 1968, he moved to Decatur and started the general surgery practice, Surgical Associates of North Alabama, P.C.

Dr. Naylor is certified by the American Board of Surgery and has been a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1969. He has served as president of the Decatur General Hospital as well as Parkway Medical Center Hospital, now Decatur Morgan Hospital. He received the John A. Caddell Award in 2007 by the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation for outstanding service to the hospital and community and was the first recipient of the Baugh Wiley Smith Physician Achievement Award at Parkway Medical Center Hospital in March 2011. Dr. Naylor was named “Best Surgeon” by the Decatur community on more than one occasion.

Among his many civic engagements, Dr. Naylor is also a member of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, Morgan County Medical Society, and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

2016 William Crawford Gorgas Award

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 2016 recipient of the William Crawford Gorgas Award is Melissa Butler McNichol of Mobile.

As volunteer executive director for Camp Rap-A-Hope, the Gulf Coast’s camp for children with cancer, Ms. McNichol has contribued much to the community in Mobile and surrounding counties. The camp caters to children ages 7 to 17, offering fun activities to children who have ever been diagnosed with cancer. It is through Ms. McNichol’s leadership and determination that has enabled Camp Rap-A-Hope to continue to embrace more volunteers, sponsors, supporters, workers to give campers and their families a sense of normalcy they seek as they fight their diseases. Founded in 1986, the camp foundation works year-round to provide family-fun programs, such as week-long residential summer camp, family days, deep sea fishing trips, hospital programming and more. Under Ms. McNichol’s leadership, camp attendance and programming continues to grow. The camp services children and families in communites spanning more than 300 miles of the central Gulf Coast along Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Due to Ms. McNichol’s diligence and determination for 15 years, Camp Rap-A-Hope continues to offer services at no cost to campers and their families.

2016 William Henry Sanders Award

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 2016 recipient of the William Henry Sanders Award is Edward H. Munson Jr., of Montgomery.

A native of Birmingham, Munson attended Huntingdon College where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in psychology. He joined the Montgomery Police Department in 1970 where he worked in numerous positions until he left in 1981, including supervisory positions in patrol division, Bureau of Special Investigation, Vice and Narcotics, Criminal and Subversive Intelligence, Robbery Homicide and Youth Aid Division. He also served in an undercover/covert capacity in Vice and Narcotics for a year.

Munson joined the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners in 1981 and conducts various investigations ranging from patient complaints, quality of care, controlled substance violations, and professional boundary violations. He has developed a number of programs to combat prescribing problems with controlled substance abuse issues, which are presented as continuing medical education programs to county medical societies, hospital staffs, and medical school residents. Appointed to the Federation State Medical Boards/Administrators in Medicine, Planning Committee for Investigator Training, Munson helped develop curriculums, instructional materials, select and arrange for instructors, and made personal contacts with other board investigators soliciting their attendance at several sessions. In 2003, Munson developed methods to streamline the complaint and investigative process for the Alabama BME to reduce unnecessary investigative time by more than half allowing for more time to be dedicated to serious complaints and investigations.

Munson is a member of the National Criminal Justice Association, the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association, the National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and the American Federation of Police. He is a recipient of the American Federation of Police “Silver Star” for Distinguished Action and the 2004 Ronald K. Williamson Memorial Award for Board Investigators, which is presented annually by the Administrators in Medicine to the outstanding medical board investigator in the United States.