Long-time Montgomery physician and Medical Association member Jefferson Underwood III, M.D., was recently honored with two distinct awards.
The Alabama Chapter American College of Physicians recognized Jefferson Underwood III, MD, FACP, as the 2020 Laureate Award recipient and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama presented Dr. Underwood with the 2020 Samuel Buford Word Award. These presentations are typically made in person at the annual meetings, but due to the cancellation of this year’s events because of COVID-19, Dr. Underwood was honored in his home with a small group of family and colleagues present.
In 2018, Dr. Underwood became the first African-American male to serve as President of the Medical Association. He previously served the Association as President-Elect, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer.
He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Alabama State University in Montgomery and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. He completed his internship and residency at D.C. General Hospital/Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
He previously received the Douglas L. Cannon Award from the Medical Association for Outstanding Medical Journalism for Community Service, the Alabama Young Democrats Achievement Award for Community Service in Health, 2005 Physician of the Year and 2015 Montgomery’s Top Doctor by the International Association of Internal Medicine.
“It was an honor for me to present the 2020 Samuel Buford Word Award, the Medical Association’s highest honor, to Jefferson Underwood. The Word Award is presented to a physician for outstanding service to humanity that goes above and beyond the usual call of duty. That certainly describes Jefferson Underwood,“ said John S. Meigs, Jr., MD, current President of the Medical Association. “Whether in his service to the Association, his service to the community or his service to his profession, Jefferson has always exemplified grace, dignity and compassion with a quiet strength and conviction that characterized his own sense of fairness and respect for others that resulted in true service to humanity.”
Giving back to his community is one of Dr. Underwood’s passions. As an adjunct professor at Alabama State University, he taught biology. He also served on the board of directors for the Montgomery Area United Way, the Alliance for Responsible Individual Choices for AIDS/HIV, Montgomery County Health Department Hunt Diabetic Clinic, Central Alabama Home Health, Oxford Home Health, Father Walter’s Center for Gifted Children, Habitat for Humanity, and was the health editor for The Montgomery Advertiser.
During the presentation of the awards, Dr. Underwood was also presented with a clock from the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners as a memento of his service to the Board. “Why do we present you with a clock? Because, the clock represents time, and, time represents eternity. As a member of our Board staff has said, ‘Once a member of the Board, always a member of the Board,’” Dr. Mark LeQuire, MD FACR, explains. “In preparation for this presentation, I walked about the halls of the Board building, admiring the composites of previous Board members, and was invigorated to remember the giants in medicine in the State of Alabama whom have served. Jefferson you are one of those giants, and now, you will always be one of those giants. The fraternity of your fellow Board members thanks you for your service, for the exemplary manner in which you modeled the perfect physician priest, for your calming demeanor and influence in times of both need and stress, and for just simply being our brother and our friend. Remember, we will always cherish you, you will never be forgotten, and we are always at your service. May our God bless you and yours every so richly and deeply.”