Members in the News

2017 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 2017 Samuel Buford Word Award recipient is John (Ron) Russell, M.D., of Mobile.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Russell received his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School and followed with two years of categorical internship in Internal Medicine at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso. He completed three years of Radiation Oncology residency at the University of Florida Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville. Dr. Russell is a veteran of the United States Army, serving with the rank of Major until 1984.

He has held academic appointments at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute and as Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Department of Radiology at USA. He also has extensive appointments with USA Mitchell Cancer Institutes, including chair of the USA Institutional Review Board since October 2013; chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Mitchell Cancer Institute; medical director of the Radiation Oncology Department at the Mobile Infirmary Medical Center; president of the Cancer Center of Southern Alabama; and chief of radiation therapy in the Department of Radiology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, in Aurora, Colo. He is currently chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Mitchell Cancer Institute and the Elsie Colle Professor of Interdisciplinary Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Russell serves on the Mobile Medical Museum Board of Directors; and chair, secretary and trustee of the Mobile County Board of Health. He is also a past president of the Medical Society of Mobile County, and has served on numerous committees. He has served with the Medical Association in the College of Counselors, Vice Chair of the Senior Physicians Section, and in the House of Delegates.

2017 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 2017 recipient of the Paul W. Burleson, M.D., Award is Elizabeth S. Martin, M.D., of Birmingham.

Dr. Martin graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s degree with Honors in psychology. She received her medical degree from East Tennessee State University, James H. Quillen College of Medicine where she graduated in the top of her class. Following medical school, Dr. Martin completed an internship in internal medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She completed her dermatology residency at UAB, where she was Chief Resident and served on the House Officers Committee. Dr. Martin has been in private practice in Birmingham since 2001. She is also Volunteer Clinical Faculty at the UAB School of Medicine in the Department of Dermatology. She enjoys teaching medical students who rotate through her practice.

A nationally-recognized leader in dermatology, Dr. Martin has received two Presidential Citations from the American Academy of Dermatology, one for her work as the first Young Physician to be appointed as an observer to the AAD Board of Directors, and the other for her work in publicizing the dangers of indoor tanning on a national radio media tour. She has served on numerous AAD councils, task forces, and committees, and as an Alternate Delegate to the American Medical Association. She currently serves the AAD as chair of the Council on Communications. Dr. Martin is a former president of the Alabama Dermatology Society and currently serves as the secretary-treasurer of the Jefferson County Medical Society. She is a recognized speaker and published author with articles appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is often consulted for contributions to major national magazines and websites such as Parents, Woman’s Day, Cooking Light and Yahoo!.

Dr. Martin is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is a member of the Alabama Dermatology Society, the Women’s Dermatologic Society, the American Contact Dermatitis Society, the Jefferson County Medical Society, the Medical Society of the State of Alabama and the American Medical Association.

2017 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 2017 Ira L. Myers M.D., Service Award is presented to Richard M. Freeman, M.D., of Auburn.

Dr. Freeman grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated from North Carolina State University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics. He later worked as an aerospace environmental engineer in Tullahoma, Tenn., before attending medical school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He completed his post-graduate medical education at Children’s Hospital, University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics in Birmingham, and after completing his training in Birmingham, he served as a medical officer at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Freeman came to Auburn after leaving the Navy and established his practice, which has been open for more than 30 years.

Dr. Freeman has served on the Alabama Medicaid Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee, the Alabama Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board and the Alabama State Committee of Public Health. Dr. Freeman has also served on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Board, Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee, and Medical Review Committee.

He currently serves on the East Alabama Medical Center Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and mentors Auburn University students in the College of Sciences and Mathematics who are interested in a career in medicine. In 2016, Dr. Freeman began lecturing for the Pediatric Curriculum at Virginia College of Medicine, Auburn Campus, where he also serves as a preceptor for pediatric clinical rotation. He is board certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Freeman has served as vice president, secretary-treasurer and delegate for the Board of Censors of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, as well as nine years on the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners. He is also a past president and member of the Lee County Medical Society since 1975.