The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Editor, Valdez Star 

Dr Cullen steps up from board member to president of AAFP

Step up in organization that puts patient's first and Valdez on the map


September 20, 2017

A local doctor has been elected president of one of the top organizations representing family practice physicians.

After serving on its board for since November of 2014, Dr John Cullen, age 55, has been elected president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) - a first for an Alaska doctor according to his colleague Dr. Kathy Todd.

Cullen received his medical degree from University of Arizona College and has practiced in Valdez for well over 20 years.

During his time in Valdez, Cullen also served on the state's medical board and was named Family Physician of the Year by the Alaska Academy of Family Physicians in 2008, a distinction he shares with Dr. Todd.

According to his biography, Cullen is director of emergency medical services at Providence Valdez Medical Center and has been actively involved in residency and medical student teaching for more than 18 years. He is also an associate clinical professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. He also served on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Family practice and the doctors who dedicate their lives to serving their communities face great challenges. Unlike specialists such as cardiologist or neurologists, for instance, family practitioners are expected to be able to able to deliver a baby, treat geriatric problems and even perform surgical operations, sometimes all in the same day.

AAFP works to help physicians further their skills in all areas of practice.

Dr. John Cullen

"The mission of the AAFP is to improve the health of patients, families, and communities by serving the needs of members with professionalism and creativity," AAFP says on its website. " We develop practical tools and resources to help all family physicians– regardless of practice type– build and sustain high-functioning primary care practices. We work to enhance patient care and to help every family physician achieve professional fulfillment."

When he was elected to the AAFP board in 2014, Cullen said he liked the fact that that the group "puts patients in its mission statement."

AAFP represents over 115,900 family physicians and medical students nationwide.


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