Keith Davis, MD, FAAFP, was named the national 2014 Family Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) during the organization's Scientific Assembly in San Diego on Sept. 25. The award honors one outstanding U.S. family physician "who provides patients with compassionate and comprehensive care, and serves as a role model professionally and personally in his or her community, to other health professionals, and to residents and medical students," according to AAFP.
Davis is the only practicing physician in Lincoln County, Idaho, a remote county in southern Idaho the size of Rhode Island with a population of more than 5,200 people. As owner, medical director and CEO of the Shoshone Family Medical Center since 1985, Davis employs two physician assistants, a nurse practitioner and a certified nurse-midwife. The center also offers mental health counseling services and a diabetes education program that is recognized by the American Diabetes Association. In addition, Davis attends at three area hospitals and has served the past 15 years as county coroner.
Davis is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has the AAFP Degree of Fellow, an earned degree awarded to family physicians for distinguished service and continuing medical education.
He attended medical school on scholarship from the National Health Service Corps. In return for the scholarship, Davis agreed to serve in a health professional shortage area after completing his training. Following residency, Davis moved to Shoshone, which at the time had one physician who was awaiting retirement. Davis has remained in Shoshone for 28 years.
Davis also serves as medical director at A Promise of Hope Hospice and cares for patients at numerous assisted living and skilled nursing facilities throughout the region. Additionally, he is immediate past chief of staff at St. Luke’s Jerome Medical Center. Although the county is rural and vast, Davis is known for making house calls no matter where the house is located.
Davis’ role as a family physician extends beyond community service and caring for patients. He is a clinical instructor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He also serves as affiliate faculty at the Idaho State University Physician Assistant Program, where he was recently awarded the 2013 Outstanding Educator Award by students and faculty.
In addition, he participates in the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Rural Underserved Opportunities Program, an elective immersion experience providing first- and second-year medical students early exposure to the challenges and rewards of practicing primary care in rural and urban underserved environments. Davis has been active in this program since its inception more than 20 years ago.
"One of the great qualities of family medicine is the need for our services in all parts of the country. Idaho ranks low in physicians per capita but also high in average age of practicing physicians. It is important to Idaho and many other parts of the country to show students that rural practice can be personally rewarding and financially sustainable," he told AAFP News Now.
Davis has been an active member of AAFP since 1985. At the state level, he has held numerous leadership positions, currently serving on the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) board of directors. He served as IAFP president from 2008 to 2009, and was named Idaho Family Physician of the Year in 2012.
Next year, Davis will take on a new challenge, AAFP News Now reported. He was named president-elect of the Idaho Medical Association during the association's annual meeting in July, and will take office in July 2014. His advocacy efforts will include ensuring access to care and providing the state's residents with patient-centered medical homes.
Born and raised in Oregon, Davis earned his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., and completed his family medicine residency at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.