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April 14, 2010 > Physician wins community volunteer service award

Physician wins community volunteer service award

Submitted By Johnny Ng

The founder and medical director of the Ashland Free Medical Clinic in Hayward was named a winner of the Kaiser Permanente 2009 David Lawrence Community Service Award.

Joseph Phaneuf, MD, a Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center dermatologist with more than 30 years of experience, is one of only 14 recipients of this special annual award, named in honor of Dr. David Lawrence, former CEO of Kaiser Permanente and life-long advocate of improving health.

This community service award recognizes individuals and groups that have demonstrated extraordinary efforts to improve the health of local communities. These efforts may be completely voluntary or may be related to a person's job or a group's function within Kaiser Permanente.

In 2005, Dr. Phaneuf founded the Ashland Free Medical Clinic to serve the growing community health needs in southern Alameda County and broader East Bay communities. After more than 18 trips over 10 years to volunteer at a free medical clinic in southern India, Dr. Phaneuf wanted to establish a similar clinic in Alameda County.

The Ashland Free Medical Clinic provides healthcare services to a wide range of patients, including many who do not qualify for insurance and cannot afford medical care. The clinic is funded by local government grants, Kaiser Permanente, Eden Medical Center, foundations and private donors. It is supported via the involvement of more than 100 volunteers, many of whom are from Kaiser Permanente.

"Providing medical care for free brings me back to the roots of why I went into medicine in the first place, which is to help people," said Dr. Phaneuf. "Through my volunteer experiences, I've developed more humility, gratitude and joy in my regular practice."

Dr. Phaneuf joined Kaiser Permanente in 1993 in Vallejo and a year later became an active member of the Hayward Medical Center Dermatology Department. He has received a variety of accolades and honors from Kaiser Permanente and the local community.

In 2007, he was the recipient of the Sidney R. Garfield Exceptional Contribution Award, established by Kaiser Permanente to recognize physicians who have been instrumental in the development and dissemination of new ideas that have a significant impact on patients, colleagues and the broader community. Last year, he was recognized by Union City at its 50th Anniversary Celebration for his contributions to the local community.

Being selected as a David Lawrence Award winner also carries a very special distinction. Each winner is recognized with a $10,000 donation to designate to a non-profit organization.

"We've many people at Kaiser Permanente who do great work for people in their communities," said George Halvorson, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO. "Volunteering is a very special thing to do. Important things will not happen or get done unless volunteers do them."

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