Lyle J. (L.J.) Fagnan, M.D., associate professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, was named the 2005 Oregon Family Doctor of the Year. Fagnan was honored at the annual meeting of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians.
Many letters of endorsement were sent from patients, colleagues and community leaders in Portland and throughout Oregon. They described Fagnan as the epitome of the family doctor - caring, committed to his patients, dedicated to caring for the whole family and involved in his community.
Fagnan has cared for Mary Lundy's mother, Eralia Gonzales, for many years.
"L.J. is my mother's family doctor. He is unfailingly kind and considerate. He has never made her (or me) feel as if her problems (she's 93) are any less important than any of his other patients. He spends as much time as he feels she needs. He has come to our home. He always greets her respectfully, and deals with me with sympathy, believing as he does that the caregiver needs care, too. He is just an exemplary family doctor," Mary Lundy wrote in her nomination.
Robert Law, M.D., was recruited to be part of Fagnan's family practice group in Reedsport, Ore. He wrote, "L.J. is the epitome of the family doctor. He has been one of the most influential people in my life, and is my role model as a family physician. L.J. understands the value of reaching out - it is this quality that has gained him connections around the state. It is reflected in his involvement in teaching and research, which he began pursuing in our small town setting. This has been continued as a invigorating tradition in our practice, as well as eventually leading to L.J.'s current role as director of the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network."
"The research network and what Dr. Fagnan has accomplished throughout the state has allowed us in rural areas to network with other rural clinics on improving patient care, relevant research and help in maintaining viability of rural family practice. It's been awesome," said Jon Schott, M.D., a former medical student of Fagnan's. Schott is a physician at Eastern Oregon Medical Associates in Baker City, Ore.
The award was a surprise to Fagnan.
"I was just stunned. I was wishing as I was walking up to the podium, how great it would be if my wife and family could be there. Then I looked in the back of the room and there they all were. This is an honor. I thought when I went to OHSU this would never happen because the award is usually given to a physician from the community. I guess it was a matter of me having a foot in many different worlds. It felt pretty good to have this connecting role recognized. It was one of those stunning events," Fagnan said.
Fagnan is the director of the OHSU Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network that he helped form in 2002. He has served on the faculty at OHSU School of Medicine faculty since 1980. He has past medical director and education director of OHSU Family Medicine at Gabriel Park, an OHSU neighborhood health care facility where he maintains a clinical practice. He also is past medical director for the OHSU Physician Assistant program. He previously practiced family medicine for more than 16 years in Reedsport, Ore., where he founded Dunes Family Health Care. His family practice there was one of 13 model practices selected to participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Rural Practice Program. Fagnan's practice in Reedsport grew to include six family physicians and continues as one of the pioneer teaching sites for third-year OHSU School of Medicine students' Rural Health Clerkship.
Early in Fagnan's career, he served as a general medical officer and the community health director for the United States Public Health Service, Indian Health Service branch, in Bethel, Alaska.
Fagnan is credited with a devotion to bringing health care to the underserved citizens of Oregon. He also has twice been named as one of the top physicians specializing in family medicine in the Portland area by Portland Monthly magazine.
The Oregon Academy of Family Physicians is the largest medical specialty society in Oregon. Each year the academy asks local communities to nominate family practice physicians who embody the quality of care expected of family physicians.