Ambassadorial Society of America
World Ambassador Member:
Read the article from their site below:
Robert J. Paeglow, M.D.
Albany Medical College
The Humanism in Medicine Award, sponsored by the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative, honors a medical school faculty physician who is a caring and compassionate mentor and a practitioner of patient-centered care.
From Albany to Africa, and back again, Robert J. Paeglow, M.D., has focused his attention on those least able to afford health care and those least likely to seek it. Whether counseling families in the urban clinic he founded or ministering to patients on the medical mission he
organized, Dr. Paeglow, say colleagues, is "driven by a moral imperative to advocate for the health and well-being of the most vulnerable patients, and to educate and foster this idealism in the next generation of physicians."
A former radiation safety specialist who discovered his true calling later in life, "Dr. Bob," as he is known to patients and students, is assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at the Albany Medical College (AMC). He received his B.S. in biology from
the State University of New York at Albany, and before entering AMC at age 36, worked at the Albany County Department of Public Health and later AMC's Radiation Safety Office.
As the AMC class of 1994's oldest member, Dr. Paeglow gave new meaning to the term "non-traditional student" by embarking early on a path that would truly be unique. As a first-year medical student, his leadership and service skills made such an impression that he received the
Richard Shapiro Award for the greatest contribution to the freshman class. As a fourth-year student, his growing interest in caring for underserved groups led to his joining a medical mission to post-civil war Mozambique. Since then, he has led more than 20 missions of students,
residents and nurses to developing nations in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, often during his vacation time, and often at his own financial expense.
At home in Albany, Dr. Paeglow has made similar financial sacrifices to keep the Capital Region Prayer and Healing Center (Koinonia Health Center)--the neighborhood clinic he founded in 2002--up and running. Located in the city's poorest and most crime-ridden area (the West Hill
neighborhood in which he grew up), the clinic's mission, as written by Paeglow, is to provide healthcare to "every patient regardless of economic status, social standing, religious or cultural beliefs." Dr. Paeglow's passion to help underserved patients was so deep that he worked
without a salary, often giving what little he had to those who were penniless. "I was amazed to see the compassion and love he had for his patients," said Sanjay Thomas, M.D., a fellow student at AMC. "He saw past their physical ailments to the person suffering inside."
It is that compassion which has inspired a new generation of physicians to consider following Dr. Paeglow's path. "Without people like him, the humanity of medicine is lost," says one student. His lectures, courses and programs are so popular, that they are often oversubscribed.
One such course is a cultural diversity elective he developed, where first year medical students sign up to learn about cultural competence; work in urban ghettoes, Indian reservations, AIDS treatment centers, or psychiatric hospitals; and then share their experiences with other
students via online focus groups. Another popular Paeglow initiative, Care from the Start, provides students with firsthand experience caring for inner city patients. In addition to helping students hone their clinical skills, the program teaches them how to advocate on behalf of
patients, and how to help those patients overcome barriers to care.
In addition to the many accolades Dr. Paeglow has received from students and colleagues alike, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine honored him in 2003 with its first-ever Power to Change Our World Award.
Nominate a deserving individual for the Humanism in Medicine Award, and view a list of previous award recipients.
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