This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about how health care is a core function of the community and how it defines that community. We are having that conversation with Dr. John Cullen, Board Chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and a full scope family physician practicing in the frontier community of Valdez, Alaska.
“Health care is really one of those core functions of a community. That’s sort of what defines what a community is.”
~ Dr. John Cullen, MD
John Cullen, M.D. is part of a four-physician private clinic, the Valdez Medical Clinic, that he has been a part of since 1994.
A graduate of University of Arizona School of Medicine, he moved to Valdez, Alaska immediately after family medicine residency in Modesto, California. His family was drawn to the quality of life in Alaska and it proved to be an exciting place to practice medicine and raise his daughter and two sons. Serving as Chief of Staff for over twenty years at the Valdez Medical Center, he oversaw the expansion of the hospital. In addition, he has served as the EMS director in Valdez for 23 years.
His passion for skiing and wilderness safety landed him positions as physician for the World Extreme Skiing Championships and the King of the Hill Snowboarding championships in Valdez where he was responsible for setting up emergency services on the side of a mountain.
Alaska Academy activities include terms as Chapter President, and nineteen years as COG delegate or alternate. Honors include Alaskan Family Physician of the Year in 2008, runner up for the National AAFP Physician of the Year, and 2011 American Red Cross Hero for saving a mother and baby in an icy river car crash.
Experience serving on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services for HRSA, where he toured the country evaluating critical access hospitals and rural health systems, as well as serving on the Alaska State Medical Board, allowed him to help shape health care policy as the ACA was developed. He enjoys speaking and advocating for patients on the national stage almost as much as he enjoys his adventurous life with his wife Michelle over the past 30 years.