UCSF-Fresno Medical Program Faculty Member Receives Statewide Honor

March 18, 1999

Alex Sherriffs, M.D., a member of the UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program faculty and popular mentor to medical students, has been named recipient of the 1999 Award for Educational Excellence presented by the California Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

In announcing the award, the foundation said Sherriffs is "an outstanding role model with a strong commitment to education" and noted Sherriffs received overwhelming support for the honor from his colleagues and students. UCSF-Fresno Associate Dean H. John Blossom, M.D., and a family physician himself, said Sherriffs is an "excellent physician-mentor who exemplifies the best our medical education program has to offer."

John Zweifler, M.D., who directs the UCSF-Fresno Family Practice Residency Program, said of the honoree, "Dr. Sherriffs stands out as a family physician educator through his intelligence, commitment to excellence, strong work ethic and unflagging good humor."

Sherriffs divides his time between a private clinical practice that he shares with his wife, family physician Joan Rubinstein, M.D., and a half-time appointment with the UCSF-Fresno Family Practice Residency Program.

In January, Sherriffs took office as the 116th president of the Fresno-Madera Medical Society. He also serves as medical director of the UCSF-Fresno Alzheimer's Disease Center.

But it is perhaps in his work with medical students that Sherriffs has distinguished himself.

Students on electives or rotations from UCSF regularly visit his practice in Fowler, Calif. to experience hands-on clinical training and house calls in a rural setting.

Since its inception, Sherriffs has been a mentor in the Hoffman Summer Rural Preceptorship Program, one of two programs directed by Adriana Padilla, M.D., that provide medical students an opportunity to gain experience in rural primary care. The summer program brings one medical student into both the Sherriffs-Rubinstein home and medical practice for a month-long immersion in clinic family medicine training.

One of their former students, Debbie Flandermeyer, said of Sherriffs and Rubinstein, "My preceptors are wonderful physicians universally loved by their patients and community. I really liked the continuity of care they are able to provide from prenatal visits and delivery to geriatrics . . . what an amazing way to practice medicine."

Sherriffs graduated from the University of California Davis School of Medicine and completed a family practice residency at University Medical Center. A Song-Brown Fellowship in faculty development solidified his interest in education and in serving as a mentor to future family physicians. He told the foundation, "Good family medicine is the best of what managed care promises but rarely delivers. This is as true for the future and for today as it was 20 years ago."

Sherriffs encouraged other family physicians to experience the positive aspects of family medicine through teaching. ". . .Teaching can be a forceful and fulfilling way of recognizing what attracted many of us to medicine in the first place," he said.

University of California - San Francisco

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