2021 President's Awards

At every IAFP annual meeting, along with the installation of the new board members and the beginning of the term for a new president, the outgoing president has the honor of selecting and presenting the IAFP President’s Award to honor an individual or an organization that is making a difference in providing a healthier future for our state and our patients.

Once again, the IAFP annual meeting became a two-day CME series, leaving the ceremonial changing of the board and award presentations to online affairs. Therefore, outgoing president Michael A. Hanak, MD, FAAFP used the tools and opportunities to honor each of these four individuals with his 2021 President’s Award.

Jeffrey Ripperda, MD
A long time family physician in downstate Murphysboro, Dr. Ripperda was selected for his steadfast dedication to the health of the people of Southern Illinois. COVID-19 has stricken Southern Illinois communities hard; and taxed the hospitals, clinics and the professionals who serve there. Once the vaccine was approved, Dr. Ripperda read the data and created two Facebook posts that garnered tens of thousands of views and attracted a lot of attention (positive and negative as you might suspect). Ripperda was quickly recruited by the local media as a constant, steady, and credible source providing radio, television and print interviews to help people understand the severity of the pandemic risks and the value of getting vaccinated. Even WGN radio in Chicago has taken note of his work and the sacrifices of the health care community, so his message is reaches well beyond the local audience. He has also recently spoke to the media about other public heath concerns, such as the flu vaccine and other topics to reassure patients. Ripperda was honored before the entire IAFP Board of Directors and Illinois Fellows receiving convocation - and accepted his award from Dr. Hanak at the IAFP board meeting via zoom on October 20. He was quick to give thanks and praise (by name!) to the hard working journalists in all formats in his Southern Illinois region, from the Southern Illinoisan, SIU’s Daily Egyptian and WSIL-TV and more. You can view the recording here.
Laura Hurley, MPH
Now in her final year of medical school at Rush Medical College, Laura has demonstrated incredible dedication to so many public health and diversity leadership opportunities with IAFP throughout medical school. Her leadership and organization of the Implicit Bias two-part virtual workshop and the creation of our online resource center moved this Academy forward. “She not only set a standard, but also personally encouraged the next generation of student leaders at IAFP. You exemplify the value of early involvement with IAFP and AAFP. Her leadership currently involves serving as the organizational lead for all of the Academy’s public health externs and representing the student voice as the student member of the IAFP board of directors from July 2020-June 2021. Because Hurley and Hanak are both at Rush, Dr. Hanak presented this award in person at a November 10 Rush Department of Family Medicine meeting in order to include the Family Medicine Leadership Program students and faculty. "Honestly, I can’t imagine IAFP without her," he concluded.

Lauren Turich, MD and Daniel Bester, MD
This dynamic duo is not only linked through IAFP, but also through marriage and the couples Match. However, each of them received their own President’s Award. Each of them was chosen for incredible effort demonstrated in the opportunities offered by IAFP, especially as international medical students who were based in Chicago at the time. “You both certainly found a niche working with the public health committee to implement mental health first aid trainings working with Rush Medical College. We are fortunate to have benefited from your time and energy in organizing activities and delivering content driven by the IAFP’s Public Health Committee and their various work groups. Your work and leadership evolved into an organized public health externship program for IAFP that continues today.”
Before graduating in 2021, they celebrated the December 2020 publication of the Synchronicity Report – which they co-authored with IAFP members Raj Shah, MD and Kevin Chang, MD, featuring nine different family medicine led models integrating primary care and mental health services. Given their new location as residents at University of Nevada – Reno Family Medicine Residency Program, the actual awards were mailed and Dr. Hanak provided a “virtual presentation” with both of the, along with family, friends and fans on Zoom. IAFP former Chief Executive Officer, Vincent D. Keenan, CAE also helped provide highlights and tributes from his time working with them. You can watch the 16 minute presentation here