News Section: Community
Local Physician Recognized with Prestigious Award
BRADENTON – Dr. George Van Buren, Medical Director of Manatee County Rural Health Services Inc., received the Jessie Trice Distinguished Clinicians Award from the Florida Association of Community Health Centers at the Association’s recent annual meeting and educational summit. In presenting the award to Dr. Van Buren the Association cited his “longstanding dedication as a beloved Pediatrician and Medical Director for Manatee County Rural Health Services Inc.”
|Dr. George Van Buren|
“I love working with children and I love being able to do things that positively impact their lives,” Dr. Van Buren said. “It’s nice to be recognized for doing something that makes a difference in the lives of children.”
Dr. Van Buren, who has been with MCRHS since 1988, was nominated for the award by MCRHS President and CEO Walter “Mickey” Presha.
“I saw something special in him when I hired him.” Presha said. “It was clear that he had an empathy and respect for all people. He was, and remains passionate about providing quality medical care to the disenfranchised. He loves children and he loves this community, and it shows in everything he does. I had very high expectations for him and he has far surpassed those expectations. We are very proud of him.”
Dr. George, as he is known to his patients and colleagues, volunteers his time as a member of the board of directors of the Police Athletic League, the Children’s Services Advisory Board of Manatee County, and the Board of Directors of Manatee Memorial Hospital. For more than 20 years he has led a team of MCRHS employees who volunteer their time during July and August to conduct free back-to-school sports physicals to area youngsters through a program he helped start. He is also Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at MCRHS.
The impact of Dr. Van Buren’s contributions to this community through the years is tangible. He was widely recognized recently for his role in inspiring Chelsea (Boston) Tehan, a young Manatee resident to become a doctor. The two met 24 years ago when he allowed the then six-year-old girl to shadow him, and pretend to be a doctor as he made his rounds at an area hospital. He made such an impression on her that she decided at age six to become a doctor. Today she is a pediatrician working alongside Dr. George at Manatee Pediatrics.
“Children sense when people are good. He was warm and kind, and from the perspective of a six-year-old that was everything,” Dr. Tehan said. “He still works like there’s no tomorrow, and he’s still patient and kind.
Dr. Van Buren received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
The Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC) is the leading advocate for community-based health care programs in Florida. Focusing on Florida's Federally Qualified Community Health Centers, the Association plays a vital role in educating federal, state and local policymakers about issues relating to health care and the role of the health centers. Florida's community health centers play a vital role in providing services to more than 700,000 patients each year, with more than 220 locations throughout the state.
MCRHS’ mission is to deliver the highest quality primary and specialty care and preventative health education to anyone who needs our services, regardless of ability to pay. MCRHS is one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers in the southeastern United States, based on the number of patients and patient visits.
In 2012, MCRHS providers saw 92,789 patients, accounting for a total of 449,304 patient visits. The organization provided a total of $22.9 million in services to the uninsured in 2012. MCRHS has received accreditation from the Joint Commission, the national accrediting organization for healthcare providers, for 14 consecutive years.