Longtime Nome physicians honored
Patients, friends and co-workers of Dr. David Head filled Old St. Joe’s Saturday for a community appreciation celebration.
Dr. Head has been chief of staff and medical director at Norton Sound Health Corporation since 1989. His long career was acclaimed with speeches, anecdotes, and personal testimony from those who filled Old St. Joe’s.
Dr. Head was named Alaska Family Physician of the Year in 2014, the highest honor given to a member of the Alaska Academy of Family Physicians. He was the Alaska delegate on the National Council of Clinical Directors, Advisor to the Governor on Trauma, Medical Director Alaska State Health Aide Certification Board, Member and Chair of Alaska State Medical Board for seven years. These are only a few of the honors bestowed upon him during his career.
In addition to honoring Dr. Head the gathering celebrated the careers of Dr. Karen O’Neill and Dr. Sai-ling Liu.
Speeches describing their contributions and accomplishments were given and they got a chance to address the crowd. The three physicians have worked together serving the people of the Nome region for nearly 30 years.
Drs. Head and O’Neill were presented with beautiful stethoscopes made by local artist Joe Kunnuk. Dr. Liu received a print.
Asked what it meant to practice medicine in rural America today Dr. Head answered the following:
“It means that you have a lot of good people around you to be able to provide the services you have to do. And you also have to be comfortable not having some of the people around you that you might need. It is a very rewarding experience. For me, I couldn’t have practiced anywhere else. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible people. And you get asked to do things that you’re not always comfortable doing but you have to do anyway.”
Nome Mayor Richard Beneville addressed the crowd.
“I want to speak as a citizen, I want to speak as somebody who worked at the school district for 30 years, and I want to speak as mayor. The three of you have brought quality of life in Nome up so hugely. I for one am standing here because I had a doctor. I had Dr. David Head. It was like having a personal doctor.”
“As mayor it saddens me greatly. It saddens me greatly. And that’s all I’m going to say.”