Family Doctor of the Year: Kristen Dillon awarded top honor

Dr. Kristen Dillon, MD, of Hood River, was named the 2016 Oregon Family Doctor of the Year by the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP).

Dillon was honored at the OAFP’s Annual Family Medicine Weekend on Saturday, March 12 at the Portland Embassy Suites Downtown. Dillon’s husband, Mayor Paul Blackburn, their two daughters, Althea and Rosalie, her parents, Dennis and Cynthia Dillon, and her employer, Lindsey Hopper, were on hand for the announcement. Dillon was also elected to the Board of Directors of the OAFP at the same celebration. She has been a member of the OAFP since 2000. Her term as Director will last three years.

Upon receiving the award, Dillon said, “I am especially honored to receive this recognition from an organization of my teachers, mentors, colleagues and friends. Family medicine at its best is a calling, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve my community and my patients through the profession. For years, I’ve worked mostly in clinical care with some of my time for policy and administrative work. After standing with a foot in both worlds, I’ve put two feet in the boat and shoved off from the dock. I’m glad to have the support of my family medicine colleagues as I learn to serve my community through creating a better functioning health system, controlling health care costs and investing in best practices that we know improve long term health.”

The award recognizes physicians who provide compassionate, comprehensive family medicine on a continuing basis, are involved in community affairs, and who provide a credible role model professionally and personally to their community, other health professionals and residents and medical students.

Dillon’s name will be submitted to the American Academy of Family Physicians in nomination for the American Family Doctor of the Year.

Dillon has been practicing family medicine in Hood River for the past 15 years at Columbia Gorge Family Medicine (CGFM), and is now the Director of the Columbia Gorge Coordinated Care Organization (CCO). She earned a B.A. summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with majors in Asian Studies and Chemistry, her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed her residency at the Fort Collins Family Medical Residency Program, where she served as Chief Resident. While at CGFM, she provided a full range of primary care services, including hospital, nursing home, and maternity care to a diverse population.

She was a founding member of the Columbia Gorge Health Council (the governing board for the Columbia Gorge CCO), and served as the vice chair of the board until transitioning into her current position.

Dr. Dillon has served on the board of the Central Oregon Independent Practice Association. Testimonials included: “Dr. Dillon has brought significant new depth, rigor and attention to the world of research and the opportunity to assert key questions that matter here, in our community. While she brings unparalleled analytical capacity to her work in the Gorge, and in transformation efforts, she is equally notable for her soulfulness and her intelligent and courageous conviction that ‘it’s the relationship’ which holds so much of the healing potential beyond our ability to quantify.”

“After a long day that ended with an evening delivery of a baby, Dr. Dillon stopped by and let me know that the reason she is excited about the CCO work is that she feels that every baby she delivers will grow up in a community that is deeply committed to building a better future for them. Her dedication is obvious and infectious. I cannot help but believe that the care she provides to her patients reflects the commitment, compassion and intelligence she displays on a daily basis.”

“It’s apparent that Dr. Dillon is role modeling through example that all her patients, regardless of payer or ability to pay, are getting the best possible care in the most considerate manner.”

“Dr. Dillon is a personal role model in her activities, not only in her local and statewide patient advocacy efforts, but also in her home life. I aspire to be like her: wise, fun, measured, experienced and involved. I hold her up as a prime example of what Oregon family physicians can be.”

The Oregon Academy of Family Physicians is the largest medical specialty society in Oregon and represents more than 1,400 family physicians, residents, and medical students throughout the state. The mission of the OAFP is to advocate for family physicians and assist them in providing for the health of their patients and communities.

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