Arthur Kaufman, vice president of Community Health and chair of the UNM School of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine, was recently voted the second recipient of "Five Star Doctor - WONCA International Award of Excellence in Health Care.” Kaufman will be presented with the award at an upcoming July conference in Singapore.

WONCA stands for the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians and it is the world organization of Family Doctors. WONCA is made up of national colleges, academies or organizations concerned with the academic aspects of general family practice. There are 97 member organizations in 79 countries. In all, the total membership of the member organizations of WONCA is over 200,000 general practitioners/family physicians.

The “Five Stars” cited in the award for excellence as a health professional in the areas of health care provider, decision maker, health advisor, community leader, and team member.

The award is given out to one recipient once every three years in conjunction with a WONCA world conference. It is conferred on physicians who, in the opinion of the WONCA Awards Committee, have made a significant impact on the health of individual and communities, through personal contributions to health care and the profession. It is instituted in an attempt to increase the global development of Family Medicine, to encourage professional global networking and partnership. The award is preferably given to those who are still active in the field for which they are nominated.

A s an international expert in primary care education and service learning, Kaufman was described as “the epitome of the Five-Star Doctor” by WONCA CEO, Alfred Loh.

Under his leadership, UNM Health Sciences Center Department of Family and Community Medicine has become known nationally and internationally for sharing healthcare innovations.

From Spain , to Brazil , to China, to the Ministry of Health of Namibia , he has provided counsel to numerous medical school and governmental bodies throughout the world on a wide variety of topics from the establishment of medical schools to models for rural general family practice.

Dr. Kaufman has been the driving force in building teams to establish innovative programs and collaborations that provide the means to achieve better access to healthcare for New Mexicans. Programs that are one-of-a-kind are:

  • Nurse AdviceNew Mexico is a unique partnership that has resulted in the nation’s first nursing triage hotline that is available 24/7 to all residents, urban or rural, insured or not. Research has shown that the adviceline is providing some of the state’s most fragile and traditionally underserved populations with cutting-edge medical advice at the same time it is reducing trips to the ER.
  • Primary Care Dispatch is a Web-based system for the assignment of uninsured emergency department patients to primary care homes. Patients are scheduled with a provider before leaving the ER, thereby reducing return visits by 31%.
  • Primary Care Curriculum was a model of problem-based, community-oriented education which integrated basic and clinical sciences, integrated the biologic, behavioral and population perspectives, and was melded into the new medical school curriculum in New Mexico and adapted by other schools throughout the nation and the world.
  • Community Access Program is a community based organization of medical, behavioral and social service safety-net community organizations that seeks to collaborate in areas where organizations have traditionally been forced to compete for scarce medical resources. The program has evolved into a four-county operation with a goal of achieving 100% access for all the uninsured in Central New Mexico by providing each patient with a primary care home with particular attention focused on reducing health disparities among vulnerable populations in these counties.
  • Health Commons Model is a community priority-driven, one-stop-shopping model of care in which primary care, behavioral health, oral health, public health, social services and case management are provided at a single site. The site and community are linked through the services of community health workers (“promotoras”) and the clinic becomes a driver of local economic development and a partner with other community stakeholders. The “health commons” recognizes that intractable health problems like higher rates of illness among the poor and uninsured have their roots in social and economic determinants. These cannot be adequately addressed by the healthcare system alone, but calls for a partnership with other sectors of society such as school systems, business community, and policy makers.
Under his leadership, the U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked the University of New Mexico second in the nation in Rural Medicine. His career has stressed collaboration instead of competition. That collaboration, especially when it is forged in relationships among formerly competing organizations, has led to a myriad of healthcare innovations, attracting new private and public funding.
Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322