Drs. Caine And Ruffner Of Hamilton County Project Access Win Awards

Monday, April 1, 2013
Winston P. Caine, MD, FACP
Winston P. Caine, MD, FACP

Winston P. Caine, MD, FACP (deceased), B W. Ruffner, Jr., MD, FACP, both of Chattanooga and Hamilton County Project Access, are among recipients of Tennessee Medical Association annual awards for 2013, to be presented during the TMA’s 178th Annual Meeting in Franklin, Tn., on Saturday.

Dr. Caine is being posthumously honored with a 2013 TMA Outstanding Physician Award, given annually by the TMA House of Delegates to member physicians who have made their personal mark on the profession of medicine in Tennessee and on those they have worked with and known during their illustrious medical careers.

Before his death on Oct. 23, 2012, Dr. Caine had practiced internal medicine and hematology in Chattanooga since 1969. He was chief of the Hematology Service at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine-Chattanooga and chief of staff of Erlanger Hospital from 1989-1991. He was a trainer of up-and-coming doctors, serving as attending physician at Erlanger and as clinical professor of medicine at the UTCOMC. While undergoing cancer treatment last fall, Dr. Caine continued his active schedule of patient care and teaching, up until the day before his death.

“Dr. Caine’s devotion to his patients and their care inspired his pursuit of medical knowledge, and he loved to teach and impart this knowledge to countless medical students, interns and residents for whom he became a role model,” said the nomination letter, signed by 2012 Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society President John McCarley, MD.

His teaching and leadership accomplishments were well recognized. He twice received the Outstanding Teacher Award from UTCOMC. Other honors included the 2000 American College of Physicians National Volunteer Teacher of the Year Award and the appellation “Laureate in Medicine;” the 001 Robert L. Summitt Award for Leadership in Medical Education from the University of Tennessee; the 2009 Baroness Erlanger Foundation Distinguished Physician Award; and the 2010 Augustus McCravey Award for a Lifetime of Excellence in Medical Education.

Dr. Caine served as program director for MKSAP Review Courses from 1979 until his death. He was a member of the American Society of Hematology, American Medical Association, and was active in the TMA as a longtime member and former chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Committee.

Dr. Caine was also a Project Access volunteer physician. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1967-1969 and was a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Caine received a BA from Vanderbilt University in 1959 and his MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1963.

Dr. Ruffner is a recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Service Award, presented annually since 1963 by the TMA Board of Trustees to exemplary members of the association for their notable achievements during the past year.

A TMA president in 2010-2011, Dr. Ruffner is being honored for his work as an advocate for quality health care in Tennessee and for the profession of medicine.

In the past year he served in a number of leadership roles including as the TMA representative to the AMA Physicians Consortium for Performance Improvement. PCPI is a national, physician-led program dedicated to enhancing quality and patient safety. He also represented Tennessee in the AMA Council on Senior Physicians and as an alternate delegate to AMA. Dr. Ruffner served as treasurer and a member of the Board HIP-TN (Health Information Project-Tennessee) as it laid important groundwork for Tennessee’s ongoing efforts to foster the adoption and use of electronic health records. In 2012 Dr. Ruffner assisted with the “wind-down” of the organization as the state of Tennessee decided to move in a new direction to facilitate secure electronic communication of medical information. He also served in as a consultant for the Center for Medical Technology Policy and to the BlueCross BlueShield of America Technology Evaluation Center.

He served on the Project Access Operations Council which oversees day-to-day policy for the charity health care initiative. Dr. Ruffner is an active member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society Board of Directors and provided strong leadership for the 2012 Doctors’ Day on the Hill and other Governmental Affairs Committee activities. He is a recognized and respected leader on health care policy issues. In 2012, Dr. Ruffner also chaired the Baroness Erlanger Foundation, which provides support for the Erlanger Health System in Hamilton County.

When he is not furthering the quality of patient care, the profession and physician training, Dr. Ruffner’s time is spent working with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association and the Chattanooga Area Clinical Pastoral Care Association. He is an avid student of archaeology and has uncovered history at numerous digs in Israel, Syria, Turkey and other Middle Eastern sites.

A medical oncologist, Dr. Ruffner received his BA in chemistry from Duke University and his MD from Duke University School of Medicine.

Hamilton County Project Access is receiving the TMA Community Service Award, given annually to persons or organizations outside the medical profession who contribute significantly to the advancement of public health in their respective communities.

Project Access was nominated by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society (CHCMS) for ts work to provide medical services to the low-income, uninsured residents of Hamilton County and the greater Chattanooga area. It is specifically cited for creating unprecedented cooperation among diverse health partners, and for its assistance and technical support to Project Access programs in Knoxville and the Tri-Cities area.

Managed by the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga, it was the first Project Access initiative in the State of Tennessee. Since its beginning in April 2004, Hamilton County Project Access has coordinated more than $100 million in documented healthcare services from physicians, health centers, laboratories, hospitals, rehabilitation and physical therapy facilities, and other partners. The services are provided at no charge to qualifying patients – those with incomes below 150-percent of poverty with no other access to health care.

Over the past nine years Project Access has saved lives, restored health, and mobilized a community to provide quality healthcare for those who need it most. “This is at the heart of our mission as physicians,” said Dr. McCarley.

B W. Ruffner, Jr., MD, FACP
B W. Ruffner, Jr., MD, FACP


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