Dr. Richard Roetzheim named Florida Family Physician of the Year

The Florida Academy of Family Physicians (FAFP) has named USF’s Richard Roetzheim, MD, MSPH, the 2011 Florida Family Physician of the Year.

Dr. Roetzheim, professor and director of research at USF’s Department of Family Medicine, will be presented with the award Dec. 10 at the FAFP annual conference in Amelia Island, FL.

“Dr. Roetzheim’s humanity, research expertise, teaching and care to patients are all being recognized through this award,” said H. James Brownlee, Jr., MD, professor and chairman of UFS’s Department of Family Medicine.

In his letter nominating Dr. Roetzheim for the award, Dr. Brownlee wrote:

“Dr. Roetzheim’s accomplishments in teaching have been outstanding. He has been rated by the USF medical students as an excellent teacher with the Third Year Ambulatory Care Clerkship that includes time with USF Family Medicine…. In addition to his strong teaching, Dr. Roetzheim is an outstanding clinician. He sees more patients per half day than any other faculty member. … In addition to his full-time teaching and clinical practice, Dr. Roetzheim has become one of the top 15 National Institutes of Health family medicine researchers in the country. He directs research for the USF Department of Family Medicine and currently has three active National Institutes of Health projects going on simultaneously…. as a Family Medicine Department Chair, I have had the opportunity to see that it has not been my leadership that has motivated USF medical students to Family Medicine, but rather the day-to-day consistent caring and commitment of individuals such as Richard Roetzheim that inspire them towards our specialty. He has also encouraged several students to consider a more active role in Family Medicine research because of his own very successful efforts.”

Dr. Roetzheim, who joined USF’s Department of Family Medicine in 1985, is also medical director of Moffitt’s Lifetime Cancer Screening Center and a senior member of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Department at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. In addition, he is co-director of the Center for Equal Health, a program based on a $6 million National Institutes of Health grant earned in 2009 to create a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Center of Excellence. The five-year grant focuses on research, education and training, and community outreach to reduce cancer-related health disparities among minority and underserved communities in Florida.

The USF Department of Family Medicine is ranked in the top 20 percent of Family Medicine Departments nationally based on funding from the National Institutes of Health due to vigorous research effort led by Dr. Roetzheim, Dr. Brownlee said.

A long-time advocate of access to and reducing disparities in health care, Dr. Roetzheim has centered his research on primary health care and its impact on cancer diagnosis and treatment. He has spearheaded several studies to understand how access to primary medical care can lead to earlier diagnosis of cancer. He has also conducted studies demonstrating the impact health insurance has on the early detection of cancer and on the treatments and outcomes of those cancers.

Dr. Roetzheim is currently studying interventions that will increase the amount of cancer screening conducted in primary care settings and that address health disparities. He is also developing interventions that can prevent cancer in other settings, such as a school-based intervention he developed to help fourth-grade students learn how to protect their skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

Hillsborough County fourth-graders don hates to reduce their exposure to sun.

Dr. Roetzheim earned his MD degree from the University of Illinois and a master’s of science degree in public health, health services, from the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his medical residency at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, and an NIH Primary Care Research Fellowship in Family Medicine at UCLA. He is board-certified in family medicine.