Reid B. Blackwelder, MD, FAAFP, a family physician in Kingsport, Tenn., is president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Previously, he served three years as a member of the AAFP Board of Directors. The AAFP represents 105,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. Blackwelder was elected to the position by the Congress of Delegates, the AAFP’s governing body, during the organization’s annual meeting in October 2012.
As president-elect of the AAFP, Blackwelder advocates on behalf of family physicians and patients nationwide to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system. Outside the AAFP, he serves as director of the Medical Student Education Division for the Department of Family Medicine at East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City, Tenn., where he is also a professor of family medicine. He previously served as program director of the Kingsport Family Medicine Residency Program of ETSU for more than 13 years, and Blackwelder remains on faculty at the residency.
A member of the AAFP since 1980, Blackwelder has served on and chaired numerous committees and commissions whose work has focused on continuing professional development and education. He also was a delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates. In 2008, the AAFP awarded Blackwelder its Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award.
A member of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians since 1992, Blackwelder served in several positions, including president. He has been a member of the board of directors for more than 10 years and has served in multiple capacities on numerous TNAFP committees. He represented the chapter at the AAFP Congress of Delegates beginning in 2002, until his election to the AAFP Board of Directors. In 2008, the TNAFP awarded Blackwelder its prestigious John S. Derryberry Distinguished Service Award.
In addition to caring for patients and serving in leadership roles for the AAFP, Blackwelder has dedicated a significant amount of his time to teaching medical students and residents. In fact, his dedication has earned him a plethora of outstanding teaching awards, including several awards from his local Caduceus Club, the Humanism in Medicine Award from the New Jersey Health Foundation and the Dean’s Teaching Award from ETSU. Additionally, Blackwelder was named Outstanding Family Medicine Attending Physician of the Year numerous times and was selected Mentor of the Year in 2001 and 2010 by the ETSU medical students. He has mentored more than 1,200 medical students during his time at ETSU.
In 2005, 2006 and again in 2009, Blackwelder was featured in the Guide to Top Family Doctors published by the Consumers Research Council of America. Also, in 2010, he received the Patient’s Choice Award from Vitals.com, a website that helps patients find a doctor who is right for them.
Early in his career, after he completed residency, Blackwelder served in the National Health Service Corps for many years as the only physician in the small town of Trenton, Ga., with a population of 1,400.
For the past 17 years, Blackwelder has been affiliated with the Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn. His residency practice maintains a vigorous hospital presence as one of only two family medicine groups that still admits its own patients. He is the only family physician in Kingsport who practices obstetrics. Additionally, he has lectured nationally on complementary and alternative medicine, and patient-centered medicine.
Blackwelder earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Haverford College in Haverford, Pa., and his medical degree from Emory University in Atlanta, graduating cum laude and as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He then completed his residency at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta serving as chief resident. Blackwelder is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has the AAFP Degree of Fellow, an earned degree awarded to family physicians for distinguished service and continuing medical education.
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Editor's note: The post below was written in response to Nurse Practitioners And Primary Care, a Health Policy Brief recently published by Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The American Academy of Family Physicians welcomes discussions about primary care as foundational...