Dr. F. Douglas Scutchfield received the 2019 Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Distinguished Service in Public Health from the American Public Health Association (APHA). The oldest and most prestigious honor bestowed by APHA, the Sedgwick Medal represents recognition by an individual’s colleagues of outstanding accomplishments in the field of public health. Scutchfield accepted the award from APHA President Dr. Georges Benjamin on Nov. 6 in Philadelphia, during the APHA annual meeting.
Scutchfield, a native of Wheelwright in Floyd County, was selected to receive the honor “for his outstanding accomplishments in academic medicine and public health, an APHA news release said. He “is being honored for his work on public-health accreditation, public health services research and mentorship, among other accomplishments.”
Scutchfield was the founding dean of the San Diego State University School of Public Health and the UK College of Public Health, where he is Peter P. Bosomworth Professor emeritus. He has been an international leader in public health; he has been a consultant to governments and organizations in Panama, China, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Germany, as well as the U.S.
Scutchfield chairs the accreditation committee of the Public Health Accreditation Board, which accredits local and state health departments, and Kentucky has been a leader in getting its departments accredited. He was secretary-treasurer of the Association of Schools of Public Health, a member of the secretary of Health and Human Services’ Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Council, and a board member of the Public Health Foundation, which presented him with the Theodore R. Ervin Award. He received the Balderson Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Public Health Leadership Network. He is editor-in-chief of the newly founded, freely available Journal of Appalachian Health.
Scutchfield earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University and his medical degree from UK. Following practice in Morehead, and in conjunction with that work, he began his career at UK as a field professor of community medicine. He was the first chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Alabama, then an associate dean of its College of Community Health Sciences. Later he became founding director of the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State and held faculty appointments at the campuses in Irvine and San Diego
He was certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in 1974 and the American Board of Family Practice from 1971 to 1985. He was a charter diplomat of the latter organization and is a fellow of both. He is a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, served as a regent and president, and won the college’s Distinguished Service Award and Special Recognition Award. He has served as a member of the board and as president of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, which gave him its highest recognition, the Duncan Clark Award.
Scutchfield was a member of the American Medical Association House of Delegates and served as chair of the AMA Section Council of Preventive Medicine on several occasions. He was elected to membership in the AMA’s Council on Medical Education, and served as its vice chair and member of its executive committee. He represented the AMA as a member of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, the Liaison Committee on Specialty Boards, the American Board of Medical Specialties and the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation. He received AMA’s Dr. William Beaumont Award as its outstanding young physician in 1985 and its Distinguished Service Award, the highest recognition of a physician, in 2003.
Scutchfield has served as editor of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and is a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Public Health. He also served as editor of California Medicine and the San Diego Physician, both of which won awards during his tenure as editor. He served as editor of Appalachia Medicine and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Community Health. He is the author of numerous textbooks, text chapters and published articles in referred journals. His avocational interest in Thomas Merton resulted in a book he co-authored with Paul Evans Holbrook Jr., The Letters of Thomas Merton and Victor and Carolyn Hammer: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2015.
Adapted from an article by Al Cross for Kentucky Health News.