November 19th, 2010

Michael AbouAssaly, M.D., is the 2010 Iowa Family Physician of the Year. He received the award Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians annual meeting in Des Moines. The award is presented to one outstanding physician who best exemplifies the tradition of the family physician, and who epitomizes the finest standards of family health care.

AbouAssaly also is Iowa’s nominee for the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Family Physician Award, which will be presented in 2011.

“I thank Dr. Mike for waking me up and pushing me to become a happier, healthier person,” said one of the several people who nominated AbouAssaly. “I lost my first wife to cancer several years ago and I would not have gotten through that horrible experience without his compassion and support. Through tragedy and triumph, he has become a dear friend. His medical help and friendship have truly been a blessing to me and my entire extended family.

“When I had hip-replacement surgery a few months ago, Dr. Mike was the last one I saw before being anesthetized and the first one I saw when I woke up in recovery – and he was not the surgeon. He has always displayed great compassion to everyone he encounters, from infants to the elderly.”

Raised in Cedar Rapids, Dr. AbouAssaly joined Burlington Area Family Practice Center and Great River Medical Center’s medical staff in 1998. He is medical director of Great River Healthy Living Clinic, which opened in August 2009. Its services include the Ideal Protein® diet, body-composition analysis, cholesterol screening, lifestyle consultation and resting metabolic testing to determine the number of calories needed for weight loss.

The clinic’s signature program is Operation Transformation, a six-month weight-loss program that focuses on permanently changing behaviors. It includes exercise, education, metabolic testing and private consultations with AbouAssaly. To date, nearly 500 people have participated in the program and collectively lost more than 5,445 pounds.

“I was one of the first six people to participate in this program,” said another nominator. “I have lost 45 pounds in less than a year. Dr. Mike has been a true mentor and leader. Not only does he talk the talk, but he walks the walk. He has been a regular at the gym since the inception of Operation Transformation. You will find him sweating with participants at 5:45 a.m. three to four days a week.”

“The Iowa Family Physician of the Year is a tremendous honor for Dr. AbouAssaly,” said President and CEO Mark Richardson. “It reflects not only his professionalism and competence as a physician, but also his commitment to his patients and the community as a whole. We’re fortunate to have physicians such as Dr. AbouAssaly on our medical staff. We are grateful for everything he has done for the health system and our community.”

Dr. AbouAssaly volunteers his time at the Battered Women’s Shelter, gives monthly anatomy lectures to elementary students, and is a team physician of the Burlington Bees. He enjoys fishing, skiing, camping, tennis and spending time with family.

Dr. AbouAssaly received his medical degree from the University of Iowa, and completed his residency in family practice at West Suburban Hospital and Medical Center, River Forest, Ill. He is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

Family physicians are trained in many areas of medicine including pediatrics, geriatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, surgery, obstetrics, gynecology and community medicine. This gives them capability to treat more than 85 percent of all illnesses found in children and adults.

The Iowa Academy of Family Physicians has more than 1,500 members and is a constituent chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which is the largest medical specialty society in the United State. It has a membership of more than 86,000 family physicians, family-practice residents and medical students.