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National recognition for their dedication to community service

Two Sacramento-area doctors have been honored with a prestigious national recognition by Kaiser Permanente for their dedication to community service.

Darryl Hunter, MD, a radiation oncologist in Roseville, and Hernando Garzon, MD, an emergency room physician in Sacramento, are among 11 recipients of the 2010 David Lawrence Community Service Award.

The award recognizes physicians and employees who exemplify outstanding community service and demonstrate extraordinary efforts to improve the health of our communities.

Dr. Hunter, previously a physician in the United States Air Force, came to Kaiser Permanente in 2005 and dedicates his time away from the clinic to helping the underserved and underinsured access community health-care services through numerous efforts. In 2009 he brought together several organizations to form the Sacramento Community Cancer Coalition, which provides free cancer screening. Dr. Hunter, a colonel in the Air Force Reserves, is a resident of Davis.

“Dr. Hunter has a real passion for reaching out to those in need. His volunteerism is making a difference in people’s lives through his leadership in organizations that offer cancer screening,” Said Chris Palkowski, MD, physician-in-chief, Roseville.

Dr. Hunter said he is honored to accept the award on behalf of the Sacramento Community Cancer Coalition and the Sacramento Community Veterans Alliance, which serve a critical role during tough economic times. “Community service is an obligation of good citizenship,” Dr. Hunter said. “We welcome those who want to help to reduce the cancer death rates among Sacramento’s underserved populations to join our efforts by volunteering with us.”

Dr. Garzon, a Kaiser Permanente physician since 1992, is an international leader in the development of “disaster medicine” who has trained more than 700 doctors and 2,000 paramedics, and has been deployed to more than 15 disasters in the U.S. and around the world. Dr. Garzon, working through Relief International, was one of the first U.S. doctors who rushed to Haiti to treat victims of the January 2010 quake and he recently served in Nigeria, assessing the possibility of setting up clinics to treat victims wounded in religious strife. Dr. Garzon is a resident of Davis.

“Dr. Garzon not only saves lives in the emergency room and in makeshift hospitals at the scene of disasters; he also dedicates countless hours to train our health-care providers in his approach to assisting in relief efforts,” said Jack Rozance, MD, physician-in-chief, Sacramento.

Dr. Garzon, who helps coordinate physician volunteers for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, called the award a tremendous honor. “I have come to believe that community service work on any level — local or global — can be some of the most rewarding work we perform in our entire lifetime,” he said. “Kaiser Permanente has become a leader in supporting volunteer and community service work, and I am incredibly proud to be a member of this organization.”

Winners of the David Lawrence Community Service Award were selected by a subcommittee of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Board of Directors following a rigorous screening process.

David Lawrence, MD, is a former chief executive of Kaiser Permanente and lifelong advocate of improving health.

Award recipients receive a $10,000 grant designated to the non-profit organization of their choice, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit division.

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