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Alum Honored as Physician of the Year

December 16, 2008

The Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians recently honored Dr. Zachary Bechtol, a 1991 Oklahoma Baptist University alum, as the 2008 Family Physician of the Year. The award qualifies Bechtol for the national American Academy of Family Physicians "Physician of the Year" award.

Bechtol was nominated by Dr. James Mold, a University of Oklahoma family medicine educator and researcher. Mold serves as the president and director of the Oklahoma Physicians Research Network, of which Bechtol is an active member.

During its annual meeting, the OAFP board voted on Bechtol's nomination for the award. The nomination was confirmed by Oklahoma State Representative Dr. Doug Cox. According to the OAFP, Bechtol was chosen as the recipient of the award for his compassionate and comprehensive care given to his patients; his involvement in community affairs and activities that enhance the quality of his community; and serving as an outstanding role model professionally and personally to his community, to other health professionals, residents and medical students.

Bechtol currently is the solo medical practitioner at NEO Family Medicine and Obstetrics in Grove, Okla. He received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City.

"The thing I find the most fulfilling is being able to make a difference in my patients' lives every day, sometimes in ways they will never know through prevention," said Bechtol. "Doing an emergency C-section to save the life of a mom and baby is pretty cool, too."

Bechtol credits OBU professor Dr. James Hurley, who served as professor emeritus of biology, with helping him build a strong foundation for his career.

"I trained at OBU during the infamous Hurley years," Bechtol said. "He truly wanted to prepare his pre-med students for what was to come."

When he comes in contact with another pre-med student from the Hurley era, Bechtol said, "There is that immediate connection of the mark he left on us during our time at OBU."

The Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) members are physicians who specialize in family medicine, residents in family medicine training programs, and medical students interested in the specialty. With more than 1,200 members, the OAFP is the largest medical specialty organization in Oklahoma. The OAFP is a state chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) which represents more than 94,000 physicians, residents and medical students in the United States.