ANMC’s Dr. Paton receives prestigious award for his career dedicated to caring for Indigenous Alaskans

October 13, 2022

The Alaska Hospital and Healthcare Association (AHHA) Healthcare Champion Awards are presented each year to encourage, recognize and reward individuals and teams taking progressive and effective steps to improve patient care and outcomes across Alaska. Member health care facilities are invited to submit nominations in the summer, and a committee selects awardees to be honored at AHHA’s annual conference, which was held this year on Sept. 21. Several of Dr. Paton’s colleagues were in attendance to celebrate his achievement.

Jake Malouf, ANMC Orthopedics Clinical Practice Manager, nominated Dr. William Paton (pronounced “Payton), ANMC Orthopedic Surgeon, for AHHA’s Healthcare Champion Golden Stethoscope Award. In reviewing Malouf’s nomination for Dr. Paton, the AHHA award committee felt that Dr. Paton’s significant years of dedication to Alaska Native people, and the profession he clearly loves, rose to another level of recognition. So, AHHA decided to establish a new category of recognition, “The Paton Award”, in Dr. Paton’s honor. 

“I am extremely pleased for having been able to spend 45 years (and counting) working with Alaska Native people and their orthopedic needs,” said Dr. Paton. “Doing that alongside the fine staff at ANMC has been an honor, and has given me a fulfilling career for which I am very grateful. There are other practitioners with even longer and more distinguished medical service in Alaska. I am pleased that they may be honored as well.”

Dr. Paton is the first recipient of this prestigious award recognizing his contributions to health care in Alaska. He joined the Alaska Tribal Health System in 1977. Over Dr. Paton’s 40+ years working in the Alaska Tribal Health System, he has helped thousands of patients recover from injury and illness; his focused research on Kuskokwim Syndrome has significantly contributed to a broader understanding of many other orthopedic conditions; he has traveled extensively throughout rural Alaska and set thousands of bones, performed thousands of surgeries, and given hope to generations of Alaskans. 

Going forward, The Paton Award will recognize physicians with 40 years or greater of medical service to Alaska residents, and will be presented annually by AHHA into perpetuity. 

“I was elated to find out Dr. Paton’s nomination had been upgraded to such a significant award. He is arguably one of the most prolific and most respected health care providers in Alaska and it is fitting for an annual award to be named in his honor,” said Malouf. “I have worked with Dr. Paton for years and cannot think of a more suitable recipient. The award presentation by Dr. Anne Zink, State of Alaska Chief Medical Officer, was like icing on the cake.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Paton on this prestigious accolade and on his long tenure of providing crucial orthopedic health care services to our people from across Alaska.

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