Monday, December 19, 2016

Physicians of the Year 2016 
(From left) Drs. Russ Womble, Amy Bacchus and Saria Refai stand with their awards given at Norman Regional's annual Physician Awards Ceremony.

NORMAN – Three Norman physicians were honored for their achievements during an awards ceremony at Norman Regional on Thursday, December 8, 2016. They are Drs. Amy Bacchus, Saria Refi and Russ Womble.

Amy Bacchus, MD, was chosen by Norman Regional employees as the year's Outstanding Physician. All employees were given the opportunity to vote for one physician they felt best personified three traits: compassionate care of patients, building of collegial relationships and the pursuit of professional excellence.

Dr. Bacchus has worked at Norman Regional since 2009, and is an Intensivist, bringing expert care to patients who require critical care and pulmonology services. Her educational background includes completing medical school at the University of Texas, Internal Medicine residency at Medical Branch at Galveston, and Pulmonary and Critical Care fellowship at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She came to Norman from a pulmonology practice in Tulsa.

Staff commented about her care of her patients and how well she communicates with patients, their families, and nursing staff.

"Dr. Bacchus is well known for her passion of medicine and always doing what is best for the patient, no matter what. She is a leader who truly exudes what medicine and teamwork is really about," said Richie Splitt, President and CEO of Norman Regional Health System.

Saria Refai, MD, was given the Physician Peer Award. Physicians voted for a fellow physician they felt best personified three traits: compassionate care of patients, building of collegial relationships and the pursuit of professional excellence. Dr. Refai is a neurologist and also serves as the Medical Director of Norman Regional's Neuro-diagnostic Services. His educational background includes completing medical school at Damascus University in Syria, Family Medicine residency at William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan, and Neurology residency then Neuromuscular – Clinical Neurophysiology fellowship at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Dr. David Williams, Norman Regional's Chief Of Staff, presented the award to Dr. Refai and said the highest honor a physician can receive is a vote of confidence from their peers.

"Dr. Refai is well-respected and very knowledgeable, as well as compassionate. His care of not only patients but their families is something to be modeled and commended as he practices the way we all aspire to," Dr. Williams said.

Each year, one physician is given the Hal Belknap Heart of Gold award, which honors a physician for his or her service to the community. Dr. Hal Belknap was on the Medical Staff at Norman Regional from 1967 until he passed away in 2008. He made remarkable contributions both locally and globally, ranging from supporting a Boy Scout troop at Norman Regional to founding a health clinic in Africa.

The Hal Belknap Heart of Gold award was awarded to Russ Womble, MD, for his volunteer work with the Good Shepherd Clinic in Oklahoma City, providing care for people without insurance and teaching medical students. Dr. Womble also serves as a University of Oklahoma Physician's Assistant preceptor. In his first year as a preceptor, he won the Preceptor of the Year award. Dr. Womble is a Hospitalist with Norman Regional Health System.

"Dr. Womble's parents tell a story about how as a young boy he made a handwritten sign one day. The sign read 'I repair all things!' With a hammer in one belt loop and a screwdriver in the other, he stood beside the road holding up his sign," said Dr. Robin Mantooth, while presenting Dr. Womble his award. "He later said he hoped people would stop and let him repair anything at their home that needed "fixin'." It's no surprise that Russ went on to choose a profession that would allow him to help people fix what needed fixin'".

Dr. Womble completed his undergraduate at Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 2002 where he received the Distinguished Achievement award his senior year. He then attended Texas Tech Medical school and graduated in 2006. Dr. Womble then moved to Oklahoma City for his Internal Medicine residency training at OU Health Sciences Center and completed this training in 2009. Since then, Dr. Womble has been working at Norman Regional Health System at the former Moore Medical Center and later at Norman Regional HealthPlex.