Northwest Physicians Win Mission Awards

Adventist Health physicians dedicate their lives to healing others. Providing care, leadership and guidance to the community is no easy task, but these physicians make it their life’s work.

To recognize this accomplishment, Adventist Health chose 15 physicians from around our system that exemplify the mission in every aspect of their work. These individuals were recently honored with the Physician of the Year Mission Award. Three of these doctors practice at Adventist hospitals in the Pacific Northwest.

With a smile on his face and a spring in his step, Dick Gingrich is often heard reciting, "Rejoice in the Lord always!" His passion for God, coupled with his genuine interest in his patients, has made him an integral part of the mission at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore., for more than 40 years.

He is a well-known as a physician who has a heart for service and love for outreach.

His desire to help improve quality of life for others is evident. He is the co-founder of the Portland Adventist Community Services Health Clinic, a medical clinic meeting the needs of those without adequate health insurance.

Physicians and community leaders have often remarked that this wise physician has a heart of gold. Through the years, he has kept his priorities in order: faith, family, patients and community.

Mark Bowman, an emergency medicine physician at Oregon's Tillamook County General Hospital since 1994, personifies the Adventist Health mission with a Christian faith that defines both his personal and professional life.

His faith reaches out to others in the community and around the world. As a physician provider, Bowman has traveled with Medical Teams International (MTI) to Indonesia in 2004 and more recently to Libya, in spite of the dangerous situation, saying, "God has it all in control."

Loving care guides his approach with patients. Occasionally asking questions, he mostly just listens. When he reaches out to offer comfort and prayer, the reassurance his patients gain is visible. And while Bowman readily shares his Christian faith, he respects each individual’s right to express their faith in their own manner.

G. Thomas Underhill has been a member of the Walla Walla (Wash.) General Hospital medical staff for many years. His enthusiasm for life is legendary — he works hard and plays hard.

In the emergency department he is a compassionate leader who listens to his patients. A recent letter from a patient states that Underhill and his staff are "amazing." The letter goes on to say that the team was "timely" in a way that seems to be "unheard of these days."

This type of devotion to high-quality, timely care is central to Underhill’s practice of medicine. As the emergency department's medical director, he has led initiatives that have improved patient throughput and enhanced patient experience.

In addition to his role in the emergency department, Underhill has been a strong leader within the medical staff, where he recently became chief of staff.

Featured in: February 2012