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Class of 1967 Joseph F. Smiddy, MD, Altruism Award

At their 50th Medical School Reunion in 2017, the Class of 1967 established the Joseph F. Smiddy, MD, Altruism Award in recognition of the lifelong service of their classmate. A pulmonologist by training, Smiddy is the medical director of The Health Wagon based in Wise, Va. He has traveled the steep mountains of Appalachia with Health Wagon staff providing free medical care to indigent patients. In order to drive tractor trailer medical mission vehicles, he trained at the CCS Tractor Trailer School and obtained a CDL license. Smiddy has also made over 40 medical mission trips to Belize and worked in India and Peru.

Class president/representative Robert S. Brown, Sr., MD, PhD, COL (Ret.) says that, although Smiddy himself shuns recognition, his fellow alumni wanted to honor their classmate. “Joe’s secret life is his remarkable devotion and energy that he expends in providing medical and dental care to thousands of underserved people in Southwest Virginia. The class enthusiastically decided that Joe Smiddy deserved recognition, and we thought our future physicians needed to be reminded that altruism is the heart of medical education and practice,” he says. “It is the intention of the Class of 1967 to make this one of the most substantial awards in the history of the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine.”

Bijan Morshedi, SMD ’20, (seen above with MAA/MSF Executive Director Barry Collins) is the first recipient of the award. His dedication to community service began in high school. As a medical student at UVA, he has volunteered at community outreach events and joined two programs that connect medically underserved populations with healthcare resources: The Latino Health Initiative and iSERVE. “As I progress toward a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, I plan to focus my efforts on medically underserved populations and build upon the experience I have obtained to tailor the care I provide for each unique patient,” he says.

The UVA Medical Alumni Association and Medical School Foundation is grateful to the Class of 1967 for its support. Learn more about supporting this fund and other ways to support students at the School of Medicine here.