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AMA presents Government Service Award to public health champion


The American Medical Association (AMA) presented John R. Baird, M.D., MPH, former State Medical Officer for the North Dakota Department of Health, with the AMA Award for Outstanding Government Service.

Dr. Baird began his career at a five-person clinic, then developed the state’s first federally funded community health care center at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Baird became a part-time field medical officer and section chief for the North Dakota Department of Health in 2002.

“Dr. Baird has dedicated his life to improving community health, and people across North Dakota have benefited from his tenacity, giving and dedication,” said AMA Board Chair Russ Kridel, M.D. “Always an advocate for the underserved, Dr. Baird has worked closely with local refugee agencies, led mission trips to Guatemala, and fought for greater health care access for the uninsured. I am proud to present him with this award.”

In addition to his wide-ranging public health experience, Dr. Baird has worked with legislators in North Dakota to update the death investigation system, revamp tuberculosis statutes and start new needle exchange programs. He also wrote opioid policy and signed standard naloxone orders that significantly reduced overdose deaths in North Dakota.

Dr. Baird received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and completed his residency in family medicine at the University of North Dakota.

Dr. Baird’s acceptance speech can be viewed at this link.

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

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