The ability of one man or woman to change an entire community for the better is rare. It has been a privilege to watch Ron Anderson, MD do just that over the last 30 years. He is the perfect example of the humble servant leader, who through his own life shows others the way to care for those who suffer and need help. His fellow physicians recognized his outstanding leadership in 2005, as they awarded him the Dallas County Medical Society’s Charles Max Cole Leadership Award.
Two significant changes were highlighted by the medical society in selecting Dr. Anderson for our distinguished service award. In 1985, he played a major role in passing landmark federal legislation concerning indigent health care in Texas. The legislation banned “patient dumping” – the practice of transferring medically unstable patients from private to public hospitals because of the patient’s inability to pay. Dr. Anderson became a national spokesperson on this issue, which led to passage of legislation signed into law in 1986 by President Reagan.
Equally impactful, Dr. Anderson’s vision of health care for all, regardless of ability to pay, paved the way for Parkland’s Community-Oriented Primary Care program. This network of neighborhood-based health centers serve what we have come to know as “medical homes” for the communities they serve. His creation, implementation, and the subsequent success of the COPC model is confirmation of Dr. Anderson’s status as a visionary in healthcare.
It has been a blessing in my life to have been a friend and colleague of Dr. Anderson. I have learned about justice, courage, compassion, and so much more from watching him. He is a hero and legend in the healthcare community and his influence will last for generations.
Michael Darrouzet is the executive vice president and CEO of the Dallas County Medical Society and the DCMS Foundation. He has been employed at DCMS for 24 years, serving as CEO since January 1997.