This week the American Association of Family Physicians named a Community Health Center doctor as their 2012 Family Physician of the Year. Dr. Richard Kovar, M.D., medical director of the Country Doctor Community Health Centers in Seattle, was honored as an “outstanding American family physician who provides patients with compassionate and comprehensive care and serves as a role model professionally and personally.”
“Kovar is passionate about providing safety-net care”
Dr. Kovar has been medical director and a family physician at Country Doctor CHCs for the past 20 years. In addition to his regular practice and mentoring students and interns, Dr. Kovar also provides pro bono medical exams to individuals seeking political asylum in the United States:
“The stats aren’t great for being granted asylum, but they go up hugely if someone gets a medical evaluation or a psychological evaluation to support their claim,” says Kovar. When he began, he was the only doctor in his region doing these evaluations, but he’s since trained others to perform the exams.
His specialty is evaluating people who have been tortured, and Kovar has seen the scars of those who have faced cultural harassment, been mutilated, attacked and even enslaved by police, mob organizations or their government.
“It’s horrific, and it’s very depressing. I choose to look at it as I’m giving this person a shot at due process. I’m proud of that piece,” says Kovar.