At the 139th annual meeting of the Montana Medical Association, the Association’s Board of Trustees presented the “Dr. Jack McMahon Service to Montana Physicians Award” to Dr. Roman Hendrickson, Medical Director of the Ruby Valley Hospital. This award is the Montana Medical Association’s (MMA) highest honor and is given for exemplary commitment to the physician profession, advocating for the ongoing improvement of the profession, the protection of the patient-physician relationship and the interests of patients. The Dr. Jack McMahon Award is not bestowed annually, but given when the MMA’s Executive Committee determines that a proposed candidate should be recognized for their commendable contribution of the profession.
Dr. Hendrickson’s leadership and contribution to the Ruby Valley community has benefited his local patients and rural healthcare overall. In 2007, Dr. Hendrickson arranged to make the Ruby Valley Clinic and the Ruby Valley Hospital available for physician assistant students as part of their rotation training program. This allows the students to train in a rural setting and shows them the benefits of practicing in a rural facility. Dr. Hendrickson’s focus on geriatric medicine has been especially beneficial for the substantial senior citizen community of the Ruby Valley, prioritizing care for “well elders”.
In addition to providing healthcare services to patients in the Ruby Valley, Dr. Hendrickson has supported the healthcare needs of the Fort Peck Reservation for the past 15 years. Fort Peck was Dr. Hendrickson’s first practice in Montana and the Hendrickson family lived in Poplar for 5 years. Knowing the difficulty of finding healthcare professionals for far-flung rural locations, Dr. Hendrickson has continued to assist the Fort Peck tribes with their healthcare needs and commuted over 500 miles to the reservation about once a month.
Medical education and rural healthcare are top priorities for Dr. Hendrickson. His efforts to support ongoing medical education in Montana included working with the team that created the Montana Medical Association Foundation. The foundation funds emergency room training, physician leadership programs and other resources to enhance the skills of Montana’s physicians.
Rural healthcare suffers from a perpetual shortage of primary care providers. Dr. Hendrickson was influential in the development of a joint Physician Workforce Committee with the Montana Hospital Association. The goal of this committee is to find solutions to the healthcare provider shortage, particularly in recruiting and retaining physicians in rural Montana.
Dr. Hendrickson has served on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee for the Montana Medical Association and was elected by his physician peers to serve as president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer and assistant secretary-treasurer. He is also a past president of the Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Please click here to read the Montana Medical Association's release announcing Dr. Hendrickson's award.