Collier County Medical Society members and guests met to honor local physicians at the CCMS 2021 Annual Meeting Celebration on November 13th at Arthrex One Conference Center. The event, rescheduled from this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, featured in-person award presentations and recognition of the 2021-22 CCMS President who was installed in July. The meeting also featured guest speakers Dr. Christopher Adams of Arthrex, and Dr. Joshua Lenchus from the Florida Medical Association.

CCMS presented Dr. Mark Russo with the 7th Annual CCMS Physician of the Year Award. This signature award honors a CCMS member who deserves special recognition for exemplary contributions to the practice of medicine and/or outstanding service to the community. Dr. Russo is founder of Naples Nephrology, a clinical researcher, a leader and mentor in the local medical community, and a champion for indigent patients on dialysis.

In addition, CCMS recognized three physicians who went above and beyond in helping keep Collier County safe and guiding the community during this pandemic. These COVID-19 Leadership Awards were presented to:

Dr. Rebekah Bernard, while serving as 2020-21 president of the CCMS board and running a private practice, spent countless hours leading the CCMS response. Her efforts included convening a COVID-19 member task force, providing educational materials on physician wellness during the pandemic, and advocating on behalf of the safety of CCMS members and their patients to elected officials.

Dr. Corin DeChirico, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at The Healthcare Network, took on a critical role in leading the organization’s COVID-19 response, from keeping their providers, employees, and patients safe, to ensuring COVID-19 testing, education, and vaccination programs for underserved patients throughout Collier County.

Dr. David Lindner, who specializes in Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, serves as Medical Director of the NCH COVID-19 Response Team. In addition to his tireless work leading this team and providing direct care to critically ill patients, Dr. Lindner volunteered many hours to educating physicians, the public, and policymakers on the best response to a new and evolving health threat.

To adjourn the Annual Meeting Celebration, the CCMS 2021-2022 President Dr. Alejandro Perez-Trepichio gave his incoming President’s address. Dr. Perez-Trepichio thanked physicians and the community for their work during the pandemic and offered his vision for the year to come.