Humanity in Medicine honor ‘long overdue’ for 2021 winner
Rohit Bawa, M.D., 2021 Rhoads Honoree
"When I look over the list of the people who have had the award, the most surprising thing is that Dr. Bawa's name wasn't on it 10 years ago," said Wegg, M.D., Family Medicine. "I couldn't believe it when somebody said he'd never had the award. I thought to myself surely he's been recognized time and again."
Dr. Wegg wasn't alone in thinking Bawa, M.D., Otolaryngology, had to have been honored with the award already.
"You wonder, 'How did he slide under the radar for so long?' He's been a steady, constant, consistent, loyal performer who cares about Reid, cares about the community, cares about his patients, cares about the medical staff," said Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO.
"I would say he's deserving of this on so many levels. It's hard to even describe which one stands out the most."
Dr. Bawa officially was added to the list of winners Friday evening, becoming the 41st recipient of the award named after its first honoree, the late Paul S. Rhoades, M.D., in 1983.
"I think this is long overdue, and 100 percent well-deserved," Dr. Wegg said.
Dr. Bawa's selection for the award was announced at an annual medical staff appreciation and new physician reception in Richmond. Nominations were solicited from patients, physicians, and healthcare workers.
Authorized as an annual event by Reid's governing board in 1983, the Humanity in Medicine Award honors the memory of Dr. Rhoads for his service to patients and medicine. He was the founding director of Reid's Medical Education Department and helped organize the hospice program and the Wayne County adult clinic for the indigent.
"I feel very proud. I follow in a long line of distinguished physicians - some I've known for a long time," Dr. Bawa said. "It humbles me to be included in that list. I never thought I would get this award.
"The honor is not just for me. It's for the entire team. It's my clinical team, my medical assistants, the nurses, the people I work with in the operating room, my colleagues, the nurses in the hospital. Everybody works together. I'm just one representative of the entire team that takes care of the patients."
"You wonder, 'How did he slide under the radar for so long?' He's been a steady, constant, consistent, loyal performer who cares about Reid, cares about the community, cares about his patients, cares about the medical staff. I would say he's deserving of this on so many levels. It's hard to even describe which one stands out the most." -- Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO
Dr. Bawa's colleagues praised his work ethic, wondering how he finds time to not only care for his patients at his practice's main location in Richmond but also make time for outreach to other communities in Reid's service area. Then there's his position as chair of the Reid Health Physician Associates Network Operating Council and other various committees and leadership roles.
"I can't even count the number of committees he's on," said Kristy Carter, Physician Assistant. "In the office, he's always doing something else while he's seeing patients. We don't stand still. I always joke that he couldn't be an ortho surgeon because you have to wait for cement to dry and he couldn't stand still for 15 minutes."
"Working alongside Dr. Bawa, I'm in a constant state of awe about how he keeps juggling so many things with absolute grace and humility," said Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer.
"He is truly an inspiration just to see how he manages the several different hats he wears and never loses sight of being here to serve others, whether that's patients or other medical staff members or patients' families. He has a true heart to serve other people."
A native of India, Dr. Bawa came to the United States with his family at the age of 11. He grew up in the Westchester, Ohio, area near Cincinnati. He earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees from the University of Cincinnati and did his residency at West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown, W.Va.
"Working alongside Dr. Bawa, I'm in a constant state of awe about how he keeps juggling so many things with absolute grace and humility. He is truly an inspiration just to see how he manages the several different hats he wears and never loses sight of being here to serve others, whether that's patients or other medical staff members or patients' families. He has a true heart to serve other people." -- Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer
Dr. Bawa came to Richmond in 1994, hired by David Jetmore, M.D., to join Jetmore's growing ENT practice.
"A lot of people don't realize how involved he has been with Reid, serving on various committees, and he's done this for years," Dr. Jetmore said. "These are things where you don't get a lot of applause when you walk into the room. A lot of the things you do go totally unrecognized.
"He's not been a person who looks for acclaim. He just toils quietly away, many times behind the scenes."
Dr. Bawa loves to travel with his fiancée, Dr. Lisa Carter. Years ago, he spotted a magazine article naming 50 places of a lifetime, and they've been steadily checking off destinations from the list.
"I think we've ticked off about 20 to 25 roughly. Our goal is to end up in all those places," he said. "I like to learn. She loves to learn. We have the same mentality about exploring and learning new things. And traveling does that for us."
The couple have five children, Raman, Rajan, and Rhea Bawa and Zachary and Gabriella Harris.
"When he commits to something, you get 100 percent of Dr. Bawa," Dr. Wegg said. "I don't know how he keeps giving up 100 percent of himself and still having anything left over, but he does. I don't know how he manufactures time like that.
"He's just everywhere. When there's major decisions to be made, when there's leadership required, he is there. He's the first person you think of, and I respect him immensely for that."