A longtime area doctor who helps patients as well as future physicians and local police officers recently was named the 2013 Family Physician of the Year by the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians.
Dr. John M. Surso, 60, of Medina is being honored Saturday during the organization’s annual awards dinner in suburban Columbus.
“It was quite a surprise,” he said. “I’m very, very honored, especially when you consider the fact that there are so many hard-working and well-prepared and highly effective physicians in Ohio who are never recognized publicly.”
Surso serves as president of Family Medicine Associates of Medina Inc.-Summa Physicians Inc. and medical director and community liaison for the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina.
Surso said he’s enjoyed “the opportunity to establish long-term relationships with patients” while practicing medicine in Medina for 33 years.
The veteran doctor often works with medical students from Ohio State University and Northeast Ohio Medical University to help train future physicians.
Surso also is a special police officer/police physician for the Medina Police Department.
In that role, he helps the department with officer training, investigations that involve medical issues and wellness programs.
For years, Surso said, he helped police detectives when investigations needed expertise, such as interpretation of drug and alcohol test results.
About a year ago, the department formalized his role, which has been expanded to include wellness promotion and other educational opportunities, he said.
In a letter in support of Surso’s selection, Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci called the doctor “an ordinary man who does extraordinary things.
“As I write this letter I am thinking back over 30 years of excellent care, of tragedy made bearable and hopelessness being turned to hopefulness. All at the caring hand of Dr. Surso,” said Berarducci, a patient of Surso’s.
“ … He is not only my hero, but a hero to our entire community. He walks quietly among us as a shining example of his profession.”
In addition to his work as a physician, Surso has been active in several volunteer roles in the community.
He served for 13 years on the Medina City Schools Board of Education, including two terms as board president. He was inducted into the Medina City Schools Hall of Fame this year for his service to the school district and his role as team physician for the Medina High School varsity football team for 28 years.
“It’s a privilege being involved in an institution that is so important to the community,” he said.
Surso also was the founding president of the Medina chapter of the American Diabetes Association and co-founder and current board member of the Medina Health Ministry, a free clinic serving Medina County.
The physician award is given to a doctor each year “who meets and exceeds the criteria of being an outstanding family physician role model; maintaining high professional standards and service orientations; providing high quality and family-centered, continuing health care; and being active in community, education, or other public affairs.”
To be selected, candidates must have 10 years of post-residency experience, be in active practice and belong to the academy.
Surso was nominated for the honor by his practice’s former longtime office manager, JoAnn Sabol.
He earned his medical degree from Ohio State University and completed his residency training at Akron City Hospital.
He and his wife, Sue, have two grown children, John and Jaclyn.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or email@example.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.