Dr. Lewis First selected as the 2017 Distinguished Citizen

Dr. Lewis First has been recognized as 2017 Citizen of the Year. Photo provided.

REGION – The Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America announced the selection of Dr. Lewis R. First as its 2017 Distinguished Citizen of the Year. Dr. First’s contributions to Vermont and the children of the state will be celebrated at a dinner on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Burlington.

The executive board of the Green Mountain Council selected Dr. First for his extensive community, regional, and national leadership and his continual devotion to the betterment and improvement in the lives of the children of Vermont.

Since 1994, Dr. First has served as the professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont Robert Larner College of Medicine and Chief of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. From 2003 to 2008, Dr. First also served as senior associate dean for Medical Education at UVM, where he helped oversee and implement a uniquely innovative, integrated undergraduate medical curriculum, a position he gave up when he became editor-in chief of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics, a position he continues to hold today. In 2015, Dr. First also became past-chair of the National Board of Medical Examiners after serving as chair for the past four years. Dr. First also currently serves as chair of the Medical Education Committee of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs.

For several years, Dr. First has given leadership to the success of the Big Change Roundup, working with many local Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops to raise thousands of dollars for new equipment for the hospital. The Scouts involvement in the Big Change Roundup became affectionally known as “Kids Helping Kids”, a program that both the Pediatrics Department and the Green Mountain Council look forward to continuing in the future.

“I cannot think of a more qualified candidate to receive this award,” stated Ed McCollin, scout executive and CEO of the Green Mountain Council. “Dr. First is so very passionate about improving the lives of young people and that commitment is so much in line with the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. We are very much looking forward to thanking Dr. First for his contributions and to enjoy the fellowship of his friends and colleagues at this event.”

Past recipients of this award include: U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders; Governors Phil Scott, James Douglas, and Deane Davis; and Vermont National Guard and Retired Adm. Richard Schneider.

On a local and national level, Dr. First has won numerous teaching awards including the AAMC’s Robert J. Glazier Distinguished Teacher Award (2002), AAP’s National Medical Education Award (2007), and the Miller-Sarkin Mentoring Award from the Academic Pediatric Association (2007). In 2014, he was the recipient of the Joseph W. St. Geme Jr. Leadership Award from the Federation of Pediatric Organizations, the highest leadership award given in the field of Pediatrics. He has also been awarded “Clinical Teacher of the Year” eight times at UVM and has also been the recipient of the Green Mountain Pediatric Award by the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics as outstanding pediatrician in Vermont. This past year Dr. First was the recipient of the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Vermont Medical Society, the “highest honor” bestowed by that organization on one of its members.

Dr. First has authored several dozen peer reviewed publications and co-edited five textbooks including most recently the 22nd edition of Rudolph’s Textbook of Pediatrics.  In addition, for more than 20 years, Dr. First has offered medical advice to parents entitled “First with Kids” on weekly radio and television news segments as well as in multiple community newspapers throughout Vermont.

To register to attend the Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner honoring Dr. First on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Burlington, go to www.scoutingvermont.org to download the registration form or contact the Council Service Center at 802-244-5189. For additional information, contact Scout Executive, Ed McCollin at edward.mccollin@scouting.org.

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