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Hugh Silk named ‘Family Physician who is Changing the World’

Family Medicine Education Consortium honors efforts to integrate oral health into primary care

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

November 22, 2019
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Hugh Silk, MD, MPH

Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, professor of family medicine & community health, accepted the Physicians Who are Changing the World Award from the Family Medicine Education Consortium at their annual meeting this month. The award recognizes family physicians and educators who have designed and implemented innovations that made a significant impact on the health and well-being of the community at large.

Dr. Silk was cited for his advocacy for integrating oral health into primary care.

“I have worked hard to promote the importance of oral health on overall health and have been able to move the needle in schools, residencies and other health professions programs,” he said. “To be honored for this effort also honors the issue and its importance.”

Silk has been at the forefront of teaching medical and nursing students how to incorporate dental health into their practices and collaborate with dental professionals to help their patients achieve overall wellness. He established the oral health elective for medical and graduate nursing students at UMMS; served as director of the “From the First Tooth - Engaging Medical Clinicians in Oral Health” multistate initiative; and is co-investigator for the Center for the Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health. In 2016, Silk received the American Association of Public Health Dentistry’s Public Service Award, and the Family Medicine Education Consortium honored him previously with its 2011 Mid-Career Faculty Achievement Award.

The Family Medicine Education Consortium connects those interested in improving the health of the community by strengthening family medicine and primary care services and medical education. The Consortium’s award programs identify and recognize family physicians who have developed innovative projects and programs that have had a positive impact on the world.

In addition to advancing oral health in primary care, Silk was previously a UMMS family medicine residency director at a federally funded community health clinic in Worcester. He is the medical director of the Primary Care Wellness Center at Community Healthlink, a clinical partner of UMMS that provides integrated behavioral and primary health care to individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
School of Medicine oral health curriculum featured in AAMC News
Hugh Silk, MD, takes leadership role at new center to integrate oral health into primary care training
Hugh Silk earns public service award for integrating oral health into primary care