Dr. Andre Huffmire, a family physician in Craig has been awarded the Distinguished Physician High Plains Walking Stick Award 2004-2006.
Huffmire was cited for dedicating more than two decades of medical service to her community and to working with more than 100 students at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
The Department of Family Medicine at the CU School of Medicine initiated the award in 1994 to honor rural community physicians with at least 20 years of service and who have attained positive role recognition, both in the medical and local communities.
The award also recognizes the physician's work with CU medical students and residents.
"Dr. Huffmire has distinguished herself as an excellent family doctor, caring for the community, responding to the needs of individual patients, and teaching," said Dr. Jack Westfall, director of rural health at CU-Health Sciences Center.
Every two years, the walking stick is passed to the next recipient. A committee comprised of the Department of Family Medicine chairs; both current and past, previous recipients and family medicine residency directors nominate physicians throughout Colorado for this award.
A retired medical school faculty member, Dr. Gus Garcia, originated the idea of the walking stick.
He saw similarities between the hardiness of the Osage Orange bush that grew in the Great Plains in the 1900s and the hardiness of the general family practitioner who practices in rural areas.
Garcia felt that both the bush and the rural physician have to be tough and hardy to survive in rural areas.
After receiving her medical degree from the CU School of Medicine in 1978, Huffmire completed her residency in family practice in 1981 at the University of New Mexico. For the past 22 years, she has practiced family medicine at the Moffat Family Clinic in Craig. Huffmire works in the local indigent care clinic, supervises the area's family planning clinic and has started a new sexual assault nurse examiner program in Craig. She is also a teacher in the Family Medicine clerkship.
Huffmire has been named one of Colorado's "Heroes in Family Medicine" in 1999. In 2003, she was named the Colorado Academy of Physicians Teacher of the Year.