Massachusetts Medical Society: Dr. David Bechtel named Massachusetts Medical Society Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year

Dr. David Bechtel named Massachusetts Medical Society Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year

David Bechtel

WALTHAM – Dr. David J. Bechtel, of Wayland, has been selected by the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) as the 2023 recipient of its Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year Award, which recognizes a senior member of the society who has shown a dedicated commitment to direct patient care volunteerism in Massachusetts and to sharing medical experience and expertise.

Bechtel was a volunteer and medical director at the MetroWest Free Medical Program (MWFMP) in Sudbury for 12 years. He became a physician at Framingham Union Hospital to facilitate relations of the program with the hospital and to arrange for a reduced pricing system for medical testing for MWFMP patients.

He continues as a member of the Framingham Union staff to maintain accessibility and affordability for underinsured/uninsured. During the Covid-19 pandemic when free health care programs were closed for in-person care, Bechtel, with vision and inspiration, led a group of 45 nurses, doctors, administrators and trilingual interpreters to create a new free medical program - Gratis Healthcare (GH) in Framingham - to provide tele-health services.

GH serves the underinsured/uninsured, especially those of Brazilian and Central American origins, providing superior medical care, which includes appreciation of the right to health care for all people, provided with dignity and grace.

Bechtel spearheaded the opening of GH’s outpatient program at Daniel’s Table in Framingham in May 2022. He continues to provide direct patient care as the medical director at GH.

Bechtel has been a critical advocate for program staff, both at MWFMP and GH, and has contributed time and diligence to direct and implement program activities, as well as raise funding.

He is not only a productive clinician and administrator, but he also keeps in constant touch with the volunteers, nurses, translators and physicians at the programs.

In 2017, the Parmenter Foundation of Wayland presented Bechtel with the Grace Johnson Volunteer Award. Bechtel embodies Grace’s compassion and devotion in his role as volunteer medical director for MWFMP.

Bechtel, a graduate of the Tufts University School of Medicine, is board-certified in internal medicine and previously emergency medicine. An active member of the MMS for 34 years, Bechtel is a past member of the MMS Committee on Senior Volunteer Physicians.

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students, supporting 25,000 members. We are dedicated to educating and advocating for the physicians of Massachusetts and patients locally and nationally. A leadership voice in health care, the MMS contributes physician and patient perspectives to influence health-related legislation at the state and federal levels, works in support of public health, provides expert advice on physician practice management, and addresses issues of physician well-being. Under the auspices of the NEJM Group, the MMS extends our mission globally by advancing medical knowledge from research to patient care through the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Catalyst, and the NEJM Journal Watch family of specialty publications, and through our education products for health care professionals: NEJM Knowledge+, NEJM Resident 360, and our accredited and comprehensive continuing medical education programs.

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