Massachusetts Medical Society: Dr. Rick Lopez wins MMS Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Rick Lopez wins MMS Lifetime Achievement Award


Waltham – Less than one year after his retirement, Dr. Richard Lopez, a longtime physician executive and clinical leader at Atrius Health, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a member of MMS who has made lasting contributions to the practice of medicine over a lifetime in health care delivery, and who has made a significant impact to patient care, education, administration and the goals of the Society.

"Dr. Lopez is known for his humility, sense of humor and gentle disposition, but make no mistake - Dr. Lopez is viewed as a true giant in our realm,” said MMS President Dr. Alain Chaoui at the Society’s awards ceremony on May 3, 2019. “Dr. Lopez has informed practices and policies that help patients and physicians and has taken the time to pass on his knowledge and his leadership skills to others. You can look at the local health care landscape and see a family tree of leaders who have been influenced by Dr. Lopez."

As part of his 36-year career with Atrius Health, Dr. Lopez served in several executive leadership roles, including a six-year term as Chief Physician Executive and Chief Medical Officer. From 2016 until his retirement in July 2018, Dr. Lopez served as Senior Vice President of Population Health and Chief Medical Officer for VNA Care, Atrius Health’s home health and hospice subsidiary.

“Dr. Lopez’s innovative leadership in transforming health care delivery combined with the relationships he fostered with his patients across four decades exemplifies what it means to compassionately serve a community to enrich their lives,” said Steve Strongwater, MD President and CEO of Atrius Health. “On behalf of our practice, I am delighted to congratulate Rick on this well-deserved honor.”

Dr. Lopez joined what is now Atrius Health’s Harvard Vanguard Medford practice in 1982 after completing his internal medicine training at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton and then serving two years in the Public Health Service as a Senior Assistant Surgeon stationed in a small rural clinic in Kenova, West Virginia. Within three years of starting his primary care practice, Dr. Lopez became Chief of Internal Medicine at Medford and then served as health center director for Harvard Vanguard’s Medford and Somerville centers for almost seven years.

In the late 1990s, Dr. Lopez served as Associate Medical Director for the entire Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates practice. Here, he helped launch many valuable clinical programs including Atrius Health’s anticoagulation, intensive home-based, and clinical pharmacy programs. He was an early advocate and pioneer in the use of data analytics to help improve the care of populations of patients. Dr. Lopez also served as the senior physician executive accountable for Atrius Health’s Epic electronic health record implementation which garnered national recognition by winning the Nicholas E. Davies Award for EHR implementation in fall of 2000.

“I’m am honored to receive this award from the Massachusetts Medical Society and would like to thank them for the recognition as well as all of their advocacy on behalf of patients and physicians across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Lopez. “In addition, I am incredibly grateful for my dedicated colleagues at Atrius Health, and most importantly, the patients and families who entrusted me with their care throughout a wonderful career.”

In addition to continuously serving his patients as a primary care physician for 36 years in Medford, Dr. Lopez has also invested in teaching and mentoring many future physician leaders at Atrius Health.

He has spoken regionally and nationally about his work and has served on committees for MMS, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Risk Management Foundation, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2008 he received Harvard Vanguard’s Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2014, he was named as one of 25 national recipients of Becker’s Hospital Review’s Healthcare Leadership Awards.

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.

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