During the October Annual Meeting in Roanoke, VA, the Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) recognized S. Hughes Melton, M.D., M.B.A., FAAFP with the Clarence A. Holland Award. This award is presented annually to a Virginia physician for outstanding contributions promoting the art and science of medicine and the advancement of public health through political service.
Dr. Melton, a family physician specializing in addiction medicine, has been a leader in medicine and in his community. Based in Southwest Virginia, an area known for having high populations in poverty and with substance use disorders, Dr. Melton’s experience and expertise in addiction medicine has made him a leader in combatting the opioid and heroin epidemic.
In 2016, he attended two White Coats on Call days to lobby for the expansion of the Medicaid substance use disorder benefit, now known as ARTS (Addiction Recovery and Treatment Services). Dr. Melton spent time explaining to legislators why this benefit is crucial, especially because of the General Assembly’s focus on cracking down on opioid abuse. He crafted his message specifically to legislators, especially those who were on the fence or opposed. His lobbying efforts were critical in swaying relevant legislators to support including this expanded benefit in the 2016 budget.
Dr. Melton is highly regarded among his peers, being described as a work horse—not content with just discussing solutions, he steps up and does the hard work of advocating for positive, constructive public policy.
According to Claudette Dalton, M.D., “Hughes Melton represents the individual who sees a problem and then leverages multiple groups and opportunities to bring about significant change. He is a model for each of us for how to move the ponderous machinery of local, state and national government and medical administrations together toward a noble goal that serves patients in the ways they most need help.”
Thomas W. Eppes, M.D., M.B.A. was presented with the 2016 Advocacy in Action Award for his superior advocacy work throughout the year. A family physician from Lynchburg, Dr. Eppes has been a longtime attendee of MSV White Coats on Call Days and a generous supporter of the MSV Political Action Committee. In 2016 alone, Dr. Eppes attended multiple White Coats on Call days and an MSVPAC fundraising event in Lynchburg in addition to responding to several VoterVoice email alerts, both at the state and federal level. He also made himself available more than once to testify in front of the House and Senate COPN subcommittees. Dr. Eppes serves as a mentor to medical students on the importance of advocacy, routinely bringing students along to the General Assembly and other advocacy events.
The MSVPAC District Achievement Award, presented annually to the district with the highest contribution total to MSVPAC, went to the District 3, with contributions totaling $64,400. Sunil Sinha, M.D., M.B.A., FACHE of the MSVPAC Board, presented the District Achievement Award to Mark Monahan, M.D. representing the Richmond Academy of Medicine (RAM).