September 27, 2018 (North Haven, CT) - The 2018 Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) Paul K. Maloney, Jr., MD Distinguished Service Award was presented to past CSMS President, Craig W. Czarsty, MD, DABFM, FAAFP of Watertown. The award was presented to Dr. Czarsty by CSMS President Steven Thornquist, MD at the 226th Annual Meeting of CSMS on September 27, 2018.
The CSMS Paul K. Maloney, Jr., MD Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor that can be awarded a member. It was established to honor the life and work of Dr. Maloney, an eminent physician known for his exemplary service, active engagement, and dedication to the community.
Dr. Czarsty was selected as the 2018 Maloney Award recipient in recognition of his years of involvement and leadership in organized medicine through CSMS and the local county societies and Chairing the American Board of Family Medicine plus his inspiring devotion, dedication, and commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of underserved populations through a nonprofit he co-founded called Health Horizons International (HHI).
In the fall of 2004 when Dr. Czarsty became aware of a family friend who was going to the Dominican Republic on a medical service trip, Dr. Czarsty joined the group, and after a few more trips, he fell in love with the Dominican Republic, especially the people he was treating, many of whom live in abject poverty.
As a family physician, Dr. Czarsty felt unsatisfied with the lack of continuity of care that was being provided by the volunteer group and decided to try to make improvements. In 2009 along with others he did just that. Dr. Czarsty incorporated Health Horizons International (HHI), a fully accredited NGO with the Dominican government. HHI's mission, to empower local community leaders, strengthen the delivery of primary care, and improve the public health of the community, has met with great success.
Under Dr. Czarsty's leadership, HHI now provides clinical care with international volunteers and volunteer community health workers, most of whom have been with HHI from the beginning. HHI's goal in providing direct clinical care is not to create a separate health system, but to develop models of care which if successful can be expanded into other areas of the Dominican Republic. Under the sponsorship of a grant from the World Diabetes Foundation, HHI is partnered with the Dominican Ministry of Public Health to educate generalist physicians in diabetes care and community health workers in identifying those at risk of diabetes and referring them for screening. HHI’s novel program “Sano y Feliz” (healthy and happy) teaches people healthy lifestyles and healthy eating choices.
CSMS is proud to recognize Dr. Czarsty for his tireless efforts and commitment to improving the lives of so many. The Maloney Award includes a $1,000 donation to the charity of Dr. Czarsty's choice, which of course is his beloved HHI.