June 29, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Medina’s Dr. Surso honored by Academy of Family Physicians

A Medina doctor is Ohio’s 2013 Family Physician of the Year.

“It’s quite a shock. I did not expect this,” Dr. John M. Surso said. “Over the years, you get to see other people get this and wonder what they’ve done and how you measure up to those levels. I’m honored by their decision and I’m humbled by it.”

Dr. John Surso sits at his desk at the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina where he serves as medical director. Surso is working with the Medina Police Department to improve their overall health and learn more about those they serve. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

The award is given annually by the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians to a doctor who “meets and exceeds the criteria of being an outstanding family physician role model; maintaining high professional standards and service orientations; providing high quality and family-centered, continuing health care; and being active in community, education, or other public affairs.”

Candidates also must have 10 years post-residency experience or an equivalent, be a practicing physician and a member of the academy.

“Dr. Surso’s numerous positions in the community … truly showcase his dedication to Medina County and surrounding areas,” academy spokeswoman Kaitlin Smith said. “Dr. Surso embodies all the qualities of the ideal family physician. OAFP is truly honored to include him in our member rolls and excited to recognize him for his lifelong dedication to the profession of family medicine.”

Surso has been practicing medicine for 33 years. He is president of Family Medicine Associates of Medina Inc. — Summa Physicians Inc., and a special police officer with the Medina Police Department, where he helps with officer training and wellness, as well as consulting on cases where medical evidence is important to the investigation.

At the request of Mayor Dennis Hanwell, Surso serves as an expert witness for the city’s Law Department on cases of alcohol consumption, drug ingestion, and the effects of alcohol and drugs on individuals involved in pending cases.

“His expertise in these areas is exceptional,” Hanwell said.

Surso serves as medical director for Western Reserve Masonic Community in Medina Township and Concordia at Sumner Retirement Community in Akron, and medical director and community liaison for the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina. He is also chairman of the board of Healthcare Underwriter’s Group, a physician-owned professional liability corporation.

He served 13 years on the Medina school board with two terms as president, during which time he was involved in the high school expansion project. He was inducted into the Medina City Schools Hall of Fame in 2013 for his service to schools in the community and his 28 years as the Medina High School varsity football team physician. Surso continues to make academics a part of his career.

He sits on the faculty of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown.

He was the founding president of the Medina chapter of the American Diabetes Association. He also co-founded and is a board member of the Medina Health Ministry, a free clinic for Medina County residents.

Surso graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Case Western Reserve University, and earned his medical degree from Ohio State University College of Medicine. He completed his residency training at the Family Practice Residency at Akron City Hospital. He is board certified in family medicine and is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Surso and his wife, Sue, reside in Medina and have two grown children, John and Jaclyn.

Surso said he is most proud of the relationships he has built with his patients over the years, sometimes treating four generations of a family at the same time. It is something he tries to pass on to his students.

“I think we can do a better job of providing better care and more cost-effective care when we get to know them as well as we do,” he said. “Get to know them and treat patients as you want your family member treated.”

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.