The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians announced that Gary L. LeRoy, M.D., of the Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine is the recipient of its 2014 Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award.
LeRoy has practiced medicine for 22 years. The associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, LeRoy is also an associate professor of family medicine and a staff physician at Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton/East Dayton Health Center.
“Dr. LeRoy models what a family physician should be. He walks the talk. He takes the time to talk with and mentor students in their student and leadership roles,” said Therese Zink, M.D., chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.
In addition to serving as a mentor to students, LeRoy extends himself by being involved in all aspects of the school of medicine. He serves on the academic curriculum and admissions committees. He is a member of the Wright State University Academy of Medicine. He also sees patients at Reach Out Montgomery County, a free clinic for the underserved and underinsured.
Medical students also notice that LeRoy takes an interest in how they are doing.
“Dr. LeRoy’s profession is about caring, but he makes it his personal business to care even more,” said Minh-Tri Nguyen, president of the School of Medicine’s class of 2017. “Despite the copious number of responsibilities he’s involved with, Dr. LeRoy always has time for you. You can count on him to slip into a lecture hall once in a while to check up on his students. You will see him come in just before our final exams asking us how we feel.”
Extremely active in the Dayton community, LeRoy not only teaches his medical students the clinical side of medicine but he shows the students how to care about patients and advocate for them. Through his actions, he teaches his students to serve their community.
“I appreciate that Dr. LeRoy took time not only to teach me about the medical side of being a physician, but also to teach me how to be a patient advocate,” said Kara Yutzy, a medical student.
She had observed him several times giving free samples of medications to some patients or referring them to the patient assistance programs to receive the medications from the pharmacy companies. She had some questions about these programs. After all the patients had gone home one day, she asked him about them. “He stayed with me for 15 minutes explaining the process of the patient assistance programs, even walking me over to the social worker at the clinic to view the application for programs,” she said.
With LeRoy’s leadership, the East Dayton Health Center has grown into a vital health care delivery site for the underserved Dayton community. In addition to the East Dayton Health Center and Reach Out Montgomery County, LeRoy serves the community as the chief medical consultant for Dayton Public Schools and as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and at St. Vincent de Paul’s homeless shelter.
“As a lifelong Daytonian and public servant for 37 years, I know no one has given more of themselves to help others,” said James Gross, health commissioner of Montgomery County. “It is my hope that the medical students at Wright State realize at some point in their lives that having Dr. LeRoy as a mentor was a gift, a very rare and valuable gift. He has been a gift to me.”
Former students appreciate LeRoy’s influence on their medical careers. “I send Dr. LeRoy a Christmas card every year. It’s partly a holiday greeting, but more a chance for me to remind myself during the holiday season that I am grateful that someone so amazing saw a spark in me almost 11 years ago that allowed me to achieve one of my most important dreams,” said former student Katherine Takayasu, M.D.
LeRoy is a well-known and highly respected leader at the local, state and national levels. Some of his leadership roles include: board member of the Montgomery County Board of Health, Hospice of Dayton and the Wright State University Alumni Association; immediate past chair of the Dayton Foundation; member of the Care Source Quality Assurance Committee; past president of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians; and one of Ohio’s physician delegates to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Ted Wymyslo, M.D., chief medical officer for the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers and immediate past director of the Ohio Department of Health, has watched LeRoy’s career unfold over the years with great admiration.
“He made a difficult decision to forego traditional private practice in order to address the health needs of the underserved in Dayton,” Wymyslo said. “His character and teaching abilities made him a natural for advancement into a greater teaching role with the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, ultimately leading to his current leadership position in the dean’s office. I can think of no greater role model for our future physicians, and have a great appreciation for his many sacrifices along the way.”
Wymyslo described LeRoy’s history of consistent service to the needs of others as providing the most valuable education to the next generation of learners. “Always quick to say yes to any reasonable request, Gary has missed experiencing what many describe as regrets in their lives for not having taken on the challenges and opportunities that have come their way,” Wymyslo said.
LeRoy graduated with his bachelor of science in medical technology from Wright State 1982 and earned his M.D. from the Wright State School of Medicine in 1988. He completed his residency training at Miami Valley Hospital Family Practice Residency in Dayton. He is board certified in family medicine and is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
LeRoy and his wife, Sherlynn, reside in Dayton and have two grown daughters, Julia and Ciara.
The OAFP, a statewide professional association with more than 4,600 members, annually presents the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award to a family medicine educator that meets and exceeds the criteria of being a capable teacher of family medicine, successful administrator/practitioner, productive researcher/scholar and inspiring leader. Candidates must also have 10 years post-residency (or equivalent) experience, be actively caring for patients and be a member of OAFP.