Retired Albany surgeon Charles Gillespie receives Medical Association of Georgia award


Dr. Charles B. Gillespie, a retired Albany surgeon, received the Physician’s Award for Community Service during a ceremony that took place in conjunction with the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) 162nd House of Delegates meeting in Savannah recently.

The MAG award recognizes physicians who demonstrate a love for their community outside the regular scope of practice, officials with MAG said.

“As the chair of the committee that Gov. Jimmy Carter appointed in the early 1970s that formed Georgia’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system, Dr. Gillespie was instrumental in establishing the regulations for the EMS service in Georgia,” outgoing MAG President Dr. John Harvey wrote in a nomination letter for the award. “He also reformed the EMS training process in a number of important ways, including the implementation of an EMT oath that was adopted throughout Georgia and is now used across the U.S. and beyond.

“Dr. Gillespie has been a tireless advocate for a universal 911 service in Georgia – and he is widely considered to be the ‘father’ of emergency medical services in Georgia.”

MAG recognized physicians in several categories at the meeting. Gillespie, who retired from practicing medicine 20 years ago, won an award in another category during a prior year — making the most recent award the second he has received from MAG.

“It (the community service award) means a lot for me to get it, especially since it recognizes not only my medical works but my service to the community as well,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie established Albany Technical College’s EMT training program in 1972, which now has a training center bearing his name. The retired surgeon has served as a member of the Georgia Department of Human Resources Emergency Health Services Advisory and Medical Directors Advisory councils, the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, the Georgia EMT Committee and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

As a member of the Governor’s Military Affairs Committee, he came up with the idea to install directional and mileage road signs to help visitors get to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, a concept he extended to Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, and Air Force bases in Warner Robins, Fort Benning and Fort Stewart.

Gillespie also worked with Humana to reduce the number and complexity of the pre-certification processes for more than 400 Tricare surgical procedures. As a member of the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Commission, he played a key role in the design and construction of a $12 million terminal at the airport.

Outside his role as a physician, Gillespie said his contributions to the airport commission are among the ones he is most proud of.

“The airport commission is one of the more favorable ones,” he said.

Gillespie received his medical degree from the Emory University School of Medicine in 1961, and he completed his orthopedic residency at Grady Hospital in 1966.

Courtesy of The Albany Herald
By Jennifer Parks