Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians (NJAFP) recently recognized Thomas R. Ortiz, MD, FAAFP, DABFP, founder and medical director of Forest Hill Family Health Associates, PA in Newark, as the 2018 New Jersey Family Physician of the Year at its Annual Scientific Assembly in Atlantic City.
As the 2018 New Jersey Family Physician of the Year, Dr. Ortiz will become the NJAFP’s nominee for the 2019 National Family Physician of the Year, presented by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Each year, this award is presented to one outstanding physician in the state who best exemplifies the tradition of the family physician by providing the community with compassionate, comprehensive and caring medical service on a continuing basis. The recipient is directly and effectively involved in community affairs and activities that enhance the quality of life within their community, emulating the family physician as a healer and human being. In addition, the Family Physician of the Year is a role model for professionalism in the service and art of medicine to colleagues, other health professionals, the community and especially to young physicians in training and to medical students. Dr. Ortiz meets all of these criteria and more.
“Dr. Ortiz has helped many families to access health care by helping them to understand the need for primary care and the importance of establishing a medical home, and we congratulate him on being recognized as the Family Physician of the Year,” said Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Clara Maass Medical Center, a facility of RWJBarnabas Health. Dr. Ortiz serves as the medical director of the hospital’s Center of Excellence for Latino Health.
A board-certified family physician and public health advocate, Dr. Ortiz has practiced medicine and advocated for value-based payment reform and universal primary care access for impoverished populations for more than 30 years. In 1984, he founded and established Forest Hill Family Health Associates in Newark’s North Ward to offer primary care at a time when Newark and its surrounding neighborhoods were continuing to recover from the unrest of the late 1960s. Today Dr. Ortiz’s practice has experienced momentous growth, which has resulted in bringing 16 subspecialty physicians into Newark’s North Ward. In 2010, he received national recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient Centered Medical Home.
Professionally, Dr. Ortiz has served on many statewide task forces, commissions and committees representing primary care medicine and health information technology, and has received numerous accolades attesting to his efforts, including The Latino Center on Aging’s Gold Age Award and the Men of Vision honor from Newark City Council President, the Honorable Mildred Crump. Additionally, Dr. Ortiz was named the medical director of the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII)-funded Garden Practice Transformation Network, which is tasked with bringing practice transformation support services and value-based alternative payment models to primary care practitioners. He has previously served as a past president of NJAFP.
Dr. Ortiz is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Latino Student Health Organization of New Jersey Medical School and Physicians for a National Health Plan, among others. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Upsala College in East Orange and attended Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (previously the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey) in Newark. He completed an internship in family medicine at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair and his residency in family medicine at Mountainside Family Practice Associates in Verona.
He resides in Montclair with his wife Myrna, a retired physical therapist, and has three married children and four grandchildren.