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Local physician wins doctor-citizen-of-the-year award

A local doctor who provides addiction treatment along with primary care for families has won a statewide award for her innovative approach.

The Oregon Medical Association gave its 2019 Doctor-Citizen Award to Dr. Kerri Hecox, the co-founder and executive director of the Oasis Center of the Rogue Valley.

The annual award honors a doctor who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve the lives of patients, advance the practice of medicine and improve the community, according to the OMA.

Recognizing that addiction affects the whole family, Hecox provides primary care for pregnant women and parents in recovery, along with their children.

She can prescribe medication that eases cravings and withdrawal symptoms of opioids such as heroin and OxyContin.

Although recovery from addiction is a longterm process, many patients feel uncomfortable talking to their primary care doctors about their urges to use and the guilt and shame they feel about their substance abuse.

Hecox wants her patients to feel that talking about addiction is as natural as talking about diabetes, high blood pressure or other illnesses that have to be managed.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Doctor-Citizen of the Year Award,” she said. “The work we are doing at the Oasis Center is a different approach than has been tried before in primary care medicine, and it is still quite new. While there have been challenges, one thing we have not struggled with is patient support — it has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Finding stable funding continues to be an ongoing challenge, she noted.

Hecox hopes to show her multi-generational treatment model that integrates addiction care is a cost-effective way to reduce overdoses, child abuse and neglect, foster care placements, incarceration and other negative effects of addiction.

“I am deeply grateful to the Oregon Medical Association for the recognition that this new venture to create better outcomes for families and children is something worth doing,” she said.

The Oasis Center opened in January at 1025 E. Main St., at the Addictions Recovery Center’s campus in Medford.

In addition to providing primary care and medication-assisted drug treatment, the Oasis Center teams with other community agencies to offer support services for families, including child care resources, family-centered activities, food and nutritional support.

“By working with community partner organizations, Oasis meets the complex needs of families in recovery to promote healing and prevent future child abuse and neglect,” Hecox said.

From 2008-2013, she was the designated medical provider for child abuse investigations in Jackson County.

Hecox has practiced family medicine in the Rogue Valley since 2005 and is board-certified in both family medicine and addiction medicine.

The Oasis Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to noon Fridays. For more information, see http://oasiscenterroguevalley.org/.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.