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CMH honors physicians for community service (April 26, 2010)
Melville, Naini recognized for distinguished careers

Calvert Memorial Hospital honored longtime obstetrician and gynecologist Dr.Reza Naini and emergency medicine physician Dr. Kraig Melville with special tributes at its annual awards dinner on Friday. Also recognized was infection control specialist Dr. Paul Pomilla for his leadership during the flu pandemic, cardiologist Dr. Samuel Foster for his advocacy of cardiac rehabilitation and emergency medicine physician Dr. Bill White for his work on a new electronic information system for Calvert's emergency department.

The emotional evening was filled with affectionate ribbing, touching testimonials and fond memories that sparked a lot of laughter and some tearful good-byes for Naini, who closed his office this year after 34 years.

To ease the transition for his patients, his staff stayed on to work with Dr. Ziad Hubayter and Dr. Mitra Nassiraee, who practice in the space they shared with him in Suite 203 of the Calvert Medical Office Building.

"Dr. Naini has always demonstrated superior bedside care," said Susan Dohony, vice president for quality assurance at CMH. "He is a wonderful physician who dedicated his life to his community." Dohony first met Naini in 1978 as a new nurse in the hospital obstetrics department. "He always took the time to teach me and answer my questions."

"His patients will never forget him," said OB nurse Dale Yoe. "He will always be in our hearts." Yoe has worked at Calvert for 36 years. She was the first to greet Naini when he came to the hospital in 1976.

"You belong to a vanishing breed of physician that is fast becoming extinct," said OB/GYN Dr. Ruby Alonzo, who joined CMH in 1983, "I consider myself very lucky to have worked with you."

County commissioners Susan Shaw and Linda Kelley presented Naini with a proclamation honoring his distinguished career. "In all, he delivered more than 6,000 babies," said Kelley, "and each one was a blessing. He never lost his enthusiasm for that."

She also praised his work with the health department's clinic for high-risk mothers with no prenatal care. For 20 years, Naini volunteered his time to help ensure the highest quality of care for those without health insurance.

CMH Chief of Staff Dr. Emad Al-Banna poked a bit of light-hearted fun when he presented Naini with a catcher's mitt with a tiny baby doll tucked inside.

A standing ovation followed the announcement by CMH President and CEO Jim Xinis that the hospital is dedicating "Birthing Room #1" in the hospital's family birth center in his honor.

Earlier in the evening, Melville, who served as ER chief from 2000 – 2010, was "roasted" by his colleagues with colorful anecdotes about his fast-talking, take-charge style. At the same time, they praised his exceptional work ethic.

"He was a true partner with his staff," said Bob McWhirt, vice president for patient care services at CMH. "He is also one of the most compassionate and dedicated people I have every worked with." McWhirt served as nurse manager in Calvert's emergency department from 1998 – 2003.

"He raised the quality of the department and the care we provide," said Dr. White, who joined the emergency medical team at CMH in 1990.

Melville was one of the founding members of the Society of Chest Pain Centers and has been a tireless promoter of the development of chest pain units to help reduce deaths caused by heart attacks.

Melville also founded Calvert Memorial Hospital's cardiac rehabilitation program and served as its medical director for five years. He was instrumental in developing the stroke program at CMH, implementing the fast track system and designing the new emergency department. In 2008, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recognized Melville as a "Hero in Emergency Medicine" for his significant contributions to emergency medicine, his community and his patients.

Although stepping down as chief of emergency medical services at CMH, Melville continues to practice at the hospital. "I want to thank Mr. Xinis for allowing me the opportunity to come to a hospital that cares about its community as much as CMH," he said. "My 10 years here have taught me to be a better physician and a better person."

Twenty physician groups were recognized for their participation with Calvert Healthcare Solutions, which provides primary and specialty care to the uninsured in the county. The honorees were Advanced Orthopedic Specialists, Dr. Emad Al-Banna, Dr. Charles Bennett, Cal Arundel Family Medicine, Calvert Convenient Care, Calvert Family Care, Calvert Family Practice, Calvert Gastroenterology, Calvert Internal Medicine Group, Dr. Wayne Knoll, Calvert Otolaryngology, Calvert Surgical Care. Calvert Women's Center, Chesapeake Anesthesia Associates, Dunkirk Family Practice, Dr. Scaria Mathew, Dr. Rafik Nasr, Patuxent Cardiology Associates, Shah Associates and Twin Beaches Community Health Center.

"We greatly appreciate their generous support of our clients," said Mike Shaw, executive director. "Special kudos goes to Dr. Bennett for providing us in-kind office space for our organization."

Dr. Kraig Melville enjoys a good laugh during his "roast" at Calvert Memorial Hospital's annual medical staff awards dinner on Apr. 23.
Dr. Reza Naini holds the catcher's mitt the chief of staff gave him for delivering 6,000 babies since joining CMH in 1976.
Dr. Reza Naini holds the plaque dedicating "Birthing Room #1" at Calvert Memorial Hospital's Family Birth Center in honor of his distinguished career.

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