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Navicent Health Awards Six Physicians for Excellence, Commitment to Medical Profession

At a recognition dinner on Thursday, March 9, Navicent Health Foundation recognized six physicians for their stellar care and commitment to the region's patients, as well as the profession of medicine.

"Through the help and guidance of Navicent Health Foundation's Olin H. Weaver Society, we were pleased to present this year's Physician Awards. We recognize these physicians for their many contributions, delivered with excellence, for the benefit of the patients and communities we serve," said Cal Hays, Chair of the Navicent Health Foundation Board of Directors.

The following physicians have been honored for their contributions to medicine:

"¢ Issam J. Shaker, M.D., Lifetime Achievement Award - Dr. Shaker is awarded for demonstrating career-long service to patients throughout central and south Georgia, as well as the profession of medicine. Employed by The Medical Center, Navicent Health for over 30 years, Dr. Shaker was instrumental in establishing the hospital's cardiothoracic and open heart surgery program, as well as the hospital's cardiovascular intensive care unit.

"¢ Dennis W. Ashley, M.D., Distinguished Service Award - Dr. Ashley is honored for his commitment to service, community involvement, altruism, leadership and dedication to patient care. He has served as Director of Trauma and Critical Care at The Medical Center, Navicent Health since 1994, leading the hospital to both state designation and national verification as a Level 1 trauma center. He serves as Chair of the Georgia Trauma Commission.

"¢ Macram M. Ayoub, M.D., Educator of The Year - Dr. Ayoub is recognized for exemplifying the medical profession's highest standards of excellence in teaching, and has made significant commendable and long-standing contributions to the academic advancement of students, residents and the profession.

"¢ Freddy N. Gaton, M.D., Olin H. Weaver Philanthropy Award - Dr. Gaton is recognized as someone whose lifetime achievements are not only reflected in his personal accomplishments, but also in his philanthropic support of Navicent Health Foundation.

"¢ Harold P. Katner, M.D., Spirit of Medicine Award - Dr. Katner is honored for demonstrating altruism, compassion, integrity, leadership and personal sacrifice while providing quality healthcare to distressed and marginalized populations within the community.

"¢ Joe Sam Robinson, M.D., Excellence in Science Award - Dr. Robinson is awarded for his exceptional contributions to medical science, especially health, through research, publications and leadership in the field.

"Atrium Health Navicent congratulates these outstanding physicians, as well as our entire medical staff. Their dedication to the medical profession, to our patients, and to communities throughout the region is indeed commendable and worthy of recognition," said Dr. Ninfa M. Saunders, President and CEO of Atrium Health Navicent.

"In any community, physicians provide the foundation of care for the sick and the injured, as well as the continued wellbeing of the healthy. At Atrium Health Navicent, we are pleased to celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions of our medical staff, particularly those of our 2017 Physician Award winners," said Dr. Robert DiRenzo, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Enterprise Clinical Systems for Atrium Health Navicent.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent was incorporated on November 17, 1994, as a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to coordinate the Medical Center, Navicent Health and other affiliated entities in their mission of providing a comprehensive continuum of high quality, reasonably priced healthcare services to the region. Atrium Health Navicent has 830 beds for medical, surgical, rehabilitation and hospice purposes. The health system includes The Medical Center, Navicent Health, a nationally recognized tertiary teaching hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital, the region's only dedicated pediatric hospital; Medical Center of Peach County, Atrium Health Navicent, a rural critical access hospital; Rehabilitation Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent, the region's oldest and most experienced rehabilitation provider; Pine Pointe, Atrium Health Navicent, which provides palliative and hospice care in homes and in its facility; Carlyle Place, Atrium Health Navicent, the area's first continuing care retirement community; Navicent Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Atrium Health Navicent; as well as diagnostic and home care services. For more information, please visit