Providing a last resort net for those who fall through the federal safety net is what Craig Dietz, DO does each day. As medical director for the National Association of Free Clinics and chief medical officer and director of clinical research for the Kansas City CARE Clinic—a site that treats 6,000 primary care patients and 1,000 HIV/AIDS patients each year, Dr. Dietz innately understands the healthcare needs of some of the neediest in his community and nationwide.
In his position at the Kansas City CARE Clinic, Dr. Dietz is best known for his sense of humor, advocacy, drive, care and treatment of HIV infected individuals. With a staff of 125, he also works to provide primary and preventative care--specializing in women’s health, LGBT health issues, chronic diseases, communicable diseases and mental health--for those who need it most.
Not only is Dr. Dietz at the forefront of patient care, but he also founded and serves as lead researcher at the largest HIV clinical trial facility in the region. He built the clinical research staff from one person to several in five years, and obtained funding that not only helps patients get the latest HIV treatment available, but also helps fund the main free clinic.
Dr. Dietz shares his vast knowledge, especially in HIV/AIDS, as the site medical director and associate professor of internal medicine for the University of Kansas Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Programs. He also educates healthcare practitioners, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and fellows, about primary and advanced HIV AIDS care through a Midwest AIDS Training and Education Centers HRSA Grant.
Dr. Dietz received his DO degree from Oklahoma State University – College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM) in 1997, and completed his residency at Michigan State University, Detroit Riverview Hospital. He completed his master of public health with an emphasis on community health, underserved populations, healthcare safety net and administration in 2007 at the University of Kansas-School of Medicine in Kansas City, KS.
Dr. Dietz got a taste of serving underserved populations in medical school, when he did rotations and clinicals on local Native American Reservations. During his residency in Detroit, he really liked the inner city environment and got deeply involved with serving the underserved. “Detroit was one of the best places to train because of the high level of poverty and significant health care issues. I was there during the 90s. AIDS was at its height. There were still people dying in hospitals. In 1997, the first AIDS drugs came out, and that’s when I started my residency. Lots of my patients had AIDS at the clinic,” he said.
When he’s not working or volunteering at a free clinic at home or on a mission trip abroad, Dr. Dietz enjoys traveling around North America with his partner, who resides in Canada.
Because of his dedication to serving the underserved and finding innovative ways to provide and fund their health care, the AOF is proud to present the 2015 Physician of the Year Award to Craig Dietz, DO.