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2021 Community Star - William Murray Buttner, MD of Unalaska

Congratulations to William Murray Buttner, MD of Unalaska! Dr. Buttner was selected as a 2021 Community Star by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH.) NOSORH’s annual Community Star Recognition Program, in conjunction with National Rural Health Day, honors the individuals, coalitions and organizations whose contributions are making a difference in rural health through collaboration, education, innovation, and communication.

In 2021, Dr. Buttner collaborated with State Office of Rural Health and Alaska Trauma Review Committee to bring Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) training to family practice providers in Alaska. Iliuliuk Family and Health Services is an FQHC located in the Aleutian Chain that sees a larger number of trauma cases than most clinics due to their remote location with busy commercial fishing ports and extreme weather.

Dr. Buttner is being honored as Alaska’s 2021 Community Star for his contributions to rural health innovation, education, collaboration, and communication. Dr. Buttner is a tireless advocate for trauma education and ensuring Alaskan physicians can provide critical lifesaving care in the most remote and austere environments. Dr. Buttner's work in Alaska has been in rural and remote healthcare practices in Unalaska, Klawock, Juneau, and Cordova. He has also been a faculty member at the Alaska Family Medicine Program in Anchorage.

Dr. Buttner has a compelling story of being the first to arrive on scene of a plane crash in Dutch Harbor in Oct 2019, shortly after he competed CALS training in the lower 48. Those skills were essential to his ability to respond and save lives, and he immediately became a strong advocate for bringing CALS training to Alaska. Dr. Buettner coordinated with Carletta Huck at the Alaska Association of Family Physicians, the Alaska Trauma Review Committee, and Alaska SORH to bring CALS training to Anchorage. In May 2021, 46 healthcare providers from 16 different rural locations statewide completed CALS training, and six Alaska providers were mentored as instructors for future courses.

Congratulations to Dr. Buttner and all of the healthcare workers and facilities that serve Alaska's remote, rural communities as we celebrate National Rural Health Day on November 18.

Read "There's Remote EM, and Then There's Unalaska", an article by Dr. Buttner in the September 2020 issue of Emergency Medicine News.

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