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Dr. Charles Giles: Outstanding Health Advocate

By Easton Bryant

First, I'd like to say that through the years of attending this banquet, I'm always entertained by the suspense factor some presenters bring before us in their speeches. Sometimes I have no clue which nominee they share a connection with. I listen to the nominee's accomplishments and their history and I'm thinking, "This is an awesome person! Why don't I know who this is?" By the end of their speech, I'm on the edge of my seat wondering who they're speaking of.

I won't mention their name until the end and I'll try to be subtle, but I doubt you'll have any difficulty figuring out who our winner is this evening.

While some of you may enjoy that suspense as well, I'm afraid I can't provide that factor this evening. Tonight's winner is one of the most well-known, well-respected, and well-loved members of our community.

As I look across the room, I see lots of you who are considered one of his many, many friends. Some are relatives - I'm one of his many cousins. Some know him because they are on a long waiting list - by my estimation, a list that's long as a lap around the track at Churchill Downs.

Before we get into history and accomplishments, I want to make a personal note. I've known him as long as I can my memory serves me. From my earliest memories until now, there's one thing I can always associate him with - his laugh. Now, it's not a "Chuckle." It's more of a bellowing laugh. I must add that, like his mother before him, it's a laugh that can light up a room.

What does this have to do with a Health Advocate presentation? I've never heard him say laughter is the best medicine, but I can't seeing him arguing against that, either. I've been with him in both very joyful and sorrowful times, and that contagious laugh IS good medicine. So, I need to move along to present this award for Outstanding Health Advocate. When asked, I was very honored and knew I would need to do my research. I started contacting his associates and friends and I've made some notes of his career accomplishments and highlights, as well as some reasons why he deserves this award (roll out long, long list of notes). I think you'll understand if we just do the highlights of the highlights.

This year's winner graduated from ACHS in 1978 and went on to the University of Kentucky to receive his Bachelor of Science Degree in biology. Over the next 7 years, he graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine.

In 1989, he returned home and opened a private practice for Internal Medicine in Adair County. Over the next several years, he became a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, was elected as a fellow to the American College of Physicians, and began serving as an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine for the University of Louisville.

He served Westlake Regional Hospital for many years in various roles, including medical director. He made rounds in the hospital from 1989 until February of 2016 when the hospital closed its inpatient wing. He was absolutely vital to the life of the hospital and many patients were able to enjoy the continuity of care from hospital to doctor's office.

While the change in the dynamic of our hospital had a major impact in his day-to-day duties, he had already been fulfilling another professional goal: In May of 2014 he built and opened his own office on North Hwy. 55 in Columbia. Some doubted his chances for long-term success with a move back to our small town in 1989, but after all these years he is still enjoying a thriving practice and loving his craft while serving a very large portion of our county's residents.

I'll finish up with a few observations after being in business beside him for 2.5 years.

1. My first observation is on the topic of respect. I'll first say that he has a great staff.They understand that while he's in the office, he's there for the purpose of serving his patients as thoroughly and efficiently as possible and they're on board with that. Also, I want to touch on the mutual respect between his patients and him. He doesn't brand himself as a "fix-it-all" practitioner, putting band-aids on problems. He evaluates signs and symptoms, pertinent data, and follows CURRENT guidelines. If he doesn't like what he sees after a good faith attempt, he will refer you when necessary. To me, this shows the respect he has for his patients. While they may be anxious and less than excited about going out of town for a test, scan, or whatever it may be, they understand he's looking out for them. That embraces the very definition of "Health Advocate."

2. My second observation is in regard to his illness he has experienced

this year. This has been very public knowledge. I thought at times that we had patients digging through their cabinets looking for a bottle to refill only to drive out with hopes to get an update on him or maybe even catch a peek of him. I didn't interpret this as senseless curiosity at all. He's their caretaker, BUT they care a lot about him.

3. My final observation sums up what I think about him receiving this award tonight. Sometimes, a patient who's new to town comes in the pharmacy asking me about local providers. "I have some refills from my former doctor, but who do we have around here? Are there any good doctors?," they'll often ask.

I typically give them a summary of what's available in our area, but I nearly always end with saying, "We're very fortunate to have Dr. Giles serving our community."

So, however you know him - if you grew up with him and call him Chucky, if he's "Dr. Giles" to you, or if you just know him by Chuck, on his birthday, the Chamber is honored to present the 2017 Outstanding Health Advocate Award to Dr. Charles Giles.

This story was posted on 2017-05-17 20:06:41
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Outstanding Health Advocate 2017 is Dr. Charles Giles

2017-05-17 - Cranmer Dining Center, Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener,
Whether you know him as Chucky, or Dr. Giles, or just Chuck -- on his birthday -- the Chamber of Commerce presents the 2017 Outstanding Health Advocate Award to Dr. Charles Giles. From left are: Ellen Zornes, Chamber president; Easton Bryant, presenter; Dr. Giles and Rep. Bam Carney. See also: Awards presented at annual Chamber of Commerce banquet

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