Friday, March 19, 2010 12:00 AM

Dr. Simon Paul becomes a 'Real Hero'

For countless parents of children with HIV or full-blown AIDS, and for 80% of the adults in Fresno County with the deadly immune deficiency, Dr. Simon Paul has been a true hero. And now the American Red Cross is recognizing the medical director of Community Medical Centers’ Special Services program as such with its 2010 “Real Heroes” award for health care.

For the last seven years the American Red Cross has celebrated and awarded selfless acts of courage and humanitarian services by real people – “Real Heroes.” The American Red Cross “Real Heroes” event celebrating Dr. Paul’s win will be held on Friday, March 19, at the Fresno Art Museum.

The health care award is given to nurses, physician’s assistants or doctors, who have demonstrated an outstanding level of service to the people of their community. Dr. Paul, 47, has done exactly that. He leads the only multidisciplinary program treating HIV/AIDS patients in the Central Valley and is the only pediatric HIV/AIDS provider between San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

Dr. Paul improved access to care for a number of patients who would otherwise have been forced to seek care in the emergency department, by implementing a sliding fee payment process for patients in Community’s Special Services program.

Additionally, Dr. Paul developed the Special Services’ pharmacy to serve HIV patients directly. Patients now have on-site access to a pharmacist who has special expertise in HIV infections, medications, and management of side effects and drug interactions. 

“He is an integral part of the day-to-day clinic operations,” said Jack Chubb, CEO Community Regional Medical Center, who nominated Dr. Paul for the “Real Heroes” award. “He approaches emerging issues and changes in a rational, thoughtful manner and with compassion toward all patients, staff and program providers.”

Suzanne Flammang, R.N., Program Manager of Community Special Services, who has partnered with Dr. Paul to improve services for patients agreed: “He has listened to me “vent” over care issues and comes back later with a plan to fix whatever that issue was in a cohesive manner that maintains and preserves patient and staff integrity and dignity.”

But she said it was Dr. Paul’s “consistent passion and commitment to the care of this patient population” that likely impressed the Red Cross. “He brings a vision of care for patients with the patient always as the core focus for changes in service. Without someone like Dr. Paul being the physician champion, care lines for these patients would be considerably different…Dr. Paul has been a godsend to this program.”

More about Community’s Special Services Program.

This story was reported by Michael Antonino. He can be reached at