Dr. Syed Gillani Receives Degree of Fellow Award from AAFP

We congratulate Dr. Syed Gillani, DO, on his Degree of Fellow Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (AAFP).

The Degree of Fellow recognizes AAFP members who have distinguished themselves among their colleagues, as well as in their communities, by their service to family medicine, their advancement of health care to the American people, and their professional development through medical education and research. Fellows of the AAFP are recognized as champions of family medicine.

Applicants must answer a series of questions about their medical career accomplishments. One of those is serving in a rural healthcare community. He is also part of the Tacoma Family Medicine Rural Family Medicine with Obstetrics Fellowship program, where he mentors students.

From a personal perspective, being a Fellow signifies not only 'tenure' but additional work in your community, within organized medicine, within teaching, and a greater commitment to continuing professional development and/or research.


“Receiving this award feels so surreal,” said Dr. Syed Gillani. “I didn’t think that I would be eligible for this award. But after attending the conference in Chicago and being told by the President of AAFP, ‘Thank you for your service,’ I realized how far I had come.”

In 2001, Dr. Gillani was given six months to live after being diagnosed with aggressively growing tumors. He was told there was no treatment for this particular condition in Pakistan.

“I was treated for cancer at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Comprehensive Cancer Center. I was on Medicaid for the first year of treatment. I learned what it felt like to sit in the waiting room with other people who were also seriously ill – what it felt like to bear the stigma of needing to be on Medicaid. I sat with the migrant population and felt with them the humiliation of being treated differently from those on insurance or paying with cash. A new sense of what it meant to be compassionate swept over me, and I vowed to really show compassion to all my patients in the future.”

Since then, Dr. Gillani has worked in rural healthcare communities for over ten years, including his residency. He has been with CBHA since 2018 and has continued impacting this community and his patients' lives.

“Dr. Gillani is my hero. He saved my life,” said Kimmy Sanders. Kimmy was a patient of Dr. Gillani’s who was struggling with her health. She knew something was wrong with her, but she couldn’t find a doctor to listen to her.

She made an appointment at CBHA with the on-call doctor at the time. “I listened to her. I could see that she was desperate for an answer, and I knew deep down she knew something was wrong with her,” said Dr. Gillani.

He diagnosed her with Cushing's disease after seeing that she had a tumor on her pituitary gland that was causing her symptoms.

“I am so grateful to have received this award,” says Dr. Gillani. “Now, I want to focus on encouraging other physicians to strive for this same award and be given the highest compliment a physician can receive. I am very thankful to everyone who has helped me reach my goals; I couldn’t have done it without them.”

We are blessed and proud to have Dr. Syed Gillani on the CBHA team.