Winterberry Medical Director, Dr. Steven Zizzo honoured with the CFPC Award of Excellence.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) has recognized Dr. Steven Zizzo for outstanding contributions in community service. The award was presented at the 2022 Ontario College of Family Physicians awards ceremony on November 16, this award recognizes Dr. Zizzo “for outstanding community service for his COVID-19 vaccination efforts”.

Background on Dr. Zizzo’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts:

Dr. Zizzo seized every opportunity to improve community and public health because it benefits patients, all Hamiltonians, and our health system overall. As vaccine programs were announced, Dr. Zizzo quickly offered Winterberry Family Medicine’s resources, showcasing the significance of family medicine and the robust resources a holistic health team can offer. 

Since May 2021, Dr. Zizzo has led the team at Winterberry Family medicine to inoculate more than 31,000 and counting with COVID-19 vaccinations.  

The immunized included his own patients, patients of other practices, unattached patients, rural, disadvantaged, high risk, disabled, children; anyone who needed vaccination from Hamilton and the surrounding communities. 

Consistent with the pillars of Family Medicine, Dr. Zizzo identified an urgent gap in healthcare delivery and, given his capacities to deliver substantial help, volunteered his clinic’s services to Hamilton Public Health (HPH). The goal he set and met was to educate and immunize as many as possible.

Dr. Zizzo’s culture of “giving back” is rooted in the values of his late uncle, Dr. Angelo Zizzo, a respected community leader who hosted a weekly educational talk show, Health Matters, on CHML in the 1990s. Following in his uncle’s footsteps, Dr. Zizzo recognized the urgent need to support every resident in and surrounding his community through the pandemic. He felt that this is what his uncle would have done.  Of note, after the untimely death of Dr. Angelo during COVID-19, Dr. Zizzo resumed care for Dr. his patients, immunizing the vast majority of them. 

Dr. Zizzo felt it was our duty to volunteer our capacities to deliver high volume and safe education and immunizations immediately and safely. He personally funded, created systems to implement and oversaw tens of thousands of COVID-19 inoculations when no other family practices offered them. All costs associated with the distribution, including all technology, medical equipment, PPE, training and salaries were paid for personally by Dr. Zizzo, and he did this because he had the capacity and ambition to help – it was the right thing to do.

For many Hamiltonians, this was their first in-person visit to a family physician in more than a year, and Dr. Zizzo ensured his team was prepared for a variety of concerns that could be raised by patients while receiving their vaccinations.