Fran Kunda, MD, isn’t one to seek attention, so being recognized as the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians (SCAFP) Physician of the Year was a shock.
“I got a call telling me I received the award. I told the caller that they must have called the wrong number,” said Dr. Kunda, Spartanburg Medical Center family medicine physician. “It has been so overwhelming.”
Dr. Kunda was recognized on June 15 at the SCAFP Annual Assembly in Hilton Head.
“Physician mentors whom I look up to like Dr. Bob Taylor and Dr. Otis Baughman have been recipients for this award in the past,” she said. “I don’t look at myself to be at their level and it’s an honor to be recognized.”
The Family Physician of the Year award honors an outstanding South Carolina physician who provides patients with compassionate and comprehensive care, and serves as a role model professionally and personally to their community, other health professionals, residents and medical students. The South Carolina Academy is a chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians has 1,820 members in South Carolina.
Practicing family medicine for nearly 30 years, Dr. Kunda didn’t originally set out to be a physician.
“I was going to be an optometrist like my father,” she said. “But my pre-med advisor in school wouldn’t hear it. He told me I needed to look at medicine and that’s where I needed to be.”
Dr. Kunda performed her residency at Spartanburg Medical Center, and was recognized in 1989 by the SCAFP as the Outstanding Resident of the Year. She now practices at Medical Group of the Carolinas—Center for Family Medicine.
“I like the variety we see in family medicine; caring from the cradle to the elderly,” she said. “It’s a blast. It’s an honor to be intimately involved in people’s lives and help them with their health needs.”
Dr. Kunda joined the Spartanburg Regional Family Residency Program as an associate professor of family medicine three years ago. She has served the Spartanburg County Medical Society President, medical director of St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic, and SCAFP president and board chair. Along with these positions, Dr. Kunda volunteers locally at St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic and internationally in Honduras, Cameroon and Nicaragua.
“As part of teaching in the residency program, one of my charges is to introduce global medicine. That’s been remarkable,” Dr. Kunda said. “It’s awesome to get doctors and students out of their comfort zone. You take away the technology and machines and truly have to use only medicine and your knowledge.”