The Medical Center Foundation’s James H. Downey Society physician-giving club recently recognized James A. Butts, MD, with the Samuel O. Poole Award at their donor recognition event. The award, established in 2001, honors physicians who exhibit outstanding leadership, generosity and long-term service to the community such as that of the late Dr. Samuel O. Poole for whom the award was named. The Downey Society is co-chaired by Pepper Brown, MD, a surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Surgical Associates, and Buddy Langston, MD, a pediatrician, retired from the Longstreet Clinic.
A North Georgia native who grew up in Blairsville, Dr. Butts trained in oncology at Winship Clinic in Atlanta, which later became known as Emory Clinic. In 1968, he moved his family to Gainesville to join the practice of Jennings, Stribling and Poole and was the first and only board-certified medical oncologist in Northeast Georgia for more than 20 years. Along with the practice partners, Dr. Butts became a founding member of Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic.
Dr. Butts pioneered the specialties of oncology and hematology in the Northeast Georgia region. The first to utilize a computer in his practice, Dr. Butts obtained information from national cancer resources to keep up with advancements in the treatment of patients.
In addition to being a successful oncologist, Dr. Butts has been very involved in medical community outreach. After the passing of Dr. Poole, Dr. Butts accepted the role of Good News Clinics’ Medical Director in 2007 and today continues to champion high quality health care for the community’s underserved. Under his leadership, Good News Clinics has experienced continued growth and success, with 13 additional physicians joining Good News Clinics as volunteers and the production of a manual for other communities wishing to open a free clinic. As both mentor and educator, Dr. Butts oversees the training of medical students and nurses, as well as teaches classes through Brenau University’s BULLI program.
Dr. Butts has actively served in leadership roles on both the state and local levels, including his service as president of Georgia Medical Care Foundation and Northeast Georgia Medical Center Chief of Staff, as well as numerous other boards and committees.
The James H. Downey Society gives special recognition to physicians who generously support The Medical Center Foundation through charitable contributions. Downey Society members continue the tradition of healthcare excellence by providing funds for the latest medical technology, education, and delivery of service to our community that might not otherwise be possible.