Dr. James Dalton, director of medical education at Bassett Medical Center for 18 years, has been awarded Bassett Healthcare Network’s Walter A. Franck Physician Excellence Award, the organization announced in a media release Tuesday, July 21.

The award was established to honor rheumatologist Walter A. Franck, MD, who retired from Bassett in 2015 after more than four decades of service. The award recognizes a physician who emulates the lifelong career traits of Franck — service to patients, students, colleagues and the community, the release said. The recipient of the award is determined by a vote of Bassett physicians. The award was presented during Bassett’s medical staff meeting on July 13.

In their nominations of Dalton, his peers noted that as head of medical education, Dalton oversees a critical component of Bassett’s mission, the education of physicians and other health care professionals.

One colleague said, “Dr. Jim Dalton has been a true champion of excellent clinical care, scholarship and citizenship by providing the medical residents with thoughtful preparation of their curriculum, hands-on involvement, and most importantly, his humanity, embracing everyone with respect and dignity,” according to the release.

Dalton’s relationship with Bassett spans more than 40 years. He was a resident and chief resident in internal medicine at Bassett from 1979 to 1983 before leaving to live and practice in Seattle for several years. He returned in 1988. During his career at Bassett, Dalton has also served as the division chief of general internal medicine and director of the Cooperstown Prime Care Clinic, the release said. When he took over leadership of medical education in 2002, he succeeded Franck who had served in the position the previous seven years. Dalton retired from clinical practice at Bassett Medical Center earlier this year after serving as an attending physician for more than 30 years.

“Shortly after I came to Bassett as an intern in 1979, Walt Franck was appointed physician-in-chief,” Dalton said in the release. “For all these years, he has been to me a model of what a good physician, a good leader, and a good person should be ... . It is such an honor to have been chosen to receive this award named for Walt — my mentor, advisor and friend.”

Dalton is chair of the Bassett Healthcare Network Disparities Committee. He has served multiple terms as president of the Bassett Medical Center medical staff. While no longer seeing patients as a primary care physician, he continues in the role of mentor for internal medicine residents.

Dalton has also volunteered at the Oneonta Free Clinic for more than 10 years. He has been on the Otsego 2000 Board of Directors for two terms of service and the board of trustees for Hyde Hall. He sings with the St. Mary’s Church choir, the Voices of Cooperstown, various a cappella vocal groups, and on Christmas Eve each year leads carolers through the halls of the hospital, the release said.

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