Back to articles

Dr. Andrea McCullough Awarded Physician of the Year

Awards & Recognition WILLITS, CA – House call is unheard of in these modern times in healthcare. And yet, Andrea McCullough, MD, at Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH), does exactly that; visiting her patients in a nursing home and even calling to check on them on her days off. 

These and her efforts to continuously go above and beyond for her patients is what made Dr. McCullough Howard Hospital’s 2017 Physician of the Year. Dr. McCullough was one of 19 physicians to be honored by Adventist Health during its Annual Clinical Summit and Physician of the Year Awards in Roseville last month. 

Dr. McCullough says her desire to serve others started early. Having spent many summers in her mother’s hometown of Santiago, Chile, she saw her aunt, who was a nurse, care for the most vulnerable and sick. And in her mind, she knew, she wanted to make a difference, just like her aunt. Many years later, she says she’s proud to have a profession that allows her to feel fulfilled beyond measure. 

And her patients can feel her passion and dedication to her craft. The board-certified family medicine physician joined HMH in July 2016, caring for patients at Redwood Medical Clinic and already has made such a difference for so many patients in the community. 

Patients and staff alike, love her. Shauna de Marquez, practice manager at Redwood Medical Clinic says patients absolutely love Dr. McCullough. “She is not only invested in her patients but also in the clinic staff and its operations. She makes everyone who works with her better.” 

One patient remarked, “Dr. McCullough is exactly the doctor I've needed and been looking for since I moved to Willits. I find I can be completely honest and candid with her and she never skips a beat or bats an eye! She sits and listens as well as talks with me about everything. I like how she is not rushed to get the visit over with because they are on a time limit. She is personable, friendly, caring and very real. I will be staying with her as a patient for as long as she will have me.” 

When she’s not busy in seeing patients in the clinic, Dr. McCullough also treats patients in the emergency room. It was after 10 years of seeing patients in the ER that she decided to focus on primary care. “I have come across a lot of patients who have not been to their doctor in years because they can’t get an appointment. So they show up in the ER instead. Having more primary care in the area will provide patients with better access to preventative care and treatment options that can address symptoms earlier before they get worse.” 

Asked what she loves most about her job, she says she values connecting with people. “Besides the human interaction, I also love the intellectual challenge. I like trying to find clues, and connecting the dots and finally figuring it out. There’s never a dull moment and I love the constant learning process,” she shares. 

There’s one patient that stands out in her mind, a patient she was seeing in a clinic in the slums of Pittsburgh, an elderly man who kept coming back complaining of pain in his arm. She remembers trying her best to help him, referring him to physical therapy and yet, nothing seemed to work. “Finally, something clicked. I decided to ask, ‘is there something you want to tell me? Something else that’s bothering you?’” 

It turned out the patient had been having rectal bleeding but was too embarrassed to talk about it. “Men are interesting. They can come in with a major injury and they’d brush it off. But when it’s something so personal such as this, they can get scared and refuse to open up. He was scared to find out what it was so he would rather not talk about it.” 

Once she figured it out, she sent the patient for testing and they found cancer tumors, which fortunately have not spread. The tumors were removed and the patient was eventually cancer-free and six months later he invited Dr. McCullough to Thanksgiving dinner at his house. 

“It’s those times that you just feel so grateful you have a job that allows you to change people’s lives. All he needed was the courage to tell me and he trusted me enough to tell me so I can help him. I want them to know they can trust me, knowing that I will support them and help them through without judgement.” 

Jason Wells, HMH CEO says Dr. McCullough exemplifies everything that the hospital is about; patient-centered care and the feeling of family. “Patients come to us during their most vulnerable times. And Dr. McCullough has a way of making any patient comfortable and easing their worries and making them feel important and heard. Howard Hospital is proud and truly blessed to have her on our medical staff.” 

Dr. McCullough is seeing patients at Redwood Medical Clinic, located in front of the hospital at 3 Marcela Drive, Suite C in Willits. To learn more or to make an appointment, call (916) 406-0000