Richard Kozoll, MD, MPH, a graduate of the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine, arrived in Gallup, New Mexico in 1972 as one of the first three National Health Service Corps physicians assigned to the State. Following a General Preventive Medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University in 1975, he came to Cuba as medical director and then executive director of the Presbyterian Medical Services Checkerboard Area Health System. In 1978 he became one of the last family practice “grandfathers,” and has practiced his two specialties in Cuba since. He operated a small private practice from 1985 to 2007, and then rejoined Presbyterian Medical Services in Cuba as part-time clinician.
He was Medical Director of the New Mexico Medical Review Association from 1985-1990. He has served as a peer reviewer since, and since the organization’s merger with Quality Review Organizations in other Western states in 2011, became Chairperson of the HealthInsight New Mexico Board of Directors and Board Member of the HealthInsight Management Corporation.
In 1988 he founded and since then has continuously served on the Board of Cuba’s Nacimiento Community Foundation. This non-profit organization is co-located with local public health and WIC nutrition services, operates a busy food pantry, provides programs of Medicare and Medicaid enrollment assistance, and sponsors Step Into Cuba, a program that promotes physical activity – primarily walking and hiking – for health, social cohesion, economic development and other aspects of improved quality of life. Step Into Cuba develops and maintains trails and sponsors events on the scenic public lands within and surrounding Cuba.
In 2000 Dr. Kozoll co-founded the Clinical Prevention Initiative of the New Mexico Medical Society and Department of Health He has served as co-chair of this successful effort to enhance our State’s clinical preventive services since its inception. He edits the Initiative’s highly acclaimed New Mexico Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program, now published in its fourth edition. Dr. Kozoll also serves as chairperson for the Society’s Liaison Committee to the Department of Health
Since 2004 he has served on the Sandoval County Health Alliance/Council and was its 2014 chairperson The Council helps the Sandoval County Commission set health and health care priorities.
Dr. Kozoll has served as a volunteer faculty member of the University Of New Mexico School Of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine throughout his years in New Mexico. In addition to precepting students and residents, he helped organize and lead a Community Oriented Primary Care project and participates with the Department of Pediatrics’ Prevention Research Center to study Step Into Cuba as its core research project.
From 1994 to 1998 Dr. Kozoll served on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Kozoll holds the 2007 Larrazolo Lifetime Achievement Award of the New Mexico Public Health Association In 2012 he was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House as a Lets Move Champion of Change. In 2015 he was simultaneously recognized by his community of Cuba and the New Mexico House of Representatives with proclamations citing his many years of service.
Over the last several years, Dr. Kozoll, an avid hiker, has taken great pride in providing leadership for Step Into Cuba, an ambitious program to create social support for walking, make Cuba more pedestrian friendly, and develop new walking paths and recreational trails in and about Cuba. He has also been instrumental in assisting Federal agencies and the Continental Divide Trail Alliance/Coalition to plan a new trail segment that will help finish as well as connect Cuba and its surrounding lands to this national treasure.