Sacramento – On March 26, 2023, the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) proudly announced that physician leader, Raul Ayala, MD, MHCM, has been installed as the new President of the CAFP.
Dr. Ayala has been recognized as a leader in health equity and access to care. “Dr. Ayala has spent the last ten years caring for rural patients in the Central Valley and collaborating with community partners to tackle health disparities,” says Arby Nahapetian, MD, Adventist Health’s Chief Clinical Officer, and leader of the ambulatory physician enterprise. “He has already been transforming healthcare in this state by implementing screenings and care plans into every clinic visit, including those that impact a patient’s overall well-being: food insecurity, mental health, opioids, substance use disorders, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.”
“Dr. Raul Ayala is a great champion for primary care and is committed to serving the needs of rural and underserved California communities,” said Lisa Folberg, CAFP CEO. “Dr. Ayala is an incredible leader and will bring energy and vision to CAFP’s mission to improve the health of all Californians.”
Dr. Ayala was born and raised in South Texas, attended the University of Texas at San Antonio for undergraduate studies, started medical school at Universidad de Montemorelos Facultad de Medicina in Mexico, finished his medical studies at New York Medical College and completed his Family and Community Medicine Residency at University of California San Francisco- Fresno. He earned a Masters in Health Care Management from Harvard University.
His career has been shaped by the belief that everyone deserves access to quality health care. He has been a champion of mobile care clinics as an effective tool for reaching the most vulnerable and underserved Californians. Tackling health disparities is central to his professional and personal mission; he also launched an innovative project with a local nonprofit to establish virtual care visits for people living in homeless camps. In addition to his clinical leadership serving as the Ambulatory Medical Officer, Dr. Ayala helps lead the graduate medical education residency programs throughout Adventist Health.
“I have chosen ‘The Power of Community’ to be the core of my message,” says Dr. Ayala, “where we will underline the need to improve access to care, physician wellness, rural health, physician shortages, graduate medical education, and how we focus on health equity throughout our communities in need.”
In 2020, Dr. Ayala was recognized by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) as the California Community Star in rural healthcare on rural health day. Dr. Ayala has served as a board member with the CAFP since 2012. He resides in Fresno with his wife, Dr. Kelly Ayala and their two children.
About the California Academy of Family Physicians: California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) With 11,000 members, including active practicing family physicians, residents in family medicine, and medical students interested in the specialty, CAFP is the largest primary care medical society in California. Family physicians are trained to treat an entire family’s medical needs, addressing the whole spectrum of life’s medical challenges. Family Physicians serve a broad base of patients in urban, suburban, and rural areas, often in California’s most underserved areas.