SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane medical students frequently mention Dr. George Novan when they talk about their favorite professors.

Now, Novan has a new set of admirers: his peers. The Spokane County Medical Society is honoring him as its Physician/Citizen of the Year.

“George has had an important impact for years in mentoring students as they work through a competitive education process,” said Keith Baldwin, society executive director. “He helps them become good people. Also, he’s been a strong supporter of primary care, which is becoming so important now.”

Novan began his medical career in southern California in 1973. In 1990, he moved to Spokane to become a faculty member at the Internal Medicine Residency Program, working with newly graduated doctors. For the last 20 years, he also has helped third-year University of Washington medical students find hospitals and clinics in Spokane where they can practice their skills.

In 2009, Novan was named associate director of the WWAMI (Washington Wyoming Alaska Montana Idaho) first-year medical education program.

Dr. John McCarthy from the WWAMI program in Spokane nominated Novan.

“Over the last 20 years, he has trained hundreds of physicians and through this mentoring has advanced understanding of what an excellent doctor can bring to the doctor-patient relationship,” McCarthy wrote.

In addition to this award, Novan has won numerous other honors. He’s a three-time winner of the UW Department of Medicine WWAMI Excellence in Teaching award. In 2009, his Spokane students gave him the Teacher of the Year award.