For the first time since 1998, due to social distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the $40,000 award was presented remotely at the Medical College of Georgia Virtual Hooding ceremony held Thursday, May 7.
“Diligence and compassion in health care are the qualities that demonstrate the very essence of this award, and without question, Kurt has displayed these characteristics in his academic achievements and community service,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “Kurt is an outstanding representative of our values here at Augusta University, and this recognition speaks to his dedication to providing quality care to patients and their families.”
During his time at the university, Mueller was an exemplary classmate – serving as a class liaison for the medical college’s class of 2021. In this role, he served as a mentor for incoming medical students, helping to ease their transition throughout their first two years. Mueller was also chosen by his classmates and faculty for induction into the Gold Humanism Honor Society for his dedication to leadership, clinical compassion and service.
While a student at the Medical College of Georgia, he worked to close the health disparity gap among Augusta’s minorities by serving as a co-coordinator of the Salvation Army Homeless Health Screenings in Augusta and providing care at the Medical College of Georgia’s Equality Clinic and the Warren Baptist Faithcare Clinic.
In addition to serving locally, Mueller participated in numerous medical mission trips to Central and South America, as well as Egypt.
His passion for excellence in health care made an impression on Dr. D. Greer Falls, III, associate dean for Student Affairs for second-year MCG students at Augusta University, whose nomination letter states how Mueller’s work ethic exemplifies what it means to be a high-quality health care provider.
“Kurt is hardworking, and he possesses the innate motivation and academic abilities necessary to succeed in a career in medicine,” said Falls. “His enthusiasm for serving others is infectious, and his inquiring personality contributes to his ability to gain the trust of his patients.”
“What I admire about Kurt is that he seeks to get to know each patient and family, not just to arrive at a diagnosis, but to provide patient and family-centered care,” said Prosser. “When I read the Beard Award criteria for selection as someone displaying compassionate service to others, Kurt immediately came to mind. He is truly deserving of this recognition.”
The $40,000 annual John F. Beard Award is given by William Porter “Billy” Payne and his wife, Martha, to a graduating MCG or health sciences student who exemplifies caring and compassion in health care. Payne, the immediate past chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, established the Beard award in 1998 in memory of his father-in-law, who died of cancer in 1997. The award honors Augusta University President Emeritus Francis J. Tedesco and Beard’s physician, Dr. Mark F. Williams, a 1988 Medical College of Georgia graduate who treated Beard during his hospitalization at Augusta University Medical Center.