York County doctor named Top Family Physician

Katherine Ranzenberger

Pennsylvania’s top family physician practices in York County.

Dr. Christopher Echterling, MD, Associate Medical Director for Quality and Innovation, WellSpan Health, Monday, December 1, 2014. Steve Russ photo

Dr. Christopher Echterling was chosen as the 2016 Family Physician of the Year by the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians. He will be honored on Friday, March 11 by the PAFP.

“It’s exciting and it’s humbling that someone would nominate me,” Echterling said. “I love working with patients and helping with the transformation of our healthcare system.”

Echterling works with WellSpan York where he is the medical director of WellSpan Bridges to Health, the ambulatory intensive care unit. He also has a practice in WellSpan York Hospital Community Health Center.

The WellSpan doctor earned his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine from Pennsylvania State University. He attended the school’s College of Medicine and completed his residency in1995 in the York Hospital Family Practice Residency Program.

"I can think of few family physicians across the country who have demonstrated this level of commitment to their individual care of patients, along with efforts to cultivate such meaningful systematic approaches to improving the health care of the community," a colleague said in the nomination. "Chris is a truly outstanding family physician, one of a kind, and well deserving of this honor."

Echterling is a member of the heroin and opioid taskforce set to look at the epidemic that has hit Central Pennsylvania. He said he hopes to continue to work with doctors to ensure people know how to treat patients that come in for overdoses, as well as preventative care.

“We’re hoping to educate people about more thoughtfully prescribing opiates,” Echterling said. “The need for this kind of care is growing. We need to come together in a way that will be better for patients in the long run.”

The WellSpan doctor said one of the most important parts of proper patient care is getting to know the patient and his or her history.

“So much of what we’re struggling with in health care right now is that deeper understanding of who these people are,” Echterling said. “They don’t understand the background of what’s happened in these people’s lives to make them who they are today. I remember to view my patients at people who will have an impact on the people and the world around them.”

The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians will honor Echterling at 6 p.m. on March 11. The PAFP supports its members through advocacy and education to ensure a patient-centered medical home for every Pennsylvanian, according to its website.

For more information on Echterling or about PAFP, visit PAFP.com/awards.