Muñoz receives Fuller Award

Cristina Muñoz, MD, associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been honored with this year’s H. Fleming Fuller Award. Muñoz received the award on Nov. 13 at a meeting of the UNC Health Care Board of Directors.

Muñoz receives Fuller Award click to enlarge Cristina Muñoz speaks at the Fuller Award presentation ceremony
Muñoz receives Fuller Award click to enlarge Cristina Muñoz with the sons of Dr. H. Fleming Fuller, Lyndon (left) and Kirk (right)

Cristina Muñoz, MD, associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been honored with this year’s H. Fleming Fuller Award. Muñoz received the award on Nov. 13 at a meeting of the UNC Health Care Board of Directors.

The Fuller Award, which has been given annually since 1986, is meant as a permanent memorial to Kinston physician H. Fleming Fuller, and awarded to the physician who best embodies Fuller’s lifelong commitment to patient care, teaching, and community.

Fuller’s obstetrics and gynecology practice in Kinston, NC, spanned nearly 50 years. He is credited with helping to bring women’s health care to the forefront of American medicine, and helping to destigmatize cancer.

In introducing Muñoz, Tony Lindsey, MD, UNC Health Care’s Chief Medical Officer, said Muñoz’s career “truly characterizes Dr. Fuller’s legacy.”

When she took the podium to accept the award, Muñoz  thanked her academic family for the support she has received.

“It is incredibly gratifying to be recognized in this way, and I think this will continue to motivate me to strive to be the best physician that I can be for my patients,” Muñoz  said.

She also said receiving the award gave her a chance to learn more about Fuller’s work.

“He was truly a patient advocate, truly concerned with what the patient’s goals were,” Muñoz  said. “Obviously the progress he made in changing attitudes about cancer speaks for itself and his work to increase the emphasis on women’s health was just so important.”

Though she still considers herself a “Californian, through and through,” Muñoz also credits her adopted home of North Carolina with helping to develop her as a physician and strengthening her commitment to caring for all patients.

“North Carolina has given me the opportunity to see so many different types of communities and I really feel comfortable and welcome in all of them,” Muñoz  said.

One of her nominators for the award summed up Muñoz  this way:

“Dr. Muñoz is the most sought after physician in our division and treats all women with excellence, equality, and humility. She is an award winning teacher and role model for our medical students and residents.”

In fact, Muñoz has received more than 10 teaching awards since joining the UNC School of Medicine faculty in 1999. She has also dedicated herself to caring for the underserved and was instrumental in expanding the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s services at the NC Women’s Prison.

Muñoz joined the UNC School of Medicine faculty in 1999, as the first member of the Women’s Primary Care Health Care Division, now called General Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, her MS in Health and Medical Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MD from the University of California, San Francisco.

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