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Pennsylvania Medical Society elects new vice president

By - Last modified: October 29, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Pennsylvania Medical Society marked a changing of the guard Saturday as it honored retiring executive vice president Denise E. Zimmerman and elected Dr. Karen Rizzo as its new vice president

Zimmerman, who lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband, Paul, was named the 2012 recipient of the organization’s Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement. Its first recipient was Dr. Jonas Salk of polio vaccine fame, and this is only the second time it has been presented to a nonphysician.

A graduate of Shippensburg University, Zimmerman began her career at PAMED in 1978 as a staff assistant in the communications division and was promoted repeatedly, becoming EVP in 2008 and assuming responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the association. Early this year she announced her retirement effective May 31, 2013.

Rizzo, an otolaryngologist who lives in Lancaster with her husband, Jay, and has two daughters, will serve one year as vice president, be president-elect for one year, and then in October 2014 become president of PAMED.

A 27-year member of PAMED, Rizzo served on its board of trustees from 2003 to 2011 and was vice chairwoman from 2009 to 2011. She has made humanitarian trips to Vietnam, South Africa and Egypt and was president of Lancaster City & County Medical Society from 2008 to 2010 and of the American Academy of Otolaryngology from 2001 to 2003.

A graduate of Villanova University and Temple University School of Medicine, Rizzo was inducted into the Philadelphia Big Five and Villanova University Basketball Hall of Fame.