Family Physician of the Year

The Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians is made up of physicians who go above and beyond their call of duty. Each individual provides a very important component to their community and to the people they serve.

Patients, Clinics Staff or Physician Colleagues, Nominate your Family Physician for the MassAFP Family Physician of the Year. Each year the Massachusetts Academy presents the Family Physician of the Year award to recognize a physician who exemplifies the tradition of the "Family Doctor."

Nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Provides his/her community with compassion, comprehensive and caring medical service on a continual basis
  • Is directly and effectively involved in community affairs and in activities that enhance quality of life
  • Provides a credible and amiable role model as a healer and human being to his/her community, and as a professional in the science and art of medicine to colleagues, other health professionals, and to young physicians in training and medical students
  • Demonstrates a balance between career and family
  • Is a member, in good standing, of the Academy

Massachusetts' Family Physician of the Year is honored at a luncheon during the Annual Meeting and Spring Refresher held in March.

2021 Family Physician of the Year

Margarita Zarraga, MD

2021 Family Physician of the Year

The Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians (MassAFP) is pleased to announce that Marga Castro Zarraga, MD of Needham Heights, MA, is the recipient of the 2021 Family Physician of the Year award in recognition of her exemplary service, and engagement in the wellbeing of her patients and community. Dr. Zarraga received this honor during the MassAFP Virtual Annual Meeting and Spring Refresher on March 26, 2021. MassAFP represents over 2,000 dedicated family physicians, residents, and medical students throughout the Commonwealth.

MassAFP presents the Family Physician of the Year award to recognize a physician who provides outstanding service to patients and their communities with compassionate, comprehensive and caring medical service on a continual basis, all while demonstrating balance between career and family. Dr. Zarraga has been practicing family and integrative medicine in the Commonwealth area for over a decade. She graduated among the top of her biology class with Cum Laude in 2000 from the University of the Philippines College of Arts & Sciences, completed an internship at the Philippine General Hospital, and a subinternship in Harvard Medical School. Dr. Zarraga went on to receive her doctorate from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.

During the ceremony, MassAFP Immediate Past President Dr. Michelle Parker described Dr. Zarraga as “a dedicated physician who engages collaboratively with patients and promotes lifestyle modification and adherence in what is often very complex care. While incredibly attentive to details, she keeps the big picture in view with patients and her community...Her energy and passion in clinical practice along with her enthusiastic and compassionate service to the underserved exemplifies the values and ideals of Family Medicine.”

Dr. Marga Zarraga started her medical career in the US at Harvard Brigham & Women’s Hospital as a junior clinical fellow. She completed her residency training from The Brooklyn Hospital Center and finished a faculty development fellowship for family medicine physician leaders in residency training and scholars in cultural competency at the White Memorial Medical Cultural Medicine Training Center in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Zarraga also contributed to clinical and research engagements in cardiology at NYU Langone Health Tisch Hospital and NY Health + Hospitals Bellevue in New York City and at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital, respectively.

Dr. Zarraga contributed to an incredibly rich environment for clinical teaching as an adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School, in partnership with community and global health programs like Montachusett Public Health Network, Philippine Medical Association of New England (PMA), Ecclesia Ministries, and Gawad Kalinga USA. Through these programs, she helps address greater population health issues, including treatment of weight loss, addiction, and health interventions for persons experiencing homelessness in Boston.

Dr. Zarraga has performed varying roles in community geriatrics as medical director and subacute hospitalist in Linden Ponds Medical Center, Vantage Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare, and TEAMHealth Boston Post Acute Care, where she helped establish collaborative relationships with nursing home teams and became a physician leader for a congestive heart failure program with South Shore Hospital. She precepts nurse practitioners as a collaborating physician of the CVS Minute Clinic.

Co-founder and former Director of the PMA Wellness Program, Emily Melick states this about Dr. Zarraga, "I cannot imagine a more deserving person for the MassAFP Physician of the Year award, as she upholds the values of family medicine in everything she does for students, colleagues, patients, and underserved communities locally & globally.”

Dr. James Ledwith, Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School said, "How wonderful to have this recognition bestowed upon Dr. Marga Zarraga who is Filipino American before we had additional reason to celebrate the contributions of our Asian Pacific American colleagues and neighbors. In light of recent violence against Asian Americans, we should share this positive story."

You can catch Dr. Zarraga online on Taunton Community Access & Media (, where she hosts and makes multiple guest appearances speaking on the role of Direct Primary Care, frontline challenges of managing opiate addiction in the community, and sharing population health interventions for persons experiencing homelessness in Boston based on relationship-based care principles.

Dr. Zarraga is also the founder of her direct primary care organization, Genera Health Direct in Needham from where she holds clinic, telehealth, home and assisted living visits ( She has been an invited speaker to healthcare professionals about holistic health using mind body medicine techniques for self-healing ( She is the creator and proponent of her own unique wellness approach "The Resilience Formula: Review, Reframe, & Rewire".

Dr. Zarraga is dedicating her award to the “unseen family physician” and the “doctors and frontliners in and outside of healthcare whose lives were sacrificed during this pandemic”.

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