Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:00 AM

Clovis surgeon one of Community's 'Ultimate People'

You could say that Dr. Mark Cunningham loves a thrill – the thrill of the outdoors, back packing through foreign countries, skydiving and bungee jumping.

“Once you fall it’s fine. It’s just getting to that first jump,” Dr. Cunningham said.

Dr. Cunningham, general surgeon and chair of the department of surgery at Clovis Community Medical Center, will have another thrill to add to his list – being named one of Community Medical Centers’ “Ultimate People” of 2010.

“It’s very flattering. Being the ultimate in anything is an honor,” Dr. Cunningham said.

The “Ultimate People” program, in its second year, was launched by Community Medical Foundation to honor those who have distinguished themselves with service to Community’s health care network and Community Medical Foundation.

Dr. Cunningham specializes in hernia repairs, surgery of the pancreas, bile ducts and gall bladder, thoracic and cancer surgeries and advanced minimally-invasive surgery.

“The one thing that I really like about general surgery is that it’s so broad-based it allows you to do a lot of almost everything,” said Dr. Cunningham.

But for him, it really boils down to people.

“The best part of what I do is taking care of the patients,” Dr. Cunningham said. “I’m doing something for them that really can’t be done any other way.”

Dr. Cunningham credits Community with making it easy to have ultimate people.

“Community Medical Centers has done a wonderful job of really partnering with the doctors,” Dr. Cunningham said. “Collaboration really makes how good Community is today. I think they really offer the best opportunities for their physicians and their employees.”

This year’s “Ultimate People” will be recognized at the upcoming Foundation’s Alliance “Ultimate Party” on Friday, July 16 at Weber BMW in Fresno.

For information on employee giving, please call Community Medical Foundation at (559) 459-2670.

This story was written by Jennifer Avila-Allen. She can be reached at javila@communitymedical.org.