122220 LVMC Raoufi

Dr. Rahim Raoufi is the 2020 Lompoc Valley Medical Center physician of the year.

Gastroenterologist Rahim Raoufi has been named 2020 Lompoc Valley Medical Center physician of the year for his commitment to teamwork and patient services.

Employees cast votes for the physician they believe exemplifies the district’s values and maintains the trust of the community, patients and residents, said a hospital spokeswoman, noting that comments offered by staff in nomination forms were extensive.

Some qualities ascribed to the physician include a caring and compassionate nature, being a patient advocate and a tireless work ethic.

“This doctor is fantastic with patients as well as staff,” noted one nomination. “He is always upbeat and positive with all he comes in contact with. He also never forgets a face.”

Another nomination said Raoufi is worthy and epitomizes the hospital's mission, providing safe and high-quality services to the community.

"His main focus is the patient. He doesn’t hesitate to refer them on to a specialist if needed," the nominee added. "He deserves the honor and recognition.”

Hospital Chief Executive Officer Steve Popkin called the award “very well-deserved,” the spokeswoman said.

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“People should absolutely take this vaccine,” Chief of Medical Staff Dr. William Pierce said. “There will be side effects. The greater good is served if as many people as possible get this vaccine. I wanted to be right up there. It helps me feel very safe working in a hospital with COVID patients.”

Raoufi, a married father of two who began his practice in Lompoc in 2012, read a handful of the almost 50 nomination comments presented in a scroll.

“I really appreciate it,” Raoufi said. “I have to say I really like working here. I have a great team. Without my team, I wouldn’t be successful.”

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record.