Joseph Mazziotta, MD

FMA Member Physician highlight

Joseph Mazziotta, MD, receives 2024 Outstanding Physician Award

By Shannon Boyle, Capital Medical Society Communications and Event Coordinator

The Capital Medical Society (CMS) recently honored FMA member Joseph Mazziotta, MD, of Tallahassee, as the recipient of its 2024 Thomas L. Hicks, MD Outstanding Physician Award. This award is presented annually to a physician who has been a leader within the medical field and organized medicine while demonstrating clinical excellence and actively contributing to the education of future physicians.

Dr. Mazziotta is a board-certified family physician with additional certifications in HIV medicine and wound care. The youngest of five children, he was born and raised in New Jersey before moving with his family to Cape Coral during his junior year of high school. Dr. Mazziotta attended Edison Community College (now Florida SouthWestern State College) in Fort Myers and the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in biology.

In 1992, Dr. Mazziotta earned his medical degree from the USF Morsani College of Medicine. His initial interest was emergency medicine, but after clinical rotations, he realized that a priority for him was to have the ability to track a patient’s long-term care and know “the rest of the story.” It was in his final year of medical school that he decided to pursue family medicine, and he completed his residency at the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. There, he served as chief resident from 1994 to 1995 and was awarded the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Resident Teacher Award for demonstrating skills and interest in family medicine education. This is when his love for teaching began.

After residency, Dr. Mazziotta served as an attending physician in the United States Air Force for four years. He was assigned to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He also served as medical director of the smoking cessation program and was active in the physician assistant training program, earning the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1997 and 1999.

He was twice deployed to the Middle East. In 1996, Dr. Mazziotta was sent to Al-Aqaba, Jordan, with the Humanitarian Civic Action Program. The following year, he was sent to Cairo, Egypt, with the Operation Bright Star Joint Task Force. There, he served as the assistant chief of emergency services for the Air Transportable Hospital (ATH). The ATH is a series of self-sufficient, interconnecting, expandable hardened shelters, sized to fit inside standard U.S. Air Force transport aircrafts and developed to provide primary emergency care and stabilization of patients prior to their evacuation to the definitive medical care facility. Following each of his deployments, he was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal for his notable achievements and exemplary service. 

In 1999, following his four-year military service, Dr. Mazziotta’s passion for teaching future physicians led him to return to the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program as a faculty member. He remained on faculty until 2015, when Donald Zorn, MD, announced his retirement and recruited Dr. Mazziotta to assume leadership of the program. Since the residency program’s inception over 50 years ago, there have been more than 500 residency graduates. Dr. Mazziotta has been instrumental in teaching and training over half of them. “I’m grateful to have been a part of it and for the opportunity to create policy to improve the next generation of physicians that our community wants and needs,” he said.

In addition to his residency program director role, Dr. Mazziotta serves on the clinical assistant faculty at the Florida State University College of Medicine, the clinical faculty at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, and as an adjunct clinical professor at the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Mazziotta has always had a heart for the underserved. He has been caring for HIV patients his entire medical career and has personally managed their care in the office and the hospital. Dr. Mazziotta also teaches HIV care to residents through the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. In 2012, he gained certification from the American Academy of HIV Medicine. He is an Advisory Board Member for Big Bend Cares, a non-profit agency assisting people living with HIV. He also serves as an attending physician at the HIV clinic at Big Bend Cares’ healthcare facility, Care Point Health and Wellness Center. He personifies the words of Sir William Osler: “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”

In 2005, Dr. Mazziotta teamed up with Dan Kaelin, MD, and Thomas Lawhorn, MD, to open the Tallahassee Memorial Wound Healing Center. At the time, it was the busiest wound care center in the state of Florida. He has cared for many patients with chronic wounds and does so with patience, persistence, and skill.

Along with his dedication to the clinical, administrative, and educational aspects of medicine, he is a leader in disaster planning and emergency management. His curiosity in this field began during his training in biological warfare with the Air Force. Throughout his career, he has prioritized researching and educating the medical community when disasters infiltrate the United States, including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the anthrax attacks, and the COVID-19 pandemic. He is also on the front lines in the aftermath of natural disasters. He has organized groups to assist other communities stricken by hurricanes, particularly in the gulf coast region, bringing basic supplies and medical resources. 

“Joe has always wanted to have as many tools in his toolbox as possible to help patients,” said Dr. Zorn, Dr. Mazziotta’s friend, colleague, and predecessor. “A go-getter with a huge heart, he has excelled far beyond the typical family physician.”
Dr. Mazziotta has been involved in international and local missions. Locally, he volunteered with Ability First to build ramps to help people with disabilities access their homes. He enlisted medical students and residents to assist him to learn the value and reward of serving. Internationally, he has traveled to Belize, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Nicaragua for medical mission work, and he often takes medical students and residents with him. 

“The highlight of my mission trips has been to see first-timers experience the work and witness the compassion and selflessness for those less fortunate,” he said. Dr. Mazziotta and his wife, Danielle, are proud parents to three children, all of whom have accompanied him on at least one of his medical mission trips.

In those rare moments when Dr. Mazziotta is not caring for patients, teaching medical students or residents, attending committee meetings, or assisting in international medicine, he enjoys spending time with his family and “building things.” His most recent accomplishment was building a cabin from the ground up on “Island 23,” located on Lake Iamonia in Leon County. This weekend-only project took seven years to complete, but it quickly became his favorite place to relax, unwind, and recharge.

The Capital Medical Society congratulates Dr. Mazziotta. He exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding leader and physician.