Dr. Philip Lederer Receives the 2011 Lee Rickman Humanism in Medicine Award

Dr. Philip LedererPhilip Lederer, MD, senior resident in the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Program, received the 2011 Lee Rickman Humanism in Medicine award at Medicine Grand Rounds on June 8.

The award is given each year to the resident who most embodies the energy and devotion of Lee Rickman, MD, a UC San Diego residency program graduate and Department of Medicine faculty member who practiced infectious disease medicine with singular passion until his death in 2003.

“Phil has that same passion,” said Elaine Muchmore, MD, residency program director, in presenting the award. “It’s with pride and enthusiasm that I introduce him as this year’s Rickman award winner.”

When Dr. Lederer graduates from the program later this month, he will join the faculty as Health Sciences Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Director of the UC San Diego Department of Medicine’s Maputo Central Hospital Educational Collaboration.

Living in Maputo, Mozambique, he will be the on-site UC San Diego faculty attending for residents on global medicine elective rotation.

He will play a major role in the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which unites UC San Diego and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in an effort to build sustainable, local capacity for educating doctors in Mozambique and southeast Africa.

In accepting the Rickman award, Dr. Lederer reflected on the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Thirty-five million people have died of AIDS, he said, and 75 million have been infected since the epidemic began, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa carries 24% of the world’s disease burden but has only 3% of the world’s trained medical professionals, he said.

As clinical director in Mozambique, he will direct both UC San Diego and UEM residents in their training. He will also play myriad roles in the process of strengthening the UEM training program and developing research collaborations on topics of greatest concern to Mozambique.

He concluded his remarks by introducing Drs. Clotilde Nhatave Paiva and Ermenia Miguel Muthambe, internal medicine residents from the UEM training program in Maputo who are currently on rotation here at UC San Diego.

“They are the future,” Dr. Lederer said.

About Dr. Lederer

Dr. Lederer received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has sought out opportunities for service in health and social justice since 2003, when he served as a full-time diabetes educator in a community health center after he graduated from Brown University.

In 2005, he co-founded the Guatemala Health Initiative to bring together University of Pennsylvania students and Guatemalan communities in efforts to improve public health, focusing on the Tz’utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán.

During his residency, Dr. Lederer has completed both the global medicine rotation in Mozambique and the Global Health in Local Populations rotation in San Diego.

He is currently conducting research studies in HPV and conjunctival cancer, rapid diagnostics for tuberculosis, and bacteremia in Mozambique.
About Dr. Rickman

Leland Rickman, MD, was a UC San Diego infectious disease specialist who graduated from the Internal Medicine Residency Program here in 1983. He completed his fellowship training in infectious diseases at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and served in naval hospitals until he returned to UC San Diego to join the Department of Medicine faculty in 1990.

Dr. Muchmore met Dr. Rickman at that time.

“I was struck by his passion for teaching and for clinical care and his meticulous attention to details,” she said. “He was a font of knowledge.”

Dr. Rickman was appointed Hospital Epidemiologist and Medical Director of the Epidemiology Unit in 1993.

“He dedicated himself to being the infection control physician for the hospital,” Dr. Muchmore said. “He bird-dogged things in a way that was truly awe inspiring.”

He received more UC San Diego teaching awards than anyone in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Muchmore said. The San Diego County Medical Society’s Physician Citizen of the Year award in 2003 was one of many acknowledgments of his service to the community.

Dr. Rickman died in June 2003 while traveling in Lesotho, Africa, to train local medical personnel in AIDS treatment and prevention. In that effort, he was working with Dr. Wm. Christopher Mathews, UC San Diego Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Owen Clinic.

“His loss was not only to those of us at UCSD but to the world,” said Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the time.

Dr. Kaushansky and the residency program faculty established the Rickman award in his honor in 2003.