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BIDMC Physician Appointed First Endowed Professorship

Tom Delbanco, M.D., Chief of the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has been named The Richard and Florence Koplow-James Tullis Professor of General Medicine and Primary Care, the first endowed professorship dedicated to primary care at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

  • Date: 4/25/2000
  • BIDMC Contact: Suzanne O'Brien
  • Phone: 617-975-6135

Boston-Tom Delbanco, M.D., Chief of the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has been named The Richard and Florence Koplow-James Tullis Professor of General Medicine and Primary Care, the first endowed professorship dedicated to primary care at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

A permanently endowed position in the HMS Department of Medicine, the Koplow-Tullis Professorship was established in the name of Florence and the late Richard Koplow, advocates for the improvement of primary care, and the late James L. Tullis, M.D., former Chair of Medicine at the New England Deaconess Hospital.

According to Joseph B. Martin, M.D., Dean of HMS, this professorship is a milestone in HMS's long-term commitment to primary care as an academic discipline. "The freedom of inquiry afforded by an endowed professorship will foster Tom Delbanco's already vast contributions to determining the best ways to provide primary care - a field critical to improved health care for our nation."

The Koplow-Tullis Professorship, as outlined by its benefactors, will be held by individuals who have "demonstrated fervent dedication to the dignity, involvement, and perceptions of all patients (and) have demonstrated a particular concern for the needs of the underrepresented, under-served, and economically disadvantaged."

Delbanco, who is also a Professor of Medicine at HMS, joined the staff of Beth Israel Hospital in 1971, and created one of the first nationally recognized hospital-based primary care practice and teaching programs Healthcare Associates, which provides care to more than 30,000 patients annually, and serves 400 patients with HIV infection. Delbanco also oversees a nationally renowned division of general medicine and primary care, with a staff of 55 faculty members who offer clinical care and are active in research and education in general medicine.

According to Robert Moellering, M.D., Chief of Medicine at BIDMC, this appointment is testament to Delbanco's record of accomplishment within the field of primary care as well as his contributions to and achievements within BIDMC. "It is entirely appropriate and fitting that Tom should receive the honor of this landmark appointment at Harvard Medical School. His record of accomplishment as clinician, educator, and researcher are true testimony to his national reputation as a leader in the field of primary care, and evidence of the appropriateness of this appointment."

Delbanco developed one of the first residency training programs in general internal medicine and organized the HMS-wide fellowship program to train general internists for academic careers. His areas of research interests include the role physicians play in addressing alcoholism, techniques to improve quality of care by drawing on patient experiences, and the patient-doctor relationship.

In 1978, he spent a year in the US Congress as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, working first on a health oversight committee in the House, and then with Senator Bob Dole. Delbanco has directed three Salzburg Seminars, the first on alcoholism the second on AIDS, and the third on patient focused care.

Delbanco is also the founder of the Picker Institute and Picker Institute Europe, internationally renowned not-for-profit programs that help health professionals gather patient perceptions of care and educate patients and health professionals about methods to improve care.

In 1998, he was one of the first awardees of the Harvard Medical School Deans Award for the support and advancement of women faculty, and in 1999 Delbanco was named a Master of the American College of Physicians.

One of the five founders of the Society of General Internal Medicine, an organization of 3000 physicians and social scientists in academic general internal medicine, he served as its President in 1986. He has been a Council Member of the American Public Health Association, served on the Program Committee of the Institute of Medicine, and was a director of the National Public Health and Hospitals Institute.

Delbanco is co-editor of Clinical Crossroads, a monthly case study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. He has also published numerous research papers and co-edited three books: "Alcoholism: A Guide for the Primary Care Physician," "Manual of Clinical Evaluation: Strategies for Cost Effective Care" and "Through The Patients' Eyes." He was also featured in Bill Moyer's television series and book "Healing and the Mind."

A graduate of Harvard College, Delbanco received his medical degree from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeon. He trained in internal medicine at Bellevue, Harlem, and Presbyterian Hospitals in New York.

Delbanco resides in Lexington with his wife Jill, a theatre artist, and has three children, Steven, Suzanne and Jennifer, all of whom work in the helping professions. Since his early childhood, he has been a violinist and chamber musician.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a major patient care, research and teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of CareGroup Healthcare System. BIDMC is the third largest recipient of National Institutes of Health research funding among independent U.S. teaching hospitals.