Lisa Fizpatrick, M.D., ’92, increasing health literacy, improving outcomes for the underserved

Since 1971, nearly 4,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States have received their degrees from the UMKC School of Medicine. As a lead up to our Gold Jubilee 50th anniversary event on June 4, we are spotlighting some of our alumni who embody the school’s spirit and excellence in medical education and patient care.

Today, we catch up with Lisa Fitzpatrick, M.D., ’92, an internal medicine physician specializing in public health and infectious disease. She began her service in public health as a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) and subsequently was a foreign diplomat in the Caribbean and former chief medical officer for the Washington, D.C. Medicaid program.

Where are you working today?

I live in Washington, D.C. I recently gave up my clinic practice for now and work for myself as founder and CEO of a digital health media company for underserved communities called Grapevine Health.

Would you share one of your most fond memories of the UMKC School of Medicine?

This has to be my first patient on DoRo. I still remember him and can picture him sitting in the corner in his room in his bathrobe. He had Wernicke’s aphasia and he tickled me so much as a new student. I had never experienced someone with this kind of speech disorder. I’d ask him a question and he would respond with random responses that meant nothing. He was a great first patient to have. Easily some of the relationships I formed during med school changed my life.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you learned at the UMKC School of Medicine?

Rely on your clinical intuition. In today’s environment there is low value placed on the physical exam and it makes me very sad. I even have community members asking me why doctors no longer do physical exams or touch them. This is even pre pandemic. I think the physical exam is a lost art, as is looking at your own chest X-rays and I appreciate these skills instilled in me at UMKC.

What is something about you that people may not know?

I have changed very little since medical school as a person but now consider myself a global citizen which has made me more compassionate, selfless and worldly.