Lisa K. Fitzpatrick, M.D., M.P.H., ’92, associate professor of medicine at Howard University and a board certified infectious diseases physician, received the 2011 UMKC School of Medicine E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award on Friday, May 26 during the annual lecture in Theater A for her work as a leader in public health program development, management and community outreach, and in the field of HIV/AIDS research.
Fitzpatrick discussed her experiences in her lecture, “From UMKC to CDC: Lessons Learned on a Journey to Improve the Nation’s Health.”
Fitzpatrick serves as a consultant/technical advisor to the Washington, D.C., Department of Health, where she assists in developing and coordinating programs for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the District.
She currently serves as medical director of HIV Services at the United Medical Center in Southeast Washington, D.C., and was recently appointed to the Mayor’s commission on AIDS. She is a lecturer for medical students, residents and post-graduate fellows, and a direct care provider for HIV outpatient services with the Center for Infectious Diseases Management, as well as a researcher.
Fitpatrick said much of her work during the past 10 years has center on investigating HIV/AIDS and particularly why transmission and spread of the disease continues.
(Listen to a portion of the 2011 Take Wing lecture by Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick.)
“We found that people were engaging in unsafe behaviors because they were feeling hopeless. Sometimes there were links to poverty. Sometimes there were links to sexually transmitted infections,” she said. “But the one sobering piece of information we got from these investigations is the hopelessness that people have about HIV even though they know HIV is out there. They either think it’s their fate. They think it’s something that’s going to happen to them inevitably.”
The American Hospital Association recognized Fitzpatrick earlier this year with the Grassroots Champion Award for her work in establishing the first infectious diseases outpatient center in the safety net hospitals for the poor and underserved in Washington, D.C. The author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and a go-to source for journalists reporting on HIV/AIDS, she has been referred to as “a disease detective” and a “medical CIA agent.” Ebony magazine recognized her in 2000 as one of the 21 emerging leaders for the 21st century.
After graduating from the School of Medicine, Fitzpatrick did her residency training in internal medicine at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, completed an infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and earned a master’s degree in public health at the University of California-Berkley School of Public Health.
During her career, Fitzpatrick has worked in leadership roles both nationally and internationally in the fight against HIV/AIDS. She served as a consultant with the U.S. Department of State on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Ethiopia and with the CDC as Chief of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in the Caribbean Region, Global AIDS Program. During those times, she provided leadership and technical expertise to the ministries of health, universities, medical institutions and other non-government organizations on HIV/AIDS and other public health issues. Prior to that, she served as a medical epidemiologist in the Division of HIV/AIDS prevention with the CDC, where she designed and supervised HIV/AIDS epidemiologic and prevention research targeting high-risk populations.
She also served as a medical epidemiologist with the San Francisco Department of Health, Office of AIDS, where she designed and implemented a health curriculum for incarcerated young adults and initiated dialogue on HIV/AIDS-related public health collaboration efforts between the San Francisco and Oakland Departments of Health.