Anders Receives 2011 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award

Dr. Bronwen Anders

May 31, 2011, La Jolla - Dr. Bronwen Anders, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego, was awarded the prestigious peer-nominated Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. In addition to peer-nominations, Dr. Anders was selected by a subcommittee of the School's Faculty Council as the faculty recipient of the award.

“This honor -- given by her colleagues and peers -- signifies recognition of Dr. Anders' ability to bring to patient care the highest standard of humanity and sensitivity,” shares Dr. Ravindra Mehta, Chair of UC San Diego’s Health Sciences Faculty Council.

During the past 30 years, Dr. Anders engaged a large number of students and residents to serve at community clinics in East County San Diego. Her work with students and residents has led to the development of a cluster of community clinics in East San Diego County. These clinics are currently staffed with several pediatricians who were introduced to these communities though Dr. Anders guidance. In addition, she has been the pediatric consultant to the East County American Indian clinics for 3 decades, which has led to the development of a close working relationship with native families. As a result of Dr. Anders’ mentorship, several of her previous residents are currently on the medical staff at these rural clinics.

“Dr. Bronwen Anders has had a significant and sustaining effect on the education of medical students and residents at UCSD,” says Dr. Sheila Gahagan, Chief of the Child Development and Community Health Division, at UC San Diego’s Department of Pediatrics. “Her commitment to the health care of underserved children in the poorest communities in San Diego and Baja California had been a model of humanism in medical practice.”

Dr. Anders developed close mentoring relationships with dozens of pediatric residents through her work in developing and implementing the Dyson Foundation grant sponsored program in Community Pediatrics. This training grant significantly enhanced the quality of teaching residents in the community. She mentored many students residents through community based projects in the underserved areas where she worked in San Diego County and in Mexico, and she continues to teach residents in this rotation.

Dr. Anders has been instrumental in bringing the Reach Out and Read (ROR) programs internationally. Originally a national program, ROR introduces children to books beginning at the 6-week old well child visit, thus encouraging parents to read to their children who are given a new book at each well child visit from 6 months to 5 years. Dr. Anders has directed the ROR program at community clinics throughout San Diego while involving pediatric residents in the planning and implementation efforts. She has also taken ROR abroad to northern Baja California indigenous communities and to Haiti.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation believes that a key component of medical education is compassionate and humanistic care of patients. In awarding Dr. Anders as the 2011 Faculty Winner, its mission carries on.

“I am very moved and humbled by this award,” shares Dr. Anders. “I have been more recently based in rural community clinics, so I have gone to few meetings, have not had a desk or secretary for many years, and had no expectations that this kind of work could be recognized at a higher level in the medical school. I am glad to see that the residents I have trained recognize that although medical knowledge is important, it is more effective when combined with caring for the child in the context of their families and communities.”

Written by: Shivani Singh, Sr. Writer, Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego