Congratulations to Drs. Weinstein and Lopez and their colleagues at teh University of Arizona and Arizona Telemedicine Program. The scale of this program and the number served as part of a public health initiative is an example for other states and universities.
Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, FCAP, director, and Ana Maria López, MD, MPH, FACP, medical director, of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, have been honored with Distinguished Service Awards by the Arizona Medical Association (ArMA).
“In the last 15 years, Arizona has seen the development of a robust telemedicine program in our state, and these two physicians have been vital to its development and success,” notes ArMA president Gary R. Figge, MD, who presented the awards on June 4 at the ArMA 2010 President’s Banquet. “The work of these two physicians has indisputably demonstrated their service and dedication to the Arizona community.”
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology to provide health-care services to patients who are geographically separated from a physician or other health-care providers. Since Drs. Weinstein and López began their work, the ATP has emerged as one of the largest telemedicine programs in the world and has received numerous national and international awards for its patient services, distance education programs, research and innovations. Patients in 70 communities statewide have received more than one million teleconsultations facilitated by the ATP. This year, 500 hours of continuing medical education and continuing education will be delivered to 34 communities using bi-directional video conferencing.
Dr. Weinstein is foundingdirector of the ATP and UA professor of pathology and public health. In 1996, he and Arizona state Rep. Robert “Bob” Burns (now state senate President Burns) established a pilot telemedicine program in Arizona. This initially consisted of eight pilot sites and included the establishment of telemedicine clinics in underserved rural communities, several Indian Health Service hospitals, and at an Arizona State Prison in Yuma. Since then, the ATP has created a large statewide broadband health-care telecommunications network, which it operates, linking dozens of health-care organizations in Arizona for the first time.
Dr. Weinstein also has been recognized for his innovations in the fields of pathology and telepathology and for creating a number of innovative education programs and courses. A Massachusetts General Hospital-trained pathologist and Harvard-trained cancer scientist, he served for 32 years as an academic pathology department chairman. While chairman of the Department of Pathology at Rush Medical College in Chicago (1975-1990), he developed robotic telepathology, introduced the word “telepathology” into the English language and authored a stream of scientific papers and books on telepathology. As chair of the Department of Pathology at the UA (1990-2007), he established an international telepathology diagnostic network and validated the diagnostic accuracy of telepathology. He is known as the “father of telepathology” and recently received the Eliphalet Nott Medal from Union College (Schenectady, New York), which recognizes “the perseverance of alumni who have attained great distinction in their field.” Previous Nott Medal Awardees have included a Nobel Laureate and the inventor of the laser. Dr. Weinstein has had a career-long interest in organized medicine and has had many leadership roles. He is past president of five national professional societies, including the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, the International Society for Urologic Pathology (ISUP) and the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). He has received Distinguished Service Awards from both the ATA and the ISUP. Dr. Weinstein also has been an innovator in other areas. He and Richard A. McNeely, former director of Biomedical Communications at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, co-designed the T-Health amphitheater in Phoenix. The T-Health amphitheater received the 21st Century Achievement Award, Education and Academia, from the Computerworld Honors Program. Dr. Weinstein is the author or co-author of more than 500 scientific articles, book chapters, monographs and published abstracts. A popular teacher, Dr. Weinstein is a recipient of the UA Basic Science Teacher-of-the-Year Lifetime Teaching Award and has been honored at five UA College of Medicine graduation ceremonies.
Dr. López is founding medical director for the ATP. She also is associate dean for outreach and multicultural affairs at the UA College of Medicine, UA professor of medicine and pathology, and a member of the Arizona Cancer Center and the UA BIO5 Institute. She serves on the board of directors of University Physicians Healthcare, the non-profit corporation created in 1985 as the medical practice of the physicians of the UA College of Medicine. She also serves as elected governor of the Arizona chapter of the American College of Physicians. In 2005, the National Library of Medicine recognized her as a Local Legend as part of a program highlighting the positive, enduring contributions of women physicians nationally to the health care of their communities.
Drs. Weinstein and López have continuously collaborated on developing and managing innovative academic programs since 1990, when Dr. López was chief resident in medicine at University Medical Center.
About the Arizona Telemedicine Program
Established in 1996, the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) is a large, multidisciplinary, university-based program that provides telemedicine services, distance learning, informatics training and telemedicine technology assessment capabilities to communities throughout Arizona and in neighboring states. A division of the ATP, the Institute for Advanced Telemedicine and Telehealth (T-Health), is housed in the historic Phoenix Union High School building on the campus of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. One of the nation’s first regional demonstration learning centers, T-Health incorporates both telemedicine and telehealth – distance learning and health care delivery – using a wide range of technologies, including real-time videoconferencing, electronic transmission of digital medical images and data and the Internet. For more information, visit the website, www.telemedicine.arizona.edu
About the Arizona Medical Association
The Arizona Medical Association is a voluntary membership organization for Arizona physicians. The mission of the Arizona Medical Association is to promote and provide leadership in the art and science of medicine; to preserve and improve the health of all people in Arizona by developing and maintaining the highest standards; to represent the physician and the profession in the public forum; and to defend the freedom and ability of the physician to practice medicine in the best interests of the patient.