Dec. 5, 2002
Vol. 22 No. 5

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    Specialist in epidemiology appointed as Chairman, Professor of Family Medicine

    By John Easton
    Medical Center Public Affairs

    Bernard Ewigman, a pioneer in applying the specialized tools of clinical epidemiology to the fields of primary care and family practice, has been appointed Chairman and Professor of Family Medicine at the University Medical Center. He began his appointment Tuesday, Sept. 1.

    Ewigman, 50, comes to Chicago from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he was a professor and director of the Center for Family Medicine Science. Ewigman has done seminal studies on the outcomes of ultrasound diagnosis among pregnant women and on the epidemiology and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

    The University established the Department of Family Medicine in 2000 with the help of a $5 million grant from the MacNeal Health Foundation. Most departments of family medicine have a strong clinical practice focus, but Chicago’s will have a strong research focus, Ewigman said. The department will provide medical students, family practice residents and fellows with the opportunity to develop careers in academic family medicine while supporting the MacNeal Family Practice Residency program in Berwyn, Ill., where Pritzker medical students do their required third-year family practice clerkship.

    “The University provides many of the interdisciplinary research and clinical resources we will need to quickly become a significant national presence,” said Ewigman. “It has established strengths in internal medicine, health studies, human genetics, cancer and many related areas such as sociology and economics–all disciplines that interact with family medicine researchers.

    The University also has a three-year family practice residency program, the oldest in Illinois, accepting 12 physicians each year. “The chance to start a new department at a great University is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Ewigman. “My fellow chairs, the faculty, medical students and staff have been extraordinarily gracious and helpful. I am thrilled to be here.”

    The author of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, Ewigman is a consulting editor for the Journal of Family Practice and the founder, president and editor-in-chief of the Family Practice Inquiries Network.

    He has served as the principal investigator of several research projects, including the NIH-sponsored RADIUS trial, which focused on routine antenatal diagnostic imaging with ultrasound. He has won numerous research and teaching awards and honors, most notably the Pew Primary Care Research Award, given to one leading primary care researcher from the fields of general internal medicine, general pediatrics or family practice.

    Ewigman graduated magna cum laude from the University of Kansas in 1974 and earned his M.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine in 1979.

    He completed a three-year residency in family practice and earned an M.P.H. at Missouri University.

    After spending a summer as a team leader for Operation Crossroads, a medical mission to Sierra Leone, West Africa, he completed a two-year Robert Wood Johnson fellowship in academic family practice, then joined the faculty at the University of Missouri in 1985.