Medicine Honors Former Chancellor Philip R. Lee
The Institute of Medicine
(IOM) will present the Gustav O. Lienhard Award for the advancement of personal health
services to Philip R. Lee, MD, former UCSF Chancellor and emeritus professor at the
Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies.
Lee is being honored for his outstanding and unique contributions to improving personal
health services as a practitioner, advocate, researcher, policymaker, administrator, and
public leader. The award will be presented October 16 at the IOM annual meeting in
Lee has devoted his long and distinguished career to improving health care in this
country and around the world. After receiving his medical training at Stanford University
and completing fellowships at Bellevue Medical Center in New York City and the Mayo Clinic
in Rochester, Minn., Lee joined the staff of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, a renowned
group practice founded by his father. While primarily practicing internal medicine, he
began a strong involvement in the larger policy issues affecting health care, especially
for the elderly and disabled. During his tenure at the clinic, he helped develop Channing
House, an early model for congregate living for the elderly that became nationally
recognized and widely emulated.
In 1963 Lee turned his attention to world health issues and was appointed director of
health services at the Office of Technical Cooperation and Research, Agency for
International Development, in the US Department of State. In this position, he drafted US
policy on international family planning services, helped strengthen the agency's health
and nutrition program, and earned the agency's Superior Honor Award.
Lee played a distinguished, prominent health-policy role in Washington in the
mid-1960s, a time that saw the greatest expansion and improvement in personal health
services in US history. He was one of a handful of physicians who supported the
establishment of Medicare. Lee moved to the US Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare in 1965 as deputy assistant secretary, and later that year he worked with the
commissioner of Social Security and the Bureau of Health Insurance in establishing
policies on physician payment and quality assurance. In addition, he worked with the
Social Security Administration in applying the Civil Rights Act to desegregate hospitals,
chaired the Task Force on Prescription Drugs, and established the National Center for
Health Services Research. He was awarded the Secretary's Special Citation in 1969.
As Chancellor of UCSF, beginning in 1969, Lee helped encourage the development of
strong affirmative-action programs, making the University a national leader with respect
to the proportion of minority student enrollment. In 1972, Lee established the UCSF Health
Policy Program, which today has more than 150 faculty and staff, and houses training
programs sponsored by leading public and private organizations. Although a large number of
universities have programs modeled after UCSF's, its program is considered to be
Lee also has been an outstanding leader in policies affecting health care services at
the local and state levels. He has served on the advisory board of the San Francisco City
and County Health Department, and saw the department address a wide range of health care
issues, from the spread of the AIDS epidemic to problems related to toxic substances. At
the state level, Lee has served as an adviser to various state government officials and
members of the legislature.
In 1986 Lee was selected to be the first chairman of the newly established Physician
Payment Review Commission, charged by Congress to develop recommendations for changing the
methods used to pay physicians under the Medicare program. From 1993 to 1997, he returned
to Washington to serve once more as assistant secretary of health.
The Gustav O. Lienhard Award is funded by an endowment from the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation. Gustav O. Lienhard was chair of the foundation's board of trustees from the
organization's establishment in 1971 to his retirement in 1986. Lienhard, who died in
1987, had built his career with Johnson & Johnson Co., beginning as an accountant and
retiring 39 years later as president.
This year's ceremony marks the 15th presentation of the award, which includes a medal
and a $25,000 prize.