reprinted from Issue 16, Spring 2013 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)
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Stephen J. McPhee, a founding member of the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM), has been a beloved and highly respected clinician, educator and researcher during his 31-year career at UCSF. As tribute to his exceptional legacy, more than 250 colleagues, friends, family and trainees contributed funds to create the Stephen J. McPhee, MD Endowed Chair, which will be awarded to a faculty member in the DGIM who shares McPhee’s dedication to patient care, education, and research.
"Dr. McPhee has been an inspirational teacher and doctor, and has really been part of the fabric of the division," says Steven Schroeder, MD, the founding chief of the DGIM who hired McPhee in 1980. Schroeder is currently the Distinguished Professor of Health and Health Care and directs the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center. "When he had to step down, I thought it would be nice to create a lasting memory in his honor. That led quite logically to the thought of establishing a chair, and it has been wonderful to see the resultant outpouring of support."
"Steve [McPhee] has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of medicine, and was very accessible," says Ross Jaffe, MD, who trained under McPhee as a UCSF resident in the mid-1980s. "If you had a challenging case, to sit down and talk with Steve for 10 minutes about it was a wonderful educational experience. He has been a great role model and mentor to generations of internal medicine residents at UCSF."
Jaffe is a co-founder and a managing director of Versant Ventures, a health care-focused venture capital firm. He and his wife, Eve Epstein Jaffe, LCSW, a former UCSF clinical social worker, made a significant early gift to the endowed chair fund. "When Steve Schroeder approached me, the answer immediately was, ‘Yes – how can I help?’ By donating to this chair in Steve McPhee’s honor, we hope to support other faculty members who will make similar valuable contributions to clinical care, education and research at UCSF."
McPhee’s accomplishments at UCSF were manifold. Beloved by his patients, he was a consummate general internist, and received recognition as a Department of Medicine Master Clinician. In 1999, he co-founded the UCSF Palliative Care Service, including the Comfort Care Suites. From 2000-2008, McPhee co-edited "Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life," a landmark series in the Journal of the American Medical Association, later published as a textbook, Care at the Close of Life.
He has been an outstanding teacher and mentor to hundreds of UCSF residents and junior faculty. He served as one of the first directors of the primary care general internal medicine residency program, and received the first UCSF Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award. He is a leading editor of core clinical textbooks, including Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment, a bestselling general medical text for practicing physicians published annually in 11 languages, and The Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests and Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine for medical students, among others.
He has been the principal investigator on nearly 70 grants and contracts, with a primary focus on disease prevention and palliative care. In 1986, he co-founded the UCSF Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project, a research program for which he received the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service in 2003.
"This endowment is not just a personal honor, but also a gift back to the Division of General Internal Medicine," says McPhee. "We need more such chairs, because without primary care, you don’t really have good clinical care for patients.... The Affordable Care Act relies on having a supply of primary care physicians, and in order to do that, we need to train them. That is something we have done very well at UCSF for more than 30 years."