Dr. Lee Todd Miller was honored by the Association of American Medical Colleges for his outstanding contributions to academic medicine. The AAMC presented him with its Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award, which recognizes a faculty physician who provides compassionate mentorship and practices patient-centered care.
Chosen by AAMC's student representatives' organization, the award praises Miller for his passion as a respected role model and award-winning teacher in addressing health care disparities in underserved communities, both at home and abroad. Miller is vice chair of education in the pediatrics department at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He also is a director of the school's global health education program, which he co-founded in 2010.
As vice chair of education, Miller oversees UCLA's pediatric medical education programs, with a special interest in medical student/resident counseling and international health. Over the past 25 years, he has helped nurture the careers and global health interests of countless students and residents.
In recognition of his dedication, Miller is the unprecedented 12-time recipient of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA's Golden Apple Award selected each year by the graduating senior class. In addition, he is a two-time recipient of the medical school's Excellence in Education Award. The UCLA Chancellor also presented him with the prestigious University of California Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002.
"Dr. Miller's career is a supreme example of what doctors should aspire to become," said Dr. Neil Parker, senior associate dean for student affairs at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "His work has impacted children worldwide and inspired the thousands of students who have worked alongside him."
His impact on medical education and child health extends around the globe. He completed a sabbatical with the World Health Organization in Geneva, establishing training programs on managing diarrhea and dehydration, then the leading killer of children worldwide. Over the years he has taught in Egypt, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Myanmar and Peru, as well as wartime projects in Afghanistan and Rwanda.
"Dr. Miller was the first pediatrician to work in the refugee camps when the Rwandan genocide broke out," says Parker. Working to combat cholera, dysentery and meningitis, Miller was unable to speak openly about witnessing the horrors of the country's civil war for many years.
Miller founded a nonprofit, Partners for Pediatric Progress, which trains medical providers in low-resource communities overseas to address health care disparities in children. He has also volunteered with his students at a camp for the blind in New York.
"The magic here is that Dr. Miller brings medical students with him into these settings, combining his passions for medicine, teaching, global health and community service," said Parker. "He has had an incalculable impact on the steady stream of medical students, residents and faculty he has mentored over the years."
Miller enjoys sharing stories about his international work, in part to give students a deeper perspective of how fortunate Americans are in relation to healthcare, resources and freedom. He emphasizes that global health extends to our own backyards, as lessons learned abroad help physicians to address health care disparities here at home.
Miller is a member of several national professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academic Pediatric Association, the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics, and the Association of Pediatric Program Directors. He has co-edited and published a pediatrics textbook used widely by medical students across the country. In addition, the 12th edition of his book guiding medical students through the residency selection process was recently published.
Miller earned his bachelor's degree at Bowdoin College in 1978, and completed his medical degree in 1982 and postgraduate training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where he was appointed chief pediatrics resident.