Bernard Ewigman appointed chairman of family medicine at University of Chicago

September 30, 2002

Bernard G. Ewigman, M.D., M.S.P.H., a pioneer in applying the specialized tools of clinical epidemiology to the fields of primary care and family practice, has been appointed chairman of the department of family medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, beginning September 1.

Ewigman, 50, comes to the University of 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.

"Dr. Ewigman combines his talents for clinical medicine and team-building with considerable research experience in the growing discipline of family medicine," said James Madara, M.D., Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Chicago.

The department of family medicine was established at the University of Chicago 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, he said. The department will provide medical students, family practice residents and fellows the opportunity to develop careers in academic family medicine, and will support the MacNeal Family Practice Residency program in Berwyn, where Pritzker medical students do their required third year family practice clerkship.

"The University of Chicago 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. It also has flourishing three-year family practice residency program, the oldest in Illinois, accepting 12 physicians each year.

"The chance to start a new department in 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 (FPIN). FPIN is a national academic consortium of universities dedicated to using information technology to translate best research evidence into practice at the point of care and to the generation of new research evidence from practice.

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 medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine in 1979. He completed a three-year residency in family practice and earned a master's degree in public health 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.

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