Two University of Chicago physicians elected to National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine today announced that University of Chicago physicians Melissa Lynn Gilliam, MD, MPH, and David Owen Meltzer, MD, PhD, have been elected to membership in the Academy.  

Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. It recognizes individuals who have made major contributions and demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.  

"Each of these physician-scientists has an impressive track record of innovative approaches to difficult clinical, social and economic problems," said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean, Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. "They are talented and caring doctors who are also committed to finding better ways to treat disease, reduce discrimination and make the best use of available resources."

Gilliam, the University's dean for diversity and inclusion, a professor in the departments of obstetrics & gynecology and pediatrics, and section chief of family planning and contraceptive research at the University of Chicago, is an authority on contraception and adolescent health.

As a physician, she addresses the gynecologic needs of girls and adolescents, with an emphasis on youth of color, sexual minorities and young people at risk for poor sexual and reproductive health. Much of her work focuses on "marginalized populations, reduction of health disparities through community-based interventions, and efforts to increase diversity and improve health policy," she said.

She also heads the University's Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) and is cofounder of the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab, which designs educational games and digital media projects for youth.

Meltzer is a professor in the departments of medicine, economics and the Harris School of Public Policy. He also serves as director of the Center for Health and the Social Sciences, chair of the Committee on Clinical and Translational Science, and director of the University of Chicago Urban Health Lab.

His research uses economic analysis to address problems in health economics and public policy with a focus on the cost and quality of care, especially in teaching hospitals. He is a national leader in the study of the relatively new specialty of hospital medicine. He heads the Hospitalist Scholars Program at the University of Chicago, which provides training in this field and examines the economic forces that have fueled growth of this specialty.

He also pioneered the development of the Comprehensive Care Physician (CCP) model, in which physicians provide inpatient and outpatient care for patients at increased risk of hospitalization to leverage the power of the doctor–patient relationship to improve outcomes while controlling costs.

"A major focus of the National Academy of Medicine is the idea of collecting data from routine practice and using that data to inform care," he said. His team has been collecting such information since 1997. This data has influenced "how we train hospitalists and develop models to improve patient care."

Formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is an honorific and advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, it is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.  

With the two new appointments, there are now 13 current or emeritus University of Chicago faculty members who belong to the NAM. This year's selection of 70 regular and 10 international members raises NAM's total active membership to1,826.