Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards

The President’s Award for Diversity and Humanism in Clinical Care

This award honors clinical faculty members who best embody the humanistic spirit of patient-centered medicine, both through clinical excellence and in outstanding compassion in the delivery of care. The recipients extend respect to patients, their families, and health care colleagues and lead by example in ethics, empathy, and an exceptional awareness of the value of diversity and inclusion.

The 2018 Winner:

Elizabeth Paulk, M.D.

Internal Medicine – General Internal Medicine 
Program Director, Palliative Care Fellowship Program
Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Paulk has dedicated her career to serving the most vulnerable patients. She completed her internship and residency programs at UT Southwestern Medical Center. After seeing the needs of indigent and underfunded patients who relied on emergency department care for pain and comfort issues at the end of their lives, she became passionate about helping the underserved.

On her own initiative, Dr. Paulk sought training in palliative care at Harvard in 2000 and then began the first palliative care service at Parkland Hospital. The service grew to become the busiest in the hospital, which led to her initiating an outpatient clinic – one of the first of its kind in the country. 

Her aim is to create teaching and mentoring programs to help sustain and spread excellence in care that is equal across all populations, and that desire has materialized across campus. She is nationally recognized in her specialty and complimented by colleagues for her kindness, creativity, and dogged pursuit of providing excellent palliative care. 

A graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Paulk joined the UTSW faculty in 1999. She holds the Distinguished Professorship in Palliative Care, in Honor of Steven Leach, M.D.

In her words: “I am so grateful and honored to have been recognized with the President’s Award for Diversity and Humanism in Clinical Care. When I first approached Dr. Gary Reed [Associate Dean, Quality, Safety and Outcomes Education] and the Parkland administration about this project at the beginning of my third year of residency, they really took a chance on me, and ever since then, both Parkland and UT Southwestern have supported me 100 percent in the mission to strive for excellence in care across all populations. Palliative care is very much a team sport, and I would never have been able to accomplish what I have without the help of the extraordinary Parkland Palliative Care team and the leadership of Dr. Steve Leach. This award is really for all of us.”