Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards

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

This award honors clinical faculty who exemplify the humanistic spirit of patient-centered medicine, both through clinical excellence and in outstanding compassion in the delivery of care.

See our Past Clinical Excellence Award Winners

The 2023 Winner:

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Ellen Kitchell, M.D.

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine

As the Medical Director of HIV Clinical Services at Parkland Health, Dr. Ellen Kitchell brings an unwavering dedication to providing the highest level of care to a patient population that is often stigmatized.

“Her patients adore her,” said one nominator. “They praise both her medical care and her nurturing skills. She has a way of lifting them up when they are feeling most vulnerable.”

Her patient panel of more than 400 individuals has an HIV viral suppression rate of 90%, demonstrating how successful she is at keeping her patients engaged in their care.

“She is flexible about appointment times for patients who have difficulty getting to the clinic,” the nominator wrote. “When patients fail to show up for an appointment, she calls them to see if they can do a virtual visit. She is highly knowledgeable about resources for the HIV community and educates patients about where they can seek assistance for their unique needs.”

Another nominator said that during the 13 years that Dr. Kitchell has been on faculty, no individual has worked harder to provide compassionate, patient-centered care for Parkland patients living with HIV.

“Some doctors go the extra mile, but she goes an extra thousand miles, adding extra clinics, working with community resources, all in service of her patients,” the nominator wrote.

Dr. Kitchell responded quickly to the monkeypox (mpox) epidemic, which heavily affected patients with HIV, mobilizing and training clinical staff and lobbying hospital administration to expedite the acquisition of mpox medicine.

Based on this track record of service and compassion, Dr. Kitchell was honored as the Parkland Physician of the Year in 2023.

Dr. Kitchell’s leadership in the HIV community extends beyond the hospital. HIV Clinical Services at Parkland Health, where she is the Medical Director, is one of the largest Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program medical homes in the country. Over 6,000 HIV patients fall under the Parkland HIV clinic umbrella. As its Medical Director, she works together with a wide range of providers including physicians, social workers, financial counselors, and pharmacists, creating innovative solutions to improve the care of patients with HIV and eventually end the epidemic. She is a community advocate and volunteer with Agape Clinic, Fast-Track Cities, Dallas HIV Task Force, and the AIDS Walk South Dallas. She also participates in national advocacy efforts with the Infectious Diseases Society of America and HIV Medicine Association.

Dr. Kitchell earned her medical degree at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. She completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in infectious diseases at UT Southwestern. She serves as UTSW’s HIV fellowship Program Director and happily welcomes learners at all levels to train in the field. One of her greatest accomplishments is successfully recruiting multiple trainees to HIV medicine, cultivating the next generation of idealistic caretakers.

Concluded one nominator: “I have watched her advocate tirelessly for access to transformative therapies such as PrEP [a preventive HIV medication] and long-acting antiretrovirals for years on end because she believes that every patient at Parkland deserves the very best that modern medicine has to offer. I have seen her invest time and sweat equity everywhere, from the poorest neighborhoods of Dallas to the halls of our state and federal legislatures, to argue that we can never give up on our efforts to stop this terrible HIV virus.”

In her words: “Love,” said theologian Carter Heyward, “is a willingness to participate with others in the healing of a broken world.” I am honored to serve on a team driven by compassion, striving toward a day when there will be no more HIV. The community of Parkland and UTSW leadership; my amazing colleagues, including the entire HIV services team; our trainees that make me so hopeful for the future; and the incredible patients whom I have been blessed to walk with on their journeys – inspire and challenge me with their diverse backgrounds and viewpoints every day. The end of the epidemic is in sight, and if we keep working together, we will defeat HIV.

Leaders in Clinical Excellence video: Dr. Ellen Kitchell