Rochester Physician Wins Distinguished Award for Advancing College Health Services

June 08, 2006

Ralph Manchester, M.D., F.A.C.P.

A University of Rochester Medical Center physician who has championed the “open access” and primary care provider models of health care delivery for college students has received one of the American College Health Association’s highest honors.

Ralph Manchester, M.D., F.A.C.P., associate professor of Medicine and director of University Health Service (UHS), was honored with the distinguished Edward Hitchcock Award at the recent annual meeting of the American College Health Association (ACHA) in New York City. The award honors ACHA members who have made outstanding contributions to advancing the health of all college students, and is named in memory of Edward C. Hitchcock, Jr., M.D., who founded the first college health service in 1861.

Under Manchester’s direction, in 1999 the University of Rochester became one of the first in the country to assign to each student a primary care physician (PCP) or nurse practitioner (NP) to coordinate and oversee his or her care while attending school.  This “open access” or primary care provider model of health care delivery successfully links students with their PCP or NP about 75 percent of the time at Rochester, and is increasingly becoming the standard of care at colleges and universities nationwide.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by my peers, and is an especially poignant award for me, as my mentor, previous UHS Director Dr. Cliff Reifler, is also a recipient of this award,” Manchester said. “I hope to continue making contributions to this very important field.”

Manchester’s award comes at a time when he is taking on additional responsibility at the Medical Center. In May 2006, he was appointed chief of the General Medicine Division, which provides general primary care services and oversees internal medicine residency training at Strong Memorial Hospital. He has been actively involved in UHS since joining the Department of Medicine in 1983. He was appointed medical chief of UHS and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in 1985.  In 1994, he became the director of UHS.

In addition to his duties at UHS and the Medical Center, Manchester has taken on leadership roles at several national associations.  He has served as President of the ACHA, the New York State College Health Association and the Performing Arts Medicine Association. In addition, he has chaired the ACHA Clinical Medicine Section, Continuing Medical Education Subcommittee, and Continuing Education Committee. Manchester is the editor of Medical Problems of Performing Artists and is a consulting editor for the Journal of American College Health.

He received a bachelor of science degree from Tufts University, and a medical degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine.  He completed his residency training at the University of Kentucky, where he served as chief medical resident from 1982-83. Manchester is an author or co-author of over 20 articles in peer-reviewed publications. 

The ACHA, the nation’s principal advocate and leadership organization for college and university health, represents a diverse membership that provides and supports the delivery of health care and prevention and wellness services for the nation’s 16 million college students.

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