Thomas L. Campbell, M.D., has chosen to step down as chair of the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Family Medicine in July 2019, having served as the department’s leader for 15 years. Jeffrey Lyness, M.D., senior associate dean for Academic Affairs, will lead the national search for a successor.
Renowned for his work on the influence of the family on health, Dr. Campbell was first attracted to Rochester’s biopsychosocial model as a resident nearly 40 years ago. Following a behavioral and psychosocial medicine fellowship with pioneer George Engel, M.D., and family therapy training in the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Campbell rose quickly through the URMC ranks, becoming a full professor of both Family Medicine and Psychiatry in 1998. After serving a year as interim chair, in 2004 he was named the William Rocktaschel Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine.
“During his tenure as chair, Tom has built one of the most highly regarded Family Medicine programs in the nation,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of URMC and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The fact that more than 10 percent of this year’s Medical School graduates chose to pursue residencies in Family Medicine speaks to the positive experiences provided by Tom and his faculty. The Department’s research into issues such as health care disparities and mindfulness have been game-changing for the field. I appreciate Tom’s remarkable leadership these past 15 years.”
“I believe it is time for new ideas, new energy and new leadership for the Department of Family Medicine,” Dr. Campbell said. “It has been and continues to be an enormous honor and pleasure to serve as the chair of this Department and to lead such a talented group of faculty. I am ready for a new phase in my professional and personal life. I plan to continue to provide vigorous leadership over these next 15 months and continue to develop and sustain innovative clinical, educational and research projects.” Dr. Campbell plans to apply for an academic leave, after which he will return to continue patient care and teaching.
In his early years at URMC, Dr. Campbell spearheaded the development of a psychosocial medicine curriculum for primary care, working with family psychologist Susan McDaniel, Ph.D. “Tom integrated mental health into the Family Medicine clinic in 1985, more than two decades before it was recognized as the gold standard of comprehensive care,” said McDaniel, who is vice chair of Family Medicine and the Dr. Laurie Sands Distinguished Professor of Family Health in the Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Campbell’s tenure as chair has been marked by significant growth of the Department, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. He oversaw primary care practice transformation at Highland Family Medicine, training for team-based care for Family Medicine residents and other health professionals, and a research program focused on health disparities and physician-patient communication.
“Tom Campbell has been a great leader and advocate for his faculty and the department’s clinical practice,” said Paul C. Levy, M.D., Charles A. Dewey Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine. “I truly admire how he has led efforts to improve the care of some of our community’s most vulnerable patients and woven those efforts into his educational programs.”
Progress at Highland Family Medicine, which serves more than 25,000 patients annually, included three major expansion projects aimed at serving more patients and extending the program’s reach into the community. In addition, the practice achieved National Committee for Quality Assurance certification as a Level 3 Certification as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, a reflection of efforts to enhance population-based care, community outreach and greater access to care. It is among 30 practices nationwide selected as an Exemplar Primary Care Practice by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Group Health Research Institute for innovations in care and exemplary teamwork, and one of 15 chosen to participate in two Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation grants to transform health care in the Finger Lakes region.
“Primary care has shifted from the margins of American medicine to a central guiding force during the time of Dr. Campbell’s service,” McDaniel said. “His leadership of the department brought the creativity, energy, financial accountability and advocacy that we needed during this time of enormous change. Speaking for the faculty, we are grateful for these many years of dedication to the department, to the discipline, and to the development of primary care regionally and nationally.”
Recognized nationally for his vision and leadership, Dr. Campbell is a past president of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine and former chair of the Council of Academic Family Medicine, which represents the four academic family medicine organizations. He is currently on the Board of Family Medicine for America’s Health, formed by eight family medicine organizations to develop and implement a strategic plan for Family Medicine.
He is the author of several influential, definitive reviews for the National Institute of Mental Health on the role of family in health and mental health care, including a 2004 monograph, “Family’s Impact on Health.” He co-authored two books, “Families and Health” (with William Doherty, Ph.D.) and “Family-Oriented Primary Care: A Manual for Medical Provider” (with McDaniel and David Seaburn), and has authored or coauthored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters.
Locally, Dr. Campbell serves on the boards of directors of the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System, the Greater Rochester Health Home and Accountable Health Partners.
Dr. Campbell is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College and earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.