Medical Center Mourns the Loss of Philip P. Bonanni, M.D.

June 12, 2013

"Phil Bonanni was the epitome of why many of us went into the practice of medicine - to help people. As the industry moved in technical directions, Phil kept us all grounded to the importance of keeping the patient at the center. "

Gifted teacher, respected colleague, physician leader, and patient care champion Philip P. Bonanni, M.D., passed away on June 10 after a short illness. He was 74.

A graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Bonanni was a member of the UR faculty who admitted patients to Strong Memorial and Highland Hospital for over 30 years before accepting a post as associate chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Medicine at Unity Health System in 2004. In 2012, he was named chair of Medicine at Unity.

As a professor of Medicine, Clinical Nursing, and Medical Humanities, Bonanni was the recipient of numerous awards across the University health system, including the Lawrence A. Kohn Teaching Fellowship which is awarded by the Department of Medicine for outstanding teaching of students and residents and the James M. Stewart Award for distinguished teaching. He was also recognized as an Outstanding Graduate Program Preceptor by the School of Nursing, and in 1996, received Visiting Nurse Service’s Distinguished Physician of the Year Award.

Bonanni was a long-time member of the board of the Monroe County Medical Society, serving on a number of committees and as president in 1992. In 1999, the Medical Society honored him with the Edward Mott Moore Award. From 1995 until 2001, he was secretary of the Rochester Health Commission, and was awarded the Academy’s top honor, the Albert David Kaiser Medal in 2011. In 2002 and 2005, he won the Physician’s Recognition Award from the American Medical Association.

Bonanni served as vice chair of Medicine during Bradford C. Berk, M.D.’s tenure as chair of Medicine.

“Phil had a warm, ready smile that put his patients and colleagues at ease. With his focus on humanism, he really was one of the early pioneers of patient- and family-centered care,” Berk recalls. “He was an eternal optimist who stayed above the fray and was always able to understand and appreciate disparate points of view.”

URMC Chief Medical Officer Raymond J. Mayewski, M.D., echoed Berk’s praise.

"Phil Bonanni was the epitome of why many of us went into the practice of medicine - to help people. As the industry moved in technical directions, Phil kept us all grounded to the importance of keeping the patient at the center.” Mayewski said. “He was one of our community's finest physicians and one whose passion to help his colleagues was only exceeded by his generosity and care for his patients."

Calling hours are Thursday, June 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Anthony Funeral Chapel at 2305 Monroe Avenue. A funeral mass will be held Friday, June 14 at 11:00 am. at St. Louis Church, 60 S. Main Street in Pittsford. Contributions may be made in Dr. Bonanni’s name to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Medical Student Scholarship Fund, the Rochester Academy of Medicine, or Unity Health Foundation Medical Education Fund.

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Teri D'Agostino
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