May 12, 2022

Congratulations to Dr. Harrison Alter - Thea James Lifetime Achievement Award


This award, named after its inaugural recipient Dr. Thea James, is intended to recognize an individual who has demonstrated a sustained commitment to advancing Social EM within their community, nation, and the field of Emergency Medicine as a whole.

The ACEP Social EM Section Awards Committee is thrilled to present the 2021 Thea James Lifetime Achievement award to Dr. Harrison Alter. Dr. Alter obtained his M.D. and Master of Science from the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, and completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, and was a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. He later returned to Highland Hospital to serve as Vice Chair of Research in the Department of EM, and additionally served as a Clinical Professor in the Department of EM at UCSF.

Dr. Alter’s accomplishments in the field of social EM are extensive, and certainly too numerous to name today. A few highlights, however, include his role as the founder and director of the Levitt Center for Social Emergency Medicine, which advances research, advocacy, and organization in the field of Social EM. He served as the founding chair of this very social EM section here at ACEP, and has served on many other local and national committees pertaining to social medicine and population health. Additionally, he has been an invited lecturer for countless talks on social EM across the country, is an awardee of multiple research grants within the field, and has authored many publications including his recently published textbook “Social Emergency Medicine: Principles and Practice”, for which he is Editor. His career is also marked with service to his community, just one of many examples being his recent role as Interim Medical Director for the Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless.

There is no denying Dr. Alter’s career-long commitment to and foundational role in the field of Social Emergency Medicine and his impact on individual patients, entire communities, and the specialty of Emergency Medicine as a whole. His work is an inspiration to us all, and we are lucky to have him as a role model, leader, and colleague.

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