UC Davis Physician Leader Awarded Top Telehealth Honor

Nesbitt recognized for pioneering work in telemedicine

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Thomas Nesbitt, associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances for UC Davis Health System, has received the 2010 Leadership Award for the Advancement of Telemedicine from the American Telemedicine Association in recognition of his vigorous efforts to expand health-care access and education through the use of telecommunications technology.

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) is the nation’s leading organization for promoting access to medical care using high-speed communications connections such as videoconferencing. The ATA award recognizes individual leadership at the local, national and international levels in promoting telehealth and e-health initiatives. Nesbitt received the award during ceremonies held last night in San Antonio.

“Tom Nesbitt has been a pioneer in telemedicine,” said Jonathan D. Linkous, ATA chief executive officer. “Through his hard work and accomplishments in California, he has set an example for other advocates and administrators to follow."

Nesbitt is the founding director of the UC Davis Center for Health and Technology and has been a driving force behind innovative programs that address the unique health-care and educational needs of patients and clinicians throughout California. Under his direction, UC Davis has developed one of the nation’s leading telehealth programs, which provides consultations in 30 medical specialties and subspecialties, ranging from pediatric and adult cardiology to dermatology, psychiatry, weight management and infectious disease. Since its inception, the telehealth program has provided more than 22,000 video consultations around the state.

“Dr. Nesbitt has energized American telemedicine and fostered the delivery of high-quality health care and medical education to distant locations, especially rural and remote areas,” said Claire Pomeroy, UC Davis vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “His longtime dedication and transformative leadership in the field has had a tremendous impact on physicians and the delivery of health care in the United States and in the lives of many patients.”

Nesbitt, who is a professor of family and community medicine, has conducted leading-edge research and mentored faculty and future practitioners who are proficient in using the latest in telecommunications technology to improve health. His collaborations with clinicians, researchers and public policymakers have led to new models of care and improved access for patients.

Nesbitt is a leading figure in both state and national telehealth programs and initiatives. He serves as chief scientist for the UC Davis Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, a consortium involving four UC campuses using information-technology solutions to address pressing social, environmental and health-care problems. He is co-directing a federally funded pilot project called the California Telehealth Network. This new system will connect up to 860 clinical sites, greatly expanding access to health-care services for patients and families, especially those living in rural regions of the state.

The UC Davis Center for Health and Technology is a recognized leader for its innovative use of the latest in telecommunications technology to improve the delivery of health care. The center pioneered the use of telehealth and e-health programs to enable patients from throughout California to receive direct clinical and specialty care without leaving their own communities. The center also encompasses well-established programs in distance education and medical informatics, as well as a telemedicine learning center. These programs provide specialty services throughout California to rural hospitals and clinics, offering easy access to continuing medical and nursing education for clinicians, administrators and other health-care providers. More than 500 courses are available via interactive video-conferencing, interactive webcasting and on-demand video. The center also plays an important role in use of high-tech communications for emergency preparedness. For more information, visit www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cht.