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2013 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award

Lee Todd Miller, M.D., David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles


The career of Lee Todd Miller, M.D., has been guided by his passions for pediatrics, medical education, and addressing health care disparities in underserved communities both at home and abroad. At the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), he is an esteemed role model and teacher, demonstrating warmth and humanism at all levels.

Currently professor and vice chair of education in the department of pediatrics, Dr. Miller also serves as director of Global Health Education Programs at UCLA. “His career is a supreme example of what doctors should aspire to become,” explains Neil Parker, M.D., senior associate dean for student affairs at UCLA.

When stateside, Dr. Miller can be found mentoring and teaching pediatrics in Los Angeles or volunteering alongside his students at a camp for the blind in New York. “His work has been inspirational and has impacted thousands of children, let alone the myriad students who have worked with him,” Dr. Parker says. Dr. Miller also is an extraordinary teacher, awarded with a record number of Golden Apple Awards from students at UCLA.

Dr. Miller’s impact on medical education and child health extends around the globe. He completed a sabbatical with the World Health Organization, establishing training programs on managing diarrhea and dehydration, then the leading killer of children worldwide. Over the years, he has taught in Egypt, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Myanmar, and Peru, as well as Afghanistan and Rwanda during times of war. “Dr. Miller was the first pediatrician to work in the refugee camps as the Rwandan civil war and genocide broke out,” where he worked to combat cholera, dysentery, and meningitis, says Dr. Parker. It took several years before Dr. Miller was able to speak openly about this painful chapter.

In another example of his commitment to global service, Dr. Miller founded a nonprofit dedicated to addressing health care disparities for children. Partners for Pediatric Progress provides training for health care providers in exceptionally low-resource communities abroad. “The ‘magic’ here is that Dr. Miller brings medical students with him to these settings, combining his passions for medicine, teaching, global health, and community service,” says Dr. Parker.

Dr. Miller often can be found sharing stories about his international work, in part to teach students how truly fortunate they are in their own lives. These doses of perspective have been described as “priceless” to his students. Dr. Miller also teaches that “global health” does not mean just caring for patients in Africa or Latin America, but also in students’ own backyards—and that the lessons learned abroad can help address health care disparities at home. Known as one of the best student mentors and teachers at UCLA, and faculty advisor for UCLA’s Pediatric Interest Group, Dr. Miller “has had an incalculable impact on the steady stream of medical students, residents, and faculty with whom he has had mentoring relationships,” says Dr. Parker.

Dr. Miller received his B.A. degree from Bowdoin College and his M.D. degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award

This award honors a medical school faculty physician who exemplifies the qualities of a caring and compassionate mentor in teaching and advising medical students.