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UCSD professor a ‘Health Hero’

Ellen Beck, M.D., a clinical professor of medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, has been named a 2011 Health Hero by WebMD Magazine.  Each year, WebMD Magazine “celebrates visionary Americans who have overcome daunting health challenges to give back to others in truly inspiring ways.” The Health Heroes are announced in the November/December issue.

In partnership with a passionate group of medical students and community partners, Beck created an opportunity to serve uninsured San Diegasn by developing a new model of care. By January of 1997, the first not-for profit UCSD Student Run Free Clinic Project (SRFCP) opened in the basement of the Pacific Beach United Methodist Church. It has been recognized nationally for its ability to provide no-cost health care.

The free clinic also has a positive impact on doctors in training, according to Beck.

“Our medical students arrive with passion, compassion, and a desire to make a difference for patients,” Beck said. “But the medical system often beats it out of them. Our program keeps those dreams alive and gives them the tools to provide that kind of humanitarian care in their own practices.”

Each Health Hero is awarded $2,500 by WebMD, which is donated on their behalf to a charity of their choosing. Beck will be donating her award winnings to the free clinic project.