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UC San Diego Pulmonologist Named “Outstanding Clinician 2008”


July 30, 2008  |  

California Thoracic Society Names UC San Diego Doctor Best in State

For his dedication “to the respiratory health of his community, state, country and world,” Timothy Morris, MD, Clinical Service Chief for Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, UC San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest, is the California Thoracic Society’s (CTS) Outstanding Clinician, 2008.

The annual Outstanding Clinician Award (OCA) is designed to honor unsung heroes who demonstrate the highest level of excellence in the clinical care of patients affected by respiratory diseases and breathing disorders.  Morris was chosen for the award based on his care of patients in the ICU, on the hospital wards, in the clinic and in the community.  He is particularly passionate about preventing death and disability from blood clots within the lungs (pulmonary embolism).  “I visited UC San Diego Medical Center in 1991,” said Morris.  “Before lunch time, I knew this was the best medical center in the country for me to work in, and the perfect place to discover how to fight pulmonary embolism.”

“As the Medical Director for Respiratory Services, Dr. Morris exemplifies UC San Diego’s commitment to teaching and excellent clinical care,” said Angela Scioscia, MD, Chief Medical Officer, UC San Diego Medical Center.   “He is a remarkable physician leader and under his guidance the respiratory therapy team has achieved national recognition.”

Timothy Morris, MD & family

Dr. Morris and family

Lung disease is the number three killer in America, responsible for one in seven deaths. According to the American Lung Association, more than 35 million Americans are living with chronic lung disease such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Morris has dedicated his career to fighting these statistics and advocating for patient needs.

The entire pulmonary team was recently recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Hospitals” issue. UC San Diego’s pulmonary program has continuously ranked among the nation’s top 10 nine years in a row, with critical care services for complex patients provided by the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and the Division of Cardiothoracic Services.

Morris has also been awarded the Distinguished Scholar in Thrombosis honor from the American College of Chest Physicians and was given a “Top Doctors” honor from the San Diego County Medical Society.  Due, in part, to his leadership, six of Morris’ respiratory care practitioners have received the UC San Diego Exemplary Employee of the Year award.

Morris also instituted a nationwide quality improvement program to decrease fatality from pulmonary embolism as well as a collaborative program, funded by AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) to establish clinical tools to decrease the incidence of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the leg veins) and pulmonary embolism in hospitalized patients.

During his tenure at UC San Diego Medical Center, Morris has received seven annual awards from the Department of Medicine for outstanding teaching.  He maintains an active outpatient/inpatient/ICU practice and is the Medical Director of the Respiratory Care and the Pulmonary Function Laboratories. He has a research interest in new methods to diagnose and treat acute pulmonary embolism and is currently running several laboratory and clinical research projects in this area. He has also been appointed to advisory committees on pulmonary embolism for both the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians.

"Dr. Morris’ passion for medicine is evident in the care and dedication he gives to his patients,” commented Patricia Finn, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Morris as Mad Scientist

Mad Scientist: volunteering at St. Vincent De Paul School's Halloween party

“His investigational passion is the diagnosis and treatment of thromboembolic disease as well as the education of the next generation of physicians. He is also a role model in many areas; a devoted father, involved in Boy Scouts and in his children’s school. His exceptional selflessness is manifest in his volunteering for American Lung Association of California’s Southern California Asthma Management Program, a residential summer camp for children with severe asthma. And he achieves this all with an infectious sense of humor."

About UC San Diego’s Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine Team

The clinical programs of the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine are based at UC San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest and La Jolla, as well as the Veterans Administration Medical Center in La Jolla.  UC San Diego Medical Center serves as the principal teaching institution for the UC San Diego, School of Medicine, and as a local, national and international referral center.  This is a Level I Trauma Center with active lung, heart-lung, heart, renal, liver and bone marrow transplant programs.

The special programs of the Division, which includes Pulmonary Vascular Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Lung Transplantation, Acute Lung Injury, Invasive Procedures, Lung Volume Reduction, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Occupational Health Programs, Respiratory Therapy, and Breathing-Related Sleep Disorders, assure continuous, cutting-edge care for the community at large.

UC San Diego Medical Center’s approach to respiratory care is world renowned, such as the Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy program (PTE), a program pioneered at UC San Diego.  It is foremost in the world in the successful evaluation and treatment of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, in addition to performing PTE.  Every other physician in the world currently performing PTE was trained by this team.

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Media Contact: Kim Edwards, 619-543-6163,

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