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Community honors founder of region's largest HIV/AIDS clinic

SAN DIEGO -- The UC San Diego Health System on Friday will honor one of its health care heroes, Chris Mathews, MD, MSPH, founding director of the Owen Clinic.

Since 1982, the Owen Clinic has provided comprehensive, dedicated and high-quality outpatient, primary, and specialty care for patients with HIV and AIDS. Under Mathews’ leadership, the Owen Clinic has become an international role model for providing of state-of-the-art, quality HIV care, fostering patient empowerment and encouraging them to actively participate in their care.

While Mathews has stepped down in his role as director of the Owen Clinic, he continues to serve UC San Diego, the Owen Clinic and the city of San Diego as a tireless leader and advocate, providing equitable and compassionate care to San Diego’s diverse HIV community.

Mathews’ honors and awards over more than four decades leading the fight against HIV and AIDS are numerous, including two Humanism in Medicine awards from the American Academy of Medical Colleges (2002 and 2005), outstanding teaching awards from UC San Diego (1993, 1996, 2001), a university-wide diversity award (2008), faculty-physician of the year (2000), Physician-Citizen of the Year Award from the San Diego County Medical Society (1992), and the Dr. A. Brad Truax Award from the San Diego County Regional Task Force on AIDS (1990), among many others.

Local community service during the past 40 years includes serving on the Mayor’s Task Force on AIDS, the San Diego County Medical Society AIDS Committee, the county HIV Planning Council, the State of California Attorney General’s AIDS Fraud Task Force, and California AIDS Leadership Committee.

Nationally, he currently serves on the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Ad Hoc Committee, and US Senator Diane Feinstein’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee. Professional and honor societies include the American College of Physicians, Society for Research and Education in Primary Care Internal Medicine, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, Association for Health Services Research, American Federation for Clinical Research, and Society of General Internal Medicine.

During the planned ceremony, UC San Diego Health System will also celebrate its recognition as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” in the Healthcare Equality Index 2013, an annual survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization.

Pradeep K. Khosla, chancellor, UC San Diego, Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System Aaron Byzak, director, Government Affairs, UC San Diego Health System Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, and State of California Supervisor Ron Roberts, County of San Diego are among the community leaders will be present at the event to honor Mathews.

The event will be held at 10 am Friday at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, located at 200 W. Arbor Dr.