AURORA, Colo. (May 19, 2009) – The University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine Alumni Association will present its top annual prize, the Silver and Gold Award, to Denver Health Chief Medical Officer Philip Mehler, MD. Mehler graduated from the medical school in 1983.

At ceremonies Thursday, the Alumni Association also will honor Dan Bessesen, MD, with its Distinguished Achievement Award and Nancy Nelson, MD, with its Distinguished Service Award.

Mehler has worked at Denver Health since the mid-1980’s when he joined the staff as a resident physician.

“He lives the Denver Health motto – ‘Level I Care for ALL,’” says the hospital’s CEO, Patricia Gabow, MD. “He treats everyone with concern, dignity and empathy from the poorest patient to the richest patient.”

Mehler calls delivering health care a “sacred task.” “I believe everybody has an inalienable right to health care,” he explains. “I don’t define my health care by how you’re dressed in clinic or if you’re rich or poor. I’ve been fortunate to get an education at a great school. I choose to stay at Denver Health because I really believe we have a nice institution that delivers health care to all.”

Mehler, a CU Denver medical school professor of medicine who holds the Glassman Endowed Chair of Medicine, still teaches residents. He has been listed in 5280 Magazine numerous times as the Top Internist in Denver. He has been on the Best Doctors in America list for the past 12 years. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and has won numerous teaching and research awards.

This year, Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Mehler to a four-year term on Colorado’s State Board of Health.

Like Mehler, Distinguished Achievement Award winner Bessesen, a professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology/metabolism/diabetes, is also based at Denver Health. A 1982 graduate of the school of medicine, Bessesen has won numerous teaching awards from medical students and been listed among 5280’s Top Docs, which physicians choose. Bessesen’s research in understanding obesity has been recognized nationally.

Nelson, who receives the Distinguished Service Award, graduated from what was then called the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1959. Now professor emerita of pediatrics at the school, she taught there for a quarter century and also served as associate dean of student affairs. Nelson served as the first female head of the Colorado Medical Society.

The School of Medicine faculty work to advance science and improve care as the physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the CU Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is part of the University of Colorado Denver, one of three campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the CU Denver newsroom online.

Contact: Jim Spencer 303.724.5377; 720.346.4242 [email protected]

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