Many at the University
of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC
are mourning the loss of Bruce Dixon, M.D., 74, who died early today. Before,
after and during his tenure as director of the Allegheny County Health
Department, Dr. Dixon taught hundreds of medical students and residents, and
treated patients at the Oakland hospitals.
“Dr. Dixon was one of the most dedicated physicians I have
known, and his devotion to patients was remarkable,” said Loren Roth, M.D.,M.P.H., associate senior vice
chancellor for clinical policy and planning, University of Pittsburgh Schools
of the Health Sciences, and professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine.
“He was one of the brightest individuals to ever graduate from the School of
Medicine, and he was revered for his diagnostic judgment and comprehensive
medical knowledge. He was a character, and often a lot of fun.”
|Bruce Dixon, M.D. (photo courtesy of|
Allegheny County Health Department)
Every night, Dr.
Dixon would go home and read for an hour from the authoritative textbook on
internal medicine to stay up to date, and he provided page numbers when he
quoted from it, remembered John Mahoney, M.D., associate dean for medical
education, Pitt School of Medicine.
“He was a really
passionate teacher and his excitement and investment in the patient and in the
trainee, whether a resident or student, was irresistible,” said Dr. Mahoney.
“You couldn’t help but join forces with him to find out what was ailing the
patient and to figure out how to help. I was one of his students 25 years ago,
and I saw him continue to bring that enthusiasm and skill to new generations of
medical students learning about public health.”
Dr. Dixon received
a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1961, and his medical degree in 1965, both
from Pitt. He completed his internship and residency training at Duke
University, where he stayed as a faculty member for several years. He returned
to join the Pitt School of Medicine as an associate professor in 1975. He became
the Health Department director in 1992, but retained his faculty position.
According to Lee Harrison, M.D., professor of medicine and
epidemiology, as well as a long-time member of the Allegheny County Board of
Health, “Bruce was a dedicated hard-working public figure who was a giant in
the public health arena and a legend in Allegheny County.”