(March 2012) Richard L. Edelson, MD, chief of dermatology for Yale Medical Group, will be honored this month as one of three “National Physicians of the Year” at the seventh annual Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. National Awards in New York City.
Dr. Edelson, along with the other two physicians chosen by a committee of medical peers from among 150 nominees from around the country, will receive a Clinical Excellence Award, which recognizes physicians who exemplify excellence in clinical medical practice and work tirelessly in their respective field of medicine.
“I am touched and deeply honored to get this award from peer physicians who respect my contributions as an innovative practitioner,” said Dr. Edelson. “It’s nice to think that I was able to make contributions that have helped numerous cancer patients around the world. But what makes me tick is my relationship with my own patients. The way I’m interpreting this award is that it recognizes me as a doctor, and that’s very important to me.”
Dr. Edelson has served since 1986 as chair of Yale’s Department of Dermatology, which is one of the oldest in the country, deeply rooted in research and the largest provider of specialized dermatologic care in the region. He came to Yale from Columbia University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he was head of the Immunology Group.
He has served as director of Yale Cancer Center (YCC), director of YCC’s Lymphoma Research Program, and as deputy dean for clinical affairs for the Yale School of Medicine.
Dr. Edelson is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and an honorary member of several international medical associations. He completed his medical degree at the Yale School of Medicine in 1970, his internship in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and his residency in dermatology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Edelson is an internationally-recognized pioneer in the research and treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), a commonly lethal cancer originating in the skin and then spreading throughout the body. He identified and characterized this cancer, and his research group played a central role in deciphering the basic properties of CTCL cells in order to develop effective therapies. “ECP,” a therapy which he devised to treat leukemic CTCL, was the first FDA-approved immunotherapy for any cancer. It has been used more than 3 million times worldwide to treat CTCL, organ transplant rejection and graft-versus-host disease, the major complication following bone marrow transplantation.
Dr. Edelson has cared for patients with CTCL throughout the Northeast, the country and even from other parts of the world. He says that while seeking out better therapies has been an important part of his work, “I’ve always been a very active one-on-one physician.”
Castle Connolly Medical is best known as the firm that publishes the “Top Doctors” series of books and as the producer of the Top Doctors database that appears on the website of U.S. News and World Report. The organization, whose mission is “to help consumers find the best healthcare in America,” was founded in 1991. This year, the firm will also present Marlo Thomas, national outreach director of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a non-physician National Health Leadership Award.