UCSF Graduate Wins MacArthur 'Genius Grant' for Work to Fix Errors During Patient Transitions

Eric Coleman, MPH, MD

UCSF graduate Eric Coleman, MPH, MD, is one of 23 recipients of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation fellowships, one of the nation’s highest honors for individuals “selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.”

Coleman, 47, who earned his degree from the UCSF School of Medicine in 1992, is now a geriatrician and professor with the University of Colorado at Denver, where he’s been working to address miscommunications and errors that occur when patients transition from hospitals to other care facilities.

As director of the Denver university’s Care Transitions Program, Coleman works with patients, health care providers and policymakers to tackle systemwide deficiencies that result in large numbers of elderly patients returning to hospitals within 30 days of being discharged. Coleman’s program of better monitoring patient transitions has been adopted as a part of Medicare’s Community-Based Care Transitions Program, a new national initiative.

MacArthur fellows – who represent a variety of fields including science, economics, writing and art – each are given $500,000 over five years, with no strings attached to foster the spirit of creativity.

Past winners from UCSF’s faculty include neurologist William Seeley, MD, in 2011; biopharmaceutical sciences professor Victoria Hale, PhD, in 2006; infectious diseases researcher Joseph DeRisi, PhD, in 2004; and the late geneticist Ira Herskowitz, PhD, in 1987.