Ever since I first met him when I was eighteen years old, I’ve wanted to grow up to be like Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan: a compassionate physician, fiery public health advocate, and relentless social justice champion.
As Dr. Mullan will forever be celebrated for his leadership in transforming medical education and health policy in the U.S. and internationally, the thousands of us who have been fortunate to call him our mentor will always remember him for his kindness and inspiration. We mourn the loss of this great man whose “fire in the belly” calls us all to action towards health, equity, and justice.
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He is dead, but his legacy still leave on. RIP
How i wish i had the opportunity to meet him when he was still alive, i just learnt he passed away from here <a href="https://schooltips.com.ng/dr-fitzhugh-mullan-death-obituary-cause-of-death/">Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan Death | Obituary – Cause of Death</a>
You were a man who led with heart. You let nothing deter you from your social mission. And to the last detail, you made sure we had the resources, the platform and the plan to continue the fight. Hasta siempre my friend.
In April, I purchased copies of Fitz's books, "Vital Signs" and "White Coat Clenched Fist". He joked that his mom would keep them around the house for visitors to "stumble" over them. What Fitz didn't know was I had a project in the works too, a children's book. Many of my mentors are in it and on the cover, and he is one of them. I wish he could have seen it. I wanted to mail him a copy of it as a gift and say, "You've encouraged us all, and you'll encourage the next generations too." THANK YOU, FITZ! You be incredibly missed. Sending condolences to his wife, children, and family.
You should also read Big Doctoring in America, based on a series he edited for a period in JAMA, best I can remember.
This is heartbreaking. Dr @FitzhughMullan taught me to do what is right, not what is easy. His legacy lives on in the spirit of our social mission in medicine; in our enduring struggle for health equity. In our fight for justice. #whitecoatclenchedfist
Fitz you’re Simply The Best!
You will be Missed⭐️‼️
Fitz was the best mentor anybody could have. He was always there to offer advice and direction. Not only did he accomplish innumerable awesome things himself, he also did so through his students and colleagues, of which I can proudly say I was one. I can't put into words what he meant to me and so many others and how he will be missed.
Dr. Mullan was a champion for health workers across the world. And he was an energetic supporter and advisor for many. His energy will be truly missed.
Someone once said, “ If God had to build a door, it’s because we erected a wall”. The Atlantic Fellowship was that door for so many of us facing that wall. Fitz enabled me with Access, Acumen and Awareness. The Future is Accessible and I owe that to Fitz. He has helped many of our quite rumblings transform into deafening roars. Thank you Fitz for making me a part of your story. I am forever grateful. Sending so much love from the Himalayas.
Quite simply, Fitz was the sweetest man, an amazing teacher and mentor to so many, and he has made a lasting positive change in this world. He will be missed and remembered always.
I am saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, amazing leader and promoter of #HealthForAll
He inspired me to always strive for equity in all aspects of life.
I am very saddened to hear that Fitz passed away. I had a privilege to work with Fitz on Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) when I was at NIH. Fitz's contributions will live on. Thank you, Fitz.
To the memory of a public health champion and a fellow officer of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Fitz was an amazing mentor and role model for medical students and residents. Ever since, he served as a medical student activist during the Civil Rights Movement and as President of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) in 1973, he was always an active supporter of AMSA and medical student activism and of CIR. Whenever we called for his support or to come inspire a new generation of resident physicians, Fitz was there. His career, his activism, his commitment to social justice and his vision of medical education for the new century was an inspiration for all of us. We honor his legacy by keeping up the struggle for medical education which is committed to winning healthcare for all. and addressing all of the inequalities that Fitz fought against for his entire life.
It was an honor to know Fitz. When I first met him he gave me a book and told me to be great! His legacy will live on! I really appreciate his work with Leaders for Health Equity and Residency Fellowship in Health Policy. It was great to be a part of change! God Bless.
Fitz - It's hard to capture the impact you've had on me and countless others who you inspired and encouraged to fight for social mission. I will miss you tremendously but rest assured this work will continue in your memory. #whitecoatclenchedfist
We will miss Fitzhugh. He was a quiet fighting giant who always had a word of encouragement to keep pushing for change. May he rest in peace.
Fitz was a senior colleague of mine for many years at the former Bureau of Health Professions. Knowing and working with him for so many years was truly a highpoint in my career. He will be missed!
Such a dear man. Your contribution to the world will live on and we will strive to carry on the message of health and hope for everyone.
It was an honor to work with Fitz at Unity Health Care - he touched the lives of so many children and families and was committed to improving child health. He will be missed and has left an amazing legacy that those of us who worked with him will do our best to continue.
Fitz's life is a beacon of commitment for all of us striving to make quality health care a reality for everyone everywhere. We at MEDICC were privileged to count on his powerful interview for our film SALUD! and I will always cherish his friendship and his outspoken defense of health as a human right.
Fitz was an activist to his core, transforming for the better everything that he touched. The world needs him now more than ever. Thank you for your valiant efforts. We will try to carry on.
My condolences to the family.
When I read the news, my heart sank. The world has lost a mighty force. He was an inspirational leader to so many young physicians. I consider myself honored to have been touched by his influence and his kindness. I know so many others shared that same experience. We will all miss you but your impact will live forever.
Fitz was a pioneer in health workforce policy research, the area our paths first crossed. More importantly, he was a great person and always willing to share ideas and really listen. He clearly leaves a lasting legacy for the rest of us.
A gentle, esteemed man among men! Meeting him through his brilliant, gracious wife, Dr. Irene Dankwa-Mullan, I was honored to sing in their wedding ceremony. He was "The Wind Beneath
many Wings". Eternal peace to you.
It's a sad day for all those who strive for health as a right and consider the health workers as key, not as inputs but as leaders of that movement. Many Latin American and Caribbean educators were inspired directly by Fitz and many more through his activism and scientific production. We'll keep on carrying his ideals.
I began my career as a National Health Service Corps physician in a rural clinic in northern California. I still remember when the Director of the NHSC, Dr. Mullan (actually, I believe it was Captain Mullan), made a visit to our site. What an honor to meet him and know how much he cared about front-line providers! Rest in Peace.
For 50 years Fitz has been a role model to many who share his passions for medicine, justice, and an equitable healthcare system. He showed us how to improve the world by envisioning, actually creating--the hardest part--and often leading influential programs. He showed how to make a real difference through one's passions and work. And all accomplished with a warm, welcoming soul. Thank you Fritz--we were listening.
I vividly recall the first time I met Fitz. He was coming to talk about Brain Drain to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences when Jim was still Dean and I was still in the Dean’s Office. I was tasked with meeting him, smoothing his way through the lobby security, and bringing him to the auditorium in Ross Hall. I asked Jim how I would recognize him and Jim said, “He looks like a pediatrician. He looks like someone you would trust with your kids.”
I am forever grateful to have been a part of his work. There are so many people, like me, who will carry his ideas and ideals forward. People who will keep moving to his vision to build a system that is “not just better, but fairer.”
Fitz has always been such a strong voice for justice in medicine. I remember traveling to Tulsa for the first Beyond Flexner conference as a medical student and feeling that this was how we could achieve the promise of medical education
A true public health warrior! HRSA colleague, PHS officer, and author of one of my favorite books -- Plagues and Politics. RIP.
What a huge loss. He was a great mentor and role model while I was a GWU med student. Working with him on his Social Mission project inspired me to pursue a joint medical career in public health. Thank you, Dr. Mullan, for your contribution to the world and society. I hope to continue your legacy in some way.
My Fitz. His support, guidance and friendship I'll forever hold close to my heart. The only person who could change every "No" to "Let's find a way". Rest in peace.
I had the privilege to learn from Dr. Mullan and those he taught during my residency fellowship in health policy. Whenever he spoke he captivated me and inspired me to work for the changes I wished to see. GW is truly blessed to have had an educator of his caliber represent its name. Dr. Mullan, I hope you rest in peace knowing how many lives you touched even with just a few conversations.
Fitz's life was his obituary. I have been privileged to know him for many years, not only was a great physician and leader but he was also a gentle soul. We were privileged to have him work at Unity as a pediatrician, and later as a supporter of our Medical Education Program. Your work is done, Rest in Peace.
Dear comrade. This was the way we called each other. Men like you don't die.I am at a loss, with no words. You were never short of words; well chosen and superbly crafted words. Our path crossed initially a long time ago when you trained in the Bronx at Lincoln Hospital where i moonlighted. Our paths kept crossing each other's and I had the privilege to work with you on numerous projects. Beside a friend you became my mentor. Thank you for your life. The world is a better place for your relentless efforts for social justice and equity. RIP. Your comrade
The world is a lesser place with Fitz's passing.
A bright spark in our midst, that has left a trail of memorable achievements and touched so many lives has gone out, but his work and the memory of who he was will live on. I am so saddened by his passing.
The medical field has lost an angel
Fitz was a great friend of NPR, spanning decades. He helped guide our reporters and editors through many public health storms and provided wise counsel and advice. We have been honored to be a key stop in the health policy program for residents - an ask from Fitz we were only too happy to oblige. He also spurred us to take a more narrative approach to health journalism and storytelling via his collaboration with Health Affairs, among many other ideas he offered us. We will miss him greatly. But his legacy will live on here through the many relationships he built and maintained.
National Medical Fellowships expresses its deepest sympathy to the family, frienda and colleagues of Dr. McMullin - he will be missed . He was a great champion of health equity and his spirit lives on in Beyond Flexner and the legacy of inspiration he leaves with so many people who benefitted from his wise advice and counsel through the years.
Fitz was an inspiration to a my generation of health care activists -someone who knew how to make change both from the inside and outside; but always did it with grace and modesty and making time for everyone
Fitz was an endlessly positive and supportive presence at George Washington University. He couldn't help but teach me something every time we spoke, and I was always grateful for his insights.
Once, when my coworker and I -- both students and research assistants at the time -- were working late, Fitz stopped by our desks with half a bottle of viogner leftover from a staff meeting and a knowing wink. The offer alone made us laugh and helped get us through that long day. Fitz appreciated his students, and he helped us achieve our goals. I'll miss him.
Fitz was a good and kind person who wisely surrounded himself with others who shared his courage to expect integrity, commitment, and a belief we can all be healers. His spirit and tenacity will echo in the call to care for generations of health professionals to come.
Agree and support so many of the comments. Fitz’s legacy of health justice is inspiring — and reflective of what 21st century health policy leadership must look like from the rest of us: Grounded in compassion, inclusion, and humanity.
“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. ”
We are better for his life and the world will note his departure.
We have lost a dear colleague who taught us about stalking horses and his role as a progenitor. Fitz you will be sorely missed and thank you for all you did to enrich so many careers.
Like countless healthcare professionals, Fitz was an inspiration to me from a very young age. The opportunity to work with him when I first came to government on a Primary Care Policy Fellowship exceeded our expectations and resulted in a lasting dedicated, multidisciplinary cadre of future leaders.
It is impossible to know how many lives he touched and careers he influenced. His eloquence in speaking and writing will long be remembered.
His passing leaves an enormous legacy and a huge hole in our hearts.
To meet with Fitz was always an opportunity to learn and at the same time enjoy the wisdom from a scholar and an exceptional person.
I had the opportunity to take the resident health policy course which was started and co-led by Dr. Mullan. What an inspiration for health equity and social justice work. He will be remembered by the many students he inspired.
This country has lost a great physician and a powerful warrior for social justice. Many have had the privilege of fighting next to him, realizing the skill he brought to identifying critical issues, planning strategies for addressing them, starting one organization after another, and giving structure to the work of thousands who shared his passion for seeing health care as a cause for social action. It is hard to imagine the number of ideas and movements he spawned and each will be carried on as a tribute to his legacy. My thoughts are with Irene and his children and grandchildren and hope that they realize Fitz' amazing lifetime of work. Bien Hecho, Fitz Mullan.
Fitz mentored me when I began med school at the U of Chi. I will never forget his wisdom, intent and leadership in the clinical world.
I am so very sorry to hear about Fitz's passing. As so many others have attested, he was a remarkable, selfless, innovative and compassionate leader, clinician, advocate, educator, and mentor.
Through his teaching and mentorship, he changed the course of my career, and I will never forget him.
Wishing you and your family peace and comfort, Fitz -- you have so many people thinking about you!
I am so sorry to hear about his passing. HIs workforce work, the emails that talked about the work were so needed. Many talked about workforce issues but he made them concrete and embedded them in the field of health equity. Irene you have my deepest sympathies as your loss is not just a hole in your heart but a lost to the field.
I remember the day so clearly when I first met Fitz at Lincoln Hospital when I was interviewing for a resident position. He was "my kind of doctor" and a person that I wanted to work with and learn from to help make health care work relevant to the reality of the lives of people in the South Bronx. His career has made waves that continue to move across the world. We have all been enriched by his energy and vision that was so clearly articulated.
He was a mentor to me prior to going to med school and early on while in med school.
I initially met him when he was working for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, USPHS as the first director of the Center for Medical Effectiveness. I helped him initially in that role and with the oral histories of the Surgeon Generals. I followed him to to the Bureau of Health Professions in HRSA and he was instrumental in my interest in cancer care, health equity, health education and workforce issues, and political/social activism as a clinician.
He was a man who thought "outside of the box" while working inside the box. A man of ideas and inspiration who was lucky he had to wear a uniform for most of his life because he had no idea how to color coordinate clothes.
He will be physically missed, but his ideas and values will live on in those he took under his wing. A true gentleman.
So saddened to learn of Fitz's passing. He had a huge influence on my life and career, like so many others. First, the Primary Care Policy Fellowship, and then the start up of the Beyond Flexner organization. I read all his books, and he was tickled when I emailed him that I found a copy of White Coat, Clenched Fist on the shelf of the NHS GP surgery in East London where I practiced as a PA. His memory, and his legacy, are a blessing to all of us.
Fitz was an amazing mentor during my time in the commissioned officers student training and externship program (Costep) in the early 1990s. In my time at HRSA we were working on primary care workforce issues. He was relentless in keeping this work on the forefront. Fitz, you will be missed!
A wonderful leader, policy giant, and passionate physician activist -- I have every book he authored on my shelf before I met him and had the honor of working with him. Beyond Flexner Alliance with his colleagues is a major legacy.
I met Fitz in the early 1970s when he was at Lincoln. I taught his first book in my health activism course to a generation of Wellesley College students. We had lunch together about three years ago in DC to catch up and he was full of enthusiasms for his work. A giant of an activist, a very good man, and I will miss him forever. Susan
Like many others I have been inspired by Dr. Mullen and his tireless work for truth, justice and equity. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I trust that his legacy lives in each of us that had the pleasure and honor of knowing him.
It's Giving Tuesday. I just donated $100 to NCCS in honor of Fitzhugh Mullan. Fitz was a mentor and friend of my late wife Marti Stern Bernstein. When Marti was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, she found NCCS, and immediately began volunteering and making a difference. Fitz taught her much about survivorship, life, and how to make a difference. Fitz memorialized Marti at her funeral in 1992. Thank you Fitz. You will be missed.
Fitz inspired and mentored many of us as medical and health professional students. For me that began with my involvement in AMSA and continued through work with the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) and the US Public Health Service Primary Care Fellows program. The formative years from medical school through being a young attending physician. During that time period many things changed but Fitz was always a northstar representing the best of the medical profession and health policy. May his students, mentees and colleagues continue to spread his values through out the world. May he rest in peace.
I took his health policy elective as a resident and grew to admire him as a great teacher and amazing human being
I forever will remain grateful that Fitz gave me the opportunity to become a Leaders for Health Equity Fellow just three years ago. In that time, his mentorship and vision have had such an ongoing profound impact on my advocacy work; in fact, my entire approach to problem solving has evolved in important and sustainable ways. Our first meeting was actually during my Skype interview; I had no idea who my interviewers would be, so when the screen opened up and he introduced himself with "Hi, Scott, I'm Fitz" I couldn't believe I was meeting the legend himself. It was all I could do at the time to remain composed, so I am beyond grateful that I am now celebrating his life as my mentor and friend. Thank you, Fitz, for all the power you have left within us to keep your mission going!
Dr. Mullan, we will always remember you. RIP
Dr. Mullan was a true inspiration. His passion for justice and equity in medicine and beyond was evident through all he did. He was one of the main reasons that I was drawn to come to DC and enter the field of health policy more fully as a pediatrician. Thank you, Dr. Mullan!
From the very beginning Fitz provided conceptual and practical support for building the Social Medicine Consortium, which in the last 5 years has grown into a global network of health professionals committed to teaching and practicing social medicine. We are all grateful for his inspiration, hope, and lifelong commitment to the cause and struggle for social justice. Mike Westerhaus
I met him at the end of his life through exchange of correspondance.I am French. I am so saddened. I am very grateful to him for his kindness and his commitment.I hope to be able to carry a little further my research work about immigration and psychiatry and thus honore his memory.
My heartfelt condolences to all his family.
Fitz was one important leader in the field of health professionals’ education, and especially medical education. At the time that I was working at WHO, I could follow and share his natural leadership in assessing the medical schools in sub-Saharan Africa and his effort to design and implement projects and policies for improving and developing the health workforce in his own country and globally. We will miss you. Our deeply condolences to his family and friends.
Fitz was a great mentor and friend. I will always remember and cherish our lunches at Froggy Bottom, where we discussed anything from healthcare workforce in America, to maternal-newborn care in Africa, our recent good reads, or just talking about our families. He mentored me through several career transitions from clinical medicine to public health and back, and was always my professional cheerleader. I will miss him dearly. My condolences to his family.
I feel truly blessed that I had the privilege to know Fitz personally; and to know his remarkable wife, Irene, as well. Fitz was a wonderful human being: a champion for social justice whose activism and impact on public health cannot be overstated. He will be sorely missed and always remembered by me; and by us all.
Fitz was a true gentleman and scholar. He welcomed me to teach in his Medical Residency course and i have done so for the last 10 years. Fitz had a manner about him the projected warmth and deep concern for his fellow man. He conducted himself with grace and professional acumen. i am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of his passing.
As Joseph said, "The Medical (and Public Health) profession has lost an Angel! We are all better people to have know Fitz. He shall be deeply missed by so many and was an inspiration to us all.
I remember Fitz as an advocate for all heath professionals. Our paths crossed over the years around teamwork and interprofessional education. He was an advocate for all of us.
Fitz was a true advocate for improvement of medical education not just in the USA but in Africa where I got an opportunity to work with him. He was such a wonderful and very knowledgeable man. May the good Lord provide comfort to his family in this time.
I am saddened to learn of the passing on of Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan. This is a very sad development in the field of health. He championed for health work force and was passionate about his work.
We also mourn but celebrate a life well lived. We cherish his contribution to the Malawi’s Health care system. He has left a mark on our continent and will always be appreciated.
Fitz understood so well the importance of narrative. Our human stories are, ultimately, the most effective way to change thinking, behavior, and policy, to make all of these more compassionate. He lived what he promoted. Ours is a great loss. His is a great legacy.
Thanks to Fitz for his legacy of support for the disadvantaged and for clear policies to address real world problem. Fitz was a peaceful warrior whose compassion and honor we could always count on. His death leaves a space for all of us to step in and emulate.
I am so sad to learn of the death of Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan. For me- he was a colleague, a mentor and a friend. Someone who, through his vision and leadership [as the chief architect of the U.S. Public Health Service Primary Care Policy Fellowship], provided me with the most profound professional experience of my career. He is someone who not only changed my life- he also made my life richer every time we had the chance to meet. I shall miss him.
Saddened to hear of Professor Mullan's passing. I had the privilege of meeting him in person only a few years ago and have been happy to check in with him twice a year since then. For me, he will forever serve as an example of someone who can achieve great success while remaining kind, courteous, and open to new ideas and people. I will miss his positive energy, guidance, and wry smile.
Fitz was a colleague at HRSA and a fellow PHS officer but I really got to know him when I worked on health workforce issues at PEPFAR. He was brilliant, kind, funny, generous with his time and a fierce advocate for health workers and the most vulnerable everywhere. Fitz was truly one of a kind. Naming the institute after him is a fitting tribute to his years of public service. He will be missed.
AFREhealth is saddened by the untiemly demise of our friend and colleague Prof Fitzhugh Mullan. Fitz was committed to helping the underserved both in his own country and the developing world. His interest in improving medical education in Africa was genuine. He will be remembered for the key role he played in the implementation of MEPI.
May he rest in peace
I met Fitz for the first time about 7 years ago; and when I decided to transition my career from public health to a mélange of academic medicine and health policy, I was privileged to have him as my mentor. He inspired me with his passion, wisdom and willingness to advocate for change. Joining him and the rest of the team and faculty at RFHP has truly been one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of my career. I will miss his warm and gentle mannerism. What a great loss to us all!
I had the good fortune and honor to have met Fitz in 1968 when he was national president of the Student Health Organization. I was in the Tufts Medical School Chapter. It was clenched fist friendship from the beginning! He influenced much of my early thinking about the intersection between medicine and life and how important it is for health professionals to be engaged it the broad aspects of health..It was revolutionary in 1968 to assert that medicine is a right, not a privilege and war is the enemy of good health.
I had the opportunity to see him periodically at meetings and was able to support him during some phases of his illnesses in my capacity as Chief of Rehabilitation Medicine at NIH. This relationship reinforced the early student days' experiences where his determination and sagacity helped all of us understand what patient centered outcomes really are and how to help people reach them. (always decades ahead of his time).
His influence on me and many who grew up during the tumultuous times of the 60's are forever in his debt.
Thank you, Fitz, for all you have done for us. Your compassion, generosity of spirit, and purpose have greatly influenced me and many others. May you rest in peace. We miss you.
Fitz.....you had this remarkable way of making me feel like the smartest person in the room - even though I knew I wasn't. Your generosity of spirit was so profound and so greatly appreciated. You could rise up others in a way I've never seen, yet I'm so very grateful that I got to experience it. You are loved so much, appreciated so deeply, and will be missed so much. Thank you for being the gift of Fitzhugh Mullan.
July, 1980– I walked into Fitz’s office when he was heading up the NHSC to talk to him about my assignment—and immediately felt the kinship...comrade-ship...that so many people are describing on these pages Over the years, I made it a point to read everything he wrote and was very happy in recent years to have the opportunity to work with him on his most recent grand project, the Beyond Flexner Alliance. His good humor persisted well into the last period of his illness—when I congratulated him on the naming of the GWU institute after him, he emailed back—“Its amazing the lengths some people will go to to get something named after them”. ! I missed having him In person to celebrate at the American Academy of Nursing when he was honored recently and I know all of us will miss Fitz, his sense of purpose and wry humor, his vision, his belief in all of us, for a long time to come. To Irene and the entire family—we send our deepest sympathy.
Nearly 25 years ago, I served as Fitz’s Deputy in HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions. He gave me his book “Plagues and Politics” in which he wrote: “To Paul, It has been a wonderful to be your partner for these six years. Your judgement, loyalty, craft, energy and social commitment have been inspirational and instrumental to me. Thanks for everything! Affectionately, Fitz 12/31/1995.” That’s exactly how I felt about Fitz. I am so sorry to learn of his passing.
Fitz was my chief resident at Lincoln Hospital in 1970. We all went there with wild plans for change in the system. Fitz not only led change but also made sure we were good doctors and put the patients first. We still need leaders like Firz. We must honor him by continuing the fight to put patients first before profit.
Like so many others I understand the larger impacts of medicine and health policy, both in this country and abroad, more fully because of Fitz. His influence on me through the Health Policy fellowship for residents was formative. I’m grateful to his influence in my education because of his brilliance as a mentor, but also for his kind ways, incredible depth, and humble example. I am so, so sad to hear of his death. He will be missed.
The field of cancer survivorship has lost one of its founding fathers. Fitz' landmark article on cancer survivorship "the seasons of survival" is one of the iconic pieces of writing that shaped the work of so many of us who walked in his shoes as cancer survivors and researchers. When I published my own cancer story from the lens of quality of cancer care in the US, Fitz had some very kind words of encouragement to give me. I was totally floored by his nurturing gesture as he was after all one of our biggest heroes. A true gentle soul. You will be missed Fitz, thanks for inspiring so many cancer survivors.
I met Fitz as a member of the inaugural class of the Leaders for Health Equity Fellowship in 2017. Fitz called me Kenny despite my initial and intentional introduction as Kenneth--only family called me Kenny. I'm glad that Fitz was able to recognize us a family. He is missed!
Fitz was easily one of the most genuine people I have ever met. His heart was just and kind, and he will be missed.
I knew Fitz over 40 years. I doubt that there has ever been a person who possessed such genius, while at the same time being humble constantly and compassionate. Who would not have wanted to be Fitzhugh Mullan? But, he was truly unique. His example encouraged others to be better health professionals and better people. He had burdens to carry like all people, but, I never once heard him complain. He would post that wry smile, tilt his head, and say that we needed to get going. Well done faithful steward. You taught so many so much. It is up to others to act on that gift.
Fitz you are one of the most amazing human beings I have met and meeting you was an incredible gift. You balance and carry compassion, generosity, vision, service, leadership, stewardship, and are brilliant. What an amazing and dedicated role model. Fitzhugh Mullan you have always been a warrior, a physician, an activist, a radical for social justice well before your time. There are not enough words to describe your greatness and passion.
You inspired everyone you met to make the world a better place, to fight for social justice and to give and love your life while serving. My life will never be the same because of having met you and reminding me to keep fighting and trust that fire in the belly.
I will forever be grateful for all you taught me, inspired me and hundreds if not more of others and for introducing me to amazing people who I now call friends and colleagues who have that fire and who are part of your legacy to make the world a fairer place.
Rest In Peace.
A very few highly successful figures in academic medicine and professional affairs maintain their youthful idealism and passion for justice throughout their lives. Fitz was unsurpassed.I've admired him for decades.
It has taken me a week to leave a comment here. I feel so incredibly privileged to have known and been personally mentored by Fitz. Like Leana Wen mentioned earlier, ever since I met him and worked with him at our FQHC in DC, I have been inspired to model my career after him. I felt he was the perfect mix of community advocacy, health policy, medical education, and action. Recently, I found and reread a recommendation letter that he wrote for me almost 15 years ago and I was heartened to read all the wonderful and encouraging things he saw in me, far before I saw those things in myself. Now that I am at a stage where I am mentoring others, I am thankful to have had this example of a true mentor. Before he died I asked him to autograph some of his books that I have. He wrote: "Dear Andrea, Wonderful to have worked with you as a clinical colleague, a fellow agitator, reformer, and teacher. Keep at it!" I will forever cherish those words and say Yes Fitz - We will keep at it!
What a wonderful gift Fitz provided to us - a vision of the way things should be, a commitment of his life to that vision, and the ability to connect with and inspire others to accompany him on the journey. A truly remarkable person!!
I am so blessed to have worked with this phenomenal man!! May his commitment to social mission live on in all of the lives he has touched!!
Oh Fitz, truly sad to hear the news. In these dark times we so easily forget the noble qualities embodied by the America I saw from afar, while living in Africa. It was embodied by the likes of Jack Kennedy and the sorts of people who served in the Peace Corps. It was so manifest in Fitz, when i met him long ago; the best of America: He was noble, courageous, a caring physician, a champion for justice and equity, always engaged and with boundless energy. What a good innings, Fitz! It will be hard for anyone to measure up to that mark. We will miss you so much.
I will remember best Fitz's thoughtful reflections and critiques of many studies through as an example of unwavering commitment for a better, more compassionate world. RIP
I was so thrilled when I finally got a chance to meet Dr. Mullan in person at an AAMC meeting and to be able to tell him how much of a fan I had been of all of his work. He will be deeply missed by all.
I’m deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Mullen’s passing. He was an amazing teacher and incredibly passionate about his work. I will always remember the fantastic health policy course I took with him during residency. No one will ever be able to fill his shoes. He will be missed.
I am so sad to hear of Dr. Mullan’s passing. He was such an inspiration to me. His expertise, passion, humility, and warm heart were just a few of the things that make him an unforgettable icon. You gave us so much Fitz, thank you. My sincere condolences to his family.
Fitz, your fierce legacy lives in our hearts and minds. You are a guiding light in our communal mission to provide equitable, fair and socially-conscious healthcare to our communities. Onwards, Fitz!
We met when you were a first year med student and I, a senior college student at the U of Chicago. We've connected in different nodes of our professional lives ever since--from SNO in NYC (you at Lincoln, me at Downstate and St Vincents), You in La Clinica in Santa Fe and I in Indian Health in Albuquerque, then multiple grants. But throughout, you always played a consistent role with our progressive to radical ventures among compatriots--you were the best dressed, best spoken leader in our group. You gave us credibility among policy-makers, whether at the state, federal or foundation level. So much recognition and funding to our group in later years in New Mexico was, in so many ways due to your creative and persistent efforts. I was so fortunate to have had our last conversation only several months ago where I could share how much you gave us. Farewell, dear friend!
Fitz was a rare breed combining his passion for justice in health with recognition that the health system's greatest resource is its workforce. His commitment to frontline science and health workforce equity were among the reasons he was always a bright and welcome light in global health. His leadership will be sorely missed and his legacy will be appreciated by so many.
As a young physician starting out in practice in 1977 I was looking for role models. I had just completed 3 years in the USPHS in Bethel, Alaska and a two year family medicine residency in Boise, Idaho. In 1977 I started a family medicine practice in Reedsport, a small Oregon coastal community. My practice was one of the 13 “model” practices in the RWJ Rural Practice Project (RPP). The practices met annually for four years, sharing our stories and innovations. I had read Dr. Mullan’s book, White Coat, Clenched Fist. Many of us were implementing the Community Oriented Primary Care in our rural communities and looking for a “cartographer” to guide us. I reach out to invite Dr. Mullan to be our keynote speaker on the campus of a small college in New Hampshire. He inspired us and I continued to follow his guiding light over my four decades as a family physician.
Lyle J. Fagnan, MD
Oregon Health & Science University
Fitz was a hero to me when I was a medical student. It was a revelation to meet him and see what a wonderful man he was. There were --and are --- so few activist physicians, and Fitz was one of the best. True of heart, gentle of spirit, dedicated to fighting for what was right and just, Fitz was inspiring and supportive, accomplished and modest. What a gift to have interacted with him over decades. Fitz will always be a hero to me. May we all fight for better healthcare in his honor.
Fitz you are such an inspiration! You are indeed the definition on an health equity warrior. Because you swam against all odds and stood for what you believed in, it gave room for other health equity warriors like me to carry on the amazing work you do. The story of my life is indeed not complete without that chapter of you reigniting the fire I have always had as a kid. Thanks for shining your light on us all. You are amazing!!
The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation wishes to remember and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, a friend and colleague to the Foundation.
Fitz’s true legacy can be found in his lasting contributions to the practice of medicine and to health professions education. The Macy Foundation was honored to partner with and support Fitz on numerous projects and initiatives related to advancing the social mission of medical schools. Most notably, in 2006, the Foundation provided funding to George Washington University, Fitz’s home institution, to study the social mission of medical schools. This investigation, led by Fitz, ultimately led to the development of the Beyond Flexner Alliance (BFA). BFA has become a beacon in guiding the health professions community in training providers to offer more equitable care to all patients with the goal of improving the overall health care system.
We will deeply miss our friend and colleague, Fitz, and will work diligently to continue our efforts in health professions education with his inspiring legacy at the forefront of our minds.
Holly J. Humphrey, MD, MACP
President, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation
I had known Fitz as a friend, colleague, and fellow PHS Commissioned Corps officer for over 36 years as our professional and personal paths had crossed so many times. His passing creates a huge hole in the public health and indeed humanity's universe. Here's to you Fitz-your life touched so may people:
"May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. And rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."
I was shocked and very saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Mullen. As his secretary for a few years when he was the Director of HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions, I admired his integrity, his compassion and his dedication to his work and the care of people. It was a privilege to work for him and realize how many lives he touched all around the world. We have lost a true health care provider. My prayers go out to his family. May his exemplary life live on in the many lives he touched and influenced.
Fitz and I were classmates at Pomfret, a boarding school in Connecticut, friends, members of the tennis team and dorm counselors our senior year. Like most New England boarding schools in the1950's the student body was all male, all white and by and large privileged. We had lost touch over the years but at class reunion, maybe our 25th, there were copies of the school newspaper from our senior year. I was co-editor-in chief with Fitz's roommate, Joe Boyd. Joe generally wrote the editorials except for one I wrote which was critical of Pomfret for not having any "Negro" students. Fitz saw this at our reunion and commented how he never knew I had written it or how I felt. Teen age boys at boarding school kept such feelings pretty much to themselves. It is fascinating and admirable all Fitz did to try to level the playing field. It is an inspiration to people like me to do more while still alive and able. RIP
I first met Fitz in 1991, in the initial cohort of PHS Primary Care Policy Fellows. He introduced us to a diverse array of current and future primary care leaders and to key concepts in primary care, like the "3 c's and 2 a's" (as he called them) of the IOM definition, and the team based, interdisciplinary nature of the work. He also introduced “community oriented primary care" - now reframed as engaging with SDOH. Most important for my career, he taught us to identify the policy and environmental barriers to excellent primary care, and to find the evidence needed to overcome them. These insights gave me new purpose and focus, informing not just my research but my teaching and service. I know my story is just one modest example of his impact. Fitz left us far too soon, but his contributions will endure for generations!
My admiration for Fitz goes back many years, mostly through meetings on various aspects of health policy, where we were colleagues. He was sound, strong, thoughtful, funny, practical, determined, low key, brilliant and effective. A beacon of hope in a messy world.
I had the good fortune of working with Fitz when he was the Director of the National Health Service Corps in the 70's. He had time for everyone, even a low level civil servant like me. He was an inspirational speaker, challenging us all to help those in need. Here's to you Fitz! May the Irish hills caress you. May her lakes and rivers bless you. May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
Fitz Mullan was a man of courage and conviction, who not only thought big things but worked with others to make them happen. He did so by engaging and challenging others to help seek greater social justice and equity in the the world. He was a mentor/leader and a kind man. My experiences with him, over the last couple of decades, were memorable for both his openness to new ideas and the honesty that he modeled in his interactions with others. I will miss knowing that he is in the world.—a world that is a better place because of his life. I am one who will always be thankful for what I learned from him and the impact that he had in so many, many ways. Well done, Fitz!.
Fitz, you have paved a path for those of us who care about social justice in our health system. Some of us fought alongside you. All of us learned from you. We will miss your insightful writings, your activism, and your passion for doing what is right. Your book “White Coat, Clenched Fist” is not just about your history, it is a call to action for all who care about the public’s health and the health of our democracy. You will be missed, but your legacy remains with us.
I met Fitz when he came to interview me for his book Big Doctoring: Profiles in Primary Care. He was a lovely man and an inspiration for all. He learned from his life experiences, used his gift of writing and organizing and taught many along his journey to see the bigger picture and to recapture the altruism and compassion that led us to medicine. He has accomplished much toward his mission of social justice and his absence is a great loss.
The world has indeed lost a great health workforce champion. Thank you, Dr. Fitz, for being such a mentor to so many in this area. From near and far, I admired your leadership while collaborating on the Medical Education Partnership Initiative with CapacityPlus. Your SAMSA work remains important as we strive to build a fit-for-purpose health workforce and achieve goals by the next decade. You shall truly be missed. Rest in peace.