IN MEMORIAM: Dr. Penny Tippy

In December 2018, the AFMRD family mourned the loss of Penelope “Penny” Tippy, MD. Dr. Tippy was truly one of the giants in family medicine education and a passionate advocate for community-based rural family medicine.

Dr. Tippy began her post-residency career in 1977 when she returned to the small rural Illinois community in which she grew up to enter private practice. She always had an interest in teaching and volunteered at the newly established family medicine residency program in nearby Carbondale. It didn’t take long for Dr. Tippy to be named the Associate Program Director of the Carbondale Family Practice Residency. Within two years she became the Program Director and remained in that capacity until she retired in 2012. As director of the residency program in Carbondale, Dr. Tippy expanded the community-based program to include two family medicine centers in rural southern Illinois. She was also actively involved in these rural communities and established an adolescent health center and several on-going, school-based health projects. She was then founding Medical Director of the Physician Assistant Program at Southern Illinois University and was extensively involved in its development. Dr. Tippy believed the key to success was to be open-minded and compassionate while demanding excellence in the residency education. She valued the relationships she developed throughout her career and always tried to learn from others. Even in retirement Dr. Tippy remained active in the program. In the fall of 2018, she continued to work at the residency program as a volunteer faculty member three half days per week.

Dr. Tippy was elected to AFMRD’s first Board of Directors in 1990 (known then as AFPRD) serving as its first secretary/treasurer in 1990-91 and AFPRD president in 1995-96. Dr. Tippy served as chair of the National Institute for Program Director Development (NIPDD) and was a member of the ACGME Review Committee - Family Medicine (RC-FM). Her numerous awards include the Faculty Woman of Distinction Award from Southern Illinois University, the 2003 Nikitas J. Zervanos Outstanding Program Director Award, the "Unsung Hero" recognition from WSIL-TV Channel 3 in southern Illinois, and the 2012 Rural Physician of Excellence Award.

Colleagues described Dr. Tippy as a powerful voice with a heart of gold, a dedicated spouse and mother, a truly visionary leader, and a devoted friend to many. The AFMRD will miss her wisdom, dedication, and infectious laugh.

The AFMRD recently announced that beginning in 2020, the address given to graduates of the National Institute of Program Director Development will be called the Penelope K. Tippy NIPDD Graduation Address.