The University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford presented its 2019 Distinguished Service Award to Connie Vitali, MD, and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in May.

This Distinguished Service Award is presented each year to a nominee who demonstrates outstanding organization and leadership qualities in committee service, administration, health care and medical education at the college, university or national level.

Dr. Vitali and Dr. Stagnaro-Green

Dr. Connie Vitali accepted the 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford from Dean Alex Stagnaro-Green at the May 4 Convocation Ceremony.

About this year’s recipient, Dr. Connie Vitali, her nominator said, “In view of her long commitment to the College, her health system, and community, I can think of no one more deserving of the Distinguished Service Award than Dr. Connie Vitali.”

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation recognizes students and faculty members who demonstrate both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of care and who show respect for patients, their families and health care colleagues.

Dr. Vitali joined the College of Medicine Rockford faculty in 1995 after a residency in pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She had risen to the rank of Clinical Associate Professor before joining the faculty full-time as Visiting Professor of Clinical Pathology in 2016 and serving as assistant dean for medical education and evaluation.

She has had a long and distinguished teaching career, essentially delivering almost half of the pathology curriculum since 1995, offering an M4 elective in general pathology, and advising and mentoring students considering a pathology career. Since 2016, she has been intimately involved in the successful development and implementation of our new Phase 1 curriculum. Her efforts have been recognized with three Golden Apple teaching awards, three White Coat Ceremony speakerships, commencement address speaker, and the Distinguished Teaching Award.

She has served on numerous college and university committees, chaired the Subcommittee on M2 Curriculum, among others, and has been a member of the LCME Task Force, the Dean’s Action Council, College Executive Committee, and multiple search committees. Dr. Vitali continues to advise students both individually and as a member of the Medical Student Environment Advisory Group and student Curricular Board.

Before joining the College of Medicine Rockford full-time, she had a distinguished career as a pathologist at Rockford Memorial Hospital, what is now Mercyhealth, where, in addition to her clinical role, she served the medical staff in multiple leadership roles including Chair of the Board of Directors, Vice-president of the Medical Staff, Chair of the Mercyhealth Regional Community Board and Chair of the Board of Directors Governance Committee, and many other leadership roles. In addition, Dr. Vitali has been active throughout the community, serving on school committees and giving many presentations to community groups. Dr. Vitali’s accomplishments have been recognized with the Jack Packard Quality Champion Award from Rockford Health System, 2015 Woman Manager of the Year Award from the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, and the YWCA Professions Award in 2017.

Dr. Vitali is slated to retire from the College of Medicine Rockford the end of June 2019.