Scripps Health Physician Receives Outstanding Service Award for Diabetes Program

Project Dulce Provides Diabetes Clinical Care and Education to the Underserved in San Diego

Athena interviewgrab 2010-web

San Diego — Scripps Health endocrinologist Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, received the Outstanding Service Award for the Promotion of Endocrine Health of an Underserved Population, recognizing her leadership of Project Dulce, a diabetes disease management program for the underserved and ethnically diverse populations in San Diego. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) presented the award at its 20th Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress in San Diego, April 14.

Dr. Philis-Tsimikas initiated the Project Dulce program in 1997 through a collaborative partnership of the County of San Diego, the San Diego Community Health Center network, San Diego State University, local community hospitals and the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute. The program was developed to improve the delivery of diabetes clinical care and diabetes education for the underserved, diverse ethnic communities. Project Dulce and Scripps have been recognized by the U.S. Mexico Border Health Commission as a Border Model of Excellence and received the 2005 Nova Award from the American Hospital Association.

The Outstanding Service Award for the Promotion of Endocrine Health of an Underserved Population is given to an individual for outstanding contributions to the care, health and service to an underserved population via leadership, long-term commitment, vision, innovation and impact/outcomes.

“Over the years, Project Dulce has continued to demonstrate spectacular outcomes, which are a result of wonderful improvements in clinical care. An added bonus is the lower total cost of care due to a consistent reduction in hospitalizations,” said Dr. Athena Philis-Tsimikas, Scripps Health corporate vice president and chief medical officer of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute. “Project Dulce is the model that recent health care reform initiatives have been looking for and we have been doing it for 14 years right here in San Diego County. I thank AACE for this honor and also for all it has done to draw more attention to the need for improving medical care for individuals with diabetes.”

Dr. Philis-Tsimikas was named corporate vice president for the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, La Jolla, Calif., in May 2008 after the institute’s integration with Scripps Health. In 2004, she led the institute and subsidiary corporation, The Whittier Institute for Diabetes, as executive director and chief medical officer. Dr. Philis-Tsimikas served as a clinical endocrinologist on the Scripps Clinic Medical Group staff for seven years in the Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology from 1994 to 2001. She also served as an associate clinical professor (voluntary) at the University of California, San Diego, for the past 16 years in the Division of Endocrinology/Diabetes and Metabolism. Most recently, Dr. Philis-Tsimikas authored “Guide to Patient Management & Prevention of Diabetes” with Scripps Health colleague and registered nurse Stephanie Decker.

Dr. Philis-Tsimikas’ biography and high-resolution photograph are available at:

About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

AACE is a professional medical organization with more than 6,500 members in the United States and 91 other countries. AACE members are physicians who specialize in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism. For more information about AACE, see

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Media Contacts:

Casey Jones, AACE

Phone: 904-353-7878


Rachel Lichterman, Scripps Health

Phone: 858-678-7348


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