Philip Diller, MD, PhD, has been educating and training the next generation of physicians at the UC College of Medicine for nearly three decades. Throughout his tenure, he’s held multiple administrative positions that have allowed him to mentor medical students and residents in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Now, he serves as the college’s senior associate dean for educational affairs.
In his current role, Diller oversees educational programs at all levels of training for the College of Medicine, including the medical school curriculum, the new undergraduate medical science program, and the Center for Continuous Professional Development for faculty and community education. Diller has helped educate and train hundreds of medical students and residents, and he’s proud to say that across the country, the UC College of Medicine has a reputation for graduating students who are exceptionally well trained clinically.
“We’re a pipeline for all of the health systems in the region. I think that’s a huge asset for the community,” said Diller. “The medical school has real benefits for the Greater Cincinnati Community and the region.”
In addition to his roles at the UC College of Medicine, Diller is a palliative care clinician at UC Health and The Christ Hospital. For much of his career he practiced family medicine, but he recently transitioned to strictly focus his clinical efforts on palliative care.
Palliative care is relatively new—it wasn’t recognized as its own specialty until 2006—and Diller has been involved in the development of palliative care programs locally since its inception.
“In palliative care, we work alongside patients and families to identify what their preferences or values would be in a certain medical situation that may have an impact on their future, whether it be cancer, a stroke, or something else where they've had a significant change in their functional status and potentially their quality of life,” said Diller. “Our goals are to try to maximize their quality of life, as defined by the patient and the family, not so much by the medical system. We take a comprehensive approach to the patient—every dimension of being a human is relevant. Whether it's the spiritual dimension, the social dimension or some other context, all those things start to come into play in terms of helping them navigate a new change in their physical function or mental function.”
Diller dedicates nearly a third of his time to supporting patients and their families as a palliative care specialist. He uses that experience, as well as his experience in family medicine, to educate his students on how to be the best possible physician.
“I’ve been a clinician first, so understanding how to be a master physician has been on my radar over the past 20 years. Both my administrative roles and my position as a professor have been heavily influenced by my clinical experiences and knowing what skills people need to practice,” said Diller.