During her time as a student at the UNC School of Medicine, Kate T. Queen, MD, was twice honored by her classmates for her outstanding character, skill and patience. During her residency at UNC, fellow residents honored her for her exemplary clinical judgement. Since beginning her practice in Clyde, NC, Queen ’81 has continued earning the respect of her colleagues, helping to build a coalition to improve care for older adults, including the diagnosis and prevention of osteoporosis, and the prevention of falls and fractures.
That work has once again garnered a high honor for Queen, this time the UNC School of Medicine’s Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award.
Shannon Hunter, MD ’98 of Park Ridge Health in Hendersonville, said Queen has helped to improve the level of care available to older adults in Western North Carolina.
“Dr. Queen is widely respected across our community for the fierce way she advocates for all of the patients she serves,” Hunter said. Queen has dedicated her career to addressing the unmet needs of her patients.
In 1990, Queen developed the first regional Osteoporosis Center in Western North Carolina with grant support from The Duke Endowment. More than 25 years later, the center is still flourishing under Queen’s direction.
After founding the center, Queen identified the need for more readily available bone density testing. Queen developed a mobile testing program, which she then rolled out across Western North Carolina’s most underserved counties.
Her work as an innovator has garnered national attention. In 2009, she was one of ten physicians named Practice Change Fellows by the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies.
She’s also partnered with many researchers at UNC’s Thurston Arthritis Research Center to study the causes and effects of osteoporosis and – more widely – with other researchers to design strategies to help older adults prevent falls. She’s collaborated with UNC to bring an Arthritis Foundation sponsored program, Walk With Ease, to Western North Carolina. The program promotes physical activity amongst people with arthritis.
One of her longtime collaborators, Joanne Jordan, MD, Joseph P. Archie Jr. Eminent Professor of Medicine and director of Thurston Arthritis Research Center and Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development, said Queen epitomizes all of the qualities the Distinguished Alumni Awards are meant to celebrate.
“Over her 30-year career, Kate has worked to develop innovative programs to improve the health of her community and educate health care providers. Plus, she’s a truly wonderful human being, and I feel grateful to have been able to call her a colleague and friend all these years.”
In recognition of her exemplary contribution to the health of the people of Western North Carolina, we are proud to present the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award to Kate Queen.