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Center for autoimmune and inflammation disorders named for emeritus professor Paul Phillips, MD

Center for autoimmune and inflammation disorders named for emeritus professor Paul Phillips, MD

The Dr. Paul Phillips Lupus, Autoimmunity, Inflammation and Immune Health Center of Excellence (PLACE) focuses on the metabolic control of autoimmunity, inflammation and immune health and will support new collaborative initiatives in autoimmunity and inflammatory diseases. It is led by Andras Perl, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chief of rheumatology.

Phillips and his wife, Susan P. Sullivan, have given generously to the Upstate rheumatology division’s research program for many years. Their personal support has helped maintain research initiatives when other funding sources have lagged. This new five-year major gift from the couple will provide resources to help PLACE become solidly established.

“This all came about because of my parents’ belief in giving back,” noted Phillips. His parents, Barbara and Ralph Phillips, made arrangements in their wills to have proceeds from the sale of their New Jersey residence to support the work of their son and the rheumatology division at Upstate.

Perl said he was honored by the center’s connection to Phillips. “Dr. Phillips recruited me to Syracuse back in 1992. Ever since, he has supported our research into the causes of lupus and autoimmune inflammatory disease as well as the development of new treatments,” he said. “I am truly honored that the Center has been named after Dr. Paul Phillips.”

“It has been one of the highlights of my career to work with someone who has such remarkable institutional focus as Dr. Phillips, a focus that has continued into his retirement,” said Eileen Pezzi, Upstate vice president for development. “This vision will help ensure the future of the division to which he devoted so much of his career.”

Through the Upstate Foundation, the Phillipses also established a visiting professorship in rheumatology at Upstate.

Phillips was recruited to Upstate in 1981 to be chief of Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine. Over the next 20 years, he built the division’s programs in patient care, teaching and research. In the early 1990s he recruited and mentored Perl, who assumed leadership of the division when Phillips retired in 2001.  Now an emeritus faculty member, Phillips still teaches and sees patients at the VA Arthritis Clinic.