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UICOMP Awards Alan Bridges, MD, with Distinguished Alumni Award


The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP) has awarded Alan Bridges, MD, with its 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award. Bridges is Chief of Staff at the Madison Veterans Administration Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin College of Medicine.

A member of the UICOMP Class of 1983, Bridges received the Veterans Health Administration John D. Chase Award for Executive Excellence in Healthcare in November 2020. He has held numerous VHA leadership roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including serving on the national COVID-19 care transition planning team, the Madison VA Hospital’s incident command team, and as the medical incident commander for the VA Great Lakes Health Care System. As the incident commander, he oversees the medical response for eight VA hospitals spanning from central Illinois to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Bridges also led the Madison VA as one of the national "Moving Forward" pilot sites, implementing dashboards, checklists and huddle reports to increase safely face-to-face patient visits to ensure an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bridges authored the national “Moving Forward” toolkit as part of the VA’s pandemic response.

In addition, under Bridges’ leadership, the Madison VA has become a high-performing facility within the VA Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning (SAIL) performance metrics. This work has earned the Madison VA a first place national ranking in both patient and employee satisfaction.

Dr. Bridges received an undergraduate degree from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL. After receiving his medical degree from UICOMP, he completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison where he was chief resident in Internal Medicine and completed a Rheumatology Fellowship. Following his fellowship, he was on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. He returned to Madison in 1992 and has been on staff at UW and the VA since that time.

Dr. Bridges’ research has focused on antibody testing for rheumatic diseases and new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and connective tissue disease. He has published more than 65 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
“The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria is proud of its role as part of the pipeline educating and training physicians for important work in their chosen disciplines and careers. This year we are honored to recognize the outstanding efforts of Dr. Bridges not only for his response during the COVID-19 pandemic but also in his commitment to excellence as he meets the needs of our nation’s veterans,” says Meenakshy Aiyer, MD, UICOMP interim regional dean. “His work is a wonderful example of the impact UICOMP alumni are having, not only within their respective disciplines, but also within their organizations as leaders who truly contribute to make meaningful differences within our healthcare systems and communities.”

The UICOMP Distinguished Alumni Award is annually presented by the Peoria Medical Alumni Council. Selection for the honor is reserved for those who are highly distinguished in their chosen field and who, in deed or in action, reflect the importance of their education at UICOMP. Nomination criteria and forms may be found online on the Distinguished Alumni Award page.