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Turner Receives Lifetime Award

Contact: Amanda White

Photo of H. Spencer Turner, M.D.
H. Spencer Turner accepts the American College Health Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Turner’s improvements to college health are not limited to the two university health services he directed. He has opened lines of communication among colleagues through publications and leadership roles in his field. He has authored more than 30 professional publications and was associate editor for the Journal of American College Health.

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June 17, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- H. Spencer Turner, M.D., director of University Health Service at the University of Kentucky, recently received the American College Health Association’s (ACHA) Lifetime Achievement Award. In ACHA’s 80-year history, this is only the third Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the association.

With a career spanning more than 30 years in college health, Turner is known as a leader in the field.

He spent over 10 years as director of the Ohio State University student health service. Following his tenure at Ohio State, and after several years in private practice, Turner became director of University Health Service (UHS) at UK in February, 1991. Turner will retire from UHS in August.

“Spence Turner’s achievement is not just to have served his time, but to have led and strengthened the field,” said Richard P. Keeling, M.D., a nationally recognized college health professional who was one of those nominating Turner for the award. “He left the health center at Ohio State a far better service than it was when he arrived, and the same will be said of his work at Kentucky once he retires.”

“When I arrived at UK, the clinic was operated on a walk-in basis with long waits for students and inefficient use of staff resources,” Turner said.

Through Turner’s initiatives, all visits are now by appointment and the clinic is completely computerized.

“Students are pleased that they can select the clinician of their choice, stay with that same clinician for their entire time at the University if they wish, and are usually able to see that clinician the same day they call.”

Turner’s improvements to college health are not limited to the two university health services he directed. He has opened lines of communication among colleagues through publications and leadership roles in his field. He has authored more than 30 professional publications and was associate editor for the Journal of American College Health.

Recently, Turner co-edited the first textbook on college health, “The History and Practice of College Health.” The book is written for an audience that not only includes health care professionals, but also student services personnel and higher education administrators.

"A field doesn't become recognized until its body of knowledge is put into an easily accessible, documented format,” Turner said. “This text is useful for a wide variety of people. It details where we've been, what we do, and how we do it.”

Turner also recently finished a publication detailing the 123-year history of the UK student health service.

Turner has served the ACHA in numerous areas. He was president of ACHA in 1981, is an ACHA Fellow, and received the Edward Hitchcock and Ruth Boynton Awards. Also, he co-founded the Kentucky College Health Association and a group for directors and senior administrators of student health services at academic medical centers.

After his planned retirement to Amelia Island, Fla., later this summer, Turner plans to continue consulting in college health.


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