Dr. David Condoluci Leaves Tremendous Legacy as Renowned Infectious Diseases Specialist and Healthcare Leader
“Role model,” “mentor,” and “pioneer” have all been words used by peers and patients to describe Dr. David Condoluci — regarded not only as a national Infectious Diseases expert and leading proponent in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but also as a respected physician and married father of two.
Condoluci is widely known as a trailblazer for making a significant impact in the South Jersey medical community. This month, he retires after more than 35 years as a member of the Jefferson Health - New Jersey Medical Staff, and as Senior Vice President and Chief Patient Safety & Quality Officer, a title he has held since 2017. Along with his busy Infectious Diseases practice, Condoluci oversaw quality and safety issues throughout Jefferson’s New Jersey division, including regulatory inspections and clinical improvement initiatives. The focus of his work was, as he liked to say, “ensuring patients left the hospital in better condition than when they arrived.”
“It’s been an honor and privilege to work with Dr. Condoluci,” said Brian Sweeney, Jefferson Health - New Jersey President. “I first met him in our command center on March 6th when we encountered our first COVID-19 patient. I was so relieved to have an expert clinician like him as a partner to help us manage through our COVID-19 pandemic response. His futuristic vision of treating AIDS patients, his meticulous management of highly contagious diseases over the years, and his vigilance to improve quality and safety will have a lifelong impact on our community.”
Cutting-Edge Medical Practice Saves Lives
Condoluci has long been a hero to his legions of patients. He showed unfailing compassion to people with HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, when there were hardly any treatment options available and HIV/AIDS was a frightening disease.
Growing up in the suburbs of Rochester, NY, Condoluci followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the medical field (his son, Dr. Mark Condoluci, would eventually do the same). He finished his Internal Medicine Residency at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in 1979, followed by an Infectious Diseases Fellowship in 1981 — the same year the AIDS epidemic began — at Albany Medical College in New York.
The Moorestown, NJ, resident joined the then-Kennedy Medical Staff in 1983. Around the same time, he launched the Garden State Infectious Disease Associates medical practice in Voorhees to help manage AIDS patients.
“Dave had an innovative vision for treating AIDS patients, known as the ‘Medical Home Model,’” said Dr. Timothy Dombrowski, Jefferson Health – New Jersey Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “It was a ‘one-stop shop’ for patients with Infectious Diseases, pain management specialists, gynecologists, psychiatrists, and more in one location.”
At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic from 1983-1994, Condoluci braved the “front lines” amid uncertainty and fear — working on a unit treating HIV and AIDS patients at what is now-Jefferson Stratford Hospital. This work ultimately prepared him for the COVID-19 pandemic, where he has been laser-focused on ensuring quality care for those impacted in our region.
Geri DePolter, a retired nurse manager at what is now Jefferson Stratford Hospital, recalls working with him during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. “Dr. Condoluci was our leader and our teacher. His compassion with patients and their loved ones was like no other,” says DePolter. “They were sad and difficult times and we cried many tears along the way, but thanks to medical science and the knowledge of experts like Dr. Condoluci and his team, we saw that population living longer and being treated outside the hospital.”
A founding member of the Southern New Jersey Infectious Disease Society and the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey, where he was honored with the President’s Award in 1992. Condoluci refers to his work with HIV/AIDS patients as a “calling.”
Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Todd Levin and Infection Control Officer Dr. Cindy Hou are among the many inspired by Condoluci over the years. “When I was deciding on my specialty, he made such an impression on me by how he related to patients and interacted with staff,” said Dr. Levin. “He made patients feel comfortable, which is the best medicine there is.”
‘Raising the Bar’ on Infection Control, Quality and Safety
Dr. Condoluci being named a Master Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI) in 2015, one of the most prestigious honors bestowed on an ACOI member in recognition of superiority in clinical practice, teaching or research.
Condoluci has worked tirelessly to improve lives through infection control, quality and safety. His commitment to reducing the number of sepsis-related deaths resulted in a nationally recognized sepsis prevention and detection program, with mortality rates below both the state and national average.
With the help of Condoluci, then-Kennedy was the only U.S. hospital system in 2016 honored as a “Sepsis Hero” by the National Sepsis Alliance. Dr. Condoluci later helped Jefferson Health - New Jersey earn the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence (MAAPE) Proficiency Award — marking the next step in the organization’s journey that began in 2017 to achieve Baldrige Performance Excellence.
Like Father, Like Son
Condoluci with the 2019 New Jersey Hospital Association Distinguished Service Award, shown with members of his family, from left: daughter, Lauren; wife, Patricia; and son, Mark.
Dr. Mark Condoluci has worked alongside his father in the Voorhees practice. “It is difficult for me to put into words the impact my father has had on my life as a physician,” he said. “Reflecting on it, the ability to be a ‘witness’ to it has been a wonderful experience. My dad had many loves in healthcare: medicine, teaching, and his patients, but he always put patients first.”
Looking back over his career, Condoluci is thankful and proud of what he and his colleagues have accomplished. He now looks forward to life after retirement and spending time with his wife, son, daughter, three grandsons, and close friends.
“I have really been blessed with a wonderful career and family,” he said. “Our organization has come a long way in our quality and safety journey, starting out with a ‘C’ in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. With the support of many, we established a Quality and Safety Department and raised that grade to an ‘A.’ Now, under Jefferson, we have the tools and programs to take the organization to another level.”
The Jefferson Health – New Jersey Medical Staff made a $1,000 donation to PCOM to establish the Dr. David Condoluci Endowed Resource Fund, which will support infectious diseases initiatives in the areas of education, training, lectures, and research. Congratulations and best wishes, Dr. Condoluci!
— By Matthew Rappa