Archive for the ‘Alvan Fisher’ Category

Patrick Kennedy Enters Dr. Alvan E. Fisher Into the Congressional Record

October 11, 2007

Here’s Rep. Patick Kennedy of Rhode Island tribute to Alvan E. Fisher on the Floor of Congress:

OCTOBER 10, 2007


Madame Speaker, I rise today to recognize the life of Dr. Alvan E. Fisher, a pioneer in treating those affected by AIDS in Rhode Island, who distinguished himself with an extraordinary career as a courageous physician and leader in my home state and throughout the nation. Dr. Fisher passed away on September 28, 2007, after dedicating over 25 years of service to the treatment of people with AIDS.

As a man with deep conviction and tremendous spirit of public service, Dr. Fisher in the early 1980s ventured into the care of patients who other doctors feared, and I am deeply honored to pay tribute to this outstanding Rhode Island native who spent 22 years in clinical practice in Rhode Island treating and advocating for patients with HIV/AIDS. AIDS Project Rhode Island recognized him with its first “Red Ribbon Community Service Award” in 2002, among many accolades he had received in his lifetime.

Dr. Fisher was a specialist in infectious diseases and a founding member of AIDS Project Rhode Island, where he was instrumental in establishing standards of care for patients with HIV and helping patients find doctors who would treat them. He served as chairman of the AIDS task force at Rhode Island Hospital and helped start the Brown University AIDS Program. More recently, Dr. Fisher continued his work in the field of HIV/AIDS treatment as senior director of medical affairs for Gilead Sciences, a biotech company in Foster City, California.

Dr. Fisher was ahead of the times and was someone who understood very well that through acts of bravery and by deeply caring, he worked every day to ensure that patients in our State of Rhode Island and Nationally would have a chance to maintain dignity and live a full and healthy life with HIV/AIDS.

I would like to take a moment to recognize his groundbreaking work and steadfastness during the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. His efforts during this trying time are in fact the qualities that define his legacy of advocating for patient rights, pursuing public health for the greater good, and fighting against stereotypes of disenfranchised people. My uncle President Kennedy in his inauguration speech called on his fellow Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. Dr Fisher’s life work is the embodiment of what my uncle President Kennedy asked his fellow Americans to achieve with their lives.

I was very sorry to hear that Dr. Fisher struggled with renal cancer and passed away at 57 years old. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Pamela, and their two sons, Andrew Fisher and Jeremy Fisher. Today, I praise Dr. Fisher and thank him for all of his contributions to our country and I assure his family that we are inspired and sustained by his example.”

Dr. Alvan E. Fisher, 1950 – 2007

October 2, 2007

Dr. Alvan E. Fisher

The Providence Journal has a moving obituary today on my uncle Alvan Fisher.

“Dr. Alvan E. Fisher, who in 1983 treated the first Rhode Islander diagnosed with AIDS and went on to become a pioneer in the treatment of people with the disease, died Friday of renal cancer in his California home,” the story by the Journal’s Thomas Mooney reads. It quotes Alvan’s colleague and friend Steve Sepe.

“We were seeing lots and lots of people with dreaded illnesses who were dying and we didn’t know what it was,” recalled Sepe. “It was like fighting in the trenches and Al cared very deeply for his patients.”

In 2002, he was awarded with AIDS Project Rhode Island’s “Red Ribbon Award,” which will be renamed in his honor.

In Judaism, there is a tradition called “tikkun olam,” to repair the world. Alvan was by no means religious. But he lived that tradition with every fiber of his blessed soul.

Here’s the donation information:
AIDS Project Rhode Island
232 West Exchange St.
Providence, RI 02903


The Dean R. O’Neill Renal Cell Cancer Research Fund
c/o Foundation for the NIH
One Cloister Court
Suite 152
Bethesda, MD 20814-1460