Renowned Infectious Disease PhysicianDr. Anne Burnett Dies at 51

Dr. Anne Burnett Morris of Southampton, a renowned infectious diseases physician specializing in HIV/AIDS research and treatment, died suddenly on August 6, 2005 of heart failure while participating in an ocean swim fund-raising event to benefit HIV/AIDS research. She had organized this event near her summer home on the island of North Haven in Maine’s Penobscot Bay. She was 51. 

In addition to her busy Infectious Diseases practice in Springfield, Morris was also associate research director and principal investigator of the Western Mass. office of the Community Research Initiative of New England (CRI), a non-profit organization dedicated to HIV clinical research, founded in 1988. Through this innovative collaboration between Morris and CRI, patients in Western Mass. have been offered access to state-of-the-art clinical HIV research and care not previously available.

Anne was a vital part of CRI. Her intelligence, vision, energy, influence, her deep sense of compassion and respect for her patients, and her ever-present sense of humor were so very much valued, and were critical to the development and success of CRI and its mission,” said Dr. Calvin Cohen, CRI’s Research Director. “It was through bringing a research arm and the latest treatments to patients in the area that she felt that she could offer the best possible care to her patients, the majority of whom are HIV-positive Latina women.”

Morris had a particular expertise in and dedication to the treatment of HIV in women, HIV during pregnancy, and antiretroviral therapy. In late July, Morris presented data on the use of antiretroviral medications in pregnancy at the Third International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Morris lectured frequently throughout the country and was also a prolific and highly respected writer and contributor to a wide range of professional journals, reference books, and professional conferences.

“Anne died as she lived, working to help others and following her mission to the end,” said Nancy Madru, her friend and the manager of her clinical practice. “She had a special vibrancy for life that touched everyone who knew her, and she leaves an important legacy.”

Morris graduated from Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia. She completed her postdoctoral training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. At Tufts University School of Medicine, she was assistant clinical professor of Medicine and assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She also served on the Community Advisory Board of the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group. Morris was a member of the American College of Physicians; the American Society of Microbiology; the Infectious Diseases Society of America; the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care; the Massachusetts Medical Society; the American Association of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM); and a board member of the New England Chapter of the AAHIVM.

Morris was the daughter of the Rev. John B. Morris of Augusta, Ga. and the late Harriet (Patsy) Pratt Morris of Atlanta, Ga. and was the granddaughter of the late H. Irving and Ellen Pratt of Long Island, N.Y. and the late Hervey and Anne Morris of Brunswick, Ga. She is survived by her loving family, including her father and his wife, Wright Morris; her brother Christopher W. Morris and his wife Christina Clay (of Haverford, PA); her brother John B. Morris, Jr. (of Bethesda, MD); her sister Ellen Morris McCann and her husband, Peter McCann (of Lincoln, MA); her nieces and nephews, Ellen Morris, Katherine McCann, Charlotte Morris, Erin Morris, Connor McCann, and Brian Morris; as well as countless dear friends and colleagues.

Donations may be made in Dr. Morris’ memory to the Community Research Initiative of New England (CRI), where the Dr. Anne B. Morris Memorial Fund has been established in her honor (CRI, 23 Miner Street, Boston, MA 02115); or to the nonprofit Farm and Wilderness Camps, 263 Farm & Wilderness Road, Plymouth, VT 05056, to provide financial aid for campers.

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