Dr. R. Scott Hitt, AIDS Activist and Advisor to Clinton, Dies

*** Via Hitt’s publicist:

“Scott Hitt was a pioneer in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Working with President Clinton, Scott was responsible for creating policy that saved thousands of lives,” said David Mixner, author, political strategist and civil rights activist. “He fought discrimination and was a powerful force within the Democratic Party. We shall miss his voice.”

It was Hitt’s believe that the LGBT community must continue to develop individuals from within their community who can articulate LGBT positions, stand up against the radical right and help see to it that America is not duped into believing that there is any group that should ever be treated differently than how they would have their own sons and daughters treated.

With much passion and valor Dr. Hitt made a monumental decision to try and focus his last years toward doing what he could to assist the next generation until the LGBT community is finally on the same playing field as everyone else. Throughout his illness which was diagnosed in 1999, Dr. Hitt courageously helped develop, mentor and train the next group of leaders in the LGBT community. Empowering and transforming the lives of young LGBT members was his life mission and until his death was one of the things that brought him the most fulfillment.

He often wondered when he looked at community-based organizations and sat at their board meetings, “Who will replace the leaders I have had the honor of meeting and working with? Who will pick up the mantle and do what needs to be done to ensure future LGBT generations won’t be whitewashed from the pages of history?”

Dr. Hitt always felt that individuals do not leave a single legacy— it is a lifelong body of work. And his included his true partnership with a wonderful man named Alex Koleszar; the patients he lovingly cared for over the years, determining what combination of therapies would help them survive to the next level; and the organizations he humbly served.

Dr. R. Scott Hitt was born in Tucson, Arizona. He is survived by his long time companion, Alex Koleszar; he is also survived by his two sisters Alana Hoffmann and Heather Martin. A private service and burial will take place in Phoenix, Arizona. A memorial service will be announced and to be held at All Saints’ Parish in Beverly Hills presided by Pastor Altagracia Perez.

Comments

  1. peterparker says

    That’s an awfully glowing obit. However I know several people who knew or worked alongside Scott Hitt and none of them have anything nice to say about the guy. He was fairly notorious for being sexually inappropriate with patients.

  2. j-m says

    To Giovanni: You have to stoop so low to speak ill of Dr. Hitt?! It is easy to say you know people who claim that the doctor was sexually inappropriate, but since we do not know those who claim such, I wonder how accurate your statement is. I’ve never did anything inappropriate with my doctors before, but I sure have flirted with them, and who knows if they had responded if I would not have done something. But I can say this, I am a good person, and if I had done such, people like you want to gloat and demonize the weaknesses, rather the strengths that people have. Men like Larry Craig who live a lie, and an hypocrital life, are the ones who you should speak against, instead of a person like Dr. Hitt who did so much to help those who live with AIDS.

  3. Kergan says

    Wow–no mention of his license suspension for suspected patient abuse? I worked at APLA when Scott was on the board, and knew many of his patients. I realize that it’s hard when one dies to really capture the totality of a human life, but a more balanced view would have been welcome…

  4. peterparker says

    J-M,

    Giovanni said nothing negative about Scott Hitt. I was the first person who commented on the disparity between his obituary and the person that some of Los Angeles’ top HIV doctors ostracized due to unprofessional conduct.

    Scott Hitt was a partner at Pacific Oaks Medical Group, one of the largest medical practices in the country for gay and HIV+ men. When I was a patient there in the early 1990s I commented to one of the nurses that I thought he was good looking. She proceeded to tell me how disgusted she was with his unprofessional behavior and that all the docs there wanted him out because he was constantly making sexual passes at patients. They were afraid his unprofessional behavior put the entire practice at risk of the possibility of a lawsuit which could have endangered the existence of the entire practice and thus the health care of thousands of people with HIV. They finally got him out in 2000. It is reported that he resigned, but the real story (according to someone who worked at PacOaks with Hitt) is that he was forced out.

    I’m not trying to attack or demonize a dead man. I’m just saying that the glowing obituary is misleading because it omits some fairly well-known, and unsavory, aspects of his life.

    Finally, J-M, it’s one thing for you to flirt with a doctor. It’s quite another thing for a doctor to flirt back (because that is considered by the medical profession to be extremely questional behavior, ethically speaking) and it is altogether different than a doctor fondling a patient, which is what Hitt was accused of doing.

    xo,
    peterparker

  5. Edward says

    Dear Richard,

    I have a friend who was a coworker of Hitt’s who can tell you of the very nasty and insensitive disposition of Hitt’s or as we was known by coworkers as “Hitt and miss”. And before you can claim that this was hearsay, I was his patient and also on the receiving end of his dark side and I’m not talking about sexual misconduct. I’m sure there are others out there who would find it difficult to forgive his behavior.

  6. Dumb Question says

    Ok, I’m sure I will get flamed for this, but here goes…

    So he was a Hiv doctor working for Hiv infected people, correct?..and he was constantly making passes at them? correct?….can we assume that he himelf was Hiv positive and it’s just not being talked about?

    Don’t wanna sound harsh, but isn’t it rather “russian roulette-ish” to do that? It doesn’t sound rational even though I don’t doubt what people are saying….

  7. Rusty says

    Speaking from firsthand experience working with Scott Hitt at Pacific Oaks Medical Group, I must agree and confirm the comments made by PeterParker, Richard and Edward.
    The “great things” Hitt did for HIV/AIDS does not balance out the fact that he was sexually compusive and inappropriate with his patients, disrepectful and rude to his employees, and narcissistic and egotistical ad nauseum.
    He was a referred to as a tea room queen by most of his patients and once received a pair of knee pads as a Christmas gift from another Doctor.
    He was more of an embarrasment to the Los Angeles Gay community than a hero.

  8. Scott Bouchey says

    I would just like to say that I worked with Scott Hitt at his company AAHIVM. And honestly, despite any negative and questionable things he may have had in his past, he was an amazing man who did quite a lot for the LGBT and AIDS community.

    The fact of that matter remains that he has passed on, and we should not dwell excessively on the darker points, because he is just a man, and people who love him will be sorely missing him.

    I believe that anyone and everyone who knew him or reaped the rewards of what he has done should be simply thankful and wish his family and friends their love and support.

  9. peterparker says

    Dear DUMB QUESTION,

    While Pacific Oaks Medical Group has a large group of patients with HIV/AIDS and while Scott Hitt treated many people with HIV/AIDS, not every patient at Pac Oaks Medical Group was HIV positive. In fact, many HIV negative gay men go to doctors who primarily treat HIV simply because those doctors are often gay and they want to see a doctor who they know will not judge them based on their sexual orientation.

    You are assuming too much to jump to the conclusion that Hitt was HIV positive simply because he had a large HIV+ patient population and he may have had sex with some of those people. I’m not saying was HIV-. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone say one way or the other what his HIV status was. I’m just saying that you are assuming too much to think he had to have been HIV+.

    And, no, I don’t think it is, as you put it, ‘russian roulette-ish’ to have sex with people with HIV. There are, after all, *many* things you can do sexually with an HIV positive person without putting yourself at risk of being infected.

    As for how rational or irrational Dr. Hitt’s behavior, if he was sexually compulsive then that behavior would be similar to that of an alcoholic or drug addict and therefore, by definition, irrational.

    xo,
    peterparker

  10. Doug says

    While it is generally in poor taste to speak ill of the dead, Dr, Hitt was a public figure in the media, and as such, a more balanced perspective of his life is in the public interest. Yes, Dr. Hitt did some great public service work, as all the obits are reporting, but on the darker side, Dr, Hitt was found guilty of masturbating a patient in his office after injecting him with a pain medication, arrested for lewd conduct in shopping malls, and was eventually stripped of his license to practice medicine based on his sexual misconduct with his patients.

    Dr, Hitt was my physician for several years. While I always felt sorry for him after learning about his illness, I personally felt that Dr, Hitt had some very serious problems and that he was never quite deserving of the media adulation which started when he was named by President Clinton. That being said, Dr, Hitt’s community work is undisputed. May he rest in peace.

  11. Mike in the Tundra says

    Isn’t anybody else bothered by the use of the phrase “longtime companion” in the announcement of his death? Haven’t we moved beyond that?

  12. says

    LOL, I love how all these experts come out of the woodwork on the net. They worked somewhere with the person being written about or they knew someone who had been mistreated by such person. This story is about any of you folks! Get over yourselves! The man died. Pay your respects. Or don’t pay them (in silence). Sometimes (like now) I get completely disgusted with our community (especially on the net). It’s not like the first time the wolves come out with scathing things to say when someone isn’t capable of defending themselves.

  13. craig says

    Dr. Hitt was my doctor for most of the 90’s. I was aware of the case that led him to surrender his medical license in 2000, but it certainly doesn’t detract from his contributions to the community, at least in my eyes.
    So the man was human and made mistakes–so add him to that enormous list, if you so choose.
    RIP Dr. Hitt.

  14. 24play says

    Steve,

    So you’d be okay with an obit of Hitler that simply said he was a rousing speaker with a knack for efficiency who believed in the superiority of Germany and its people and never failed to act on his beliefs? After all, wouldn’t want to speak ill of the dead.

    I think the point of most of the negative commenters here is that an obit of Hitt that fails to at least mention that he lost his license to practice medicine due to improper behavior is incomplete at best, and probably a deliberate whitewash.

  15. Gym says

    I was a patient of Dr. Hits for many years, although not HIV+, I found Dr. Hitt to be a remarkably knowledgeable physician, who’s diagnosis were always spot on. He was kind, polite and professional Always. His bedside manner was beyond reproach. He has contributed MUCH to the community. I was deeply distressed when he left Pacific Oaks and to this day have not found a Doctor who can compare. I greive this loss greatly, and wish all who knew him the very best. I’m pray that he is now, happy and at peace.

    Gym C.

  16. Ric says

    Folks, we should all remember that most of us have done a few things in our past that we’re not proud of and might be a tad embarassed by if everyone knew.

    However, I do agree that a more balanced obit better serves everyone and provides a fuller view of the person. And I found one on MSNBC.com that mentions the license suspension and inappropriate conduct:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21701062/

    I’d like to believe that Scott’s many contributions to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities will far outweigh his personal challenges. Remember, those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

    Rest in Peace Scott! You fought long and hard against the cancer and for those of us who knew you, you’ll always be in our thoughts!

  17. Justin says

    WOW. Are there really people out there like “sleazeboyxx”? If you are as your name suggests, you deserve to die from whatever you get. What have you done in your life to make life even a little better for anyone else other than when on your knees. And Peter Parker out there claiming to know all… who are you? And then someone out there writing “after injecting him with pain medication????” give me a break. And “I was told by someone….”. Wih such great sources you all attack a man who is dead. Well, look in the mirror. As you type your nasty words, look in the mirror and ask yourself what you have done in your own life. Anything you might be ashamed of if it were in the press? Are you pure and innocent? Is it that important that you need to see the dirt on a man after he is dead??? It’s all been printed already. Here is what I hope. That each one of you who have taken the time and energy to write your ugly words, may you some day die by them along with your ugly thoughts.

  18. voodoolock says

    i was a patient of dr. hitt for over 12 years and he always treated me with the utmost care and professionalism. one thing that was remarkable about his care was the emotional confidence he was able to offer me in a time when many other were dying all around me from the same virus that i still carry to this day. he was an excellent doctor.

    i will always be grateful that i found a doctor as respectful as he was, that did not treat me as if i had a terminal illness, and that knew enough about hiv that he could give me the hope to continue to live a healthy life.

    dr. hitt dedicated his life to getting out the facts about hiv, and to dispel many of the myths that still are rampant today in this country.

    i regret that there aren’t more people like him to further his cause, and am grateful that he devoted the end of his life to raising awareness training others to carry on his work.

    RIP R. Scott Hitt

  19. B. Messinger says

    I wish it were more astonishing to read how ones own community can so vilify a one time leader who effectuated a lot of good for the HIV and Gay community. Why is it that a good majority of our community takes great joy in seeing its own fall? Could it be those who live petty little lives despise those who strive to do well but falter because of their own struggles with life? It seems to me that those who are so bold to judge and cast stones (particularly after the fallen comrades’ death) are sad and pathetic people who should be pitied. I won’t say shame on you; just remember your foul judgments when you too will surely fall short of your own expectations.

    My thoughts are with Al, a loving and devoted husband, and all Scott’s friends.

  20. David says

    I’m just now finding out about Dr. Hitt’s death almost a year after. I found out because I did an Internet search for him to see where he was. I did this because he was the best doctor I’ve ever had, and I hoped he might offer a referral. He was always kind to me and made me feel as though I would be okay. I was another of his hiv- patients.

    I would end up in his office about once or twice a year. I can recall the last visit, before I moved away. He walked in, saw me and smiled. “Oh good, it’s you!” he said. I asked why that was good. He said, “Because I can cure the things you get.”

    I realized the magnitude of that statement, given the majority of his practice.

    I was proud of him when I later learned of his involvement with Clinton.

    He was a good doctor. He was always kind to me. And, like he said, he always cured me.

    R.I.P. Dr. Hitt and thank you for making me feel curable and cure-worthy.

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