Posts tagged with Awards and Recognition

UCM-led studies honored by the Clinical Research Forum

The Clinical Research Forum is an organization devoted to promoting clinical research in the United States whose members include the leading academic medical centers across the country.  Each year, the Forum conducts a competition to determine the 10 outstanding clinical research accomplishments during the prior year.  This year, two studies led by University of Chicago faculty were selected for this highly competitive honor. 

The Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award, the Clinical Research Forum’s highest honor, went to a team headed by Anne Sperling, Associate Professor of Medicine, and Carole Ober, Professor and Chair of Human Genetics. Their study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that despite similar genetic ancestries and lifestyles in the Amish and Hutterites, the much lower incidence of asthma and allergic sensitization in the Amish is related at least in part to differences in the house dust in Amish homes that engage and shape the innate immune system and suppress the immune reactions that lead to asthma.

The Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Award for studies that demonstrate creativity, innovation, or a novel approach to impact the health and well-being of patients went to a team led by pulmonologist John P. Kress, Professor of Medicine, and Bhakti Patel, Clinical Instructor of Medicine. Their study from the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that using a transparent, airtight helmet instead of a face mask helps respiration in critically ill patients.

Please join me in congratulating Carole, Anne, John, Bhakti and their colleagues on their very significant accomplishments.

Quantrell and graduate teaching awards honor excellence in the classroom

Teaching is a crucial part of our mission in the Biological Sciences Division. Two of our BSD colleagues faculty members are among the faculty members honored by the University this year for exemplary efforts in the classroom that inspire students.

Bana Jabri

The Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards are believed to be the nation’s oldest prize for undergraduate teaching, reflecting the College’s commitment to honoring inspiring teachers. One of the winners this year is Bana Jabri, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine. Bana’s courses in immunology and immunopathology not only convey fundamental concepts to students, but also instill confidence that they can contribute novel ideas to the field.

Jason MacLean

The Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring recognizes regular, full-time faculty members in the four divisions and the Divinity School for exemplary graduate teaching. Among the recipients is Jason MacLean, Associate Professor of Neurobiology. Jason’s commitment to rigorous examination of neuroscience research provides students with essential critical thinking skills as they pursue their own careers.

Please join me in congratulating both Bana and Jason for their invaluable work preparing our students for the future.

Faculty members receive national recognition

Please join me in congratulating colleagues who recently received national recognition for their accomplishments and leadership.

Neil Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, was inducted into the American Philosophical Society — the nation’s oldest learned society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. Neil was selected for this prestigious honor for his discoveries involving the evolution of limbs and the transition from water to dry land.

Jeffrey Hubbell, the Barry L. MacLean Professor of Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise, Professor in the Committee on Immunology, recently received the Society for Biomaterials’ 2017 Founders Award, the organization’s top honor, given for “long-term, landmark contributions to the discipline of biomaterials.”

Olufunmilayo Olopade, the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor and Associate Dean for Global Health received the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Humanitarian Award at the ASCO Annual Meeting earlier this month in Chicago. The award recognizes an oncologist who personifies ASCO’s mission and values by going above and beyond the call of duty in providing outstanding patient care through innovative means or exceptional service or leadership in the U.S. or abroad. Funmi is known globally for her work on breast cancer genetics, health disparities and health equity, and cancer prevention. She talks about her work in an interview with the ASCO Daily News.

Thomas F. Gajewski, Professor of Medicine and Pathology, has been named one of 12 “Giants of Cancer Care for 2017” by OncLive®, an organization that offers oncology professionals information they can use in patient care through its publications videos. Tom, an authority on immunotherapy, is the fourth University of Chicago Medicine physician to win this honor since it began in 2013. Previous winners were Samuel Hellman, Janet Rowley (posthumously), and Everett Vokes. Tom and his team study new ways to overcome a tumor’s ability to resist immune-based therapies, with a focus on drugs that help the immune system, especially T cells, gain access to tumor sites.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News named Michaela Gack, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, to its list of “Top 10 Under 40” in Biopharma Research and Business. In a profile, the magazine cites her “unique experimental system that combines RNAi screens with proteomics as well as molecular, biochemical, and cell biological studies” to identify and characterize the regulatory mechanisms that govern the detection of viral infections.

Monica E. Peek, Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translational Research, was elected a Council Member to the national Society of General Internal Medicine. The national medical society’s 3,000 physician members are the primary internal medicine faculty of every medical school and major teaching hospital in the United States.

Stacie Levine, Associate Professor of Medicine, was accepted as a Fellow in the 2017-2018 Class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. The program is a yearlong, part-time fellowship for women faculty in academic medicine, dedicated to developing the professional and personal skills required to lead and manage in today's complex health care environment. 

Students awarded research fellowships, honored for service and leadership

I am immensely proud of our many Pritzker School of Medicine and Biological Sciences Division students who have been recognized for academic and research accomplishments, service to the community and leadership.

At the recent American Medical Association meeting in Chicago, Hasenin Al-khersan, MD’17, and Phillip Hsu, MSTP, received prestigious AMA Foundation Excellence Leadership in Medicine Awards.  The awards recognize physicians and students who exemplify the highest values of volunteerism, community engagement, leadership and dedication to the care of underserved populations.

Schweitzer Fellows

Schweitzer Fellows Rachel Stones, left, Margaret Wang, Jessica Chen and Tyrone Johnson

Four Pritzker students — Jessica Chen, Tyrone Johnson, Rachel Stones and Margaret Wang — have been named 2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows.  The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship is a one-year service learning program during which students develop innovative community-based projects. During the coming year, our students will be implementing their programs at agencies from the South Side to Uptown to address the needs of vulnerable populations, including survivors of domestic violence and people who are housing insecure.

Our graduate students in the biological sciences have an excellent record of obtaining competitive fellowships, receiving national awards for their research, and publishing findings that advance their fields. BSD graduate students have received prestigious fellowships to support their research from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Ford Foundation, Field Museum of Natural History and other entities. A list of fellowship recipients and their faculty mentors can be found here.

The University’s Center for Leadership Involvement honored five Pritzker students with University of Chicago Student Leader Awards in recognition of their contributions to campus life and the surrounding community. The students honored include three recent graduates — Chris Mattson, MD’17, Sean Gaffney, MD’17, and Elizabeth Donnelly, MD’17 — and Shirlene Obuobi, MS4, and Zaina Zayyad, MSTP. Among these recipients are a student who opened her apartment to classmates for monthly conversations about race and identity, and a student whose efforts inspired Pritzker to launch the Identity and Inclusion (I2I) Initiative.

We all take pride in the contributions of these exceptional students. 

Prestigious faculty and student awards


Bernard Roizman, the Joseph Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Virology in the Departments of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, received the National Academy of Sciences’ 2017 Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology for “his many seminal contributions to understanding the mechanisms by which herpes viruses replicate and cause disease.” The award will be presented in April.

Michaela Gack, Associate Professor of in the Department of Microbiology, received a 2017 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science. The prizes were established “to encourage and support young immigrants who have already demonstrated exceptional achievements, and who often face significant challenges early in their careers.” Michaela, a native of Germany, is studying how the intricate interplay between viruses and the host's immune system impacts the outcome of viral infection and disease.

Thomas Gajewski, Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Ben May Cancer Institute, has been awarded an Outstanding Investigator Award by the National Cancer Institute. These awards support scientists who demonstrate remarkable productivity in cancer research. The award guarantees $600,000 in direct costs per year for seven years, providing financial stability to encourage investigators to take on long-term projects with significant potential. Tom is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Vineet Arora, Associate Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Scholarship and Discovery, was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, an honor society of physician-scientists who translate findings in the laboratory to advance clinical practice. Vinny has made seminal contributions to the understanding of optimizing patient handoffs and managing resident fatigue during long shifts. She will be inducted in April.

Four colleagues have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The 2016 Fellows are: Geoffrey Greene, the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor and Chair of the Ben May Department for Cancer Research; Zhe-Xi Luo, Professor in Organismal Biology and Anatomy; Clifton Ragsdale, Professor in Neurobiology and Organismal Biology and Anatomy; and Jonathan Staley, Professor in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. The new Fellows will be honored later this month at the AAAS meeting in Boston.

Paul Chang, Professor of Radiology, has received the Radiological Society of North America’s highest honor, the Gold Medal. An internationally recognized expert in the field of imaging informatics, he was a pioneer in creating rapid methods of moving digital radiology images and led many research and development projects related to imaging informatics and enterprise-wide informatics challenges.

Sarah Cobey, Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolution, was awarded the Neubauer Faculty Development Fellowship in the College for 2016-2017.  The fellowship recognizes assistant and associate professors in the College’s instructional programs for effective teaching and mentorship.

I would also like to recognize third-year Pritzker student Santiago Diaz, one of five students in the country awarded an AAMC Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship. The scholarship, awarded by the AAMC, aims to advance Dr. Nicken’s “lifelong commitment to supporting the educational, society, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities.” Santiago was chosen for his accomplishments both within and outside of the classroom regarding the elimination of health care disparities.

Please join me in congratulating them.

Medical Center honors

I am proud to note that the University of Chicago Medical Center was selected to receive the Voluntary MBE/WBE Program of Year award from the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA). This prestigious award recognizes the medical center’s work with minority- and women-owned business enterprises under the leadership of Joan Archie, Executive Director of Construction Compliance. Minority- and women-owned businesses are integral to our long-term goals and we are proud to work with these firms to help drive economic opportunity in our community. Congratulations to Joan and other members of our Facilities, Planning Design and Construction group led by Marco Capicchioni. FPD&C also received the Project of the Year award in the category of New Construction/Suburbs (above $20 million) from the Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) for the Center for Advanced Care at Orland Park.  

The University of Chicago Medicine is the first Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center in Illinois to be recognized by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s accreditation program. The goal of the program is to improve outcomes for patients with pulmonary hypertension, a debilitating disease of the circulation of the lung. Accreditation means a program meets a set of criteria established by the PHA’s Scientific Leadership Council and the PHCC Oversight Committee, which is composed of global leaders in the field of pulmonary hypertension.

Grants awarded for children’s health

Comer ED

Our commitment to the community includes caring for its more vulnerable members, including children. This is important work, and I’m pleased that two large federal grants will advance faculty members’ efforts to improve the lives of children and their families.

A five-year, $2 million federal grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration supports a new program to provide screening and mental health care for children and families who have been affected by violence in the community. Under the program, Comer Children’s will screen ED and PICU patients for trauma exposure, regardless of whether they're being treated for violent injuries. Patients and families will be offered support, counseling and intervention.

Bradley Stolbach, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, is the PI. You may read more about the University of Chicago Medicine REACT (Recovery and Empowerment After Community Trauma) program and Dr. Stolbach’s work here.

The National Institutes of Health is launching a seven-year initiative called Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO). ECHO will follow more than 50,000 children nationwide to study how exposure to a range of environmental factors in early development influences the health of children and adolescents. Researchers at the University of Chicago will receive approximately $5 million during the first two years.

Neonatologist Erika Claud, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, will head one of the ECHO pediatric cohorts, which includes NorthShore University Health Services and academic medical centers in Boston, San Diego and Tampa. Her team will study how the microbiome affects neurodevelopment of preterm infants from birth to school readiness. Kate Keenan, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, will work with colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh to understand how exposure to environmental stress prior to conception might alter the mother’s capacity to regulate stress during pregnancy, leading to deficits in the neurodevelopment of her children.

Patient quality and safety


Our 10th “A” rating from The Leapfrog Group reflects our broad commitment to providing safe patient care, and could not have been achieved without the contributions of faculty and staff throughout the organization. The University of Chicago Medicine is one of only 72 U.S. hospitals to have received an “A” ranking in every report since the semi-annual survey began. This is a remarkable achievement, and I thank you all for your hard work, skill and dedication to quality, safe care. 

Shaping the future of graduate medical education


I am very pleased that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has selected the University of Chicago Medicine as one of eight institutions to participate as a Pathway Innovator in its Pursuing Excellence in Clinical Learning Environments program. The Pursuing Excellence initiative is a four-year program aimed at transforming clinical learning environments where residents and fellows pursue training in their specialties.

As one of the Pathway Innovators, we will serve as a model for our peers and take a leadership role in shaping policies that will help transform graduate medical education. Our interest in this initiative stems from our desire to transform our clinical learning environment, and also to expose our residents to a health care delivery system that functions at the highest level.

The ACGME will provide funding for four years to allow our residents and nurses to build upon quality and safety initiatives already underway here at the University of Chicago.

“One of the biggest challenges with doing this type of work is that both residents and nurses have a lot of great ideas, but they often lack time and the ability to roll up their sleeves to execute,” said Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, Director of GME Clinical Learning Environment Innovation. “This is where the grant comes in, to help pay for support resources to catalyze that work.”

Vinny has led a very talented team, whose members are listed below, that allowed us to secure this honor. I commend her work and that of her colleagues, whose vision of integrating graduate medical education with our ongoing quality and safety initiatives has made the University of Chicago an exemplar in shaping the future of patient care:

  • Jeanne Farnan, MD, MHPE, Assistant Dean of Curricular Development and Evaluation
  • Kristen Hirsch, Director of GME Operations, Accreditation, and Strategy and Innovation
  • Holly Humphrey, MD, Dean for Medical Education
  • Michael Simon, MD, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education
  • Debra Albert, MSN, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Krista Curell, JD, RN, Vice President, Risk Management, Patient Safety & Compliance
  • Michael Howell, MD, MPH, Chief Quality Officer
  • Stephen Weber, MD, Chief Medical Officer

I look forward to further innovation to come from this initiative over the next four years.

Faculty members honored for excellence

I am pleased to share some of the prestigious honors — both institutional and external — awarded recently to our colleagues.

Maryellen Giger, PhD, adds to her recent string of honors with the 2016 EMBS Academic Career Achievement Award. The Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society recognized Maryellen with its annual award for her outstanding and pioneering contributions to computer-aided diagnosis.

Two BSD faculty members received awards from the University for their outstanding contributions as teachers and mentors. Daniel McGehee, PhD, received a 2016 Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Nicholas Hatsopoulos, PhD, was awarded a 2016 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.

Finally, two of our colleagues— Michael Howell, MD, MPH, and Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, MAPP — have been named to the second class of the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovator Fellows program.  The fellowship was created in 2015 to strengthen the leadership of innovators across the U.S. health care system and to connect, inspire, and challenge them to create new approaches that will improve the health and well-being of all Americans. It is extremely unusual to have two fellows chosen from the same institution in one year.

Please join me in congratulating them.