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School of Medicine Awards of Excellence
November 11, 2008, Volume 55, No. 12

The winners of the 13th Annual School of Medicine Awards of Excellence will be honored at a dinner on November 12, 2008.
The awards recognize outstanding performance by the faculty in the education, research, clinical, and mentoring areas.


Dr. Kathryn Schmitz, assistant professor of epidemiology, is the winner of this year’s Marjorie A. Bowman New Investigator Research Award, which recognizes achievements in the health evaluation sciences. Dr. Schmitz published the first ever meta-analysis on the effects of exercise on a variety of outcomes in cancer survivors in 2005. Through her innovative work, she has made significant contributions to improving the health of cancer survivors. She has made it her mission to contribute to the foundation of knowledge necessary for oncologists to become conversant about the importance of exercise for cancer patients and survivors.

Dr. Kathryn M. Ferguson, assistant professor of physiology, is the winner of this year’s Michael S. Brown New Investigator Research Award, which recognizes emerging faculty investigators engaged in innovative discoveries.  Dr. Ferguson has established herself as the foremost authority on the mechanisms of therapeutic agents targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) extracellular region. Since joining the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, Dr. Ferguson has developed a program that represents how structural biology and biochemistry can be used both to address important questions in cell signaling and to utilize the answers for the development of cancer therapeutics. Her work brings detailed structural biology in very close proximity to clinical research.

Dr. Steven L. Reiner, professor in the department of medicine, is the winner of this year’s Stanley N. Cohen Biomedical Research Award, which recognizes achievement in the broad field of biomedical research.  Dr. Reiner has been recognized as one of the truly innovative scientists of his generation. His research has bridged apparently unconnected disciplines to illuminate surprising insights about how our immune system fights off infectious diseases. At the same time, his discoveries have been widely appreciated for revealing general principles of how cells react to change.

Dr. Thomas R. Ten Have, professor of biostatistics, is the winner of this year’s Samuel Martin Health Evaluation Sciences Research Award, which recognizes a member of the School of Medicine faculty for a body of work with an emphasis on health services research. Dr. Ten Have has distinguished himself for making fundamental advances in statistical methods related to epidemiology,  health services research, and clinical trials; for his talents and generosity as a consulting biostatistician and collaborator; and for his service as a role model in bringing the contributions of biostatistics within reach of an extremely broad audience of clinical researchers.

Dr. Karl Rickels, professor in the department of psychiatry and the Stuart and Emily B.H. Mudd Professor of Human Behavior and Reproduction, is the winner of this year’s William Osler Patient Oriented Research Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement for research in which the investigator directly interacts with human subjects. Dr. Rickels is known throughout the world as the leading expert in the treatment of anxiety disorders. In his 547 publications over more than 40 years, Dr. Rickels has made so many contributions to this treatment that he is recognized as the Dean of Psychopharmacology of anxiety disorders. As a testament to his extraordinary intellect, in his 80s, he remains an active researcher. As founder of the Penn program in the department of obstetrics and gynecology which treats and recognizes the special needs of women with mental health issues, his contributions continue to affect the lives of his many grateful patients.

Dr. Kyong-Mi Chang, associate professor of medicine, is the winner of this year’s Lady Barbara Colyton Prize for Autoimmune Research, which recognizes outstanding research in the field of autoimmune diseases. Dr. Chang is an internationally prominent physician-scientist who is recognized as a leading translational researcher in hepatology and hepatitis immunology. She focuses on the immune regulatory mechanisms of viral persistence and liver disease progression in patients infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), an enveloped RNA virus which is a major cause of acute hepatitis and chronic necroinflammatory liver disease that can progress to cirrhosis and liver cancer.


Dr. Caryn Lerman,the Mary W. Calkins Professor in the department of psychiatry and the Annenberg Public Policy Center, is the winner of this year’s Arthur K. Asbury Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has fostered the professional development of other faculty members by providing inspiring and effective counsel and opportunities for achievement. Dr. Lerman is being acknowledged for her outstanding ability to assess what level and type of mentoring support junior investigators need and how best to guide them, as well as her extraordinary acumen for knowing when to step back and allow them to grow. Her own research focuses on nicotine addiction medication development and pharmacogenetics.


Dr. Ernest F. Rosato, professor of surgery, is the winner of this year’s I.S. Ravdin Master Clinician Award, which recognizes an active master clinician who is a skillful, compassionate practitioner with a long and consistent record of contributions to the Penn School of Medicine and Health System. Dr. Rosato has spent his entire surgical career at the University of Pennsylvania. Implementing innovative, non-traditional and highly sophisticated approaches to the most complex surgical problems has become his trademark, and as such, Dr. Rosato is frequently sought out by surgeons who have reached their clinical limit. Known to be innovative and compassionate, Dr. Rosato is widely regarded as not just the doctor’s doctor, but the surgeon’s surgeon.

Dr. Susan J. Mandel, professor of medicine, is the winner of this year’s Louis Duhring Outstanding Clinical Specialist Award. This award recognizes a clinical specialist physician who blends biomedical science and recent advances in clinical research and insight to provide cutting edge services to patients and colleagues, and applies clinical knowledge innovatively and creatively. Dr. Mandel is known internationally for her pioneering approach to the diagnosis and management of thyroid cancer and the management of thyroid disease during pregnancy. She is considered the “go-to” specialist for thyroid disease in the tri-state area and patients are referred nationally for evaluation of complicated thyroid cancer.

Dr. Gary W. Crooks, the Ruth C. and Raymond G. Perelman Associate Professor of Medicine, is the winner of this year’s Sylvan Eisman Outstanding Primary Care Physician Award, which recognizes a physician in family or general internal medicine, general pediatrics, or obstetrics/gynecology who strives for continuous improvement and highest quality of practice. Dr. Crooks was selected for his tireless work for his patients at the Medical Center. He is acknowledged as not only a respected clinician, but as a caring and compassionate person. His devotion to his patients includes house calls and late night visits, and is representative of his exemplary work ethic, sense of urgency, and devotion to patient care.

Dr. Paul A. Offit, professor of pediatrics, is the winner of this year’s Luigi Mastroianni Clinical Innovator Award, which recognizes a Penn Medicine physician who has made significant contributions toward the invention and development of new techniques, approaches, procedures or devices that change medical practice and are of major benefit to patient care. Dr. Offit was selected for his innovative work on the rotavirus vaccine. Now in widespread clinical use, over 13 million infants internationally have received the vaccine. His work is an outstanding example of the possibilities inherent in translational and clinical research and clinical innovation.

 Dr. Patrick J. Brennan, professor of medicine, chief medical officer, and senior vice president of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, is the winner of this year’s Alfred Stengel Health System Champion Award, which recognizes a Penn Medicine physician who has made significant contributions toward the clinical integration of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, along with a demonstrated commitment to the improvement of quality care. Dr. Brennan has provided extraordinary leadership for a number of initiatives throughout UPHS, which reflect his passionate commitment to the care and safety of patients as well as his strong belief in fostering collaboration and integration among the physicians, nurses, and staff. His dedication has resulted in the Blue Print for Quality and Safety, an initiative focused on increasing UPHS’s ability to produce the highest level of outcomes.



Almanac - November 11, 2008, Volume 55, No. 12