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Honors & Other Things
October 31, 2006, Volume 53, No. 10

  • Annenberg’s Former Deans
  • Dr. Jemmott: AIDS Prevention
  • Dr. Richardson: Joe Palmer Award
  • Dr. Rodin: Honored by PA Society
  • Doctors Honored by Writers
  • Elected to Institute of Medicine
  • SON: Top Private School
  • Wharton: High Rankings
  • Penn’s Medal for Distinguished Achievement: Wangari Maathai
  • School of Medicine: Awards of Excellence

  • Annenberg’s Former Deans

    Gilbert Seldes George GerbnerKathleen Hall Jamieson

    On October 4, the Annenberg School for Communication dedicated three portraits of the school’s former deans: Mr. Gilbert Seldes, Dr. George Gerbner and Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

    Taken by Annenberg School alumna Mary Ellen Mark, widely-published photographer and contributing photographer to The New Yorker, the portraits now hang on permanent display on the third floor of the Annenberg School. 

    “We are very fortunate to have three additional works by Mary Ellen Mark to display,” said current Annenberg School Dean Dr. Michael X. Delli Carpini, “as a tribute to our former deans, who worked so hard to create a successful, enduring future of the Annenberg School, as we approach our 50th anniversary.”

    Dr. Jemmott: AIDS Prevention

    John Jemmott

    Dr. John Jemmott, Kenneth B. Clark Professor of Communication and director of the Center for Health Behavior and Communication Research at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, has been awarded a $4 million grant by the National Institutes of Health. The grant will be used to conduct a five-year study on how to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV, among South African men.  Dr. Jemmott has been working with youth in South Africa for the past five years, developing a health curriculum designed to stem the spread of AIDS.

    Dr. Richardson: Joe Palmer Award

    Dean Richardson & Barbaro

    On November 1, the New Bolton Center and Dr. Dean Richardson, Charles W. Raker Professor of Equine Surgery and chief of surgery in the department of clinical studies–NBC in the School of Veterinary Medicine, will receive the Joe Palmer Award from the National Turf Writers Association.  The award, presented annually for “meritorious service to racing,” commends Dr. Richardson and the entire staff of the New Bolton Center for their treatment of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro after his injury at the Preakness Stakes last May.

    Dr. Rodin: Honored by PA Society

    The Pennsylvania Society will honor President Emerita Judith Rodin with the Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement at their 108th annual dinner in December. Dr. Rodin will be honored for her work as an educator, philanthropist and civic leader.

    Doctors Honored by Writers

    Drs. Lawrence Soma and Eric Birks of the New Bolton Center of the School of Veterinary Medicine, along with Drs. Fuyu Guan and Cornelius Uboh of West Chester University, have been honored by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). The four scientists developed the world’s first test for confirming the actual presence of the blood-doping drug commonly known as EPO, used in race horses. The ability to detect its presence will go a long way in maintaining a level playing field for horses with regard to this treatment.

    “Drs. Guan, Birks, Uboh, and Soma have made a breakthrough discovery in equine science that will eliminate those who seek to gain an unfair advantage before the race,” said USHWA president Judy Davis-Wilson.

    Elected to Institute of Medicine

    Three Penn professors have been elected to the Institute of Medicine: Dr. Lance Becker, professor of emergency medicine; Dr. Mitchell Lazar, Sylvan H. Eisman Professor of Medicine and director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; and Dr. Francisco González-Scarano, professor of microbiology and chair of the department of neurology.

    Dr. Becker is establishing a new interdisciplinary research program in resuscitation science to treat sudden death from cardiac arrest and trauma. He is developing a diverse team of scientists, clinicians and engineers focused on understanding the basic science of ischemia/reperfusion; translating basic science into understanding the human determinants of life and death; engineering new life-saving devices; and making new discoveries for extending the window of successful resuscitation. Dr. González-Scarano’s basic research and clinical practice focuses on inflammatory conditions, including multiple sclerosis, encephalitis and AIDS. Dr. Lazar has pioneered studies on the role of fat-cell nuclear receptors in obesity and diabetes and discovered a novel hormone called resistin, which plays a critical role in glucose metabolism.

    The Institute of Medicine, in Washington, D.C. was created by the National Academy of Sciences in 1970. Elected members are those “who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health,” said the Institute’s President Harvey V. Fineberg.

    SON: Top Private School

    The School of Nursing has been ranked third among nursing schools receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), making it the top private nursing school in the country. The NIH annual rankings showed Penn’s School of Nursing received $7.6 million in research funding, raising it in the rankings from fifth to third place, due to an increasingly robust research agenda. The School currently undertakes research in fields that include cellular behavior contribution to disease; hospital working conditions for nurses; care for elderly people in transition; and developing behavioral interventions to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS among adolescents.

    “This increase in the NIH rankings is testament to the significance of the research conducted by Penn Nursing faculty and their commitment to excellence.  It is also a reward for their ongoing efforts collaborating with communities and colleagues from other disciplines in the development of new models of care to deal with many issues, including complications from chronic illnesses, transitions of the frail elderly, the increasing incidence of autism, and capacity building in healthcare systems,” said Dr. Afaf Meleis, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing.

    Wharton: High Rankings

    The Wharton School’s MBA program moved up one rank to #2 in BusinessWeek’s survey, “The Best B-Schools of 2006.” The program moved up on the basis of its strong core curriculum, extensive elective offerings and unusual approaches to teaching, such as a program that teaches leadership as students climb a volcano in Ecuador. The BusinessWeek survey ranks the top MBA programs by measuring student and recruiter satisfaction.

    Wharton’s international executive MBA program was ranked #1 in the world in the Financial Times 2006 Global Rankings. This is Wharton’s sixth consecutive first place ranking by the newspaper. The schools are ranked based on questionnaires to business schools and to alumni, and based on  categories that include salary; career progress; work experience; aims achieved; women faculty, students and members of advisory board;international faculty, students, and members of advisory board; international course experience; languages; faculty with doctorates; full-time doctoral rating and full-time research rating.              

    Penn’s Medal for Distinguished Achievement: Wangari Maathai

    Wangari Maathai

    Dr. Wangari Maathai, recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement, received the University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement when she spoke to the Penn community on October 16. President Amy Gutmann conferred the Penn Medal to Dr. Maathai as part of the evening’s event. Dr. Maathai is the fifteenth recipient of Penn’s Medal; see www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/notables/awards/penn_mda.html for the prior recipients.

    The Citation accompanying the University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement conferred that evening reads:

    As the first East African woman to earn a Ph.D. and the founder of the influential Green Belt Movement, you have been paving the way for ecological, social, and political change for decades. “It is evident,” you told the Swedish Academy, “that many wars are fought over resources which are now becoming increasingly scarce…protecting the global environment is directly related to securing peace.”

    A Renaissance woman for our modern times, you are a scientist, professor, sustainable developer, parliamentary minister, and advocate for women’s rights, human rights, democracy, and peace. In your work, you have brought to the world’s attention the vital connections between the conservation of our planet and the peaceful, productive advancement of our societies.

    Successful grassroots campaigns require innovation, uncommon conviction, and the compassion to motivate and connect large groups of people.  Since you first introduced tree planting to poor Kenyan women in 1976, you have demonstrated all of those qualities in abundance. Meanwhile, Kenya has embraced democracy and the Green Belt Movement has launched a sustainable growth revolution, helping African women to plant more than 30 million trees to combat deforestation.

    University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished AchievementUniversity of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement

    In 2004, you became the first African woman and the first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. As Nobel committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said, you think globally and act locally.

    As you yourself have said, “Women have become aware that planting trees or fighting to save forests from being chopped down is part of a larger mission to create a society that respects democracy, decency, adherence to the rule of law, human rights, and the rights of women.” In pursuit of that larger mission, you have connected and empowered people and integrated scientific knowledge with the highest political ideals.

    You exemplify the enormous good that can come from academic leadership as well as the necessity of thinking and acting beyond one’s academic discipline. You have helped all of us embrace what it means to lead a truly engaged life.  

    In recognition of your innumerable contributions to world peace, the environment, and human society, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania are honored to present you with this Medal for Distinguished Achievement. 

    School of Medicine: Awards of Excellence

    Research Awards of Excellence

    Dr. David Casarett, assistant professor of geriatrics in the department of medicine, has received the first Marjorie A. Bowman New Investigator Research Award.  Dr. Casarett received this award for his work in understanding and improving the way that patients near the end of life, and the way their families make medical decisions. Dr. Casarett’s work in this area has included epidemiological studies of referral to hospice and utilization of alternatives to hospice, studies of decision-making about end-of-life care, and a randomized controlled trial of an intervention to promote earlier hospice referrals in nursing homes.

    Dr. George Coukos, the Cèslo Ramon Garcia Associate Professor of Gynecological Oncology in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, has received the  William Osler Patient Oriented Research Award.  Dr. Coukos received this award for his work focused on understanding how common genomic alterations in ovarian cancer edit the tumor microenvironment, regulating angiogenesis and antitumor immune response. 

    Dr. Katrina Armstrong, associate professor of medicine, has received the  Samuel Martin Health Evaluation Sciences Research Award.  Dr. Armstrong received this award for her research program that seeks to elucidate the complex relationships among the social environment, health care use, and health outcomes, particularly in the area of cancer control and outcomes.  Dr. Armstrong’s research concentrates on several areas of critical policy importance related to cancer control, including genetic testing for cancer susceptibility and racial disparities in cancer outcomes.

    Dr. Ali Naji, the J. William White Professor of Surgery, has received the  Lady Barbara Colyton Prize for Autoimmune Research.  Dr. Naji received this award for his work contributing to the understanding of the pathogenesis and prevention of Type 1 diabetes.  Dr. Naji’s insights from his original basic immunological research have been translated into improved islet production and dramatically improved anti-rejection protocols.

    Dr. Amita Sehgal, professor of neuroscience and investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has received the  Stanley N. Cohen Biomedical Research Award.  Dr. Sehgal received this award for her work on the mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms of the fruit fly, Drosophila, as a model system.  Dr. Sehgal’s ongoing work is directed towards understanding the control of physiology and behavior by the “molecular clock”, the genetic and molecular basis of sleep, and the relationship of the circadian and sleep systems to other aspects of physiology.

    Dr. Zissimos Mourelatos, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, has received the  Michael S. Brown New Investigator Research Award. Dr. Mourelatos received the award for his work in the basic biology of small regulatory RNAs and how misregulation of RNA pathways contributes to motor neuron degeneration.  His lab developed novel technologies to profile miRNAs and to study their cellular and subcellular distribution in healthy and diseased human tissue.

    Clinical Awards of Excellence

    Dr. Douglas Fraker, the Jonathan E. Rhoads Associate Professor of Surgical Science, has received the 2006 Louis Duhring Outstanding Clinical Specialist Award.  Dr. Fraker received this award in recognition of his expertise treating endocrine malignancies, using isolated limb perfusion to treat malignant melanoma, and using intraperitoneal photodynamic therapy to treat abdominal malignancies.  Dr. Fraker is also well-known among the radiation oncology residents at Penn as an outstanding teacher. 

    Dr. Matthew Rusk, assistant professor of medicine, has received the Sylvan Eisman Outstanding Primary Care Physician Award.  Dr. Rusk received this award in recognition of his excellent clinical skills and his accomplished work as a primary care physician. 

    Dr. Irving Herling, associate professor of medicine, has received the I.S. Ravdin Master Clinician Award.  Dr. Herling received this award for his expertise in consultative cardiology, his work as an astute diagnostician and his outstanding clinical skills.

    Dr. Michael Kochman, professor of medicine, has received the 2006 Luigi Mastroianni Clinical Innovator Award.  Dr. Kochman, a recognized expert in complex interventional gastroenterologic procedures, received this award for his clinically innovative work in the field of GI endoscopy. 

    Dr. Phyllis Dennery, professor of pediatrics and Werner and Gertrude Henle Endowed Chair in Pediatrics at CHOP, has received the Alfred Stengel Health System Champion Award.  Dr. Dennery received this award for her work as chief of the division of neonatology where she oversees the coordination of care and the development of new initiatives to improve care and for her work in bridging clinical care at both the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and CHOP.  

    Mentoring Award

    Dr. Gary Koretzky, the Leonard Jarett Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, has received the  Arthur K. Asbury Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award.  Dr. Koretzky received this award in recognition of his work as a key mentor in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and in the Immunology Graduate Group.

    Almanac - October 31, 2006, Volume 53, No. 10