Vol. 11 No. 11 - June, 2009

Dean’s Challenge Award recipients announced

The Departments of Family Medicine & Community Health, Pediatrics and Quantitative Health Sciences (QHS) are the inaugural recipients of the newly established Dean’s Challenge Award. The award program will foster interdepartmental collaboration spurring recruitment of clinical and translational scientists. Family Medicine and QHS will recruit a senior researcher with a focus on health disparities, and Pediatrics and QHS will recruit an infectious disease epidemiologist and lab investigator to develop a joint program to provide training and research opportunities in pediatric infectious disease epidemiology and pathogenesis.

Daniel H. Lasser, MD, MPH, chair and professor of family medicine & community health, and Marianne Felice, MD, chair and professor of pediatrics, worked with Catarina Kiefe, PhD, MD, chair and professor of quantitative health sciences, in preparing their proposals. The newly recruited faculty members will hold joint appointments in the clinical department and QHS.

Ann Moorman, PhD, MPH, has already accepted the offer to join the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and become the first Dean’s Challenge Award recipient. Dr. Moorman is an epidemiologist who has made major contributions to the study of infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular interest in a form of cancer that is similar to the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), which causes infectious mononucleosis in this country. Her work dovetails with that of her division chief, Katherine Luzuriaga, MD, professor of pediatrics and medicine and associate provost for global health.

The awards provide funds to support joint recruitment between clinical departments and directors of thematic centers, institutes or programs. Clinical department chairs submitted proposals and directors of centers and institutes approached clinical colleagues with creative ideas for collaborating. The proposal review committee was led by Walter H. Ettinger Jr., MD, MBA, UMass Memorial Medical Center president, associate vice provost for clinical and population health research, and included John L. Sullivan, MD, vice provost for research and professor of pediatrics, and Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, associate dean for clinical and translational research and professor of medicine.

“This program allows us to align the strategic investments of the institution with the needs and priorities of the individual clinical departments,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and provost and executive deputy chancellor, in announcing the award recipients. “While we remain committed to expanding clinical and translational research through the larger projects of new buildings and new departments, centers and institutes, we also recognize that our own existing clinical departments are generating terrific new ideas for such research. This program will allow us to leverage our larger commitments to pursue those opportunities.”

Heading - Focus On...

The Office of Public Affairs