UMMS faculty and students honored by Worcester District Medical Society

By Ellie Castano

UMass Medical School Communications

November 29, 2011

Two UMass Medical School faculty members were honored at the 2011 Fall District Meeting and Awards Ceremony of Worcester District Medical Society; 10 medical students and one nursing student also were awarded scholarships at the event. The Worcester District Medical Society is the regional chapter of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country and publisher of the revered New England Journal of Medicine.

Lynda Young, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Community Pediatrics at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, received the 2011 Career Achievement Award, which honors a WDMS member who has demonstrated compassion and dedication to the medical needs of patients or the public and has made significant contributions to the practice of medicine. Dr. Young was cited for her “long and distinguished record of service in organized medicine on the local, state and national levels” and her “outstanding record of service to her profession and the community.”

“Receiving the Career Achievement Award from my district medical society means the world to me,” said Dr. Young. “Recognition by your peers, many of whom also are deserving of this award, is such a special occasion. I did not do this alone—I am grateful to Dr. Rebecca Spanagel for her nomination, to the Awards Committee and to all my family, colleagues and patients who have taught me so much.”

Lynda Young, MD, center, is pictured with Rebecca Spanagel, MD, left, who nominated her for the award; and George Abraham, MD, right, chair of the WDMS awards committee.

Hugh Silk, MD, clinical associate professor of family medicine & community health, received the 21st annual Dr. A. Jane Fitzpatrick Community Service Award, which commemorates the life-long contributions and exemplary efforts of its namesake. The award recognizes a member of the health care community for contributions beyond professional duties to improve the health and well-being of others. In recognizing Dr. Silk, the WDMS highlighted his work in the area of oral health, especially his work toward establishing the Smiles for Life national oral health curriculum, which focuses on educating future physicians to serve their communities. 

“I was very honored to receive the award,” said Silk. “It clearly is a reflection of all those who work with me on projects that I engage in—my colleagues at HFHC, my department, medical students and, of course, my family who reluctantly lends me away to help out where I can.” 

Hugh Silk, MD, center, is pictured with David Gilchrist, MD, left, who nominated him for the award, and George Abraham, MD, right, chair of the WDMS awards committee.

The WDMS also recognized scholarship recipients at the annual meeting. Of the 17 scholarships awarded, 11 of them went to students at UMass Medical School, as follows:

  • Ashley Carraher, GSN ’12: WDMA MSN/NP Scholarship Award
  • Seth Curtis, SOM ’13: Reliant Medical Group–Dr. M. Elizabeth Fletcher Award
  • Timothy Gleason, SOM ’13: Milford Regional Medical Center–John A. Rauth Book Award
  • Jonathan Klaucke, SOM ’12: UMass Memorial Health Care Dr. Samual Pickens Award
  • Mitchell Li, SOM ’13: Harrington Memorial Hospital Award
  • Jennifer Menon, SOM ’12: Wilder Family Book Award
  • Stuart Murray, SOM ’13 Saint Vincent Hospital–Dr. Gilbert E. Levinson Award
  • Tara Richardson, SOM ’12: Physicians of Indian Origin Book Award
  • Jonathan Smits, SOM ’14: Amaral Family Book Award
  • Odette Taha, SOM ’14: Priscilla Lamantea Book Award Daniel Terk, SOM ’13: WDMS Book Award

The WDMS also used the occasion to formally unveil a portrait of Leonard J. Morse, MD, affiliate in medicine and family medicine & community health, who has served as president of both the WDMS and the MMS. A distinguished public servant himself, Dr. Morse was the health commissioner for the City of Worcester for many years, retiring in 2010, and was awarded an honorary degree from UMMS in 2008. For additional information about the WDMS, visit