Awards & Recognitions: July 2020

Honors received by HMS faculty, staff and students

Gregory Ciottone, HMS associate professor of emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess, received the American Academy of Disaster Medicine’s 2020 Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes the vital role physician specialists play in the disaster life cycle—preparation, planning, response and recovery.

Ciottone has dedicated his career to the academic advancement of disaster medicine through a combination of field work, research and scholarly activity. He is the founder and director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Fellowship in Disaster Medicine and medical director for the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a joint program of the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Kinga Bujakowska, HMS assistant professor of ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear, received the 2020 Research to Prevent Blindness International Research Collaborators Award. The award will provide support for a joint research project with Isabelle Audo and Christina Zeitz both with the Institut de la Vision at Sorbonne University in Paris. The team will focus on improving genetic diagnoses for inherited retinal degenerations and identifying modifiers of disease severity.

Rohan Bir Singh, HMS research fellow in ophthalmology at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, received a 2020 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Science Communication Training Fellowship. The program empowers early-career scientists to communicate their complex vision research in clear and engaging ways to the public, media, legislators and other key stakeholders. Working with his mentor, Reza Dana, the Claes H. Dohlman Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS and Mass. Eye and Ear, Singh is studying the factors that modulate the immunopathogenesis of acute and chronic dry eye disease. 

Joan Miller, the David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Opthalmology at HMS and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear, received an Honor Award for her time and contributions to the scientific programs of the American Society of Retina Specialists’ Annual Meeting.

Kyle Staller, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Mass General, received the 2020 Clinical Science Investigator award from the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. The organization’s research recognition awards support the research accomplishments of young investigators actively engaged in research in neurogastroenterology, especially in the basic mechanisms and clinical aspects of chronic GI and motility disorders.

Staller’s research interests include clinical and epidemiologic research in neurogastroenterology and motility with particular interest in chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fecal incontinence, eating disorders and women’s health in functional GI diseases. A gastroenterologist and the director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Laboratory at Mass General, he specializes in disorders of gastrointestinal motility and neurogastroenterology and is a faculty member of the Mass General Center for Neurointestinal Health and the Center for Pelvic Floor Disorders. His clinical practice is devoted to treating patients with GI motility disorders and disorders of brain-gut interaction.

Edward Benz Jr., the Richard and Susan Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine at HMS and Dana-Farber, was named to receive the American Society of Hematology’s 2020 Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity. He is being honored for his efforts to promote women and underrepresented minority hematologists throughout the course of his career. He will receive the award at the ASH annual meeting in December.

An internationally recognized hematologist and physician scientist, Benz has devoted himself to improving workforce diversity in academic medicine and health care. He has personally trained more than 50 scientists in his laboratory, a significant proportion of whom were women.

Benz, who is president and CEO emeritus at Dana-Farber, established a culture at the institute that supports junior faculty, with specific attention to increasing the number of women and underrepresented minority faculty members. While serving as director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, he launched the trans-institutional Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, designed to coordinate cancer disparities research, enhance minority medical student training and promote development of a diverse faculty throughout the Harvard cancer enterprise. He also spearheaded a novel partnership with the University of Massachusetts Boston, the area’s largest academic institution that primarily serves minority populations, to develop a more diverse workforce, built upon community partnerships to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in health and science. Additionally, he established the first Dana-Farber clinic in a community health center for minority patients. He is currently principal investigator of an NIH grant devoted to promoting minority careers in STEM fields.

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