Awards & Recognitions: May 2013


Image: Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical CenterDennis Wall, director of the Computational Biology Initiative at the Center for Biomedical Infomatics at Harvard Medical School and an investigator in the Department of Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was recently honored at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR). Attended by more than 1,800, IMFAR is the world’s largest international conference on autism.

Wall, whose research has led to a new method to diagnose autism in young children in a matter of minutes, is the recipient of IMFAR’s prestigious 2013 Slivka/Ritvo Innovation in Autism Research Award for outstanding achievement in clinical advancement. The award was presented on May 2, during the annual IMFAR scientific meeting in Donostia / San Sebastian, Spain.

Wall’s laboratory has developed algorithms and associated deployment mechanisms to detect autism rapidly and with high accuracy. The algorithms are designed to work within a mobile structure, combining a small set of questions and a short home video of the subject, to enable rapid online assessments. Wall’s work testing these methods in clinical environments, including the Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, is demonstrating the value of this approach.

Maria Badaracco, William Hammond, Alexander Lankowski and Ashish Premkumar are the Harvard Medical School students who were presented with the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Scholar Award. The awards are given annually to fourth-year medical school students who demonstrate excellent academic performance, community involvement and financial need. Each honoree receives a $10,000 scholarship. Since the inception of the program in 1993, MMS Scholar Awards totaling $1,520,000 have been presented to 152 medical school students through 2013.

The Massachusetts Medical Society this year has doubled the number of MMS Scholar Awards it presents annually, with sixteen Massachusetts medical school students being named to receive the honor for 2013. Four were chosen from each of the four medical schools in the state.

Richard Schwartzstein, the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Medical School Academy, has been honored by the Massachusetts Medical Society as the 2013 recipient of the Grant V. Rodkey Award. The award recognizes a Massachusetts physician who has made outstanding contributions to medical education and medical students. Schwartzstein will receive the award, one of the society’s most prestigious, at the organization’s annual meeting in Boston on May 10.

Board certified in critical care medicine, Schwartzstein is associate chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, vice president for education, and executive director of the Shapiro Institute for Education and Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  

Schwartzstein is the recipient of more than 24 teaching awards from various organizations, including the S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard Medical School in 2002; the Harvard Medical School Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2003; and the Robert C. Moellering Jr. M.D. Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Clinical Care from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Ronald Arky, has been honored by the Massachusetts Medical Society with its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award is given each year to a member of the society who has made a lasting contribution to the practice of medicine over a lifetime and who has made significant contributions to the goals of the society.  Arky will receive the award, one of the society’s most prestigious, on May 10 at the Medical Society’s annual meeting in Boston.

Arky is the Daniel D. Federman Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at Harvard Medical School and is master of the school’s Francis Weld Peabody Society, which promotes and supports the academic and professional development of medical students. He has also served as a senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for 20 years and is currently acting chief of the hospital’s Diabetes Section.  

For more than four decades, Arky has been an active member of the medical society, serving in key positions for the organization. He is a longtime member of the MMS House of Delegates and currently chairs the Committee on Ethics, Grievances, and Professional Standards. For many years Arky served as a member of the Committee on Administration and Management and also was a member and chairman of the committees on Medical Education and Publications, the last of which oversees the New England Journal of Medicine.

Arky is board certified in internal medicine with specialty training in endocrinology and diabetes. He was chairman of the Department of Medicine at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge for more than 20 years, and was the residency training director in internal medicine at that hospital. He has also served as president of the American Diabetes Association and the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine. He is a Master of the American College of Physicians, and has authored more than 100 professional articles on diabetes and metabolic diseases. 

Arky’s previous honors include the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the American Association of Medical Colleges in 2009, Distinguished Service Award from the Massachusetts Medical Society in 2002, the Greatest Contribution of Education Award from the Harvard Medical School Class of 2002, and the Award for Health Education from the American Medical Association in 2000.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently announced the election of 198 new members, including five HMS scientists.  Members are comprised of some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders.

Harvard Medical School scientists in the new are:

David Altshuler, professor of medicine and genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital;

Xandra Breakefield, professor of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital;

Paul Buttenwieser, clinical instructor in psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center;

Joseph Loscalzo, Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic
and head of the Department of Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital;

Charles Nelson, professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 12, 2013, at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.  The list of the new members is located at

Christopher Harvey, HMS assistant professor of neurobiology, recently received a 2013 Searle Scholars Award for his project, “Plasticity of Neural Circuit Dynamics in the Mouse Cortex During Learning.”

Harvey will receive $300,000 over three years to fund the project. 

Fifteen researchers in the chemical and biological sciences were named 2013 Searle Scholars. The final selection of scholars was based on recommendations made by the program’s Scientific Advisory Board, consisting of 12 scientists distinguished for their research and leadership across a wide range of fields. In selecting the scholars, the Scientific Advisory Board looked for scientists who have already demonstrated innovative research with the potential for making significant contributions to chemical and biological research over an extended period of time.