Awards & Recognitions: October 2020

Honors received by HMS faculty, staff and students

John Kempen, HMS professor of ophthalmology, part-time, at Mass Eye and Ear, was named to receive the 2020 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The award recognizes Kempen’s deep commitment to charitable work that aims to reduce blindness worldwide by improving access to patient care and establishing much-needed ophthalmology sub-specialty training programs in developing countries. He will receive the award during the organization’s virtual annual meeting in November.

Kempen is internationally renowned for his expertise in ocular inflammatory diseases and ophthalmic epidemiology. He is founding president of Sight for Souls, a Christian nonprofit organization that aims to eradicate global blindness by developing sustainable eye care delivery eye systems, providing public health outreach, and creating ophthalmology training programs in areas of greatest need. In 2015, Kempen began a long-term commitment to lead the organization's first project—the establishment of the MyungSung Christian Medical Center Eye Institute in Ethiopia.


Four HMS community members were selected as 2020 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) for representing the next generation of thought leaders in reducing health disparities and building sustainable healthy communities.

The 2020 NMQF 40 Under 40 winners from HMS are:

Joshua Ellis, HMS clinical fellow in emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess

Jose F. Figueroa, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s and
assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard Chan School

Abraar Karan, HMS clinical fellow in medicine at Brigham and Women's

LaShyra Nolen, HMS MD student


Karl Koehler, HMS assistant professor of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at Boston Children’s, and Jiyoon Lee, HMS research fellow in otolaryngology at Boston Children’s, received an honorable mention in the 2020 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition for their image “Human Hair Follicles Growing from a Stem Cell-Derived Skin Organoid (cyan) with Nerves (red).” Their 20X (objective lens magnification) confocal image was among 88 photos from scientists and artists across the globe recognized by Nikon Small World.


Two HMS researchers will be honored by the American College of Medical Informatics (AMIA) during the AMIA 2020 Virtual Annual Symposium in November.

Isaac Kohane, the Marion V. Nelson Professor of Biomedical Informatics and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS, was named to receive the 2020 Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence, which is presented to an individual whose commitment and dedication to medical informatics has made a lasting impression on the field. 

Kohane is being recognized for his pioneering work, which includes changing how patient care is delivered through the integration of biomedical informatics, as well as his impactful work as a mentor. Noted among his accomplishments is his leadership of the National Center for Biomedical Computing: Informatics for Integrating Biology to the Bedside (i2b2), which provides a technical solution to information exchange across institutions. He also has designed and led multiple internationally adopted efforts to “instrument” the healthcare enterprise for discovery and to enable innovative decision-making tools to be applied to the point of care.

Alexa McCray, HMS professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess, was named to receive the 2020 William W. Stead Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics, an AMIA Signature Award which recognizes leaders in the field who are advancing and transforming health care through informatics.


Two HMS faculty members were honored at the American College of Surgeons virtual Clinical Congress in October.

Susan Miller Briggs, HMS associate professor of surgery and the Carmella R. and Steven C. Kletjian Endowed Chair in Global Surgery at Mass General, received the 2020 Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery.

Briggs has actively helped recruit and hire mid-level women faculty and serves as their academic mentor in achieving the next steps toward promotion. She also strives to advance first-rate patient care, research and education in global surgery. With specialization in trauma and acute care surgery, disaster education and global health, Briggs is director of Mass General’s International Trauma and Disaster Institute, a center of excellence in disaster preparedness and response. She is credited with establishing the International Medical Surgical Response Teams for the U.S. government, which organizes federalized volunteer disaster medical teams of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals from the throughout the U.S. who respond to emergencies around the globe.

Robert Riviello, HMS associate professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s and of global health and social medicine, received the 2020 International Surgical Volunteerism Award, which recognizes the selfless efforts of volunteer surgeons who provide care to medically underserved patients.

Riviello is a trauma, burn and acute care surgeon and was recognized for his work to improve access to medical care for populations in sub-Saharan Africa. He has dedicated his career to improving surgical access and quality for vulnerable people, splitting his time over the last decade between Brigham and Women’s and sub-Saharan Africa, strengthening surgical services, surgical training programs, non-technical skills for surgery and providing mentorship to the CSPH’s and PGSSC’s global surgery fellows. He also works in Rwanda with Partners in Health, where he has been involved in collaborative efforts that have revitalized training programs in general surgery, anesthesiology, and gynecology, as well as supported the launch of new UR training programs in orthopaedics, urology, neurosurgery and plastic surgery.


Two HMS researchers were recognized at the Transplantation Society 2020 Virtual Congress in September.

Francis Delmonico, HMS professor of surgery, part-time, at Mass General, was recognized with the 2020 Medawar Prize for lifetime contributions in the transplantation field.

Delmonico contributed to changing the practice of organ donation and transplantation worldwide during his 40 year-long career as a transplant surgeon. He convened and helped draft the ground-breaking Declaration of Istanbul, an international policy that defined organ trafficking and transplant tourism, called for the equitable distribution of deceased donor organs and for the safety of transplant recipients and wellbeing of living donors. Delmonico also collaborated with the World Health Organization to develop WHO guiding principles of practice.

Stefan Tullius, HMS professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s, received the 2020 Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Science.

Tullius has greatly contributed to an improved understanding of the biology of organ transplantation. His more recent research interests include novel approaches to rejuvenate organs, immunosenescence, individualized immunosuppression and the effects of metabolism on alloimmunity, as well as pioneering work in face, hand and uterus transplantation.


Seven scientists from the Blavatnik Institute at HMS and HMS-affiliated hospitals have received National Institutes of Health 2020 Director’s Awards. The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program catalyzes scientific discovery by supporting high-risk research proposals that may struggle in the traditional peer-review process despite their transformative potential.

The awards and winners from HMS are:

Christopher Harvey, HMS associate professor of neurobiology, received the Pioneer Award, which challenges investigators at all career levels to pursue new research directions and develop groundbreaking, high-impact approaches to a broad area of biomedical or behavioral science.

Andrew Kruse, HMS professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology, and Debora Marks, HMS associate professor of systems biology, with Chang Liu of the University of California, Irvine, have received a Transformative Research Award, which promotes cross-cutting, interdisciplinary approaches and is open to individuals and teams of investigators who propose research that could potentially create or challenge existing paradigms.

Sara Hill, HMS assistant professor of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s/Dana-Farber, received an Early Independence Award, which provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists who have recently received their doctoral degree or completed their medical residency to skip traditional post-doctoral training and move immediately into independent research positions.

The following HMS scientists have received New Innovator Awards, which supports unusually innovative research from early career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency and have not yet received a research project grant or equivalent NIH grant.

Eunjung Alice Lee, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s

Tami Lieberman, HMS member of the affiliated faculty of health sciences and technology at MIT

Miles Miller, HMS assistant professor of radiology at Mass General


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