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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 05/23/01
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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2001 Drake Award Winners Announced

Cincinnati--The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine will present the 2001 Daniel Drake Awards during the college's Honors Day Program on Sunday, May 27 at 1 p.m. at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. This year's winners are two members of the College of Medicine faculty, Evelyn Hess, MD and Jeffrey Whitsett, MD. The awards commemorate the founder of the College of Medicine, Daniel Drake, and are the highest honors bestowed by the college to honor distinguished living faculty or alumni who have made outstanding or unique contributions to medical education, scholarship or research.

"The College of Medicine is very proud of these two distinguished members of our faculty who have made extraordinarily important contributions to medical education and medical research," said John Hutton, MD, dean of the UC College of Medicine.

Hess is a distinguished active professor emerita in the Division of Immunology at the College of Medicine. She is very active in the field of medicine and is widely known as a teacher, clinician and investigator with vast expertise in the field of rheumatology. She is a national leader in rheumatology as well as internal medicine and her contributions to the well- being of patients and the community are recognized throughout the world. A native of Ireland, Hess received her medical degree from University College in Dublin, Ireland. She did internships and residencies in various London, England teaching hospitals and had a research fellowship in the Epidemiology of Tuberculosis and a traveling fellowship from the Royal Free Hospital and Medical School to Scandinavia. During that time, she first acquired an interest in rheumatic diseases and was later awarded a traveling fellowship of the Empire Rheumatism Council to the United States. In 1965, Hess was recruited to Cincinnati to become the first director of the Division of Immunology, Rheumatology and Allergy. In 1995, Hess retired as director but continues a full-time career within the division as a teacher and clinician.

Hess is widely respected as "the doctor's doctor" and is the present governor for Ohio of the American College of Physicians. She is a master clinician with numerous honors which include Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Master of the American College of Rheumatology and Master of the American College of Physicians. Hess is the recipient of many research grants, awards and honorary memberships and has been a visiting professor in more than 80 medical schools in this country and abroad.

"Medicine has been an absolutely marvelous career, ever since the days when I was a humble anatomy demonstrator to the present time," Hess said. "In between there have been wonderful experiences with mentors and colleagues. No one can really succeed without the help of one's colleagues, staff and friends. I would like to think that truly we have all helped patients with various rheumatic and immunologic diseases."

Whitsett is a professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine and director of the Divisions of Pulmonary Biology and Neonatology at Children's Hospital Medical Center (CHMC). He is internationally known for his research in pulmonary medicine as well as his clinical expertise in neonatology. Whitsett has made a series of groundbreaking contributions to pulmonary medicine with his major pioneering work being on surfactant proteins. He characterized surfactant proteins A, B, C and D, cloned their genes and clarified their role in lung development. He played a critical role in making surfactant protein replacement a routine tool for treating immature lungs and respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. Throughout his career, Whitsett has had the remarkable ability to move from molecular biology to animal models to diagnosis and therapy of human disease.

Whitsett received his medical degree from Columbia University and has been a member of the College of Medicine faculty since 1977. Whitsett has received numerous awards for contributions in community medicine, neonatal care and basic science. These include the Mead Johnson Award, a National Institutes of Health Merit Award, the William Cooper Procter Award from CHMC, and many more.

"I am privileged to care for infants and their families, to participate in providing care for all infants in our community, to be involved in the training of future physicians and scientists and to interact daily with my colleagues in science and medicine," Whitsett said. "I have been most fortunate in my career, living through this remarkable time in science and medicine. I could not have anticipated, nor dreamed, that modern science would open such a wealth of treasures to enhance our understanding of biology in my lifetime."



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