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June 2007 Issue

Drake Medal
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Notable Physicians Receive College of Medicine's Top Honor

Published June 2007

The College of Medicine honored two Daniel Drake Award winners March 19, 2007, at the annual dinner and awards celebration named in honor of the college’s founder.


Scott Pomeroy, MD, PhD, and Robert Smith, MD, received the medals—the college’s highest honor.


New for 2007 was the creation of an annual Dean’s Community Service Award. This award was created to honor those who have demonstrated remarkable service to the college through committee service, motivating others to serve the institution, or continued involvement and support in university activities.


Inaugural Dean’s Community Service awards went to George Rieveschl, PhD, and Oliver Waddell.


Daniel Drake Medals

Scott Pomeroy, MD, PhD


Pomeroy is the Bronson Crothers Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. A native of Cincinnati, he graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and received his medical and PhD degrees at UC.


Trained in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston and in child neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, Pomeroy worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dale Purves at Washington University and, in 1989, won the Child Neurology Society Young Investigator Award. In 1991, he returned to Children's Hospital Boston, where he established and then directed the neuro-oncology program and cofounded the Children’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic. He became the chairman of the department of neurology and neurologist-in-chief of Children’s Hospital Boston in 2005.


Pomeroy has built one of the foremost laboratories in the world focused on the biology of embryonal brain tumors. His group was among the first to use genomic methods to understand the molecular basis of tumorigenesis and to identify molecular markers of outcomes that can be used for risk stratification in clinical trials.  


In 1999, Pomeroy became the first recipient of the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award. In 2000, he was honored with the Boston Globe/Celtics “Heroes Among Us” Award and received citations from the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives. In 2002, he received the Sidney Carter Award, the highest honor given to a child neurologist by the American Academy of Neurology.


Robert Smith, MD

Smith is professor emeritus in UC’s department of family medicine. A pioneer in the field, he has created and directed three university-based departments of family medicine. In 1963 he established the first such department at the University of London at Guy’s Hospital Medical School. In 1968 he was invited to start a new department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and in 1975 to do the same at the University of Cincinnati. He directed this department until 1992 and continues to work there on a daily basis—engaged in research and leading a project on the genomics of diabetes.


He has received many awards and citations for his contributions to family medicine. On the 25th anniversary of the founding of the UC family medicine department, Smith was recognized by the United States Congress for his commitment to education and training of family practitioners. He received a citation from Gov. George Voinovich and from the Ohio General Assembly and was also honored with a proclamation from the mayor of Cincinnati naming Saturday, June 30, 1990, as Dr. Robert Smith Day “for training 110 family physicians, 50 of whom practice in Cincinnati.”


The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians honored Smith for “academic leadership and as a role model, mentor, educator and clinician in family practice and for scientific endeavors in headache research.”


Dean’s Community Service Awards

George Rieveschl, PhD

UC alumnus and engineering professor emeritus George Rieveschl, PhD, might be best known for inventing Benadryl, the world’s first effective antihistamine. The drug—commonly used to treat allergy symptoms such as hay fever, rashes and hives—celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006.


But it is his less-publicized work that has qualified him for the inaugural Dean’s Community Service Award.


Rieveschl is a long-time supporter of the College of Medicine—and the university as a whole. He was the founding chairman of the University Foundation Board of Trustees and continues to serve as a lifetime member of this board. In 1972, he founded the Charles McMicken Society. Named in recognition of UC’s first major benefactor, the society honors the university’s most important donors.


Rieveschl’s personal financial support and leadership roles in these organizations, says one nomination letter, “has played a unique role in ensuring major ongoing financial support of the College of Medicine.”


In fact, the university’s endowment—managed by the University Foundation—now exceeds $1.1 billion, with nearly half a billion of that money allocable to the College of Medicine.


Rieveschl recently made a major financial contribution toward a new professorship in the department of family medicine—a gift that helps fund a genomics research project in diabetes


Oliver Waddell

By honoring the courage and determination of his wife, Virgilee, Oliver Waddell also honored the UC College of Medicine and its many dedicated physicians and scientists looking for causes and treatments—and ultimately a cure—for multiple sclerosis.

In 1981, Virgilee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis—a disease for which there is no cure that damages the protective coating of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. In 2002, Waddell made a $5 million gift to the university establishing the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis—a specialized research and treatment center that is part of the Neuroscience Institute at UC and University Hospital.

Waddell had a vision when he gave the gift that created the Waddell Center, He wanted the center to promote what he called the “three Cs”—competence, comprehensiveness and compassion.

With the opening of the Waddell Center in 2004, the College of Medicine has since been able to recruit a multidisciplinary team of physicians and researchers, establish new laboratories and expand the clinical program in multiple sclerosis.

In 2005, the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis became a certified member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

Says one nominator, “Oliver Waddell’s gift will not only double and triple in value, but it is creating returns in hope and quality of life that are beyond measurement.”

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