James Allison, Ph.D., professor and chair of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been named by The Economist as its 2013 Innovations Award winner in Bioscience. Allison will be awarded at a ceremony in London Dec. 3 for his research that led to development of the drug ipilumumab, or Yervoy, the first drug to ever extend survival for patients with late-stage melanoma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ipilumumab for treatment of metastatic melanoma in 2011. The Economist is a 170-year-old weekly news publication based in London with a circulation of 4.5 million worldwide. Its Innovation Awards recognize significant contributions in eight fields: Bioscience, Computing and Telecommunications, Consumer Products, Energy and Environment, Process and Services, Social and Economic, No Boundaries and Corporate.
Samir Desai, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and staff physician at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, has co-authored the book, “Medical School Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty.” American book review magazine Kirkus Reviews wrote that the resource “is an extremely thorough handbook, covering the questions applicants are likely to be asked and the appropriate and inappropriate answers … likely to be found indispensable by readers embarking on the arduous process of applying to medical school.”
Brian Duncan, Ph.D., physical therapist and director of residency programs at Memorial Hermann’s IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute, received the Texas Physical Therapy Association-Southeastern District’s Excellence in Clinical Practice Award. Duncan earned a doctorate in physical therapy from Texas Woman’s University, is board certified in orthopedic physical therapy, and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic and Manual Physical Therapists. He has been in clinical practice in Houston for more than a decade.
Eric Von Wenckstern, administrative director of Memorial Hermann Life Flight, is the recipient of the 2013 Program Director of the Year award, presented by the Association of Air Medical Services and sponsored by Bell Helicopter. Von Wenckstern, who started his career as a pilot and still regularly flies with his Life Flight team members, was honored for his exceptional work and 32-year dedication to the industry. The awards ceremony took place at the annual Air Medical Transport Conference held Oct. 21 in Virginia Beach.
Jaclyn Hill, M.D., a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and Edward Lee, M.D., a pediatric plastic surgeon, have joined the surgical team at Texas Children’s Hospital’s West Campus. Hill also is an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, and Lee is an assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Baylor.
Joe Ontiveros, D.D.S., associate professor and director of esthetic dentistry at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, was elected an associate member of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry during the academy’s 38th Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C. Ontiveros was one of 11 new members elected based on excellence in research, teaching and leadership. His research includes clinical and laboratory studies on bleaching, color and other esthetic biomaterials.
Barbara Bass, M.D., chair of the surgery department at Houston Methodist Hospital, is the 2013 recipient of the American College of Surgeons’ Distinguished Service Award – one of the highest honors a surgeon can receive. Bass was awarded for her outstanding clinical and academic contributions to the field of general surgery, for her commitment to teaching future surgeons, and for her more than 20 years of service to the American College of Surgeons. In addition to chairing Houston Methodist’s surgery department, she also is executive director of the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education, or MITIE.
Kenneth Mattox, M.D., professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of staff at Harris Health System’s Ben Taub General Hospital, has been elected second vice president-elect by the American College of Surgeons. He will serve in this role for one year and will officially be named second vice president in Oct. 2014. Mattox also received the 2013 Benjamin Rush Award for Citizenship and Community Service from the American Medical Association. The award is given to individuals who have contributed to the community above and beyond the call of duty as a practicing physician, Its namesake, Rush, was a physician and founding father of the United Sates.
Hazim Safi, M.D., chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, has been named president-elect of the Texas Surgical Society. Elected by his peers at the society’s fall meeting, Safi will officially become the organization’s 97th president at its spring 2015 meeting in Galveston. He also is chief of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center.
Susan Ruppert, Ph.D, professor of nursing and director of the Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program at The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston, has been elected vice-chair of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s board of commissioners for 2014. The commission is a national nursing education accreditation agency that accredits collegiate programs and post-baccalaureate nurse residency programs to ensure the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.