Academy to Honor Dr. Wendy K. Chung; Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III; Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr; Dr. Patricia Bath; and Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford on November 1

New York (September 27, 2018) – The New York Academy of Medicine is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of its prestigious annual awards for distinguished contributions by individuals in health policy, public health, clinical practice and biomedical research, as well as significant contributions to the Academy. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s 171st Anniversary Discourse & Awards on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at the Academy (1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street), which is free and open to the public with registration.

“This year’s honorees have made significant contributions to the health of the public, including in the fields of genetics, education, ophthalmology, and global health,” said Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, Academy President. “The New York Academy of Medicine is proud to honor each of these leaders for their innovative work and outstanding accomplishments.”

As part of this important annual event, the Academy is also pleased to welcome Georges C. Benjamin, MD, MACP, FACEP(E), FNAPA, Hon FRSPH, Hon FFPH, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, to deliver the 171st Anniversary Discourse. The topic of Dr. Benjamin’s talk is "A New Social Compact to Achieve Optimal Health.”

In addition, a special posthumous award of Academy Fellowship will be presented to James McCune Smith, MD, MA (1813-1865), a highly accomplished physician, medical director, and pharmacy owner in New York City, and a prominent abolitionist, from whom Fellowship was previously withheld in 1847.

The Academy’s 2018 awards will be presented to the following outstanding leaders in their fields:

Wendy K. Chung, MD, PhD, the Kennedy Family Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and Director of the Clinical Genetics Program at Columbia University and Director of Clinical Research for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), will receive the Academy Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Science for her global leadership in the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases through her work that identified more than 41 new genes for human diseases.

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, PhD, President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will receive the Academy Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Health Policy for his groundbreaking work in health education policy and leadership, especially his contributions in envisioning and advocating for equitable and inclusive approaches that reduce racial and other disparities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA, University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, the Dr. Mathilde Krim-amFAR Chair in Global Health, and Global Director of ICAP at Columbia University and Director of the Global Health Initiative at the Mailman School of Public Health, will receive the Stephen Smith Award for Distinguished Contributions in Public Health for her leadership in addressing HIV and other global health threats, and in strengthening health systems worldwide in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Patricia Bath, MD, an ophthalmologist, scientist, inventor, and laser pioneer, will receive the John Stearns Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Clinical Practice for her innovative and pioneering research in ophthalmology on the prevention and treatment of blindness, and her groundbreaking research demonstrating racial and economic disparities in the prevalence of blindness.

Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, Clinical Professor of Global Health at NYU College of Global Public Health and Immediate Past President of The New York Academy of Medicine, will receive the Academy Plaque for Exceptional Service to the Academy. Major accomplishments during Dr. Boufford’s decade of visionary leadership of the Academy included the establishment of the award-winning Age-friendly NYC initiative and the development of the Academy’s engagement with the East Harlem community.

About The New York Academy of Medicine

Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine is dedicated to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life. Through our original research, policy and program initiatives we provide the evidence base to address the structural and cultural barriers to good health and drive progress toward health equity. This work and our one-of-a-kind public programming are supported by our world class historical medical library and our Fellows program, a unique network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. For more information visit