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    2021 AAMC Award Recipients

    The AAMC is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the association’s annual awards, which honor individuals and institutions making significant contributions to medical education, research, clinical care, and community engagement.

    Do you know someone who exemplifies the best of academic medicine? Nominations for the 2022 AAMC Awards are now open! Visit aamc.org/awards to learn more about the criteria and to submit a nomination.

    Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD

    2021 Special Recognition Award

    As the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Collins has been a loyal and vocal champion of biomedical research. Initially appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, Dr. Collins was subsequently asked by both the Trump and Biden administrations to continue in his role, making him one of the only presidentially appointed NIH directors to serve more than one administration.

    Learn more about Dr. Collins

    Anthony S. Fauci, MD

    2021 Special Recognition Award

    Appointed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1984, Dr. Fauci has served as a trusted advisor to seven presidents on domestic and global health issues, most notably the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Learn more about Dr. Fauci

    Thomas R. Viggiano, MD, MEd

    2021 Award for Excellence in Medical Education

    As a gastroenterologist, professor, and dean at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Viggiano has made a significant impact in academic medicine through his contributions in faculty affairs, education scholarship, curriculum quality improvement, and medical and interprofessional education. In multiple leadership positions, he has advocated for vital changes to address important issues and advance the causes, communities, and organizations he served.

    Learn more about Dr. Viggiano

    Suzanne L. Topalian, MD

    2021 Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences

    With a career spanning over four decades, National Academy of Medicine member Dr. Topalian has contributed groundbreaking research and opened new avenues of scientific investigation in cancer immunology. Her contributions extend well beyond her lab at John Hopkins, establishing immunotherapy as a pillar of oncology around the world. Her research has resulted in the unprecedented development and regulatory approval of drugs for over a dozen different cancers — benefiting countless patients and their families.

    Learn more about Dr. Topalian

    Peter Hotez, MD, PhD

    2021 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation David E. Rogers Award

    A renowned vaccine scientist, Dr. Hotez has improved the lives of billions of people through his relentless work to combat some of the most common debilitating diseases around the world. His groundbreaking research, advocacy, and education have led to many breakthroughs, including a “rapid impact package” of medicines to combat neglected tropical diseases — the most common afflictions of the world’s poor — and a new low-cost version of a COVID-19 vaccine being tested across India.

    Learn more about Dr. Hotez

    Judith Salmon Kaur, MD

    2021 Herbert W. Nickens Award

    As one of the only practicing Native American medical oncologists in the United States, Dr. Kaur leads a national conversation to recognize cancer as a major unaddressed health disparity in Indigenous communities in the United States and internationally.

    Learn more about Dr. Kaur

    Natalie Rodriguez, MD

    2021 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award

    As associate director of the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project, Dr. Rodriguez has had a dramatic impact on patients in underserved communities who have come to rely on the Free Clinic as a source of support. She simultaneously mentors preprofessional students, preclinical and clinical students, and residents and helps them define their medical careers through her work as an associate clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine and as a clinical faculty member of the Scripps Chula Vista Family Medicine Residency Program.

    Learn more about Dr. Rodriguez

    University of Arkansas for Medical Science

    2021 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

    For more than 140 years, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has promoted a better state of health for all Arkansans. As the only health sciences university in Arkansas, UAMS lives out its mission to “improve the health, health care, and well-being of Arkansans and others in the region, nation, and the world” and has made community engagement central to its patient- and family-centered care, education, and research.

    Learn more about the University of Arkansas for Medical Science

    Tracy B. Fulton, PhD

    2021 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

    Over the past two decades, Dr. Fulton has worked to transform medical biochemistry from a siloed collection of enzymes and pathways to an applied discipline focused on understanding. She worked with a team to implement and study the Pathways of Human Metabolism Map, a visual tool for health professions students that promotes deep learning and application of classroom concepts to clinical problems.

    Learn more about Dr. Fulton

    Valerie J. Lang, MD, MHPE

    2021 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

    For the past two decades, Dr. Lang has embodied meliora — the Latin motto of the University of Rochester, which translates to “ever better” — by seizing every opportunity to create an even more outstanding medical student experience.

    Learn more about Dr. Lang

    William V. Raszka Jr., MD

    2021 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

    As director of the pediatrics clerkship at Robert Larner, M.D., College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, Dr. Raszka has spent 25 years inspiring students through a combination of outside-the-classroom learning and innovative classroom teaching methods.

    Learn more about Dr. Raszka

    Leonard E. White, PhD

    2021 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

    As associate professor in neurology at Duke, Dr. White has set the bar for medical education through impressive foresight, anticipating student needs and pioneering new approaches well ahead of others in the field. He helped establish team-based learning at Duke, developed the first modular videos for hybrid flipped-classroom learning, and integrated humanities into medical education — long before these strategies became well-known and adopted across the country.

    Learn more about Dr. White