Kwaku Ohene-Frempong Wins Assistant Secretary of Health Exceptional Service Medal, ASH Members Elected to NAM, and more

Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, MD

Kwaku Ohene-Frempong Wins Assistant Secretary of Health Exceptional Service Medal 

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett P. Giroir, MD, recently presented American Society of Hematology (ASH) member Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, MD, with the Assistant Secretary of Health Exceptional Service Medal for outstanding contributions to public health and medicine through his work in sickle cell disease (SCD). This honor is the highest civilian award from the Public Health Service, which includes all health divisions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Ohene-Frempong is Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves on the Global Coalition on Sickle Cell Disease. His work as a clinician in Ghana focused on incorporating SCD management in primary health care, and has benefitted thousands of children worldwide. He is the first civilian recipient of the medal.

“Dr. Ohene-Frempong deserves this award many times over,” said Dr. Giroir. “I want this award to bring light to his singular accomplishments as a physician, scientist, and humanitarian, but also to the cause of people living with sickle cell disease around the world. His diligent advocacy, clinical expertise and visionary leadership serve as an inspiration for the Global Coalition and the sickle cell community.”

2020 ASH President Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH, also applauded Dr. Ohene-Frempong, posting on Twitter: “Congratulations to American Society of Hematology member Dr. Kwaku Ohene-Frempong for receiving the Assistant Secretary of Health Exceptional Service Medal! He is a leader of our work in Africa to promote newborn screening and sickle cell care. We look forward to his continued leadership.”

Source: HHS press release, October 15, 2020.


Stephen D. Nimer, MD

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Receives $126 Million Gift

The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine has received a $126 million gift from an anonymous donor in honor of its Director, Stephen D. Nimer, MD, who also is the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

The anonymous gift will match additional donations of $1 million or more to Sylvester to support cancer research, bolster endowment funds for faculty chairs, support scientist recruitment and retention, and invest in infrastructure improvements. Part of the gift also will go toward research in cancer epigenetics and experimental therapies.

“This will help the people in this community get greater access to more novel treatments,” said Dr. Nimer. “With expanded treatment options and opportunities to develop more cures, our patients can benefit from this landmark gift to our cancer center.”

Source: University of Miami press release, September 1, 2020.


Inaugural Class of FDA-AACR Oncology Educational Fellows Announced

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has announced the members of its inaugural class of FDA-AACR Oncology Educational Fellows. This fellowship is a joint initiative by the Oncology Center of Excellence at the FDA and the AACR to promote scientific progress in cancer research.

“It’s our great pleasure to help enrich the education of other physicians and open lines of communication with oncology professionals about the FDA’s work in drug development,” said Richard Pazdur, MD, Director of the Oncology Center of Excellence at the FDA. “We hope this program will provide a window on what we do and how we think at the FDA.”

“The AACR is very proud to partner with Dr. Pazdur and his exceptional team at the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence on the FDA-AACR Oncology Educational Fellowship program,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD, Chief Executive Officer of the AACR. “This exciting project will provide 20 talented young researchers and physician-scientists with a unique opportunity to more fully appreciate how regulatory science informs the way in which new cancer medicines are evaluated for their safety and efficacy.”

Twenty early-career cancer investigators and fellows were inducted into the 2020-2021 class, including several hematologists from across the U.S. and Canada:

  • Samer Al Hadidi, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
  • Parvaneh Fallah, MD, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Henry J. Henderson III, PhD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Jasmine Huynh, MD, University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center,
    Sacramento, California
  • Ilana Schlam, MD, MedStar Georgetown Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC

Source: AACR press release, October 21, 2020.


ASH Members Elected to the National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has elected 100 new members, including five ASH members. Election to NAM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. The five ASH members elected to NAM are:

  • Cynthia E. Dunbar, MD, Chief of the Translational Stem Cell Biology Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland
  • Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD, Chief of the Lymphoid Malignancies Branch and Director of the Center for Cancer Genomics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland
  • John E. Dick, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology and Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in the University Health Network, and Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto
  • Gilda A. Barabino, PhD, President and Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts
  • Hugues de Thé, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Cellular and Molecular Oncology at the Collège de France and Physician at the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris

Source: NAM press release, October 19, 2020.