Senate Confirms Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health, HVO Presents Golden Apple Awards, and more

Brian Bolwell, MD, FACP

Brian Bolwell Named Chair of Physician Leadership and Development at Cleveland Clinic

The Cleveland Clinic has appointed Brian Bolwell, MD, FACP, as chair of physician leadership and development within its Mandel Global Leadership and Learning Institute, effective May 1, 2021.

In this newly created role, Dr. Bowell will focus on the ongoing development of future and existing physician leaders, working alongside the institution’s Chief of Staff Beri Ridgeway, MD, to advance staff leadership.

Since 2010, Dr. Bolwell has served as chair of the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. He is also a professor in the Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University and deputy director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Jamie Abraham, MD, will step in as acting chair of the Taussig Cancer Institute.

Source: Cleveland Clinic press release, April 8, 2021.

Massimo Fabrizio Martelli, MD

Massimo Fabrizio Martelli Wins 2021 Mechtild Harf Science Award

German-based nonprofit DKMS Foundation for Giving Life awarded its 20th Mechtild Harf Science Award to Massimo Fabrizio Martelli, MD, in recognition of his contributions to the field of haploidentical stem cell transplantation and the treatment of patients with high-risk acute leukemia.

The €10,000 prize recognizes physicians for outstanding scientific work in the field of stem cell donation and transplantation.

Dr. Martelli has spent three decades working at the University of Perugia in Italy, becoming professor emeritus in 2011. During his tenure, he has served as professor and head of the department of hematology/oncology. In 1993, he conducted the first successful clinical trial on haploidentical stem cell transplantation. Dr. Martelli has published more than 350 articles in international medical journals.

“It is a great pleasure for us to honor Massimo Martelli’s exceptional achievements. … His work on approaches to reduce the risk of graft-versus-host disease while preserving graft-versus-leukemia effects has been enormously fruitful for the development of medical science in this field,” said Thomas Klingebiel, MD, chairman of the DKMS Medical Council, at the virtual Mechtild Harf Science Award ceremony.

Source: DKMS Foundation for Giving Life press release, March 16, 2021.

Lisa M. Coussens, PhD

AACR Elects Lisa Coussens as 2021-2022 President

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has named Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, as president-elect for 2021 to 2022. Her role as president-elect officially began on April 12, 2021, and she will assume the presidency in April 2022 at the AACR Annual Meeting.

Currently, Dr. Coussens is associate director for basic research at the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University. Additionally, she is a professor and chair of the cell, developmental, and cancer biology department, and the Hildegard Lamfrom Endowed Chair in Basic Science. Her research has contributed to the understanding of the functions of innate immune cells in fostering neoplastic progression while suppressing T-cell functionality and has defined the importance of chronic inflammation in cancer.

“I look forward to leveraging the stage provided by the AACR to bolster the basic, translational, and clinical cancer communities in our missions to further discoveries into the underpinnings of cancer, explore novel druggable targets, as well as uncover the rich genetic variation in diverse populations that predispose and protect from cancer,” Dr. Coussens said of her appointment.

“Dr. Coussens is an extraordinary scientist whose pioneering research on the tumor microenvironment and chronic inflammation has had an incredible impact on the understanding and treatment of many different types of cancer,” said Margaret Foti, MD, PhD, chief executive officer of the AACR. “The AACR will benefit greatly from her wide scientific knowledge.”

Source: AACR press release, April 1, 2021.

Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBS
Rachel Levine, MD

President Biden’s Assistant Health Secretary, Surgeon General Confirmed

The U.S. Senate voted 57 to 43 to confirm Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, as surgeon general on March 23. Dr. Murthy first served as surgeon general under President Barack Obama, but was replaced with Jerome Adams, MD, by President Donald Trump in early 2017. When he was confirmed during the Obama administration, he became the first Asian-American surgeon general. Although the surgeon general typically has a limited role in policymaking, President Joe Biden indicated that Dr. Murthy will have an expanded role in his administration.

President Biden’s nominee for U.S. assistant secretary for health, Rachel Levine, MD, also was confirmed. In this position, she will oversee Dr. Murthy. Both officials will play key roles in the nation’s response to the COVID pandemic. Dr. Levine previously served as Pennsylvania’s physician general and has been the state’s health secretary since 2017. Prior to that, she held senior medical positions at Penn State Health’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Dr. Levine is the first openly transgender Senator and the highest-ranking openly transgender official in U.S. history.

Source: The Washington Post, March 24, 2021.

Michael Linden, MD, PhD
Jaime Andres Londono-Suarez, MD

HVO Presents Golden Apple Awards

Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) announced the recipients of the 15th annual HVO Golden Apple Awards, which recognize individuals who have demonstrated commitment to improving global health through education, training, and professional development of the health workforce in resource-scarce countries.

“In the midst of the pandemic, all of these professionals have made a concerted effort toward developing e-volunteering with the project sites,” said HVO Executive Director Nancy Kelly. “The work they have done has allowed the projects not only to continue but to develop in new, innovative ways, which will be integral as we move forward. This not only improves patient care, but it gives us hope for the future.”

The recipients include American Society of Hematology (ASH) members Michael Linden, MD, PhD, from the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Jaime Andres Londono-Suarez, MD, from NYU Langone Health, New York, New York.

In early 2020, Drs. Linden and Londono-Suarez became co-directors of the HVO hematology project at Carlos Seguin Hospital in Arequipa, Peru. Dr. Linden began volunteering with the project in 2016 and serves on the HVO Hematology Steering Committee. Dr. Suarez first volunteered with the project in 2019.

Source: Health Volunteers Overseas press release, April 7, 2021.