The medal for lifetime achievement in medicine established in 1992 and named for John Stearns, the first president of the Academy, is awarded for extraordinary contributions to the clinical practice of medicine. These contributions can be in disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation; physician-patient communication; clinical medical education; or medical ethics.

Eligibility Requirements

Award candidates demonstrating extraordinary contributions to the clinical practice of medicine must be nominated via the Committee’s process (see Application Process below). The awardee must be available to accept the award in-person at the Academy’s Anniversary Discourse and Awards ceremony in November.

Application Process

During the first quarter of the year, a message is sent on behalf of the Nominations Committee to all Academy Fellows and Members soliciting nominations for the Academy’s five annual awards that are bestowed at the Annual Meeting of the Fellows and Discourse and Awards Ceremony in November. The task of the Nominations Committee is to recommend a list of nominees (two individuals per award, allowing for an alternate in case the first choice is unable to attend the November meeting) based on the submitted nominations. The nominees are discussed at great length and it is decided as a group which two names for each award should be advanced for consideration—there is the first candidate and then an alternate if the first choice cannot accept. The Academy President, Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, extends the invitations to those selected. 

Award Information

The award recipient accepts the event in-person at the Academy’s Anniversary Discourse and Awards ceremony in November.


Previous Recipients
  • 2016 David L. Olds
  • 2015 Diane E. Meier
  • 2014 Elaine Larson
  • 2013 Daniel D. Federman
  • 2012 Antonio M. Gotto, Jr.
  • 2011 Rita Charon
  • 2010 Kathleen M. Foley
  • 2009 David G. Nathan
  • 2008 Richard Mayeaux
  • 2007 Arthur H. Rubenstein
  • 2006 Victor A. McKusick
  • 2005 Samuel O. Thier
  • 2004 Mary Ellen Avery
  • 2003 David A. Hamburg
  • 2002 Paul A. Marks
  • 2001 Paul B. Beeson
  • 2000 Robert J. Glaser
  • 1999 Julius B. Richmond
  • 1998 Torsten N. Wiesel
  • 1997 David Satcher
  • 1996 Joshua Lederberg
  • 1995 Donald A. Henderson
  • 1994 David E. Rogers
  • 1993 Maclyn McCarty
  • 1992 Lewis Thomas