NEW YORK, NY, October 12, 2015—The New York Academy of Medicine announces the recipients of its prestigious annual Academy Distinguished Awards for outstanding contributions by individuals in health policy, public health, clinical practice, biomedical research and an individual who has made significant contributions to the Academy. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s 168th Anniversary Discourse & Awards on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at the Academy (1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street). Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, MD, Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Meyer Cancer Center of Weill Cornell Medical College, will deliver the Anniversary Discourse on the topic of “Rescuing Biomedical Research.” The event is free and open to the public with registration

The Academy’s tradition of hosting an annual discourse on an important issue of the day began in 1847 with an oration delivered to an audience of 2,500 people at the Broadway Tabernacle by Dr. John W. Francis. The tradition of honoring excellence in medicine and health began in 1929 with the establishment of the Academy Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Science.

“This year’s awardees are national and global leaders in their fields, and each has made critical contributions to the health of the public,” said Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, Academy President. “The New York Academy of Medicine is honored to recognize each of them for their outstanding accomplishments.”  

Charles L. Sawyers, MD, Chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program and Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will receive the Academy Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Science for his seminal work in developing molecularly targeted cancer therapy and investigating the signal pathways that drive the growth of cancer cells, leading to designing new treatment options for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, prostate cancer, and glioblastoma.

Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, Dean Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University Distinguished Service Professor at Johns Hopkins University, will receive the Stephen Smith Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Public Health for his seminal contributions to research into vitamin A deficiency and his work with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and their partners that led to providing more than 400 million vitamin A supplements to children around the world and saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, will receive the Academy Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Health Policy for her important contributions to strengthening the FDA’s programs and policies to protect the safety of the food supply, give the public access to safe and effective medical products and to finding novel ways to prevent illness, promote health, and be transparent in explaining the FDA’s decision-making, which contributed significantly to the health and well-being of the public.

Diane E. Meier, MD, FACP, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, Vice Chair for Public Policy at the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, and Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, will receive the John Stearns Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Clinical Practice for her internationally recognized leadership in the field of palliative care.

Ruby P. Hearn, PhD, Senior Vice President Emerita of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will receive the Academy Medal for Exceptional Service to the Academy for more than a decade of distinguished service on the Academy’s Board of Trustees and as a critical leader and advocate in creating the Academy’s development capability.