Endorsement of excellence

November 14, 2016

Saturday night at the Awards Ceremony, the College honored the incredible work of several members and recognized new Fellows dedicated to asthma, allergy and immunology.

Bobby Lanier, MD, FACAAI, was honored with the Gold Headed Cane Award, which is given for demonstrating the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity. The Gold Headed Cane is a concept used by many medical schools and specialty societies to recognize a physician who symbolizes the pursuit of the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity.

Dr. Lanier has served as executive medical director of the College for the past eight years and has an extensive record of service dating back to 1979. He was president of the College from 2001-2002, has served on the Board of Regents and on numerous committees, acted as an American Medical Association delegate and much more. The College has honored him as a Distinguished Fellow, a Distinguished Service Award recipient, a Bela Schick Lecturer, a Robert Scanlon Memorial Lecturer and a Bernard Berman Memorial Lecturer.

Distinguished Fellow Awards were presented to Paul Dowling Jr., MD, FACAAI, and Chitra Dinakar, MD, FACAAI. The award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions and commitment in the United States or Canada on behalf of the specialty of allergy.

Dr. Dowling is director of the Allergy/Immunology Training Program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and co-director of the Combined Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. He is also an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr. Dowling has acted on numerous committees with the College. He is past chair of the Drug and Anaphylaxis Committee. Since 2006, he has served on ACAAI’s Training Program Directors Committee and is the present chair. From the beginning of the COLA (Conferences On Line Allergy) series, Dr. Dowling has been responsible for the curriculum and securing speakers, as well as organizing the COLA “Summer Series” of introductory talks for new Fellows-in-Training.

Dr. Dinakar is professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and director of the Food Allergy Center, Division of Allergy/ Immunology, Children’s Mercy Hospital. Dr. Dinakar served on the ACAAI Board of Regents from 2011- 2014. She is an ABAI director, member of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters and the ACAAI representative to the Council of Pediatric Specialties. She is also the associate editor of AllergyWatch. She was the recording secretary and vice speaker of the ACAAI House of Delegates, chair of the Credentials Committee and member of several ACAAI committees (i.e., Annual Meeting Programming, Abstract Review and Women in Allergy).

Rudolf Valenta, MD, FACAAI, of Vienna, Austria, received the International Distinguished Fellow Award. It’s given in recognition of outstanding contributions and commitment on behalf of allergy in the recipient’s country. Dr. Valenta is full professor for allergology at the Medical University of Vienna and foreign adjunct professor for allergy at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. He has been working in the field of allergy research for more than 25 years and his work is highly cited; he has published more than 560 original scientific publications. Dr. Valenta has coordinated two allergy research programs at the Medical University of Vienna; has served as chair of the standardization committee of the International Union of Immunological Societies, as vice president of the European Academy for Allergy and Clinical Immunology and as president of the Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology; and is member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Phillip L. Lieberman, MD, FACAAI, and Michael R. Nelson, MD, PhD, FACAAI. This award is given in recognition of tireless efforts, dedication and enthusiasm on behalf of the College. Dr. Lieberman is clinical professor of medicine and pediatrics in the departments of internal medicine and pediatrics (Divisions of Allergy and Immunology) at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. His private practice, Allergy & Asthma Care, has multiple offices in the Memphis area. He is past president of the American Association of Certified Allergists. He has served on the boards of directors of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American Lung Association of Tennessee, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology. He has acted on numerous committees for multiple professional organizations, including the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s Committee to Other Medical Organizations and ACAAI’s Anaphylaxis Committee.

Dr. Nelson is the director for graduate medical education in the Army Surgeon General’s Office. He is also an associate professor in the department of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and serves as the allergy-immunology consultant to the Office of the Army Surgeon General. A decorated U.S. Army Medical Corps colonel, he has served as department chair, program director and officer for both the ABAI and American College of Graduate Medical Education Review Committee, as well as in various capacities on numerous other committees for ACAAI and elsewhere. He has acted as chief of allergy-immunology and immunizations at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, director of the U.S. Centralized Allergen Extract Library and chair of the Association of Uniformed Services Allergists-Immunologists. He is the current chair of the Allergenic Products Advisory Committee of the FDA.

The Woman in Allergy Award was presented to Jacqueline Roberts Bellanti. The annual award honors an individual who has advanced the role of women in medicine or made a significant contribution to the specialty. Ms. Bellanti has been an advocate and educator in the field of allergy/immunology since earning her degree in nursing almost 60 years ago. She served as vice president for public policy with the Asthma & Allergy Foundation and called on Congress to bring awareness to the needs of patients afflicted with asthma and immunologic disorders. She was honored with the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the College.

Young Faculty Support Awards were presented to two educators. The Foundation provided $50,000 awards to Melanie A. Ruffner, MD, PhD, and Maria A. Slack, MD.

Clemons von Pirquet Awards were presented by the Alliance to three Fellows-in-Training for their outstanding meeting abstracts. First place, the Alliance Memorial Award, went to Vanessa Bundy, MD, PhD, the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, for “Post-natal Mechanisms of Human Hematopoietic Stem Cell Self-renewal.”  The second place award went to David A. Hill, MD, PhD, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for “The Prevalence of Eosinophilic Esophagitis in Patients with IgE Mediated Food Allergy: Implications for Oral Immunotherapy.” The third place award went to Ashley L. Devonshire, MD, MPH, Northwestern University – McGraw Medical Center, Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, for “Is Timing Important for Egg Oral Food Challenge Outcome?”