Who will be the next Gold Headed Cane recipient?

July 2, 2018

Every year, College Fellows vote on one of the most prestigious awards we offer, the Gold Headed Cane award. This award is designed to honor a College Fellow who has demonstrated the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity. Eligible candidates must have been a Fellow of the College for at least 20 years.

“The Gold Headed Cane is not just another award that 'has to' be given to someone,” said Gailen Marshall Jr., MD, PhD, FACAAI, winner of the 2017 Gold Headed Cane Award. “It is considered the highest honor to be bestowed upon a College member. As the latest recipient of this distinction and great honor, it has reminded me of just how the College is really a village of dedicated physicians, scientists, allied health professionals and staff. This village works together to learn more, discover more and better deliver the very best health care available for our patients in a collegial, 'I have your back' environment. As you consider this year’s nominees, it is critical that you cast your vote for the one who you believe best embodies this principle. I assure you that person will represent the College with the same pride, satisfaction and enthusiasm as the previous seventeen recipients.”

Nominees this year are Sami Bahna, MD, DrPH, FACAAI, Gary Gross, MD, FACAAI, Mark O’Hollaren, MD, FACAAI, and Dana Wallace, MD, FACAAI. Fellows can expect their ballots to arrive by email around July 12. Read over each nominee’s bio and carefully make your choice! Voting will conclude Aug. 1. The award will be presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting Nov. 15-19 in Seattle during the Saturday Presidential Plenary.

The Gold Headed Cane award actually has a rich history. It dates back to the 1600’s, when physicians carried canes filled with aromatic substances such as rosemary, camphor or Marseilles vinegar to counteract offensive odors and prevent the spread of disease.

The tradition of the Gold Headed Cane originated in 1689 with John Radcliffe, who had a particular interest in asthma as the personal physician to King William III, an asthmatic. Dr. Radcliffe began the tradition of passing the cane to a successor whom he considered to be the greatest English physician of his time.

The Gold Headed Cane award is a concept used today by many medical schools and specialty societies to recognize a physician who symbolizes the pursuit of the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity. The award serves as an inspiration to younger doctors and encourages them in family, social, civic, religious and professional life to cultivate character