The nominees for the 2021 Gold Headed Cane Award, one of the most prestigious College awards, are Jay Portnoy, MD, FACAAI, James Sublett, MD, FACAAI and Myron Zitt, MD, FACAAI. Fellows are eligible to vote for this award. Ballots have been emailed to all Fellows, and a final email ballot will be sent later this week. Voting ends on July 23.
Eligible candidates for the award must have been a Fellow of the College for at least 20 years and have demonstrated the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity. The award will be presented during the College’s Annual Scientific Meeting, Nov. 4 – 8.
In the 1600s, 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, the personal physician to King William III. Since the king was an asthmatic, Dr. Radcliffe had a particular interest in asthma. Dr. Radcliffe began the ritual 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 that earns the respect and goodwill of colleagues and the profession at large.
In 2000, Bob Lanier, MD, FACAAI, recommended the College establish a Gold Headed Cane award. He continues to custom make each cane presented to award recipients. Dr. Lanier was a Gold Headed Cane Award recipient in 2016.