Momentum rises at UMass Chan after a year of outstanding achievements

2022 medal winners with Chancellor Collins. From left to right Ira Oken, M.D.; Marianne and Whale, Ph.D.; Collins. Melissa Fisher, MD; and Deborah DeMarco, MD.

In his annual address to the UMass Chan Medical School community on Thursday, September 16, Chancellor Michael F. Collins expressed his optimism for the school’s ambitious future and announced the tremendous momentum propelling the school forward. Chancellor Collins highlighted many of UMass Chan’s milestones in the past year, including a transformative $175 million gift from the Morningside Foundation, the opening of a VA outpatient community clinic, and the start of a new education and research building.

Collins praised the collaborative efforts across campus and the school’s commitment to local communities. He thanked the many supporters of the school and praised the innovative work of the college.

For all of these reasons and more, it’s easy to be optimistic about our future,” Collins told the assembly in the Albert Sherman Center Auditorium. “I assure you that due to the efforts of our learners, faculty, and staff, our state public medical school is sound as we enter this new academic year.”

The university’s vice president, Terence R. Flute credits the faculty for their achievements.

This event is a true celebration of the College who are the heart and soul of this academic institution. They collectively advance our mission, a mission defined by creativity and passion, as well as commitment, collaboration, and fellowship.”

Among the highlights of the ceremony was the announcement of the winners of the 2022 Chancellor’s Medals for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarships, Service and Clinical Excellence.

Melissa Fisher, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education, Curriculum Innovation and iCELS, received the Consultant Medal for Distinguished Education. Dr. Fisher was invited to deliver the final 2023 lecture, a celebration of teaching, and was awarded the Manning Prize, a $10,000 award established by UMass Chairman Robert Manning and his wife Donna, both UMass alumni.

Dr. Fisher, for more than two decades, I have shaped the education of medical students, residents, and fellows. With your track record of innovation and participation in course development, you have served as course coordinator and curriculum developer over many years and multiple iterations.

Marianne and the Whale, Ph.D.The maroon Simon Chair in Biomedicine Received Research Award, Chair and Professor of Systems Biology The Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Scholarships.

Collins said Dr. Whale is “known as the most respected member of our scientific community, as a dedicated mentor and inspiring role model for women in science.”

This is best suited to anyone who has had such a significant impact on science and our society,” Collins said.

The Consultant Medal for Distinguished Clinical Excellence submitted to Ira Oken, M.D.The David J and Barbara de Melliken Professor of Preventive Cardiology and Professor of medicine. Collins said Dr. O’Kinne had been teaching at UMass Chan since 1975, “where the paint was drying and before the University Hospital opened.”

“This award is a fitting recognition for those who have cared for individual patients and the population; for those who have engaged the community in their role in prevention; and for those who have served this institution and your patients for nearly five decades,” Collins said.

After leaving the stage, Oken paused and turned to his fellow faculty members from the audience and said, “We’ve done a lot of work together. Thank you all.”

The Consultant Medal for Distinguished Service awarded to Deborah DeMarco, MDProfessor of Medicine.

Dr. DeMarco has been invited to carry the sceptre of medical school at events throughout the academic year.

“This recognition is most appropriate for someone who has been a strong leader in our medical school over your many years of service,” Collins said.

The following faculty members were honored and invested as professors:

Eric Berecke, Ph.D.Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and Cancer, is the inaugural owner President of the Danny Cancer Fund in Biomedical Research II.

Roberto Cariccio, MDProfessor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine, was appointed to Myles J McDonough Rheumatology Chair

Michelle A. Kelleher, Ph.D.Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Cancer and Co-Leader of the Cancer Genetics Program, is the holder of the first award Danny Fund Chair for Cancer in Biomedical Research 1.

Jane B. Lawrence, Ph.D.professor of neurology and pediatrics, is the new Leo b. Theresa M. Lachance Chair in Medical Research.

Alan C. Mullen, MD, Ph.D.Professor of Medicine and Academic Head of Gastroenterology, has also been invested Mary C. DeFeudis Chair in Biomedical Research.

Celia A. Schaeffer, Ph.D.Chair and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology, is a new holder of Arthur F. and Helen P. Koskinas Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology.

Related UMass Chan news stories:
Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is admitting 41 new PhD candidates
Tan Chengfen Graduate School of Nursing Celebrates 63 DNP Students in White Coat Ceremony
Gala 2021: Chancellor Collins outlines a vision for a new era at UMass Chan

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