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In 1985, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder, pioneering physician Daniel Drake. As part of that celebration, the college created a new award—the Daniel Drake Medal—to honor its distinguished living faculty and alumni.
Nominees for the Daniel Drake Medal are evaluated on outstanding scholarly achievements in biomedical science as evidenced by major significant contributions to medical research and/or a distinguished career as a clinician-teacher.
Considered the highest honor awarded by the College of Medicine, this year’s Daniel Drake Medals will be awarded during the Honors Day program on April 22, 2023.
Melanie T. Cushion, PhD, is senior associate dean for research and professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the College of Medicine, and one of 50 Veterans Affairs (VA) senior research career scientists in
the country. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of fungi, having researched fungal pathogens for more than 30 years.
Early in her career, Dr. Cushion began working with organisms referred to as Pneumocystis, the leading killer of patients with advanced HIV infection in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. At that time, these microbes were thought to be protozoans,
but her work with others in the college led to the discovery that they were actually fungal pathogens. She later initiated the Pneumocystis Genome Project, which helped to understand the metabolism and genetics of the fungus, and her laboratory was
the first to report Pneumocystis carinii possesses a linear mitochondrial genome.
Further work in her lab also showed that Pneumocystis were highly efficient in transmission of infection. Recent research by Dr. Cushion led to the identification of Pneumocystis sexual reproduction as a new drug target. Inhibition of this mode of reproduction
by the anti-fungal echinocandins resulted in prevention and eradication of Pneumocystis pneumonia, an entirely new paradigm.
Dr. Cushion’s research program has been funded since 1987 through more than $30 million in grants from the VA, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. She is a member of the Joint Program Committee-2 (JPC-2), the advisory
body to the JPC-2 Chair for the Defense Health Program Military Infectious Diseases Research Program, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) Program.
As senior associate dean since 2013, Dr. Cushion has established several internal grant programs, grant pre-review workshops and training sessions, symposia and recognition awards for College of Medicine research faculty and staff. She has mentored and
trained numerous graduate students, junior faculty, postdoctoral and infectious diseases fellows. In 2017, she was honored with the Antimicrobial Research Award from the American Society for Microbiology.
Michael K. Farrell, MD, professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He came to Cincinnati Children’s as a resident in 1974 and then completed
fellowships in ambulatory and emergency pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.
Dr. Farrell joined the College of Medicine faculty in 1979 and has held numerous leadership positions at Cincinnati Children’s, including Pediatric Residency Program director (1979 to 2001), medical director of home health care (1988 to 2017), chief
of staff (1993 to 2015) and associate chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Pediatrics (1993 to 2015). He has specialized in treating gastrointestinal and nutritional diseases of children with special needs.
His research has focused on parenteral and enteral nutrition and he was among the first to study the relationship between infantile apnea and gastroesophageal reflux. He also helped define the hepatobiliary complications associated with parenteral nutrition
and participated in important studies defining vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus requirements in infant parenteral nutrition solutions.
Dr. Farrell, a highly admired and inspirational mentor and teacher, has impacted hundreds of young physicians in training. He developed many combined residency programs at Cincinnati Children’s and the College of Medicine, including medicine and
pediatrics, pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatrics and genetics, and a triple-board-certified program in pediatrics, psychiatry and child psychiatry.
Dr. Farrell has impacted medical education nationwide through his leadership roles in several national organizations. More than 30 years ago, Dr. Farrell and colleagues engaged Cincinnati pediatricians as teachers and developed office-based rotations
in the community for additional learning opportunities for young physicians in training. Dr. Farrell’s lengthy career and interest in medical history led him to serve as chair of the History Committee of Cincinnati Children’s and also
as a member of the UC Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions Advisory Board.
Bruce F. Giffin, PhD, associate dean for medical education and professor and vice chair in the Department of Medical Education at the College of Medicine, has been a faculty member since 1994. After beginning his career as a college music instructor and
high school chemistry and music teacher, Dr. Giffin became a student at the College of Medicine, receiving his doctorate in neuroanatomy and cell biology in 1985. He then served on the faculty of the University of Dayton for five years before returning
to the College of Medicine as a perinatal biology fellow and postdoctoral assistant.
Dr. Giffin has taught gross anatomy to medical students in addition to numerous other courses. A beloved and appreciated teacher, he continues to direct several courses in the medical school curriculum and has received, to date, nearly 40 teaching awards
from medical students.
In 2012, Dr. Giffin received the prestigious Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, a national award honoring the best medical school teachers in North America. He also received the 2005 A.B. Dolly
Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Cincinnati. Since 2014, Dr. Giffin has served as associate dean for medical education. He has taught more than 4,000 medical students during his career and has been an influential force
in the evolution of the medical school curriculum, both as an educational leader and from the many innovations he has brought to his courses.
Dr. Giffin also has taught numerous unique courses in the college, including The Neuroscience of Creativity, The Neuroscience of Music, and Art and Medicine, and has been a cooking instructor for the college’s Clinical Nutrition elective. Dr. Giffin’s
musical skills also have supported his work since 2003 as director of the College of Medicine’s Men’s and Women’s Choruses.
William Barrett, MD
William Barrett, MD, holds the Charles M. Barrett, MD, Endowed Chair in Radiation Oncology and is professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. He also is the co-director of the UC Cancer Center. Dr. Barrett has led the Department of Radiation
Oncology since its founding in 2008 and was director of the UC Cancer Institute from 2014 until 2020. Barrett has been praised for his absolute commitment and loyalty to his colleagues, to the College of Medicine, and his compassionate approach to
his patients. He is known as the consummate physician, and an inspiring educator and role model whose dedication, integrity and compassion makes him an example of excellence. Dr. Barrett’s work with the community in promoting cancer care and
prevention has earned him enormous respect and trust, and his efforts have raised the organizational structure and quality of UC cancer programs. Dr. Barrett received his medical degree from the College of Medicine in 1987. He completed postgraduate
training at UC and a brachytherapy fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center followed by his appointment to the UC faculty in 1992. Dr. Barrett and his father, Charles Barrett, MD, are the first father and son to both receive Drake Medals.
W. Brian Gibler, MD
W. Brian Gibler, MD, has been a Department of Emergency Medicine faculty member since 1989, serving as chair from 1995 until 2010. His research in the early diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) has been internationally recognized
and changed emergency practice. Through groundbreaking funded research on the utilization of cardiac serum biomarkers, cardiac imaging studies, and graded exercise testing in short stay Emergency Department protocols, the evaluation, and treatment
of emergency patients with chest pain and ACS have evolved and improved significantly. Dr. Gibler’s research has led to more rapid identification, early treatment, and improved outcomes for emergency patients across the world. While on faculty
at Vanderbilt University, he founded in 1989 and serves as the chair of the Emergency Medicine Cardiac Research and Education Group (EMCREG) – International. In recognition of his research in emergency cardiac care, Dr. Gibler was elected a
fellow of the American College of Cardiology in 2010, the first emergency physician so recognized. He received the Chest Pain Society Ray Bahr Leadership Award (2008) and the Outstanding Contribution to Research Award from the American College of
Emergency Physicians (1995). Dr. Gibler received his medical degree in 1981 from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and completed his emergency medicine residency at UC in 1986, serving as chief resident. Dr. Gibler served as president
and CEO of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center from 2010 through 2013.
Peter Stern, MD
Peter Stern, MD, is an internationally distinguished clinician-teacher who has dedicated himself to the field of hand surgery. He has earned a reputation as an authority on fractures of the wrist and hand, infections, tendon and nerve injuries, and complications
of surgery of the upper extremity. Dr. Stern created the highly regarded Mary S. Stern Hand Fellowship and has trained more than 70 hand surgeons and 175 residents. Currently holding the Norman S. and Elizabeth C.A. Hill Professorship of Orthopaedic
Surgery, he became chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1992 and led the department until 2013. Dr. Stern has served as president of each of the major hand surgery and orthopaedic associations, including the American Board of Orthopaedic
Surgery, American Orthopaedic Association and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. He has received numerous honours, including the Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedic Surgery award (2019) from the American Orthopaedic Association,
the most prestigious award in the field of orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Stern and his parents also have established four endowed chairs in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. A graduate of Williams College and the Washington University School of Medicine,
he completed his orthopaedic residency at Harvard University.
Alan Jobe, MD, PhD
Alan Jobe, MD, PhD, has been a thought leader in neonatology survival and quality of life for preterm infants worldwide through his research on pulmonary maturation, the physiology and biochemistry of surfactant, and the hormones and infectious diseases
that influence pulmonary maturation in preterm infants. He was among the first to define the biochemical, molecular and physiologic mechanisms of surfactant in the developing lung which led to the application of surfactant as a therapy for preterm
infants. Dr. Jobe also developed the novel concepts underlying the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung disease of prematurity and his pulmonary research led to the safe use of antenatal glucocorticoids for the prevention of
respiratory distress syndrome. Dr. Jobe received his medical and doctorate degrees in 1973 from the University of California, San Diego. He served on the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine from 1977
until 1997. He has been a member of the UC College of Medicine faculty since in 1997. Dr. Jobe also consults for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for maternal-fetal mortality.
Laura Wexler, MD
Laura Wexler, MD, served from 2001 until 2011 as Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions at the UC College of Medicine, making numerous significant changes to student services and the admissions process. She instituted a new and innovative
program for student mental health services and academic assistance for students. In 2008, she led UC to become the first U.S. medical school to adopt the Multiple Mini Interview system, a more holistic approach for medical student selection emphasizing
humanistic skills and qualities. Dr. Wexler also served for 11 years as Cardiology Section Chief at the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, instituting many changes to improve access to specialty care and enhancing the cardiology fellowship
and residency training programs. Dr. Wexler received her medical degree in 1971 from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She completed residency training with Harvard Medical School at Boston City Hospital and a cardiology fellowship
at the Massachusetts General Hospital. After serving on the faculty at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Wexler joined the UC College of Medicine faculty in 1987.
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