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2019 Alumni Award Winners

Awarded by the Johns Hopkins Medical & Surgical Association

Distinguished Medical Alumni Award

Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., Med ’94

Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan. An acclaimed historian of medicine, Markel is the author, co-author, or co-editor of ten books including the award-winning Quarantine!When Germs TravelAn Anatomy of Addiction; and The Kelloggs, which was a finalist for the National Critics Book Circle Prize in Biography. 

From 2005 to 2006, Markel served as a historical consultant on pandemic influenza preparedness planning for the U.S. Department of Defense. From 2006 to 2015, he served as the principal historical consultant on pandemic preparedness for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His research played a pivotal role in developing the evidence base for many community mitigation strategies employed by the World Health Organization, the CDC, the Mexican Ministry of Health, and state, provincial and municipal health departments around the globe during the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Markel has contributed over 500 articles, reviews, essays and book chapters to dozens of scholarly publications and popular periodicals, from The New England Journal of Medicine, to The New York Times.

Markel’s work has been recognized with numerous grants, honors and awards, including election into National Academy of Medicine (2008). He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015) and a fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy (2017).

Rein Saral, M.D., Med ’69

Rein Saral, M.D., is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University. A graduate of Grinnell College, he earned his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed a residency in internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He then completed a three-year research program at the NIH, before returning to Johns Hopkins in 1974 and later becoming clinical director of the bone marrow transplantation program.

Saral arrived at Emory in 1991 to lead the bone marrow transplantation program at Winship Cancer Institute. He was the first physician to use bone marrow transplantation in the treatment of AIDS-related malignancies; among the first to use it in the treatment of sickle cell anemia; and was the first to demonstrate effectiveness of a safe antiviral (acyclovir) therapy against herpes viruses in transplant patients. Saral also headed the NIH Bone Marrow Transplant Study Section to determine appropriate use of bone marrow transplantation in the treatment of human disease.

Saral retired from Emory in 2014. His influence at Emory has gone beyond the bone marrow transplantation program: he served as director of The Emory Clinic and improved its integration and function. He also helped Winship develop the infrastructure needed to achieve its National Cancer Institute designation.

Under Saral’s leadership, the Winship program has implemented advanced clinical practices that have resulted in better transplant survival rates and reduction of side effects. Winship’s program performs more than 400 transplants a year, making it the largest in the Southeast and one of the most experienced in the country.

Christine E. Whitten, M.D., Med ’79

Christine E. Whitten, M.D., is a practicing anesthesiologist with 40 years’ experience. She is the author of Whitten's Step-By-Step Guides, a series of books teaching airway management, intubation, and respiratory care. The first book, Anyone Can Intubate: A Step-By-Step Guide to Intubation and Airway Management is now in its fifth edition. Her second book is Pediatric Airway Management: A Step-By-Step Guide. Her books and training videos have been used to train medical students, residents, nurses, respiratory therapists, and first responders internationally. Her educational blog,, is read by thousands of providers worldwide.

Whitten served two terms as chief of anesthesia and director of perioperative services for Kaiser Permanente San Diego. She served as the physician chair of the Kaiser School of Nurse Anesthesia until 2002. As the Southern California Permanente Regional Coordinator of Pain Management, she co-led the implementation of the national Kaiser Permanente multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Management Programs. She received the Southern California Cancer Pain Initiative Award of Excellence in 2000.

Prior to joining Kaiser, Whitten served as director of regional anesthesia, and as co-director of the Chronic Pain Clinic, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego. She left the Navy with the rank of commander in 1987. She is a frequent volunteer for Operation Smile and International Relief Teams health care missions to provide free surgery to children of underdeveloped countries. She has participated in surgical teams and instructed providers during trips to Mexico, Vietnam, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Thailand and Colombia.

Samuel P. Asper Award for Achievement in Advancing International Medical Education

Ernesto Bustamante, Ph.D., Med ’78

Ernesto Bustamante, Ph.D. demonstrated that mitochondrial hexokinase is the enzyme responsible for driving the high rates of glycolysis that occur under aerobic conditions characteristic of rapidly growing malignant tumor cells. Since then, aerobic glycolysis by malignant tumors is utilized clinically to diagnose and monitor treatment responses of cancers by imaging uptake of 2-18F-2-deoxyglucose with positron emission tomography (PET).

Bustamante returned to Peru from Baltimore to take a faculty position at Cayetano Heredia University in Lima. Since then and up to 1984, funded by a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, he spent time doing research in cancer biology in the Department of Physiological Chemistry of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; first as a postdoctoral research associate and afterwards as visiting professor.

Bustamante was founding managing director of AB Chimica Laboratorios SA, the first Peruvian company to manufacture diagnostic kits and medical devices for use in clinical laboratories. He also was founding president of BelgaMedica SA, the laboratory that identified serologically the first eight cases of HIV infection in Peru in 1985.

In 2007 and 2009, Bustamante was elected president and vice-president of Peru's National College of Biologists. He headed the National Biotechnology Program of Peru, served as chief of the National Institute of Health of Peru, and as head of the National Fisheries Health Agency of Peru. He has published more than thirty peer-reviewed original research articles in the specialty of mitochondrial bioenergetics and molecular biology.

Currently, Bustamante is scientific director of BioGenomica, a company specializing in DNA parentage and tumor testing that serves the Peruvian and international markets. He has made significant contributions to science in the academic, public service, and private corporate worlds across borders.

Awarded by the Johns Hopkins Women's Medical Alumnae Association 

Hall of Fame

Katrina A. Armstrong, M.D., M.S.C.E., Med ’91

Katrina A. Armstrong, M.D., M.S.C.E., is the Jackson Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Physician-in-Chief, Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Armstrong is an internationally recognized investigator in the areas of health disparities, medical decision making, and cancer prevention and outcomes. She served as a resident and chief resident in medicine at Johns Hopkins where she embraced the Oslerian approach to medical education. She completed a research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. During her time at the University of Pennsylvania (1998-2013), she took on multiple leadership roles including serving as the associate director of the Abramson Cancer Center, co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine.

For her work, she received the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation of Medical Research, the Alice Hersh Award from Academy Health, and election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine.

In addition to her career in health policy and disparities research, Armstrong has prioritized medical education, including developing and leading courses on clinical decision making and founding multiple innovative educational programs including the master’s program in Health Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Educational Innovation and Scholarship at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Diversity and inclusion are central to Armstrong’s leadership, including her focus on the advancement of women, her commitment to programs to support diversity across faculty and trainees at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and her research leadership in health disparities and community-based research.

Awarded by the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association

Distinguished Alumni Award

Alan F. Hofmann, M.D., A&S ’52, Med ’55

Alan F. Hofmann, M.D., is a gastrointestinal physiologist, biochemist, and clinical investigator, notable for his extensive research on bile acids and lipid digestion. Since 1977, he has been in the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where he is currently professor emeritus of medicine.

As one of the most important GI investigators, he has been instrumental in defining the chemical nature of bile acids and their structures, and how bile acids form micelles to initiate fat digestion. He identified multiple functions of the entero-hepatic circulation of bile acids, discovered the mechanism of post-ileal resection or ileal disease related diarrhea and developed a therapy. He aided in the development of the bile acid sequestrant colesevelam that is used to treat primary and secondary bile acid diarrhea, as well as to lower plasma cholesterol levels. In addition, he is credited with starting translational studies in the GI divisions at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and at UCSD. 

He has been inspirational as a teacher and helped many young GI investigators initiate successful research careers. He has received every major research prize in gastroenterology including the Friedenwald Medal and the Beaumont Prize of the American Gastroenterological Association, both given for outstanding contributions to gastroenterology. He has also received an honorary degree from the University of Bologna in Italy as well as held many visiting lectureships. He has influenced and mentored many researchers with his ideas, knowledge, and support. The high point each year in the Johns Hopkins Medicine GI Division is a day of science supported by the Hofmann Lectureship, which he endowed.

Andrew Lees, Ph.D., A&S ’84, Med PGF ’88

Andrew Lees, Ph.D., is founder and scientific director of Fina Biosolutions, LLC (Rockville, Md.), a company focused on promoting affordable conjugate vaccines by making the technology available to emerging market vaccine manufacturers. Among his contributions in the field, Lees developed an efficient linking chemistry which is widely used in conjugate vaccines, a class that includes vaccines for S. pneumoniae and meningococcal disease. The chemistry has helped to reduce the cost of these vaccines.  

Prior to starting Fina Biosolutions in 2006, he was director of vaccine development at biotech companies Virion Systems (1993-1999) and Biosynexus (1999-2006). He was also an associate research professor at the Uniformed Services University (1993-1999). Lees is now an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development (part-time), an adjunct professor at the Uniformed Services University’s Department of Medicine, and at the University of Toledo’s Department of Chemistry.

He has over 70 publications and 25 patents, mainly in the area of conjugate vaccines. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College in chemistry (1976) and his Ph.D. in biophysics from The Johns Hopkins University (1984). Honors include the Uniformed Services Meritorious Service Award and Harvey Mudd College Outstanding Alumni Award. On graduating from Hopkins, he was on the cover of Baltimore Magazine as one of “84 people to watch in ’84,” due to his role as a leading Baltimore area magician. 

Brett D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.&H., BSPH 04, Med ’05

Brett D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.&H., is committed to a life of improving the health of newborns, children, and mothers worldwide through research, innovation, and advocacy for vulnerable populations, particularly newborns and children in settings affected by poverty, conflict, or disaster.

Since the early 1990s, Nelson has been involved in clinical care, academic research, program management, and global health consultancy in dozens of disrupted and resource-limited areas while working for organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, International Rescue Committee, International Red Cross and Red Crescent, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard University. He helped establish the United States’ first Pediatric Global Health Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and was its first fellow. Recently in Liberia, Nelson served as the country’s senior pediatrician and as the chair of pediatrics and newborn medicine for the country’s sole teaching hospital. He currently leads newborn and child health programs in several countries in East and West Africa.

Nelson works clinically as a newborn hospitalist, he leads several global health initiatives, and he directs a popular course at Harvard Medical School on global health and tropical medicine. In addition to his degrees from the Johns Hopkins University, he holds a diploma degree in tropical medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Nelson has published two textbooks, including the new Wiley-Blackwell medical textbook, Essential Clinical Global Health, and over 80 peer-reviewed articles.

Linda Rosenstock, M.D., M.P.H., Med ’77, BSPH ’77

Linda Rosenstock, M.D., M.P.H., is former dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (2000-2012) where she currently holds appointments as professor in the departments of Medicine, Health Policy & Management, and Environmental Health Sciences. She is a recognized authority in occupational and environmental health as well as global public health and science policy.

Previously, Rosenstock served as the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, where she led a staff of 1,500 at the only federal agency mandated to undertake research and prevention activities in occupational safety and health. She was instrumental in creating the National Occupational Research Agenda, a framework for guiding occupational safety and health research. She expanded the agency's responsibilities, staff size, and budget – doubling the Institute's annual appropriations. In recognition of her efforts, Rosenstock received the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Award, the highest executive service award in the government.

Rosenstock has been active in teaching and research in many developing countries and has served as an advisor to the World Health Organization. Rosenstock chaired the United Auto Workers/General Motors Occupational Health Advisory Board, is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. Rosenstock is past Chair of the Association of Schools of Public Health and past President of the Society of Medical Administrators. In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed her to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health.

Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., Med ’84

Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., is executive vice president for Medical Affairs at the University of Michigan, dean of the Medical School, and CEO of Michigan Medicine. Prior to joining the University of Michigan in March 2015, he was executive dean and chair of the Department of Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, where he was instrumental in guiding the academic and clinical leadership of the School of Medicine and the UNC Health Care System. He was also principal investigator and director of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill. He was elected to the board of directors of Eli Lilly and Company in 2013.

Before joining the UNC faculty in 2000, Runge held the John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine and was director of the Division of Cardiology and the Sealy Center for Molecular Cardiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Runge earned his doctorate in molecular biology at Vanderbilt University and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also completed a residency in internal medicine. He was a cardiology fellow and faculty member at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital before joining Emory University as an associate professor of medicine in 1989. Runge has been a physician-scientist for his entire career, combining basic and translational research with the care of patients with cardiovascular diseases and education. He is the author of over 200 publications in the field and holds five patents for novel approaches to health care.

Charles J. Yeo, M.D., F.A.C.S., Med ’79

Charles J. Yeo, M.D., F.A.C.S., received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After completing a general surgery residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, he joined the faculty as an instructor and assistant chief of service in 1985 and was promoted to professor of surgery in 1996. In 2001, Yeo received the Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2002, he was named the inaugural John L. Cameron, M.D., Professor for Alimentary Tract Diseases. 

In 2005, Yeo became the eighth Samuel D. Gross Professor and assumed the chair of the Department of Surgery at Sidney Kimmel Medical College. He currently serves on the board of trustees of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, and as senior vice president and chair of Enterprise Surgery for Jefferson Health.

Yeo is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pancreatic Cancer and Shackelford’s Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. He has authored over 580 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 115 book chapters, and 25 books. In 2013 he was recognized as one of the top 400 most influential biomedical researchers internationally. He has been the president of the Halsted Society and the vice-president of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.

He has performed over 1600 Whipple procedures, and cared for thousands of patients with pancreatic tumors. Yeo’s design and completion of numerous randomized clinical trials have dramatically impacted the field of pancreatic surgery—particularly the pancreaticoduodenectomy. Yeo’s portrait was commissioned and presented to Thomas Jefferson University in 2015, and he was the recipient of the Achievement Award in Medicine in 2017, the highest honor awarded by Thomas Jefferson University.

Community Hero Award

Lance A. Chilton, M.D., A&S ’66, Med ’69

Lance A. Chilton, M.D., spent more than 40 years as a practicing pediatrician in New Mexico, including two years with the Indian Health Service (HIS) early in his career. His experience with the IHS led to a lifelong interest in improving the care for Native American children in New Mexico. He joined the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Committee on Native American Child Health and chaired the committee for eight years, where he and his colleagues established a program for education and case management of urban Indian children in the greater Albuquerque area. The program enlisted the help of representatives from the All Indian Pueblo Council, Indian Health Service, Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs, and the state health department, and its success paved the path for further collaborative efforts. In 2002, he received the AAP’s Native American Child Health Advocacy Award.

Chilton has also been a resource for the larger community of Albuquerque, where he wrote a bi-weekly column – “Your Child’s Health” – for the Albuquerque Journal. The column covered topics around children’s physical and mental well-being and answered questions from the readership. Chilton is an advocate for the immunization of children and served four years on the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Throughout, Chilton remained an active educator as a clinical professor for over 30 years at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine until his retirement in 2015. Currently, he serves as chair of the AAP’s executive committee for the Council on Community Pediatrics. He and his wife are involved in multiple early literacy efforts in their long-time home town of Albuquerque.

Global Achievement Award

Gretchen L. Birbeck, M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.&H., Med PGF ’98

Gretchen L. Birbeck, M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.&H., has dedicated much of her career to improving care for neurological disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work in Zambia initially focused on understanding the burden of epilepsy and barriers to care for patients with epilepsy, and this early work led to studies addressing the pathophysiology and determinants of outcomes of pediatric cerebral malaria in both Malawi and Zambia. She has also contributed to our understanding of neurological complications of HIV and the overall burden of neurological diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.

Birbeck has worked to improve the neurologic training of healthcare workers and to develop research capacity in both Zambia and Malawi. Moreover, she has been a true pioneer in the field of global neurology as the first to demonstrate how one could have a viable academic neurology career while working in a low-resourced setting. In fact, she has maintained continuous NIH funding for her work in sub-Saharan Africa for the past 16 years. For her work, she has been named Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurologic Association, and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene; and has received numerous awards. She is a U.S. Paul Rogers Society Ambassador for Global Health Research and was recognized by the International League Against Epilepsy as an Ambassador for Epilepsy.

Her trailblazing work serves as the foundation for the field of global neurology, and she has mentored the majority of neurologists in academic global neurology today. Birbeck’s dedication to improving neurological care in sub-Saharan Africa and building the careers of junior African and U.S. neurologists and scientists is unparalleled.

​James C. Cobey, M.D., M.P.H., Med ’69, BSPH ’71

James C. Cobey, M.D., M.P.H. is an orthopaedic surgeon who shared in the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines as a member of Physicians for Human Rights. He has spent time in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and more to research, teach and practice. In 1979 he was assigned by the American Red Cross as a health delegate to work on the Thai­-Cambodia border. In this capacity, he was coordinator of one of the largest refugee camps, managing medical care as well as overall relief care. Since that time, he has worked as a consultant to the United States Agency for International Development on health care programs at the Thai­-Cambodian border.

He served in the U.S. Army as chief of the Preventive Medicine Service at Fort Lewis, Washington, attaining the rank of major and receiving the Meritorious Service Medal. He has been the team doctor for Gallaudet University for twenty years and is an instructor on International Humanitarian Law and Disaster Relief for the Red Cross. He holds the rank of professor of orthopaedics at Georgetown University and senior associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In 1992, Cobey won the Charles R. Drew Award from the American Red Cross. In 1998, he was awarded the American Red Cross’s International Humanitarian Service Award. He is author of numerous articles on orthopaedics and international relief and his career speaks for itself: humanitarian efforts for impoverished and underserved areas internationally, and domestically.

Outstanding Recent Graduate Award

Isaac A. Kinde, M.D., Ph.D., Med ’15

Isaac A. Kinde, M.D., Ph.D., is head of research & innovation and a co-founder of Thrive, where he is commercializing tests for the earlier detection of cancer from a simple blood draw. 

As a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, his thesis research produced inventions enabling the earlier detection of cancers and other genetic diseases through improvements to massively parallel DNA sequencing technology, under the mentorship of research advisors and co-inventors Bert Vogelstein, Ken Kinzler, Nickolas Papadopoulos, and Luis Diaz, Jr. 

Notable applications of his work include the earlier detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers from liquid-based Pap tests, recurrent bladder cancers from urine, and a variety of cancers from blood. Descriptions of his inventions and their applications appear in prominent scientific journals – such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, and Nature – and are the subject of several issued patents and patent applications. In 2013, he was recognized as one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in Science and Healthcare. 

Kinde holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he was a Meyerhoff Scholar, and both a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and an M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

Past Awardees

Our alumni have the opportunity to be nominated for prestigious annual alumni awards that honor graduates, faculty, and friends of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Meet our past awardees.

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