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2022 Alumni Award Winners

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Presented by the Johns Hopkins Medical & Surgical Association

Distinguished Medical Alumni Awards

Bob Carter

Bob S. Carter, M.D., Ph.D., Med '92

Dr. Bob Carter is professor and chief of neurosurgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School where he co-founded and co-leads Mass General Neuroscience—a collaborative to advance care for patients with neurological disorders and to implement integrated neurological care across MGH and the Mass General Brigham system. A leading clinical neurosurgeon, Dr. Carter also co-leads Massachusetts General Hospital's brain tumor program, focused on brain tumor clinical care, research, and education. He currently chairs the Executive Committee on Teaching and Education at Mass General, and has championed efforts to promote health equity, and faculty and staff diversity, including advancing Mass General's United Against Racism efforts.

Dr. Carter has published over 200 papers including on improving outcomes for intracranial surgery and the development of gene transfer delivery techniques for the central nervous system. Dr. Carter's scientific work includes the development of EGFRvIII-directed CAR T-cell therapy, the first characterizations of exosomes in glioblastoma, and the clinical development of novel iPS derived stem cell therapy for neurologic disorders. His work on exosomes has led to new insights regarding the use of extracellular RNA for biomonitoring of brain tumors via liquid biopsy and other neurological diseases. In 2020, Dr. Carter and a team of investigators reported on the first patient treated with autologous dopaminergic progenitor cells for Parkinson's disease. Dr. Carter is a permanent member of the NIH CNBT Study Section. He served as a principal investigator in the NIH-funded Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium and co-led the NCl's Liquid Biopsy Consortium.

Tamara Fountain

Tamara Fountain, M.D., PGF '91

Dr. Tamara Fountain is professor of ophthalmology at Rush University Medical Center and section chair emeritus of ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery. She maintains a private practice in oculofacial plastic surgery on Chicago’s North Shore. Dr. Fountain served as the 2021 president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Her past service to AAO includes secretary for member services, at-large member of the board of trustees, and editorial board member of EyeNet magazine. She has served on the Young Ophthalmologist, Ethics, and Health Policy committees and was part of the inaugural class of the AAO flagship Leadership Development Program. Dr. Fountain was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the Academy.

Dr. Fountain is past president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, having served as executive secretary and chair of both the thesis and oral exam committees. She also received the Orkan Stasior Leadership Award for service to the society. Dr. Fountain served for 15 years as a committee member and director for the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company and was chair of the board of directors in 2014 and 2015, the first woman elected to the role. She is a past president of the Illinois Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and has been involved in programming for both Women in Ophthalmology and the Chicago Ophthalmological Society.

James Hildreth

James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., Med '87

Dr. James Hildreth was the first Black Rhodes Scholar from Arkansas. He earned his Ph.D. in immunology from Oxford University before coming to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1987, and immediately joined the faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences. In 1994, he became the first ever graduate school dean at the School of Medicine. He was promoted to the rank of full professor in 2002, the first Black faculty member to achieve this honor in the Basic Sciences at Johns Hopkins.

In 2001, Dr. Hildreth served as the chief of the Division of Research at the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the NIH. In 2005, he became the director of the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research, program director of the Research Centers in Minority Institutions, director of the Meharry Center for Translational Research, and associate director of the Vanderbilt‐Meharry Center for AIDS Research. In 2011, he became dean of the College of Biological Sciences at University of California, Davis. He was the first Black dean in the history of the University. In 2015, he became the 12th president and CEO of Meharry Medical College. Dr. Hildreth is an accomplished HIV researcher who was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine and serves on the White House COVID‐19 task force.  He also serves on two key FDA Scientific Advisory panels, Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and Anti-Microbial Drugs Advisory Committee, responsible for review and approval of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs respectively.

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

Hugh Taylor

Hugh R. Taylor, A.C., M.D., PGF '79

Dr. Hugh Taylor is the Harold Mitchell Professor of Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne. He was the founding director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia, and prior to that was a professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute at Johns Hopkins with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and International Health.

Dr. Taylor has a long and distinguished clinical and research career, notably in advances in the control of blinding eye disease (trachoma and river blindness) in Africa and the Indigenous people of Australia. His primate model of trachoma provided fundamental insights into the pathogenesis of the disease and how to control it, and his contributions to the field of preventive ophthalmology include other seminal works on the value of using ivermectin as chemotherapy for onchocerciasis.

Dr. Taylor discovered the link between ultraviolet radiation exposure and cataract formation. He has worked tirelessly on blindness prevention strategies in both developed and developing countries and has served on several advisory committees and boards for that purpose. He has consulted for the World Health organization for over 30 years, and in 2001, was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. His current work focuses on Aboriginal eye health and the elimination of trachoma. He has been President of the International Council of Ophthalmology, and Vision 2020 Australia, and is a member of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis.

Presented by the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association 

Community Champion Award

Abby Wasserman

Abby Wasserman, M.D., A&S ‘67, Med ‘70

Dr. Abby Wasserman has been the clinical director of Westchester County, New York’s only Crisis Prevention and Response Team (CPRT) for over a decade, where as a child and adolescent psychiatrist she has provided care for children and families contending with social determinants of health such as poverty, immigration, incarceration, racism, and housing insecurity. Dr. Wasserman's appreciation of the impact of these forces, combined with her unparalleled clinical acumen, has engendered trust and healing among those she serves. The success and growth of the CPRT under her leadership has resulted in an exciting new expansion of this service, which will soon handle 911 calls for psychiatric crises and assume local responsibility for a 988 suicide hotline.

Dr. Wasserman is an invaluable resource for consultation by therapists, pediatricians, schools, child welfare workers, probation officers and first responders. Under her leadership, the CPRT has been on the front lines of disasters such as floods, hurricanes, school stabbings, a train collision, and most recently, a pandemic. Dr. Wasserman's longstanding commitment and dedication to her community is manifest in her active participation at the county's eight Community Networks, and the county’s Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative Committee, which meets monthly. Dr. Wasserman is triple board certified in pediatrics, general psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry. She is an enthusiastic partner and advocate for grassroots initiatives that further the emotional health and well-being of those most in need, and her vision for a comprehensive and resilient healthcare ecosystem continues to improve the well-being of all Westchester County residents.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

J. Raymond DePaulo

J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr., M.D., Med ‘72

Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr. is a University Distinguished Service Professor and co-director of the Mood Disorders Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins. Following medical school, residency and internship at Johns Hopkins, he has been an active clinician, teacher, and researcher throughout 45 years on faculty. He founded the Hopkins Affective Disorders Clinic in 1977, which grew into a multifaceted program for patient care, teaching and research on depression and bipolar disorder. He was the Henry Phipps Professor and director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the School of Medicine, and psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2002 until 2016.

Dr. DePaulo’s research interests focus on clinical assessment, diagnosis, causes, and treatments of mood disorders. His research group led several early genetic studies of bipolar disorder and depression. He has authored over 180 peer-reviewed scientific articles and mentored outstanding clinicians & scientists.

After stepping down as department director, Dr. DePaulo was elected to three successive terms (2016-2022) as president and chair of the board of directors of the National Network of Depression Centers. He has served on several foundation boards of directors and scientific advisory boards for Mental Health. He has won national awards for clinical leadership, teaching, and research in mood disorders. He was also awarded the Ming Tsuang Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics. He has twice been named a forum fellow at the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland.

Maria Olivia-Hemker

Maria Oliva-Hemker, M.D., Med ‘86

Dr. Maria Oliva-Hemker is the Stermer Family Professor of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the vice dean for faculty, and the division director for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is an internationally recognized clinical expert in pediatric gastrointestinal diseases and IBD.

Dr. Oliva-Hemker is only the second Hispanic woman to be promoted to professor at the School of Medicine and the first to have risen through the ranks at Hopkins. She has been a highly engaged leader at Hopkins throughout her career, beginning with her election as president of the Hopkins Medical Student Society, to election as chair of the Medical School Council (currently Faculty Senate), to being the first woman elected to the Clinical Practice Association Board of Governors. Outside of Hopkins, Dr. Oliva-Hemker has served in leadership roles in numerous professional societies, organizations and boards, has co-authored more than 100 articles, and has given more than 100 invited talks.

In 1998, Dr. Oliva-Hemker launched the Hopkins Pediatric IBD Center which has provided multidisciplinary care to thousands of children and teens with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Since becoming division director of pediatric gastroenterology in 2008, she tripled the number of faculty, dramatically expanding the division’s clinical practice while simultaneously enhancing research and education programs. As vice-chair for faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, she completely revised the promotions process, increasing transparency and resulting in the successful promotion of all faculty nominated for promotion during her tenure. Named vice dean for faculty in 2021, Dr. Oliva-Hemker is working to maximize opportunities for more than 3,000 full-time and 2,000 part-time faculty to ensure they reach their full potential as clinicians, scientists and educators.

Global Achievement Award

Deanna Saylor

Deanna Saylor, M.D., M.H.S., SPH ‘09, Med ‘11

Dr. Deanna Saylor is a neurologist, clinical researcher, and public servant with a special interest in the neurological complications of HIV infection. Her clinical interests also include other infectious and inflammatory diseases of the brain and spinal cord, including multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, and encephalitis. Throughout her time as a student, trainee, and now as faculty, she has dedicated herself to improving neurological health for under-resourced communities in sub-Saharan Africa. She has ongoing research collaborations in Uganda and Zambia and has previously lived and worked in Kenya. In 2018, she and her family relocated full-time to Zambia.

In a few short years since her move to Zambia, she has made a significant impact on clinical care, teaching and mentorship, program building, and activism. In 2018, she opened the first inpatient neurology service in Zambia, a nation with over 18 million people and a growing burden of neurological disease. This was followed by the initiation of the only adult and pediatric neurology postgraduate training programs in the country, which have served as a beacon of knowledge for trainees across the region. Her weekly educational sessions reach over 100 African providers benefitting countless patients. Dr. Saylor has tirelessly devoted herself to mentoring the first generation of Zambian neurologists, and they have already begun to establish themselves as future leaders of academic neurology in sub-Saharan Africa. Their work under her guidance has already led to demonstrable improvements in systems of neurological care for the Zambian population.

Outstanding Recent Graduate Award

Robert Drummond

Robert J. Drummond, M.D., Ph.D., Med ‘12

Dr. Robert Drummond is the regional lead physician and director of laboratories at Optum, a medical group in Los Angeles. He is a U.S. Army National Guard veteran, and an enthusiastic and passionate supporter of Johns Hopkins where he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. He has worked tirelessly to channel his time and talent into ensuring the Johns Hopkins M.D.-Ph.D. program is the best that it can be.

Dr. Drummond volunteers with the M.D.-Ph.D. program in admissions and is an enthusiastic driver of diversity. As a student, he regularly collaborated with peers to promote the program and has remained dedicated as an alumnus. He is committed to increasing representation and diversity in medicine, ensuring Black doctors are represented in the program and recruiting for a diverse M.D.-Ph.D. student population. In this regard, Dr. Drummond was a 2010 recipient of a Johns Hopkins University Diversity Award and was recently invited to join the Hopkins Leadership Fellows.

In 2020, Dr. Drummond partnered with BET and CBS to coordinate a series of COVID-19 webinars with Black physicians (including Hopkins alumni Kavan Clifford, M.D., Ph.D., Med ’11 and Errol Fields, M.D., Ph.D., Med ’09) to educate the Black community about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Dr. Drummond continues to use social media to break down complex medical topics into easily understood “lessons on health.” Dr. Drummond also works as a concierge physician in the Greater Los Angeles area and is a medical consultant for various corporations across the country.

Presented by the Johns Hopkins Women’s Medical Alumnae Association

Hall of Fame

Diane Becker

Diane M. Becker, R.N., M.P.H., Sc.D., SPH '79 '84
(Awarded Posthumously)

Dr. Diane Becker was a public health scientist who championed community medicine in underserved areas and led research that found a bit of dark chocolate could help the heart. Compelled to address public health in the people she served, she completed both an M.P.H. and doctoral degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1984 and became nationally recognized as an expert in coronary disease risk factors and lipid disorders. With her husband, cardiologist Dr. Lewis Becker, in 1982, she founded an ongoing 37-year longitudinal study (now known as GeneSTAR) of 4,000 initially healthy relatives of early coronary disease patients.

Dr. Becker was a creative and visionary professional. She was also founder of Heart, Body and Soul, Inc., a model African American community health program in partnership with 257 Baltimore churches. Working closely with CURE (Clergy United for Renewal in East Baltimore), Dr. Becker was a pioneer in public health medicine, known for her work to improve opportunities for community members to enter medically oriented careers. Her work to reduce health disparities was recognized with numerous national awards. In her almost 60 years at Hopkins, she was a sought-after mentor, touching many lives as she counseled generations of medical students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty. She was a fierce advocate for women, and maintained a research interest in salary and leadership equity in academic medicine. She was passionately committed to public/community health. Her wisdom continues to guide us.

Portraits presented to the Johns Hopkins Medicine community

Portrait Honorees

Robert Higgins

Robert S.D. Higgins, M.D., M.S.H.A.

Dr. Robert Higgins served as the surgeon-in-chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2015 to 2021, and was the William Stewart Halsted Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is a leading authority in heart and lung transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. His scientific interests are broad and far-ranging, including the mechanisms of cell injury in failing hearts, health economics and public policy, racial disparities in post-transplant outcomes, access to care and improving outcomes among heart failure and cardiac surgery patients. In his administrative roles in the dean’s office as senior associate dean, he was dedicated to recruiting and developing a more diverse healthcare workforce at Hopkins.

Dr. Higgins served as a senior registrar in transplantation at the renowned Papworth Hospital, the United Kingdom's largest cardiothoracic surgical program and its main heart-lung transplant center. He also served as a major in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps. Dr. Higgins has held major leadership positions in multiple national medical associations including as president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the United Network for Organ Sharing, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, and the American College of Surgeons Society of Surgical Chairs, and he was a founding member of the Association of Black Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons. He has also been appointed to the Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He has authored more than 200 scientific articles and 50 book chapters, monographs, and authoritative texts.

In 2021, Dr. Higgins became president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and executive vice president at Mass General Brigham.

Gary Lees

Gary P. Lees, M.S., C.M.I., F.A.M.I.

Gary P. Lees is the former chairman of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Art as Applied to Medicine and served on Hopkins faculty for over 50 years. He is a Certified Medical Illustrator and was the director of the graduate program in Medical and Biological Illustration from 1983 to 2013. He received his undergraduate degree in zoology from Tulane in 1966 and his Master of Science in medical and biological illustration from the University of Michigan in 1969.

His professional career began as a medical illustrator at Letter General Hospital in San Francisco. In 1970, he accepted a position as the illustrator for the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute with a faculty appointment in Art as Applied to Medicine. He became the chair of Art as Applied to Medicine in 1983. While directing the graduate program, he was responsible for revising the curriculum for graduate studies in medical and biological illustration to reflect the dynamic changes in digital and communication technologies including advances in data compression, three-dimensional modeling, availability of advanced internet data transfer, and software innovations.

He has been an active professional member of the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) since 1971 and was elected as an inaugural fellow of the AMI. He served as chair of the AMI Board of Governors in 1983 and president of the AMI in 2000. In 2003, he received the AMI's Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2010 received the Max Brödel Award for Excellence in Education.

David Valle

David L. Valle, M.D.

David Valle is the Henry J. Knott Professor and past founding director of the McKusick-Nathans Department of Genetic Medicine with joint appointments in pediatrics, ophthalmology, medicine and molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he has served as a physician-scientist for more than 50 years.

Dr. Valle’s research interests center on identifying and understanding genetic contributions to health and disease. For 30 years, he was an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His laboratory has discovered the genetic causation for over 50 diseases, including those responsible for inborn errors of metabolism, inherited retinal degeneration, disorders of cellular organelle biogenesis and genetic variations that contribute risk for common disorders such as schizophrenia.

He served as director of the Johns Hopkins Predoctoral Training Program in Human Genetics for over 30 years during which time over 200 students earned Ph.D. degrees. In 1976, he joined the faculty of the Short Course in Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics held annually at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine and has been co-director since 1992.

Dr. Valle was the 2003 president of the American Society of Human Genetics, the 2003 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Genetic Research and Education from the March of Dimes, the 2014 recipient of the Victor A. McKusick Leadership Award, and the 2016 recipient of the Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education of the American Society of Human Genetics. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Association of American Physicians, and a member of the National Academy 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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