American College of Rheumatology announces 2020 award winners


ATLANTA – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) will recognize recipients of its 2020 Master of ACR designation and Awards of Distinction at the College’s Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony. Distinguished Fellow Award winners will be honored at the Fellows-in-Training reception. These awards are awarded annually to members who exhibit outstanding contributions to the ACR and the field of rheumatology.

Master of the ACR designation

Recognition as a Master’s is one of the highest honors the College bestows on its distinguished members. The Master’s designation is conferred on ACR members, aged 65 and over, who have made outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through academic achievement and / or services to their patients, students, and the rheumatology profession. These honorees have dedicated their long careers to promoting rheumatology research and improving clinical standards in the treatment of rheumatic diseases.

The 2020 recipients of the Masters of the ACR designation are:

  • Abby Abelson, MD, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Martin Jan Bergman, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Michael B. Brenner, MD, Harvard Medical School, Newton, Massachusetts
  • Edward KL Chan, PhD, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • Ciarán M. Duffy, MB, BCh, MSc, Children’s Hospital of Easter Ontario / University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Bernardo Antonio Pons-Estel, MD, Oroño Group Regional Center for Autoimmune and Rheumatic Diseases (GO-CREAR), Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina
  • Norman T. Ilowite, MD, retired, Roslyn Heights, New York
  • Emily Isaacs, MD, USMD Health System, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Nancy E. Lane, MD, UC Davis Health and UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California
  • Brian F. Mandell, MD, PhD, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Pierre Miossec, MD, PhD, University of Lyon, Lyon, France
  • Kathleen M. O’Neil, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Andras Perl, MD, PhD, SUNY Upstate University Hospital, Syracuse, New York
  • James R. Seibold, MD, Scleroderma Research Consultants LLC, Aiken, South Carolina
  • Leonard H. Sigal, MD, Berkshire Health Systems, Pittsfield, Massachusetts
  • Sheldon D. Solomon, MD, Arthritis, Rheumatic & Back Disease Associates, Voorhees, New Jersey
  • Angela Tincani, MD, ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia Rheumatology Unit, Brescia, BS, Italy
  • James Peter Witter, MD, PhD, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland

ACR Awards of Distinction

The ACR also recognizes leading researchers, doctors, mentors and other professionals who show a superior commitment to the advancement of the field of rheumatology with the Awards of Distinction awards. This year’s award winners are as follows:

Presidential Gold Medal:

James R. O’Dell, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska

The highest recognition the ACR can bestow, the Presidential Gold Medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding achievements in rheumatology throughout an entire career. Established by former ACR presidents, applicants will have made important contributions in multiple areas such as clinical medicine, research, education or administration. Financial support for this distinction award is provided by the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Distinguished Basic / Translational Investigator Award:

M. Virginia Pascual, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, New York

The Distinguished Basic / Translational Investigator Award is awarded to a basic or translational researcher who makes outstanding contributions in the field of rheumatology.

Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award:

Robert W. Warren, MD, PhD, MPH, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina

The Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award is awarded to a rheumatologist who has made outstanding contributions in clinical medicine, clinical scholarship, or education.

Henry Kunkel Early Career Investigator Award:

  • Ami Aalok Shah, MD, MHS, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Pamela F. Weiss, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Henry Kunkel Early Career Investigator Award is given to an early career medical scientist who is 12 years after rheumatology exam eligibility certification, who has made outstanding and promising independent contributions to basic, translational research or clinic in the field of rheumatology.

Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award:

Joanne M. Jordan, MD, MPH, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award is awarded to a clinical scientist who makes outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology. This award was known as the Clinical Research Award prior to 2006.

Paulding Phelps Award:

Kara Petersen, MD, Avera Medical Group Rheumatology, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The Paulding Phelps Award is awarded to a clinical rheumatologist for outstanding service to patients, the community and medical practice.

Distinguished Service Award:

Stuart S. Kassan, MD, MACR, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado Arthritis Associates, Lakewood, Colorado

The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to an ACR member for outstanding and enduring service to the ACR.

Distinguished Fellowship Program Director Award:

Carlos J. Lozada, MD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida

The Distinguished Fellowship Program Director Award is awarded to a current or former rheumatology program director who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring and training future rheumatologists.

Excellence Award in Investigative Mentoring:

Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

The Excellence in Investigative Mentoring Award recognizes the importance of the mentor / mentee relationship. A dedicated mentor can significantly influence a learner’s successful career development and career. This award honors an active ACR or ARHP member for their contributions to the rheumatology profession through outstanding and ongoing mentoring. Financial support for this distinction award is provided by the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Distinguished Fellow Award

The Distinguished Fellow Award recognizes clinical and research fellows who participate in a rheumatology scholarship training program and who have performed meritoriously.

The 2020 Distinguished Fellow Award winners are:

  • Christine Anastasiou, MD, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • Sarah K. Baxter, MD, PhD, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington
  • Nicole Bitencourt, MD, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
  • Andrea Fava, MD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Ruth Fernandez Ruiz, MD, NYU Langone Health, New York City, New York
  • Sarah Diane French, MD, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • Isaac Thomas West Harley, MD, PhD, MS, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado
  • Rosemary Peterson, MD, MSCE, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Stefanie D. Wade, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chio Yokose, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts


For more information on each of these awards and to view previous recipients, visit http: // /Get involved/Awards.

About ACR convergence

ACR Convergence, the annual meeting of ACR, is the place where rheumatology meets to collaborate, celebrate, come together and learn. Join ACR for an all-encompassing experience designed for the entire rheumatology community. ACR Convergence is not just another meeting: it is where inspiration and opportunity come together to create an unparalleled educational experience. For more information on the meeting, visit https: // /Annual meeting, or join the conversation on Twitter by following the official hashtag (# ACR20).

Information on the American College of Rheumatology

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is an international medical society representing over 7,700 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to enable rheumatology professionals to excel in their specialty. In doing so, ACR offers education, research, support and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of over 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.


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