Friday, October 22, 2010

MAO welcomes newcomers, honors faculty award winners

Supporting development: From left, Williams, Watkins, Charles, Wilson and Louissaint

MAO welcomes newcomers, honors faculty award winners To date, the Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO) Faculty Development Awards Program (MFDAP) has supported the research, education and clinical innovation projects of 22 MGH physicians from ethnic and racial backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine (URM).

On Oct. 14, MAO and MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, co-hosted the third annual event to recognize this year's recipients and welcome new URM medical students, trainees and faculty to the hospital. Slavin greeted attendees and discussed MAO's mission and accomplishments from the past year, after which Elena Olson, executive director of MAO, thanked the staff, collaborators and supporters of MAO and described resources available through the office. Audley Osbourne, MD, 2010-2011 chair of the Organization of Minority Residents and Fellows (OMRF) and a resident in MGH Urology, also spoke. She discussed the work of the OMRF, which collaborates with MAO to support the recruitment and career development of URM trainees in addition to conducting outreach to the Boston community.

Following the opening remarks, Slavin and the chairs of the MFDAP selection committees-Winfred Williams, MD, a senior transplant nephrologist at the MGH Transplant Center, and Michael Watkins, MD, director of Vascular Surgery Research-introduced the 2010 award winners: Richelle Charles, MD, of the Infectious Disease Unit; Abner Louissaint Jr., MD, PhD, of the Department of Pathology; and Erica Wilson, MD, of the Palliative Care Service.

Charles and Louissaint received the Physician-Scientist Development Award, which will fund Charles' and Louissaint's studies, "Application of High-Throughput Proteomics to the Study of Protective Immunity in Human Cholera Infection," and "Identification of Prognostically Significant Biomarkers in Follicular Lymphoma." Wilson received the Clinician-Teacher Development Award, which will support her project, "Dying Without a Home: Understanding and Responding to Disparities in Palliative and End-of-Life Care Among the Homeless."

The awards-funded by the Executive Committee on Research, the President's Office and the MGPO-provide $120,000 to each recipient over four years.

"We are delighted with the progress of our award recipients," says Olson. "Many have gone on to receive independent funding based on the support they first received through the MFDAP. In only five years, we've seen a 42 percent return on our initial investment."

For more information about MAO and its programs, visit

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