Friday, September 18, 2009

MAO celebrates faculty with awards

MAO AWARDEES: From left, Sylla, Lopez and Macias Konstantopoulos

There was a strong sense of community as faculty and guests warmly greeted each other during a Sept. 10 welcome and recognition ceremony hosted by the MGH Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO) and MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD. The annual event provides an opportunity for the MGH to welcome new underrepresented minority medical students, trainees and faculty; honor the 2009 MAO Faculty Development Award (MFDA) recipients; and increase awareness of MAO and its resources.

Approximately 100 individuals attended the evening program, held in the Wang Ambulatory Care Center. Attendees enjoyed refreshments while networking and viewing project poster displays created by past MFDA winners. Slavin welcomed the group, followed by Elena Olson, executive director of MAO, and Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD, a resident of the Department of Radiation Oncology and chair of the Organization of Minority Residents and Fellows.

"It's a privilege to welcome the new members of our MGH and MAO families by showcasing our 19 current and past award recipients," said Olson. "These awards are a testament to the MGH and the MGPO's commitment to advancing the careers of physicians and researchers who are underrepresented in medicine."

Winfred Williams, MD, MAO Advisory Board co-chair and senior transplant nephrologist at the MGH Transplant Center, Slavin and David Torchiana, MD, MGPO chairman and CEO, introduced the 2009 MFDA recipients: Patricia Sylla, MD, of the Division of General and Colorectal Surgery; Lenny Lopez, MD, MPH, MDiv, of the Institute for Health Policy; and Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, MD, MPH, of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Sylla and Lopez both received Physician-Scientist Development Awards, which provide transitional grant funding to help researchers become independent investigators at the MGH. Sylla's grant will fund her project, "NOTES transanal rectosigmoid resection using transanal endoscopic microsurgery, study of feasibility and safety in human subjects," while Lopez's research will examine the "Impact of health information technology on the quality of care at hospitals with high proportions of Hispanic and Black patients."

Macias Konstantopoulos received the Clinician-Teacher Development Award for her project, "Redefining and responding to human trafficking and modern-day slavery as global public health issues." The award provides funding support for a clinical, educational or community project to a faculty member, fellow or graduating resident pursuing an academic career as a clinician, teacher or community leader at the MGH. Funded by the Executive Committee on Research and the MGPO, each award provides $120,000 over four years.

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