Six MGHers were honored with a 2019 MGH YMCA Achiever Award. They are: Asha Abdullahi, Operating Room Nursing Service; Pamela Cazeau, Specialized Healthcare Services/Executive Health Services; Efren Flores, MD, Radiology Department; Matthew Heron, PCS Clinical Support Services; Junie Joseph,Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care; and Saheeda Mohammed-Kelly, RN, Labor & Delivery. The YMCA Achievers program recognizes multicultural employees across Boston for their professional and community-based achievements.


Jehan Alladina, MD, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, received a first place Basic Science Research Award at the 14th Annual Respiratory Disease Young Investigators’ Forum in Washington, D.C. She was recognized for her work exploring the role of dendritic cells in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma. She studies the immune response to allergen among patients with and without asthma to understand how and why patients develop the disease.


Peter Cahn, PhD, associate provost for Academic Affairs at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, has received a Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators Program Award. He will travel to India in March to attend informational meetings with representatives of Indian universities, private-sector agencies and organizations, and government agencies to gain better insight into India’s higher education system.


The Fever Breakers – a band made up of Zachary Anderson, MGH inventory specialist; Fredlais Eugene, a former transportation associate at the MGH; Gleeson Rebello, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at MassGeneral Hospital for Children; John Ventura, MGH inventory specialist; and Jonathan Ulman, percussion manager at Berklee – received an Honorable Mention for Best Music Video at the Global Film Festival Awards (GFFA). The award recognized the band’s song Bully, directed by Rebello. The GFFA – a monthly and annual qualifying competition for independent filmmakers – is a special jury formed by Hollywood producers, European and international distributors to promote films and new media.


Amit Khera, MD, of the Center for Genomic Medicine and Cardiology division, has received the 2019 Douglas P. Zipes Distinguished Young Scientist Award by the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The award recognizes young scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the field of cardiovascular disease and who have amassed an impressive body of scientific research in either the basic or clinical domains. Khera will be recognized for these achievements at the ACC Convocation, Inauguration and Awards Ceremony on March 18 during the ACC’s 68th Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans.

Jennifer Ahjin Kim, MD, PhD, Neurocritical Care Fellow, has received a Clinical Research Training Scholarship from the American Academy of Neurology. The scholarships are given to junior investigators who are committed to making a difference in the lives of patients with brain disease.

Marcela V. Maus, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Cellular Immunotherapy Program, has received a stage 2 Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. This award goes to those early career scientists who demonstrated significant progress on their proposed research during the first two years of the award. Maus is engineering the body’s own immune T cells to fight deadly brain tumors like glioblastoma. However, in studies of patients with brain tumors, she has found that tumor cells can escape the engineered T cells. She is now redesigning T cells so that they block escape routes used by the tumors.


The MGH Electronic Safety Team has received the H. Richard Nesson Award for Excellence. Presented at the Partners Clinicians Day 2019, the award – named in honor of Partners HealthCare’s first CEO – is given annually to Partners clinicians and their teams whose work exemplifies Nesson’s commitment to improving care. The award showcases a project or program that help fulfill the mission of enhancing both the provider-patient relationship and the clinicians’ experience through innovation in practice and collaboration among colleagues, practices and hospitals in pursuit of excellence. Team members Bill Driscoll; Sara Silacci; Kyan Safavi, MD, MBA; Ida Myoung; Dusan Hanidziar, MD, PhD; and Tom McCoy, MD, pictured with Gregg Meyer, MD, Partners HealthCare chief clinical officer; Nesson’s son; and Jeanine Wiener Kronish, MD, chief of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine


Motaz Qadan, MD, PhD, of the Division of Surgical Oncology, has been named the inaugural incumbent of the Gapontsev Family Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology. Made possible through the generosity of Valentin Gapontsev, PhD, CEO and founder of IPG Photonics, this chair will advance research, care and education in surgical oncology. This is the third endowed chair for the Division of Surgical Oncology. Pictured, from left, Brit Nicholson, MD, senior vice president of Development; Gapontsev; Qadan; Kenneth Tanabe, MD, chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology; and Keith Lillemoe, MD, chief of Surgery


Isaac Schiff, MD, chief emeritus of MGH Department of OB/GYN, recently helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society. As editor-in-chief of the publication since its inception, Schiff was tasked with identifying some of the most impactful research on menopause and midlife women’s health in each volume of the journal from the last quarter century. All of the chosen papers are featured in the current commemorative issue.


Jan Schuemann, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology; and Alexandra-Chloé Villani, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, and the Cancer for Cancer Research, have each received a Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The awards support the next generation of exceptionally creative thinkers with high-risk/high-reward ideas. Only those scientists with a clear vision and passion for cancer research are selected to receive the prestigious award. Schuemann’s research is exploring if “extreme dose rate proton therapy” can be used to spare healthy tissue while treating solid tumors. Villani aims to identify therapeutic solutions to prevent or clinically manage immune related adverse events associated with the use immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients without reducing the lifesaving potential of this line of immunotherapy.


Brian Skotko, MD, MPP, co-director of the MGH Down Syndrome Program, has been name the inaugural incumbent of the Emma Campbell Endowed Chair in Down Syndrome. Made possible through the generosity of Mr. John Y. Campbell and Ms. Susanna Peyton, this chair will advance research, care and education in Down syndrome. Pictured, from left, the Campbell-Peyton family; Sophia Campbell, Graham Campbell, Susanna Peyton, and John Campbell; Skotko; Brit Nicholson, MD, senior vice president of Development; Jose Florez, MD, PhD, MGH Diabetes Center physician; Ronald Kleinman, MD, physician-in-chief, MassGeneral Hospital for Children; and David Sweetser, MD, chief of Medical Genetics and Metabolism


Marc Succi, MD, a resident in the Radiology Department, has received a Partners Healthcare Innovator Award for the third consecutive year. Succi co-invented a percutaneous probe target localizing device with colleagues from Harvard Medical School through the MESH Incubator. 


George Tolis, MD, Cardiac Surgery physician, was named the inaugural recipient of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellows Teaching Award at the graduation ceremony for the Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Fellows. Throughout his years as a faculty member, Tolis has developed a focus on surgical education and a dedication to advancing the technical skills of the cardiothoracic and 4/3 surgical residents, during a very special three-month “apprenticeship” rotation on his service.


Nazlee Zebardast, MD, MSc, of the Glaucoma Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, has received the Mentoring for Advancement of Physicians-Scientists Award by the American Glaucoma Society. The award recognizes clinicians at the early stages of their academic careers to facilitate their glaucoma research. Zebardast’s clinical research focuses on understanding progression in eyes with angle-closure glaucoma.


Excellence in Action

The MGH receives hundreds of letters a year thanking staff and commending coworkers. These letters are a small glimpse into the work done at the hospital every day. Excellence in Action awards are presented by Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, to those who – without one of these letters – might have gone unrecognized. Three awards were recently given to extraordinary MGHers:

Members from the Lurie Center; MGH Radiology; Patient Care Services; Police, Security and Outside Services; and Patient Advocacy were recognized for going to extraordinary lengths to make an MRI experience successful for a patient with autism for whom visits to unfamiliar places can be uncomfortable and challenging. Together, the team helped the patient through the hospital with the least number of passersby to minimize the number of unfamiliar faces. Only female Police and Security officers were visible to the patient, members of the Radiology staff shaved their beards, and clinicians organized an area for his mother to give the first dose of necessary medication to help keep the patient calm before his procedure and out of view of other patients or nearby staff.

“We've come a long way in breaking down barriers since ADA accommodations meant curb cuts and ramps,” wrote the patient’s mother. “Making policy and procedural accommodations were the key to allowing my son to access health care that day.” She thanked Karen Turner, OT, the patient Navigator for Autism at the MGH, for “advocating with all the right people to bend their rules and habits just enough to make the difference.”