William “Billy” Cohn, M.D., director of minimally invasive surgical technology for the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, received a 2013 Silver Edison Award for a catheter-based surgical suture device he invented – the SentreHEART Lariat. The device allows surgeons to tie off the left atrial appendage in the heart via a catheter without the need for open-heart surgery. The Edison Awards annually honor “the best in innovation and excellence in the development of new products and services.” The awards were presented April 25 at the annual Edison Awards gala in Chicago. Cohn received his award in the “Surgical Aids” category.
Mark Kline, M.D., chair of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, physician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital, and founder of Baylor’s International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital, received the first annual humanitarian award from the Houston-Galveston Schweitzer Fellows Program at an awards dinner April 27. An internationally recognized HIV/AIDS specialist, Kline was honored for his global health efforts and his commitment to addressing pediatrics HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Schweitzer Fellows Program, named in honor of medical humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer, is a national fellowship program offered in 13 large urban cities throughout the country, including the Houston-Galveston area. The local initiative is hosted at Baylor College of Medicine.
Christian Schaaf, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and a member of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, will receive the 2013 William K. Bowes Jr. Award in Medical Genetics in a ceremony in Boston June 19. The annual award, which consists of $20,000, recognizes an outstanding physician or scientist who demonstrates excellence in medical genetics early in his or her career. Named for medical philanthropist William Bowes, the award is presented by Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine which uses genetics to improve the care of patients.
Three University of Houston College of Optometry educators took top honors recently at the Texas Optometric Association’s 113th annual convention. Kevin Gee, O.D., assistant clinical professor and director of the Sports Vision Performance Center at UH’s University Eye Institute, was named 2013-14 president of the association. Gee is a nationally renowned lecturer in sports vision, and serves as a vision consultant for the Houston Astros. Nancy George, O.D., clinical associate professor, received the William D. Pittman Leadership Award for dedication to the citizens of Texas and the profession of optometry. The award is named for longtime Texas Optometric Association leader Pittman who died in 1992. George is director of UH’s La Nueva Casa de Amigos Eye Clinic, a neighborhood-based satellite clinic that provides optometry services to thousands of Houstonians at a reduced cost. Pat Segu, O.D., clinical associate professor, received the 2013 Educator of the Year award. Segu directs the Good Neighbor Eye Clinic, an outreach program that also serves as a training arena for fourth-year optometry students. She also serves on the advisory board of the Eye Care for Kids Foundation and is a member of the Houston branch of Prevent Blindness Texas.
Alberto Ayala, M.D., deputy chief of pathology at The Methodist Hospital, has received the 2013 Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists’ Distinguished Pathologist Award for his contributions to the fields of bone, soft tissue and urologic pathology. Ayala pioneered the use of needle biopsy for diagnosing bone tumors, which allowed limb-preserving surgery, and helped define microscopic criteria for diagnosing and determining the stages of prostate cancer. The Stout Award is one of the highest honors worldwide a surgical pathologist can receive, and is named in honor of the late Columbia University pathologist Arthur Stout, who pioneered the science of analyzing tissues removed during surgery to predict the expected course of an illness.
H. Julia Hannay, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the University of Houston’s Department of Psychology, received the Lifetime Distinguished Career Award from the International Neuropsychological Society at its 41st annual meeting held recently in Hawaii. Hannay is a clinical neuropsychologist and a pioneer in the field of experimental neuropsychology, specializing in the assessment of cognitive functions in children and adults, as well as the cognitive effects of brain injury and the impact of rehabilitation. She directed the clinical neuropsychology training program at UH from 1987 to 2010, widely identified as a model for specialty training in psychology.