A physician-researcher whose work has helped transform AIDS from a fatal illness to one that can be managed through drug therapy, a scientist and instructor with a gift for communicating difficult concepts to his students, and a professor who specializes in health care management and health economics are the recipients of the University of Miami Faculty Senate’s highest awards.
Margaret Fischl, professor of medicine, director of the Miami AIDS Clinical Research Unit, and co-director of the Miami Center for AIDS Research at the Miller School of Medicine, is the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. Richard Myers, a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Miller School, is the Outstanding Teaching Award winner. And Steven G. Ullmann, professor of management and director of the Center for Programs in Health Sector Management and Policy at the School of Business Administration, is the recipient of the senate’s James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award.
All three will be honored at the Faculty Senate Awards ceremony and reception on Wednesday, April 10 at 5 p.m. in Storer Auditorium at the School of Business Administration on the Coral Gables campus. All members of the University community are invited to attend.
Working as a young physician in South Florida during the early 1980s, Fischl was among the first to describe the outbreak of HIV in male and female heterosexual patients of Haitian ancestry. “Her early research provided the critical studies to understand the clinical spectrum of HIV infection,” wrote Jose Szapocznik, professor and chair of epidemiology and public health, who nominated Fischl for the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. “Dr. Fischl’s scientific studies also contributed greatly to the early knowledge base on HIV transmission and her research documented the lack of casual and household contact transmission of HIV.”
Fischl served as a lead researcher on a clinical trial that evaluated the first drug—Zidovudine, or AZT—used to treat HIV, establishing that drug therapy could be successfully directed against the virus and laying the groundwork for future treatments for the condition.
“I am honored to accept the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award on behalf of myself, colleagues with whom I have collaborated with over the years, my hard-working staff, and, most importantly, all the patients who have participated in our studies,” said Fischl.
Myers, a leading educator in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology, was nominated for the Outstanding Teaching Award by the late Walter A. Scott, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, who passed away January 28.
“Dr. Scott passed away just days before the award announcement, which makes receiving it bittersweet but even more deeply appreciated,” Myers said.
In his nomination letter, Scott described Myers as a “truly intuitive and enthusiastic teacher who cares about the students he teaches and has a gift for communicating complex concepts as well as the excitement of exploring molecular biology.”
Myers has consistently received top evaluations from his students since he began teaching at the University in 1997 and has been selected twice as Outstanding Student Mentor. He also won the Stanley Glaser Award for outstanding research, which focuses on genetic recombination in stem cells and bacteria and the development of innovative genetic systems for studying human diseases.
The McLamore Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes service above and beyond the call of duty by a member of the University community, is Ullmann’s second Faculty Senate honor. In 2011 he received the Outstanding Teaching Award.
“Superb” and “awe-inspiring” is how School of Business Administration Dean Eugene W. Anderson, in his nomination letter, described Ullmann’s record of service. Ullmann, he noted, has served in a variety of positions within not only the business school but other areas across UM, including dean of the Graduate School, vice provost for faculty affairs and University administration, interim director of University Libraries, and head master at Mahoney Residential College.
“He has also consistently engaged the community locally, nationally, and internationally,” Anderson wrote. “It is no surprise that he continues to be requested to serve in leadership roles, and the results of his participation usually result in win-win solutions.”