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Outstanding Medical School Faculty, Staff Honored in 2016

Published June 8, 2016

A pioneering researcher and others who have made significant contributions to their fields and to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were honored with 2016 Faculty-Staff Recognition Awards.

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, described as “a faculty member and researcher of the highest order — a world-class scientist and an extraordinary mentor and educator,” received the 2016 Stockton Kimball Award.

The following awards were presented during a May 26 event:

2016 Stockton Kimball Award

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD ’84, senior associate dean for research and graduate education and professor of microbiology and immunology and medicine, received the award for his outstanding scientific achievement and service.

He is “a faculty member and researcher of the highest order — a world-class scientist and an extraordinary mentor and educator,” noted Suzanne G. Laychock, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and facilities, who presented the award.

Campagnari’s research is recognized nationally and internationally for his contributions to the understanding of microbial pathogenesis.

He seeks to develop novel therapies or vaccine antigens for middle ear disease as well as infections arising from joint replacements and prosthetic devices.

“His research is defined by creative, ‘out-of-the-box’ approaches to answer clinically important and relevant questions that have the potential to be translated into patient care,” Laychock said.

Campagnari will deliver the Stockton Kimball Lecture in 2017.

Dean’s Award

John E. Tomaszewski, MD

John  E. Tomaszewski, MD, professor and chair of pathology and anatomical services, who came to UB in 2011 from the University of Pennsylvania, is working with his department and with others in the medical school to transform his department, said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and medical school dean.

“It is increasingly becoming collaborative; it is linked to many other departments and schools, especially the School of Engineering, and in particular biomedical engineering.”

Tomaszewski is leading an innovative strategy and concept: the Structural Science Learning Center, which includes advanced types of simulation and will occupy a large section in the new downtown medical school building.

Tomaszewski also has a leadership role in UB Associates (UBA) and UBMD Physicians Group, serving as treasurer of UBA and chair of the finance committee, and he “truly has been instrumental in making sure the finances of our practice plans are as optimal as they possibly can be.”

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD

Cain described Campagnari, in his role as senior associate dean of research and graduate education, as “one of my most important leaders in the school.”

“Tony works tirelessly. He has worked endless hours in advocating for our master’s and doctoral programs, which includes exhaustingly looking at possibilities and opportunities to increase spending for these training and teaching programs and also making sure the curriculum is timely as we broaden our overall programs,” Cain said.

Campagnari and Tomaszewski have both “spent hundreds of hours in very strategic, thoughtful and detailed energy devoted to the design and architectural features of the new building we will start to occupy next summer,” Cain said.

“We are lucky to have both of these gentlemen. I am most fortunate to have them as colleagues and friends and am deeply appreciative for all that they do for the school and the university,” Cain said.

This award recognizes individuals who have provided extraordinary service to the school and have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference.

John P. Naughton Award

Deborah L. Kelsch

“In describing Debbie, I’ve found her to be thorough, compulsive, timely, professional, friendly, outstanding, an appropriate nag and absolutely indispensable,” Cain said of his senior staff assistant.

“As many of you who have joined us at UB know, she has been instrumental in your recruitment,” he said. “We plan activities when we bring you here, have you go to dinner, meet people. She chauffeurs you from spot to spot. This isn’t by accident.”

“She is very effective in helping us recruit the best people we can, so she is part of the team that allows us to do that.”

Cain also said it’s important to note that Kelsch advocates for the many voices that “in what seems to be an ever-increasing frequency, want my time.”

“So she has been an advocate and a major asset for the dean’s office, for me personally, but also for the school and the university,” Cain said.

Named for a former medical school dean, this award recognizes outstanding staff members or volunteers who contribute significantly to the advancement of the medical school and its mission.

Robert S. Berkson, MD, Memorial Award

Prashant Pendyala, MD

Pendyala is a nephrologist who works frequently with the medical school’s house staff at Buffalo General Medical Center, said SUNY Distinguished Professor Anne B. Curtis, MD, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of medicine, who presented the Berkson award.

“He goes above and beyond on our teaching service, stops by team rooms to discuss cases, and he leaves his cell phone number on his notes so our house staff can contact him whenever they have a question,” she said.

Curtis said Pendyala “has done a wonderful job as a volunteer faculty member and is actually a model for what we have in our volunteer faculty, so we are very pleased to give him this award.”

This award recognizes volunteer faculty members for their patient care and teaching abilities. It is named for a Buffalo internist and medical school alumnus who was actively involved in teaching medical students and residents.

Awards of Excellence for Promoting Inclusion and Cultural Diversity

These awards recognize individuals who work to create a welcoming climate of respect and inclusiveness for all at the medical school, at UB and in the Western New York communities.

“A diverse and inclusive campus community enhances excellence in research and academic medicine by broadening and strengthening teaching, learning and scholarship,” said Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, senior associate dean for inclusion and cultural enhancement, who presented the awards.

Faculty Award

Linda F. Pessar, MD, professor emerita of psychiatry and director of the Jacobs Center for Medical Humanities

The Center for Medical Humanities, established in 2013, has developed innovative curricula and programs through which medical students have opportunities to explore issues related to humanism, an approach to care that emphasizes compassionate, empathic doctor-patient relationships.

Two years ago, in conjunction with the Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement, Pessar helped to establish the Music is Medicine concert series. This year she established the Jacobs Arts Festival, showcasing works by students and faculty in celebration of where art and medicine meet.

“Dr. Pessar is an outstanding mentor to her students and residents. She embodies the qualities outlined in the description of the award,” Dubocovich said.

Staff Award

Jennifer N. Seth-Cimini, major gifts officer in the medical school’s Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement — Office of Development

“An important personal priority for Jen is the active pursuit of initiatives that support inclusion, diversity and cultural enhancement among the faculty, staff and students of the medical school,” Dubocovich said.

Dubocovich noted that Seth-Cimini’s cultivation and stewardship of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellowship Award has resulted in significant student fellowship support for first-year medical students for the past four years and that she also serves on the Review Committee for fellowship applications.

“Jen is an enthusiastic supporter of the Office of Inclusion,” Dubocovich said, noting she serves on the Council on Inclusion in Medicine and Science and is a member of Committee on Philanthropy and Community Engagement.

Medical Resident Award

Emily A. Langan, MD, medical resident 

Langan completed her pediatric residency in Buffalo, spent two years at the Cleveland Clinic and is currently a senior resident in child neurology with plans to do a fellowship in pediatric multiple sclerosis.

Her nominator, Sarah G. Finnegan, MD, PhD, associate professor of clinical neurology, describes her as someone “with impressive interpersonal skills and the ability to identify when others need help,” further stating that Langan has “a natural sense of caring and helping in a cultural appropriate manner.”

Siegel Awardees Also Recognized