Each year we present a Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus/a Award to an MD, PhD, Resident and Volunteer of our school who is recognized nationally or internationally for his or her outstanding contributions to medicine and the biomedical sciences, the arts or the humanities. This event takes place annually during Reunion Weekend.
We are proud to recognize our 2020 Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus/a for their outstanding accomplishments and the distinction they bring to our school!
Maxine Hayes, MD '73, MPH
Maxine Hayes, MD ’73, is clinical professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and clinical professor emeritus of health services the University of Washington School of Public Health. Dr. Hayes served in the Washington State Department of Health from 1988 to 2013. For 16 of those years, she held the position of State Health Officer, the state’s top public health doctor. In this capacity, Dr. Hayes advised the governor and secretary of health on issues ranging from health promotion and chronic disease prevention to emergency response, including pandemic and influenza preparedness. She also worked closely with the medical community, local health departments and community groups. Throughout her career as a pediatrician and public health advocate, Dr. Hayes has widely impacted her community and children and women’s health. She continues to devote her energy to educating the next generation, paving the way for aspiring health professionals. Dr. Hayes was one of the first black women admitted to the Jacobs School, turning down acceptance from Harvard Medical School to come to UB. She continues to touch many lives, and we are proud to recognize her for her commitment to UB, community health and children and families for almost 50 years.
Douglas E. Williams, PhD ’84 (Physiology)
Williams is currently the president, CEO and member of the board of directors of Codiak BioSciences. He was previously Biogen’s executive vice president of research and development, serving in this role from January 2011 to July 2015. Williams joined Biogen from ZymoGenetics, where he was most recently CEO and member of the board of directors. ZymoGenetics was purchased for $985 million by Bristol Myers Squibb during Williams’ tenure. Prior to that, he held leadership positions within the biotechnology industry, including chief scientific officer and executive vice president of research and development at Seattle Genetics, and senior vice president and Washington Site leader at Amgen. Williams served in a series of scientific and senior leadership positions over a decade at Immunex, including executive vice president and chief technology officer and a member of the board of directors. During his 30-plus-year career in the biotechnology industry, he has played a role in the development of several novel drugs including Enbrel, Tecfidera, and Spinraza. He has served on the board of numerous biotechnology companies. Most recently, he had served as a member of the board of Ovid Therapeutics Inc. and Cygnal Therapeutics, a private company. He is currently the chair of the board of AC Immune, and is a director for private companies Panacea II, CytoImmune Therapeutics, Inc and Xenikos B.V.
Elie Akl, MD, MPH, PhD
Elie Akl, MD, MPH, PhD, an internationally recognized internist and clinical epidemiologist, is the 2021 Distinguished Resident Alumnus for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Akl is professor of medicine at the American University of Beirut, where he leads the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, directs the Clinical Research Institute and the AUB GRADE Center, and co-directs the Center for Systematic Reviews of Health Policy and Systems Research.
He also has a parttime appointment in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Akl’s research expertise is in systematic reviews, practice guidelines and conflicts of interest. He serves as a guideline methodologist for the World Health Organization and a number of North American professional organizations. He has published more than 430 peer-reviewed papers, and in 2015 was listed by Thomson Reuters as one of the “world’s most influential scientific minds” and as one of the most “Highly Cited Researchers” every year since 2015.
During his time in Buffalo, Akl had a deep impact on programs that continue to make a difference today. He was involved programs in the Clinical Translational Science Institute, where he worked closely with residents, faculty and fellows, especially those interested in evidence-based medicine.
Akl holds an MD (1999) from Université Saint Joseph, Lebanon and an MPH (2004) and PhD (2008) from University at Buffalo.
Raul Vazquez, MD '89
Raul Vazquez, MD ’89, a leading primary care physician in Buffalo, is founder and chief executive officer of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) and founder and president of Urban Family Practice. He has built an integrative primary care model that serves the black and brown communities of Buffalo. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has led significant efforts to educate and vaccinate the community. As he continues to proactively and positively influence so many lives, we are proud to recognize Dr. Vazquez for his commitment to UB, community health and families in the local community. Dr. Vazquez opened Urban Family Practice in 1996. As president of GBUAHN, he leads a team of experts that provide care to the poor through a single physician-patient relationship. He serves as the Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s appointed representative to the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, and the New York State Medical Advisory Committee. He served as president of the Buffalo Chapter of the National Medical Association and is incoming president of the UB Medical Alumni Association in 2021.