Published June 18, 2013
Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, professor and associate chair of social and preventive medicine, has been honored with the 2013 Stockton Kimball Award for outstanding scientific accomplishment as well as significant service to the university.
The award was presented June 5 during the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Faculty and Staff Recognition Awards celebration.
The 2013 honoree is a noted researcher of women’s health issues.
For 20 years, she has helped lead UB’s key role in the landmark Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trial and observation study. She currently directs the initiative’s Northeast Regional Center, involving nine institutions.
For 10 years, until 1999, Wactawski-Wende directed the medical school’s Division of Women’s Health Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has been a faculty member in the department for 24 years, currrently serving as a volunteer professor.
“The results of Jean’s research have been far reaching, and have impacted the understanding of long-term health in women,” says Suzanne G. Laychock, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and facilities and professor of pharmacology and toxicology.
As part of the Women’s Health Initiative, funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Wactawski-Wende participated in research that overturned conventional thought about the preventive value of hormonal therapy in postmenopausal women.
She also helped to assess the role of estrogen plus progestin on cognitive function and the incidence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment, stroke, risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Among numerous leadership roles for the initiative, Wactawski-Wende has served as co-chair of the WHI Data Management Working Group as well as Publications Committee chair. She is a current member of the WHI Steering Committee.
In addition, Wactawski-Wende has led several large-scale clinical prevention trials and has researched a number of women’s health issues, including colorectal and breast cancer risk; osteoporosis and bone mineral density; and the role of osteroporosis in oral bone loss.
Her current projects are funded by the NIH, including the WHI extension study, and the National Cancer Institute of Canada.
As vice provost for strategic initiatives, Wactawski-Wende is working to create critical cross-discipline initiatives to help UB achieve its long-term goals. She oversees the university’s UB 2020 Strategic Strengths involving interdisciplinary and collaborative research.
In addition, she was interim director of the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics and has served on the medical school’s Faculty Council, the UB Faculty Senate and numerous advisory and review committees.
At Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, she is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Division.
Elected to membership in the American Epidemiological Society, Wactawski-Wende has published four book chapters and more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
She has presented dozens of invited lectures at national and international venues.
Throughout her career, Wactawski-Wende has distinguished herself as a leader, researcher and scholar.
Among numerous honors, she received the 2006 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship and the 2009 UB Exceptional Scholar Sustained Achievement Award.
She was named the School of Public Health and Health Professions’ inaugural Outstanding Researcher of the Year in 2005.
Wactawski-Wende also was recognized as the inaugural UB Distinguished Biomedical Alumna in 2011. She was graduated in 1989 from the joint UB/Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center PhD program in experimental pathology/epidemiology.
Wactawski-Wende will deliver the Stockton Kimball Lecture in 2014.
The award and lecture memorialize Stockton Kimball, MD ’29, dean of the medical school from 1946 to 1958, and his contributions to physician training for more than 25 years.