Wake Forest Medical Alumni Recognize 2014 Awardees

September 30, 2014

Adams, Tolan and Watts Honored during Dean’s Leadership Circle Dinner

The Medical Alumni Association (MAA) of Wake Forest School of Medicine has recognized the achievements of two alumni and one former faculty member with its annual awards.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Daniel L. Tolan, M.D., Distinguished Achievement Award
  • Patricia L. Adams, M.D., Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Velma Gibson Watts, Ph.D., Distinguished Service Award

Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, presented the awards during the Dean’s Leadership Circle dinner on Sept. 18.

Tolan, a 1985 graduate of the medical school, is a family practice physician in Johnson City, Tenn., who graduated from Indiana University and received his pre-medical education at the University of Michigan. The Marion, Ind., native spent 14 years as a medical missionary in Kenya, where he developed an outpatient tuberculosis treatment program and orthopaedic service, was instrumental in establishing a program modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, and led an effort to bring general practice training to Kenyan doctors to better serve poor populations.

In 2010, Tolan assisted with disaster relief efforts in Haiti, working at a temporary field hospital that was set up in tents and vacant buildings. He currently serves the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and World Gospel Mission in development of new personnel, partnerships, resources and strategies for international health care ministry.

Adams, a Winston-Salem resident and a 1974 graduate of the medical school, is professor emerita of internal medicine, nephrology and transplantation, and director of emeritus affairs for Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Adams received her undergraduate degree from Duke University in political science, and her graduate education at George Washington University. She completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

She joined Wake Forest School of Medicine faculty in 1979 and has served as: assistant director, Artificial Kidney Clinic; medical director, Renal Transplant Program; associate dean of student affairs; professor of nephrology; and from 2005-10, chief of professional services. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Watts, a resident of Winston-Salem, is associate professor emerita of medical education with Wake Forest School of Medicine.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Agricultural and Technical College, now North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She received a second master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and earned the doctorate in educational administration from Duke University.

After serving as regional coordinator of communication skills for the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction, Watts joined the medical school faculty at Wake Forest in 1982 as associate professor of medical education. She served as director of the Office of Minority Affairs and assistant dean for student affairs. At her retirement in 2000, Watts was named associate professor emerita of medical education. The medical school’s Gordon-Watts Scholarship, which was established to help achieve and sustain diversity in the student body, was named in honor of Watts and Joseph Gordon, M.D., the medical school's first director of minority affairs.

Winners of MAA awards are selected annually from nominations made to and approved by the MAA Awards and Nominations Committee, which is composed of past presidents of the MAA.

Media Relations

Mac Ingraham: mingraha@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-3487

Shannon Putnam: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587