Wake Forest University School of Medicine January Awards and Recognitions

January 31, 2024

Professor Named Chair of the ACS Board of Regents

Dr. Anthony Atala, is the new chair of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Regents (BoR). The announcement of his election came during Clinical Congress 2023 in Boston.

Atala, a pediatric urologist, is the George Link Jr. professor and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), and the W.H. Boyce professor and chair of urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to chair the Board of Regents of the ACS,” Atala said. “I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues as we continue to work collectively to improve the care of the surgical patient and serve our members as they strive to deliver the highest quality of surgical care.”

As chair, Atala also will lead the BoR Finance and Executive Committees, as well as work in concert with ACS Executive Director and CEO Patricia L. Turner, M.D., M.B.A., FACS. The board, comprised of 24 members, shapes policies and supervises the overall management of the college. The varied backgrounds and expertise of the board members allow for a broad representation of the surgical community and its multifaceted perspectives on current issues.

An ACS fellow since 1996, Atala has served as a member and chair of the Advisory Council for Urology, a member of the Board of Governors and has been a strong and thoughtful contributor to the ACS Surgical Forum and Surgical Research Committee.

In addition to his role with the ACS, Atala has been an active member and leader in several professional and governmental organizations, contributing his expertise to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute’s Advisory Board, and founding multiple societies dedicated to the advancement of regenerative medicine. He has published more than 800 peer-reviewed journal articles and holds more than 300 national and international patents.


Professor Chosen as One of the Most Influential People of African Descent

Goldie Byrd, director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was chosen as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) in 2023. Based on her dedication and untiring contribution to equitable health care, she was one of 20 out of more than 200 honorees featured by the organization for top recognition in the field of health and wellness. Johnita P. Due, executive vice president of integrity and inclusion for CNN Worldwide, nominated Byrd.

This distinguished honor was established in support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024. MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors who join in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, its people on the continent and across its Diaspora.

Honorees are decision-makers in over 80 countries worldwide. They are selected based on political influence, business acumen, social media following and humanitarian endeavors for leading the advancements for people of African descent worldwide.

“Being recognized for work you believe in and devote your career to is very humbling, but there is so much more work to do as we continue to advocate for health equity,” Byrd said.

The 2023 four-day recognition week was hosted by MIPAD CEO Kamil Olufowobi in New York City. Byrd participated in a panel discussion moderated by Scarlette Whyte, head of diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for CNN. The global discussion addressed the critical theme, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Crisis” and explored how private and public sector organizations are navigating the challenges and forging ahead despite adversity. Other events included an awards ceremony, networking and training sessions, and a private tour of the United Nations for honorees.


Professor Emeritus Honored by American Heart Association

Dr. Carlos M. Ferrario, professor emeritus of general surgery at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was recently selected as a 2023 Distinguished Scientist by the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Distinguished Scientist Selection Committee.

This honor is bestowed upon AHA or American Stroke Association members who have advanced the understanding, management and treatment of cardiovascular disease, stroke and/or brain health.

Ferrario, who is noted for his contributions to identifying angiotensin-(1-7) and the importance of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 in regulating cardiac function and blood pressure control, has authored or co-authored 516 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 78 chapters in books and published five books. Additionally, Ferrario founded the Hypertension and Vascular Research Center at the School of Medicine.

The process of selecting Distinguished Scientists begins with a call for nominations as candidates must be nominated and complete a rigorous application process. The Distinguished Scientist Selection Committee is made up of past Distinguished Scientists and other top leaders in the field. They are tasked with peer review of the nominations and narrowing their selection to a maximum of six deserving awardees each year. This year over 40 nominations were received.

Including this year's awardees, there are 144 Distinguished Scientists who have been elected since the award's creation in 2003.

The AHA is dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, they fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources.


Professor Honored by North Carolina Orthopaedic Association

Dr. David Martin, professor of orthopaedic surgery at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, recently received the 2023 North Carolina Orthopaedic Association (NCOA) Honored Surgeon Award.

This award is presented yearly to a North Carolina orthopaedic surgeon who has been notably influential in the promotion of the highest standards of orthopaedic care and has distinguished themselves among their peers for dedication to quality patient care and to the medical profession.

At the annual meeting, the establishment of the Dr. David F. Martin, Endowed Orthopaedic Resident Leadership Award also was announced. This annual award, endowed through the efforts of one of his former residents, Dr. W. Dickson Schaefer, will be given to a deserving Wake Forest University School of Medicine orthopaedic resident each year.

The mission of the NCOA is to advance the science and practice of orthopaedic surgery through education and advocacy on behalf of patients and practitioners, with an emphasis on overall quality orthopaedic health care for the state of North Carolina.

Additionally, Martin serves as the executive director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. This organization was founded in 1934 as a private, voluntary, nonprofit, independent organization to serve the best interests of the public and the medical profession.


Professors Receive 2023 Byrum Mentoring Award

Dr. Amy McMichael, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and Barb Nicklas, professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, have been recognized for their ongoing dedication to students, residents, fellows and faculty through the Dr. James Edwin Byrum Jr., Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The Byrum Award was presented to McMichael and Nicklas by Dr. Leon Lenchik, assistant dean, faculty mentoring and professor, Radiology, at the Faculty Executive Council on Wednesday, January 10, 2024.

McMichael is the award winner in the clinician-educator category. She is a national leader in dermatology, a committed mentor and a dedicated clinician. She has over 20 years of experience in mentoring at all levels and has many successful mentees who sing her praises.

Nicklas is the award winner in the researcher category. She is a well-known researcher and has had a consistent contribution to mentoring in geriatrics and within the Wake Forest Clinical and Translational Science Institute for many years.

The Byrum Award memorializes Dr. James Edwin “Ed” Byrum Jr., who passed away on August 21, 2011. During his 37-year career at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Byrum helped train more than 200 emergency medicine physicians. In 1974, he co-created and directed one of the first emergency medicine residency programs.


Professor Named Fellow of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Michael Nader, professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was recently named a fellow of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

This award is in recognition of a career dedicated to the field of pharmacology and exceptional contributions to its advancement. A fellow of the ASPET is a prestigious honor bestowed on the society’s most distinguished members.

The ASPET is a 4,000-member scientific society whose members conduct basic and clinical pharmacological research and work for academia, government, large pharmaceutical companies, small biotech companies and nonprofit organizations.


Clinical Professor Elected to Society of Healthcare Epidemiologists of America’s Board of Trustees

Dr. Catherine Passaretti, clinical professor of infectious diseases at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was recently elected to the Society of Healthcare Epidemiologists of America’s (SHEA) board of trustees in the role of councilor for community health care epidemiologists and stewards.

Passaretti will serve in this role from January 2024 until December 2025. Additionally, she is vice president and enterprise chief epidemiologist at Atrium Health and is nationally recognized for her work in preventing and managing hospital-acquired infections.

SHEA is a professional society that improves public health by establishing infection-prevention measures and supporting antibiotic stewardship among health care providers.


Professor and Chair Named American Academy of Health Behavior’s 2024 Research Laureate Winner

Scott D. Rhodes, professor and chair of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was recently named the American Academy of Health Behavior’s (AAHB) 2024 Research Laureate winner.

The Research Laureate is the highest member award bestowed by the AAHB. Candidates for Research Laureate are competitively evaluated on the overall quality of publications, funding, quality of mentoring activities, service to the community and overall impact of scholarship on the field. Rhodes has excelled in each of these categories.

Rhodes, who is a behavioral scientist, conducts research that explores community-based health promotion and disease prevention, health disparities and health equity among sexual and gender minorities, immigrants and persons living in rural settings. His research focuses on sexual health, HIV and STI prevention, screening, and treatment, health care access and utilization and other health priorities, both in the United States and internationally. Overall, Rhodes’ research falls into three main areas: conducting rigorous science in partnership with underserved minoritized populations to improve health, community-engaged research and intervention science.  Rhodes has a highly accomplished publication list and a laudable track record of funding for his research.

The AAHB was founded to transform the health promotion and health education field from a teaching- and service-centered profession to one with a stronger research foundation in which discovery would be valued as a means of improving practice and enhancing public health.


Professor Named Recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by Society of Critical Care Medicine

Dr. Aarti Sarwal, professor of neurology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was selected as the recipient of the 2024 Distinguished Service Award by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM).

This distinction is awarded to three member each year during the American College of Critical Care Medicine Convocation and SCCM awards ceremony.

Sarwal is a fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine and was also the recipient of the 2023 Presidential citation from SCCM. She has been a member of SCCM since 2007, served as a member of the SCCM Ultrasound Committee and as teaching faculty at the SCCM Critical Care Ultrasound courses. Sarwal also directs the annual SCCM Neurocritical Care Review Course conducted in the fall and the pre-congress Neuromonitoring Course. She serves on the SCCM social media committee and is the social media editor for Critical Care Medicine.

The SCCM is the largest nonprofit medical organization dedicated to promoting excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. With members in more than 80 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The society offers a variety of activities that ensure excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy.


Professor Awarded 2023 American Heart Association Lecture

Dr. Angela Sharkey, professor of pediatrics and special advisor to the dean for education innovation at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was awarded the 2023 Alexander S. Nadas Lecture by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Sharkey is a pediatric cardiologist with a special interest in Marfan syndrome and fetal cardiology. She has been an active member of the American Heart Association’s Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young, having served on the Early Career and Mentoring Committee and the AHA Committee on Lifelong Learning. Sharkey has been an invited presenter at the AHA career development workshops, at the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Program for Women in Medicine and Science (MidWIMS), and in the American Academy of Pediatrics PREP and PPC courses. She has spoken nationally on career advancement in academic medicine, peer group mentoring, conflict management and team function.

While at Washington University, Sharkey served as a site principal investigator for the NIH-sponsored Pediatric Heart Network clinical trial on medical therapy for children and young adults with Marfan syndrome. She is co-founder of Camp Rhythm, an overnight camp experience for children with congenital heart disease.

The Alexander S. Nadas Lecture, sponsored by the Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young, was established in 1986 by the Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young to honor Dr. Nadas, who is recognized as one of the pioneers of pediatric cardiology. Dr. Nadas is known for his teaching of fellows. Both directly and indirectly through those he has trained, he is responsible for many of the advances that have made pediatric cardiology in the U.S. second to none. He was an active supporter of AHA and the Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young for many years.


Associate Professor Named Distinguished Investigator by the Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research

Kiran Solingapuram Sai, associate professor of radiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was recently named a 2023 Distinguished Investigator (DI) by the Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research .

Sai was one of 59 investigators selected to receive the academy’s 2023 DI Award. This prestigious honor recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to the field of medical imaging. This class will be welcomed as part of the broader council, which includes a network of nearly 500 imaging investigators.

The academy is comprised of 28 of the major imaging societies and the 50 leading academic radiology research departments. It also leads the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research, which has membership from industry as well as patient advocacy groups that work to promote medical imaging research and tell the story from the patient perspective. The academy was founded in 1995 to promote the establishment of an institute at the National Institutes of Health dedicated to medical imaging research.


Media contact:

Jenna Kurzyna, jkurzyna@wakehealth.edu