UA Health Sciences Faculty Members, Programs Recognized as `Influential Health and Medical Leaders’

Friday, September 25, 2015

Winners of the Influential Health and Medical Leaders Awards have been announced by Tucson Local Media and five University of Arizona Health Sciences-affiliated faculty members and programs won the prestigious honor during the publishing agency’s inaugural ceremony Sept. 23.

The award winners will be featured in the Oct. 2 edition of Inside Tucson Business. Tucson Local Media owns the following publications: Explorer, Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times and Inside Tucson Business.

During the ceremony, Steve Pope, the Arizona Local Media general manager and publisher announced the following UA Health Sciences-affiliated Winners:

 Advancement in Achievement in Biopharmaceuticals:

Toxicologist and pediatrician Leslie Boyer, MD, founding director of the VIPER (Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology and Emergency Response) Institute and associate professor of pathology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

Achievement in Medical Research: 

Fernando Martinez, MD, Regents' Professor, Swift-McNear Professor of Pediatrics, immediate past director of the BIO5 Institute and the inaugural director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center.

Achievement in Wellness Programs:

The Heart Series - A program of the Foundation for Cardiovascular Health created by Charles Katzenberg, MD, UA Sarver Heart Center, and Edna Silva, RN, cardiac rehabilitation nurse and Tai Chi master, to promote heart disease prevention and health promotion.

Outstanding Health Care Executive:

Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH, director and chief medical officer for the Pima County Health Department and UA distinguished outreach professor of public health at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Achievement in Medical Devices:

SynCardia Systems LLC, a privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart. SynCardia is a UA spin-off company.

Ten Tucson-based health and wellness achievement award winners were nominated for the recognition and were invited to attend the ceremony at Casino Del Sol, including the following UA Health Sciences-nominated finalists:  

Achievement in Community Outreach finalist:

Sally Reel, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN, associate vice president of Health Sciences Interprofessional Education, Collaboration and Community Engagement, director of the Arizona Area Health Education Centers, University Distinguished Outreach Professor and clinical professor at the UA College of Nursing.

Lifetime Achievement in Health Care finalist:

David Alberts, MD, director emeritus of the UA Cancer Center, Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Nutritional Science and Public Health.

Achievement in Medical Research finalist: 

Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, professor at the UA Mel

and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, director of the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention & Health Promotion and the Arizona Smokers Helpline and research member of the UA Cancer Center.  

Achievement in Medical Devices finalist:

Bijan Najafi, PhD, MSc, professor of surgery, medicine and engineering, director of the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion-Performance (iCAMP), member of the UA Center on Aging, associate member of  the UA Cancer Center, scientific advisory board member of UA  Arthritis Center, member of Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), adjunct faculty at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and adjunct faculty member at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

Achievement in Medical Devices finalist:

Ventana Medical Systems, a member of the Roche Group, is a world leader and innovator of tissue-based diagnostic solutions for patients worldwide. Ventana is a UA spinoff company.  

Outstanding Health Organization Finalist:

Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine Leading the transformation of health care by creating, educating and actively supporting a community that embodies the philosophy and practice of healing-oriented medicine, addressing mind, body and spirit. The center was founded in 1994 by Andrew Weil, MD. 

Achievement in Community Outreach Finalist:

Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center A public health service at the UA College of Pharmacy that takes direct calls from the citizens of 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties, providing expert medical advice on potential poisonings and venomous bites and stings to both health-care professionals and the general public, answering approximately 40,000 calls annually.  

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences 

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: