Dick Gillis Awarded GUMC’s Lifetime Achievement Award

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November 21, 2017 — Faculty, students, staff and families gathered to celebrate outstanding achievements in research, teaching and service at Georgetown University Medical Center during the 10th Annual GUMC Fall Convocation November 16.

Awards were presented to faculty and students in the School of Medicine, School of Nursing & Health Studies and the Biomedical Graduate Education program.

Lifetime Contribution

The highest faculty award was presented to Richard “Dick” Gillis, emeritus professor of pharmacology and physiology, for lifetime contribution to GUMC.

“This honor acknowledges the professional contributions and long-term impact an individual has made on our daily lives at the medical center — through research, education and service,” said Edward Healton, MD, MPH, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine, before introducing Gillis.

Gillis retired from GUMC in June, after 50 years of service to GUMC.

“By all accounts, Dick proved to be an extraordinary teacher as well as a creative and prolific research scientist,” Healton said. “I’m told his teaching was legendary.”

Gillis has been recognized by his students and faculty colleagues with multiple Golden Apple Awards, the Kaiser Permanente Teaching Award, the EGTA award for graduate teaching and induction into the MAGIS Society of Master Teachers.

Gillis enjoyed a distinguished research career represented by a long record of highly competitive, extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health and more than 200 peer-reviewed publications.

More than 23 graduate students trained with him for their PhD thesis research and many now hold faculty positions in universities and medical centers across our country, as well as in industry and government.

“Dick’s passion for deep teaching, his wide-ranging knowledge of physiology and pharmacology, and his scientific rigor made us all better teachers and research scientists. And his great sense of humor and keen eye for a pun made the examples he set for us, all the more fun,” wrote Kenneth Kellar, PhD, chair of the department of pharmacology and physiology.

Gillis received a standing ovation as the plaque was presented to him by Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia.

“I was thrilled to receive the award at the convocation ceremony,” Gillis said. “It has been a privilege and an honor to be a faculty member at Georgetown University.” 

Additional honors

The GUMC Teaching Academy for the Health Sciences, a part of the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education (CENTILE), honored Yumi Jarris, MD, professor of family medicine and assistant dean for population health and prevention at the School of Medicine. She received the “Distinguished Educator” award for expertise in direct teaching, instructional design/curriculum development and educational leadership.

Other awards include:

For Outstanding Achievement in Research

GUMC Leadership in Research Award
John VanMeter, PhD, Department of Neurology

GUMC Research Recognition Award
Patrick Forcelli, PhD, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology 
Peter Turkeltaub, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology

For Outstanding Achievement in Service

GUMC Outstanding Service Award
Barbara M. Bayer, PhD, Department of Neuroscience

For Outstanding Achievement in Education

Faculty Achievement in Education, School of Nursing & Health Studies
Ted M. Nelson, PhD, Department of Human Science
Robert Carr, MD, MPH, Department of Health Systems Administration
Christopher J. King, PhD, Department of Health Systems Administration

For Outstanding Student Achievement

School of Medicine
Jack Penner (M’18) and Leah Downey (M’18)

School of Nursing & Health Studies
Taylor Franklin (NHS’18) and Grace Wenzel (NHS’18)

Biomedical Graduate Education
Dr. Mark Smulson Award for Excellence in Thesis Research
Stephen DeVito (PhD Candidate, Tumor Biology Program)

Dr. Zofia Zukowska Award for Excellence in Thesis Research
Mackenzie Fama (PhD Candidate, Interdisciplinary Program for Neuroscience)

Additional awards were presented prior to Convocation. A complete list can be found here (new window).