HONORS AND AWARDS
Ig Nobel prize awarded to UC Davis ophthalmologist
Woodpeckers experience no ill effects from their head-banging ways and, for explaining why, UC Davis ophthalmology professor Ivan Schwab was chosen for the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize in ornithology.
A parody of the Nobel Prizes, the Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded annually for 10 achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think."
Schwab was recognized for authoring "Cure for a Headache," a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology in 2002 that noted North America's largest woodpecker may strike a tree at the rate of 20 times a second and up to 12,000 times a day, with forces as high as 1,200 g's with each impact. Despite the constant hammering, the birds do not experience retinal detachments, brain damage and spinal cord injuries.
Schwab accepted his award at a ceremony at Harvard University while wearing a woodpecker head-dress. He shared the prize with the late psychiatrist Phillip R. A. May, whose research formed the basis for Schwab's.
Community service honor
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, director of UC Davis' Center for Reducing Health Disparities, received the 2006 Rick Gonzalez, Sr., Award from the Concilio of Yolo County in recognition of his outstanding community service and dedication to the welfare of Yolo County citizens.
Educator of the year
Robert E. Hales, professor and chair of UC Davis Health System's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, was named Educator of the Year for 2006 by the Association for Academic Psychiatry.
The professional organization is made up of psychiatry representatives from medical schools and residency training programs in the United States.
Isaac Pessah, director of the UC Davis Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention, is the recipient of Cure Autism Now's first Environmental Innovator Award.The national organization honored his work on the biological impact of environmental exposures.
Pessah is professor and chair of molecular biosciences at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute research team.
Sidney Scudder, professor of hematology and oncology, is serving as president of the Western Association of Gynecologic Oncology.
Karen Jo Doyle, professor of otolaryngology/head-and-neck surgery, is president-elect of the American Neurotology Society. Doyle's one-year term as president begins in 2008.
The Mental Health Association of Sacramento awarded UC Davis Health System's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences its 2006 Corporate Award in recognition of the department's ongoing efforts to educate the public about mental health issues. The Asian Pacific Community Counseling organization also honored the department with its Outstanding Community Service award.
David Gandara, professor of hematology and oncology, is co-chair of the National Cancer Institute's Investigational Drug Steering Committee, the group charged with recommending reforms of the nation's clinical cancer research enterprise. Gandara is associate director for clinical research at UC Davis Cancer Center and director of the center's Thoracic Oncology Program.
NIH study section appointment
Andrew Vaughan, a radiobiologist in the Department of Radiation Oncology, is now a member of the National Institutes of Health's Basic Mechanisms of Cancer Therapeutics Study Section. The committee reviews grant applications submitted to the NIH.
UC Davis tops lists
UC Davis Medical Center ranked among the nation's top 50 hospitals on the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey, a national rating system that offers a broad assessment of a hospital's quality and safety. Only eight hospitals in California made the elite list.
The survey included data from more than 1,200 urban, acute-care hospitals that measured implementation of 30 Leapfrog-recommended safe practices. The practices include staffing intensive-care units with physicians who have received advanced training in caring for patients in intensive-care units, following procedures to avoid wrong-site surgery and having pharmacists review all medication orders before drugs are given to patients.
In a separate ranking, the National Research Corp. has named UC Davis Medical Center as the winner of its 2006-07 Consumer Choice Award in Sacramento. This is the eighth year in a row the medical center has been recognized by health-care consumers as having the highest overall quality and image. NRC surveyed more than 200,000 households nationwide, naming the top hospital in each of 180 markets.
Timothy Albertson, executive director for clinical care, has been promoted to brigadier general in the California Army National Guard. The promotion follows Albertson's appointment last year as the assistant for mobilization and reserve affairs in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense Health Affairs.
Albertson, professor and chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UC Davis, has been a member of the California National Guard for 18 years and served as its state surgeon and medical detachment commander for three years. While in Iraq in 2004, Albertson served for three months as a battalion surgeon for the California National Guard Armor Unit providing security in that country. Albertson also is a flight surgeon and chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine for the Veterans Administration Northern California Health Care System.
UC Davis nurse honored
The Society of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Nursing honored Ann Sievers, a clinical nurse specialist in Department of Otolaryngology with its Outstanding Service Award. Sievers is a nationally recognized author and lecturer on head and neck cancer, and diseases of the ears, nose and throat.
NICU design award
UC Davis' new NICU was honored for its design. © Dean Birinyi
The neonatal intensive care unit at UC Davis Children's Hospital received an honorable mention from Modern Healthcare's 21st annual design awards. Judges praised the availability of lockers, rocking chairs, sleep rooms and family waiting space, as well as the warm colors and etched-glass animal imagery. Project architect was Chong Partners Architecture and the construction management firm was Jacobs Facilities, both of Sacramento.
Young investigator award
A. Kimberley McAllister, associate professor of neurology, has received a 2006 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience. Much of McAllister's research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synapse formation in the developing cerebral cortex has led to a study that explores the molecular basis for schizophrenia and autism..