Three SPH faculty elected to National Academy of Medicine

Sunday, October 18, 2020
Left to Right: Patrick Heagerty, Joel Kaufman, Sean Sullivan

David Eaton honored with David Rall Medal

Three UW School of Public Health faculty were among 100 scientists elected to the National Academy of Medicine today:

  • Patrick Heagerty, PhD, professor of biostatistics, School of Public Health
  • Joel Kaufman, MD, MPH, professor of environmental & occupational health sciences and epidemiology (School of Public Health) and general internal medicine (UW School of Medicine)
  • Sean Sullivan, BScPharm, PhD, dean and professor of the UW School of Pharmacy and professor of health services (School of Public Health).

Election to the Academy recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. More than two dozen SPH faculty members have been elected to the NAM.

"This is one the greatest honors in our field, and so well-deserved by each of our faculty being recognized," said Hilary Godwin, dean of the UW School of Public Health. "We couldn’t be happier for Joel, Patrick and Sean."

Added Mark Richards, UW provost and executive vice president for academic affairs: "Recognitions such as these from the National Academy of Medicine highlight the excellence of our faculty and leadership across the University of Washington. I congratulate our newest members elected to the academy for their demonstrated contributions to the field of health and their ongoing work toward better outcomes for all."

Additionally, SPH Faculty Emeritus David Eaton was one of three Academy members honored for outstanding service, including "significant leadership and dedication to improving health and furthering science," the Academy said.

The Academy, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, cited Heagerty for his "development of novel statistical models for longitudinal data to better diagnose disease, track its trajectory, and predict its outcomes. He has revolutionized how dynamic predictors are judged by their discrimination and calibration and has significantly advanced methods for randomized controlled trials."

Heagerty is director of the Center for Biomedical Statistics and former chair of the Department of Biostatistics. "I am grateful for the recognition of the key role that biostatistics plays in the generation and evaluation of biomedical evidence, and I appreciate the outstanding colleagues that I have worked with for the past 25 years at UW," Heagerty said.

Kaufman was cited "for his international leadership in understanding the health effects of ambient air pollution. His research integrates the disciplines of epidemiology, clinical investigation, exposure science, and toxicology, and he was among the first to establish and elucidate the surprising link between air pollutants and cardiovascular disease through acceleration of atherosclerosis."

Kaufman is editor-in-chief of Environmental Health Perspectives and served as interim dean of the School of Public Health from 2016 to 2018. He is the PI of MESA Air (The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution), a major epidemiological prospective cohort study of air pollution and cardiovascular disease.

"This recognition from the National Academy of Medicine is a tremendous honor, and primarily reflects the opportunities I have had to work with terrific collaborators across many fields of study," Kaufman said.

Sullivan was cited for "pioneering U.S. guidelines for evidence-based drug formulary development. With insurers, he created the value-based formulary product and was the first health economist to serve on global respiratory guidelines (asthma and COPD) panels incorporating economic considerations into recommendations."

Sullivan is professor and dean of the School of Pharmacy and has a joint appointment as a professor of health services in SPH.  "I'm truly honored to be elected to the NAM, and to join the ranks of so many distinguished colleagues in the fields of health and medicine," Sullivan said.

New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

Said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau: "This distinguished and diverse class of new members is a truly exceptional group of scholars and leaders whose expertise in science, medicine, health and policy will be integral to helping the NAM address today's most pressing health challenges and inform the future of health and health care for the benefit of everyone around the globe. It is my privilege to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine."

Eaton, professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health sciences, is former vice provost of the UW Graduate School. He was awarded the David Rall Medal for distinguished service as chair of a study committee.

Eaton has chaired three consensus study committees, been a member of five others, and served as reviewer and review coordinator of several other projects. According to the Academy, "Most notably, under his leadership, the Committee on the Review of the Health Effects of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems authored an impactful report in 2018 on the public health consequences of e-cigarettes that is still cited widely today."

Eaton is known for encouraging camaraderie among committee members, allowing for collective thinking to evolve while balancing the need to bring ideas into a cohesive report, helping facilitate agreement among members by drawing them back to the evidence, and bringing together the talents and expertise of all involved to the final product, the Academy said.