Newswise — ATLANTA – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) announced the 2017 recipients of its Master of the ACR designation, Awards of Distinction, and Distinguished Fellow Award honors during the opening lecture of the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in San Diego. These recognitions are given annually to members who exhibit outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology.

Master of the ACR Designation

Recognition as a Master is one of the highest honors that the College bestows on its distinguished members. The designation of Master is conferred on ACR members, age 65 or older, who have made outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through scholarly achievement and/or service to their patients, students, and the rheumatology profession. These honorees have devoted their long careers to furthering rheumatology research and improving clinical standards in the treatment of rheumatic diseases.

The 2017 recipients of the Masters of the ACR designation are:

• Ed Acevedo-Vasquez, MD, Gregorio Escobedo, 676, Clinica San Felipe, Lima, Peru

• Karyl Barron, MD, National Institute of Health, Division of Intramural Research, Bethesda, MD

• Keith Elkon, MD, University of Washington, Rheumatology, Seattle, WA

• David Felson, MD, MPH, Boston University School of Medicine, Clinical Research Training Unit, Boston, MA

• Joseph Flood, MD, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus Arthritis Center, Columbus, OH

• Norman Gaylis, MD, Private Practice - Arthritis Rheumatic Disease Specialties, Aventura, FL

• Harry Gewanter, MD, Private Practice & Commonwealth University of Medicine, Richmond, VA

• Rodney Grahame, MD, FRCP, FACP, University College of London, London, United Kingdom

• Michael Holers, MD, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO

• Karen Kolba, MD, Private Practice - Pacific Arthritis Center, Pismo Beach, CA

• Stephen Lindsey, MD, Ochsner Clinic Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA

• Richard Looney, MD, University of Rochester, Department of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology Division, Rochester, NY

• Johanne Martel-Pelletier, PhD, University of Montreal Hospital Research Center, Osteoarthritis Research Unit, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

• John Mountz, MD, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Medicine/Rheumatology Division, Birmingham, AL

• Eileen Moynihan, MD, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, Hadden Heights, NJ

• Jim O'Dell MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Omaha, NE

• Prekash Pispati , MD, MSc, FICP, FACR, Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, India• Jane Salmon, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

• Richard Sontheimer, MD, University of Utah Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, Cottonwood, UT

• E. William St. Clair, MD, Duke University Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Durham, NC

• William Stohl, MD, PhD, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Division of Rheumatology, Los Angeles, CA

• Robert Terkeltaub, MD, VA Medical Center, Department of Rheumatology, San Diego, CA

• George Tsokos, MD, Harvard Medical School Beth Israel, Department of Medicine/Rheumatology, Boston, MA

• Katherine Upchurch, MD, University of Massachusetts Medical Center , Worcester, MA

• Anthony Woolf, MBBS, FRCP, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Rheumatology Department, Truro Cornwall, United Kingdom

• Ed Yelin, PhD, University of California, Arthritis Research Group, San Francisco, CA

ACR Awards of Distinction

The ACR also recognizes leading researchers, clinicians, mentors, and other professionals exhibiting superior commitment to the advancement of the field of rheumatology with the Awards of Distinction honors. Winners of this year’s awards are as follows:

Presidential Gold Medal: Michael Weinblatt, MD, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

The highest award that the ACR can bestow, the Presidential Gold Medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding achievements in rheumatology over an entire career. Established by the past presidents of the ACR, candidates will have made important contributions in multiple areas such as clinical medicine, research, education or administration. Funding support for this award of distinction is provided by the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Distinguished Basic Investigator Award: Robert Winchester, MD, Columbia University, Department of Medicine, New York, NY

The Distinguished Basic Investigator Award is awarded to a basic scientist making outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology.

Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award: W. Winn Chatham, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

The Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award is awarded to a rheumatologist who has made outstanding contributions in clinical medicine, clinical scholarship or education.

Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award: Nunzio Bottini, MD, PhD, University of California San Diego, Department of Medicine/Rheumatology, La Jolla, CA

The Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award is awarded to a young physician scientist, age 45 or younger, who has made outstanding and promising independent contributions to basic or clinical research in the field of rheumatology.

Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award: Murray Urowitz, MD, FRCPC, The Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award is awarded to a clinical scientist making outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology. This award was known as the Clinical Research Award prior to 2006.

Paulding Phelps Award: W. Patrick Knibbe, MD, St. Luke's Children's Rheumatology, Meridian, ID

The Paulding Phelps Award is awarded to a clinical rheumatologist for outstanding service to patients, community and the practice of medicine.

Distinguished Service Award: Salahuddin Kazi, MD, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to an ACR member for outstanding and sustained service to the ACR.

Distinguished Fellowship Program Director Award: Simon Helfgott, MD, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Department of Rheumatology & Immunology, Boston, MA

The Distinguished Fellowship Program Director Award is awarded to a current or former rheumatology program director that has made outstanding contributions in the mentoring and training of future rheumatologists.

Excellence in Investigative Mentoring Award: Elizabeth Karlson, MD, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

The Excellence in Investigative Mentoring Award recognizes the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship. A dedicated mentor can significantly influence the successful development and career of a mentee. This award honors an active ACR or ARHP member for their contributions to the rheumatology profession through outstanding and ongoing mentoring. Funding support for this award of distinction is provided by the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Distinguished Fellow Award

The Distinguished Fellow Award recognizes clinical and research fellows who are in a rheumatology fellowship training program and who have performed meritoriously.

The 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Fellow Award are:

• Bryant England, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska-Western IA VA Health Care System, Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Omaha, NE

• Eric Gapud, MD, PhD, John Hopkins University, Division of Rheumatology, Baltimore, MD

• Sabrina Gmuca, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Division of Rheumatology and The Center for Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain, Philadelphia, PA

• Lindsay Kelmenson, MD, University of Colorado, Division of Rheumatology, Aurora, CO

• Julia Manasson, MD, New York University, New York, NY

• Renuka Nayak, MD, PhD, University of California San Francisco, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, San Francisco, CA

• Cory Perugino, Massachusetts General Hospital, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Boston, MA

• Lin Shen, MD, PhD, University of California San Francisco, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, San Francisco, CA

• Mehret Birru Talabi, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

• Patompomg Ungprasert, MD, MS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

For more information on each of these awards, and to view past recipients, please visit


About the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting

The ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting is the premier meeting in rheumatology. With more than 450 sessions and thousands of abstracts, if offers a superior combination of basic science, clinical science, tech-med courses, career enhancement education and interactive discussions on improving patient care. For more information about the meeting, visit, or join the conversation on Twitter by following the official #ACR17 hashtag.

About the American College of Rheumatology

The American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing over 9,400 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to empower rheumatology professionals to excel in their specialty. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit