Faculty Earn Distinguished SoM Awards

Dr. Nancy KnudsenA distinguished faculty committee at Duke has selected Duke Anesthesiology’s Nancy Knudsen, MD, as a recipient of the 2020 Leonard Palumbo Jr., MD, Faculty Achievement Award and Adeyemi Olufolabi, MBBS, DCH, FRCA, as a recipient of the 2020 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

Knudsen’s award honors a faculty member who displays both a dedication to compassionate patient care and excellence in the teaching and mentoring of young physicians. This award is named for Dr. Leonard Palumbo Jr., who completed his undergraduate and medical degrees, as well as his clinical training, here at Duke. Palumbo was a compassionate and empathetic clinician and a dedicated and talented educator. His commitment to both patients and students inspired the establishment of this award in 1999 by his brother, also a Duke alumnus, Mr. Art Palumbo.

“The honor is in being nominated for the Palumbo award,” says Knudsen, professor of anesthesiology and associate professor in surgery, who joined Duke in 1996. “I am deeply honored and moved to know that my colleagues and associates see me as I see the physicians I have always tried to emulate and strive to be like in our department and beyond. I am truly thankful and blessed to be part of this community.”Dr. Adeyemi Olufolabi

Olufolabi’s award is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and has been supported by Leonard Tow since 2003. Winners of this award demonstrate compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families, and health care colleagues, as well as clinical excellence.

“I am grateful for the recognition, but there is significant work ahead,” says Olufolabi, professor of anesthesiology and affiliate of the Duke Global Health Institute, who joined Duke in 1997. “The most vulnerable and the most needy have been pregnant women and babies in low resource countries. They pay the highest price due to broken systems that have known solutions. The loss is always tragic. It is compassion in being part of the solution that drives one to make the necessary sacrifices. This award recognizes that determination.”

Dr. Ji Named a Highly Cited Researcher

Dr. Ru-Rong JiDuke Anesthesiology’s Ru-Rong Ji, PhD, distinguished professor of anesthesiology, has once again been named among the most “Highly Cited Researchers” in the world. Ji is one of 37 Duke faculty named to the 2020 list; he is one of 22 faculty from the Duke University School of Medicine.

The annual list is based on the number of highly cited papers produced over an 11-year period from January 2009 to December 2019. Citation rate, as tracked by Clarivate’s Web of Science, is an approximate measure of a study’s influence and importance. 6,127 researchers from 60 countries are recognized by the 2020 listing.

Ji was one of 54 Duke researchers who made the global list of “Highly Cited Researchers” in 2019; a list he also made in 2018. His research focuses on molecular and cellular mechanisms of chronic pain, including but not limited to mediators of inflammation and pain, neuropathic pain and cancer pain.

“This list is very dynamic from year to year,” says Ji, director of both the Sensory Plasticity and Pain Research Laboratory and the Center for Translational Pain Medicine at Duke Anesthesiology. “I am very pleased that someone from anesthesiology can make the list. I am proud to represent the field, and I appreciate the strong support for my research from the department.”

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