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Snyderman to Receive Ellis Island Medal of Honor

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- Ralph Snyderman, M.D., chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and president and CEO of Duke University Health System, will be honored May 17 with an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

The Ellis Island Medals of Honor are awarded annually by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) to recognize distinguished Americans of various ethnic origins for their outstanding contributions to the United States. NECO is dedicated to issues of ethnic heritage, culture and religion. Previous award winners include all U.S. presidents from Nixon through Clinton, Elie Wiesel, Rosa Parks and Rudy Giuliani. Snyderman's selection was based on his achievements in biomedical research and leadership in academic medicine and health care.

Snyderman was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of Russian immigrants Morris and Ida Snyderman. He graduated from Washington College in Chestertown, Md., and received his M.D., magna cum laude, from the Downstate Medical Center of the State University of New York. He completed his internship and residency in medicine at Duke.

Snyderman, who is also James B. Duke professor of medicine, is internationally recognized for his seminal contributions to inflammation research. He has had a long and distinguished career at Duke, serving as chief of rheumatology and immunology and as a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. In 1987, he joined Genentech, a biomedical technology firm in San Francisco, as vice president for medical research and development. A year later he was promoted to senior vice president of Genentech.

In 1989, Snyderman returned to Durham to lead Duke University Medical Center as chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. Under his leadership, the Medical Center moved into national prominence with the development of the Duke Clinical Research Institute (the nation's largest academic clinical research organization), the formation of the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and was the first university to offer a formal degree program for investigators at the NIH (Master's in Clinical Research). In 1998, he oversaw the development of Duke University Health System, one of the few fully integrated academic health systems in the country. His vision for a healthier nation includes the development of an innovative model of care known as prospective health care that features personalized health planning and genetics. The model has attracted broad attention from national and regional governmental agencies, and a federally funded pilot study is currently under way in Durham.

He is the immediate past-chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges and the current president of the Association of American Physicians.

Snyderman will receive his award May 17 during a ceremony on Ellis Island.

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