Health Care Hero Dr. Eugene Schiff Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

The University of Miami Health System and Miller School of Medicine have enjoyed great success at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Health Care Heroes awards, and on this 20th anniversary, the result was no different. Eugene R. Schiff, M.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Medicine and director and Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair of the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases at the Miller School, received the AXA Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in hepatology. The award was presented at a luncheon held at Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom.

A world-renowned liver disease expert, Schiff’s clinical research over the past 47 years has focused on developing improved treatments and cures for hepatitis B, C and D, cirrhosis, and the entire spectrum of liver and biliary tract disorders. His work was instrumental in developing the current therapy for treating hepatitis C, and he is the co-editor of the 12th Edition of Schiff’s Diseases of the Liver, due out in November.

True to his generous nature and teamwork approach, he told the room of health care professionals gathered from Miami-Dade and Broward counties that his success was due to many people over the years. Primary among them was his father, Leon Schiff, M.D., who was among the nation’s first liver disease experts.

Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., Pharm.D., M.S., professor and Lucille P. Markey Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Miller School, was a finalist in the bio-medical category. She has gained international distinction for designing new diagnostic tools and biosensors that can be used in the environmental and pharmaceutical fields, including drug delivery systems and applications of nanotechnology.

Also a finalist was the Debbie Institute, known as the Debbie School, a division of the Department of Pediatrics, in the organizations/programs category. For more than 40 years, the Debbie School has provided critically needed early intervention for young children with disabilities throughout Miami-Dade. Children learn in fully inclusive classrooms that encourage each child to reach their own potential.

UM/Jackson internal medicine resident Hansel Tookes III, M.D., M.P.H., received the Health Care Professionals Award for his work to establish Florida’s first needle exchange clinic, which opened December 1, 2016. Tookes demonstrated his unwavering commitment to reduce infection rates from dirty needles as he lobbied the Florida Legislature for four years to get the IDEA (Infectious Disease Elimination Act) needle exchange program approved.

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