Three Physicians Receive Distinguished Alumni Award at Ceremony

Honoring clinical excellence, research expertise, and public service among its graduates, the Miller School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association recently bestowed one of its highest honors—the Distinguished Alumni Award—on three outstanding physicians: Nancy Klimas, M.D., class of ’80; Ana Viamonte Ros, M.D., class of ’83; and David Tse, M.D., class of ’76.

The ceremony took place Saturday, January 22, at the new Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus. Ruth Schobel, M.D., class of ’81 and president of the Medical Alumni Association, opened the program by emphasizing the important role distinguished alumni play in shaping the physicians and researchers of tomorrow. “It is our hope that current and prospective students will look upon the careers of these inductees, become inspired, and see them as role models for their own futures,” Schobel said.

Declaring that the Miller School is in an “age of investigation,” Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., noted that the work being done by this current group of inductees and their peers is indeed having an influence on others. “One way you know that a medical school is paying attention to its physician-scientists is by its memberships in the American Society for Clinical Investigation,” Goldschmidt said. “UM physicians hold seven of only 70 ASCI memberships nationwide for 2010. We are moving faster than any other institution in terms of promoting researchers, and it shows.”

Dr. Klimas was recognized in large part for her work with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and HIV and AIDS research. She is currently professor of medicine, microbiology, and immunology; director of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research Center; co-director of the E.M. Papper Clinical Immunology Laboratory; and director of the University of Miami Diagnostic Allergy and Immunology Clinic at the Miller School. Dr. Klimas attributes her sense of community and her desire to “give back” to her medical school faculty and alumni and UHealth-University of Miami Health System colleagues and patients. “When someone opens a door for you,” Klimas said, “You have the responsibility to do the same for others. This award will open many more doors.”

Dr. Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H., was honored for her public service as Florida’s first state surgeon general and the first woman and Cuban American to serve as head of the Florida Department of Health. “The University of Miami and Miller School of Medicine didn’t just prepare me for a medical career,” said Viamonte Ros, “they instilled in me a sense of public service and set me down that road.”

Dr. Tse was recognized largely for his research as the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in Ophthalmic Plastic, Orbital Surgery, and Oncology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. With characteristic humility, Dr. Tse acknowledged that he was “overwhelmed by the recognition” and thanked his family, colleagues, and patients for their help and selfless sacrifice, which enabled him to pursue his research and practice. Dr. Tse said his time as a student at the Miller School provided him with a solid foundation to be the best: “UM graduates share three basic qualities,” he said — “competence, competence, and competence.” But he credits his current success to the “unparalleled scope of clinical experience” that has been available to him as a teaching physician and researcher.

For more than 30 years, the Miller School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association has promoted the personal and professional development of medical students by advancing their education, encouraging their research, and supporting their community activism through volunteerism, scholarships, and a wide range of student initiatives. The Distinguished Alumni Award has been presented 38 times since its inception in 1996 to recipients whose professional and personal achievements bring special honor to the Miller School of Medicine.

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