Dr. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, has been selected to receive the prestigious Trudeau Medal from the American Thoracic Society.
An internationally noted physician-scientist, health administrator, scholar and educator, Garcia also is the Dr. Merlin K. DuVal Professor of Medicine and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies). He has been an active member of ATS since 1980.
Founded in 1905, ATS is comprised of more than 15,000 physicians, research scientists, nurses and other allied health care professionals who collectively are the leading authorities worldwide on respiratory disease, critical care illness and sleep disorders. ATS awards the Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal annually to recognize lifelong major contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease through leadership in research, education and clinical care. The medal has been given since 1926 in honor of Edward Livingston Trudeau, a founder and the first president of the American Lung Association.
"It is a true honor to receive the recognition of the American Thoracic Society, my colleagues and peers," Garcia said. "The Trudeau Medal signifies contributions to improving the health and well-being of patients suffering from respiratory diseases, and I am extremely grateful to all of the national and international collaborators and trainees whose invaluable contributions made this award possible."
The Trudeau Medal will be presented to Garcia, a leading authority on the genetic basis of lung disease and the prevention and treatment of inflammatory lung injury, on May 15 at the ATS International Conference in San Francisco.
"Dr. Garcia is a superb physician-scientist who has made major contributions to pulmonary and critical care medicine through his research, teaching and mentoring of physician-scientists, passionate and effective advocacy for minority and underserved groups, and outstanding academic leadership," said Dr. Juan C. Celedón, who nominated Garcia for the award and is a professor of medicine, epidemiology and human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh.
"Throughout his career, Dr. Garcia has been a true transformative leader and a champion of those in need. He is most deserving of the Trudeau Medal from the American Thoracic Society," Celedón said.
Regents' Professor Dr. Fernando Martinez of the UA said, "Dr. Garcia is an internationally recognized leader in pulmonary medicine. He was a pioneer in the application of genomic approaches to understanding the pathogenesis of lung disease before translational medicine was even in the dictionary. He is a tireless promoter of the need to specifically address disparities in health care in the United States."
Dr. Monica Kraft, chair of the Department of Medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, praised Garcia's efforts "to care for the underserved while developing innovative, integrative strategies to effectively understand the pathobiology of lung disease and personalized care."
"I cannot think of a nominee who better reflects the spirit of the Trudeau Medal than Skip. He really is a role model for all of us," said Dr. Naftali Kaminski, Boehringer-Ingelheim Endowed Professor of Internal Medicine and chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine. "As a physician-scientist, he opened new areas of discovery integrating molecular biology, functional genomics and patient-relevant research. As a health care leader, he consistently demonstrates an uncompromising commitment to the needs and plight of the sick, the poor and the underserved. As a colleague and mentor, his enthusiasm and willingness to share his wisdom and advice have impacted the careers of many, mine included."
Garcia previously was recognized by ATS with the 2015 Leadership Award from the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly for contributions to the understanding of the vascular basis of lung disease and advancing knowledge in pulmonary vascular biology and medicine, and with the 2003 Scientific Accomplishment Award for his groundbreaking work in endothelial cytoskeleton and lung fluid balance.
Internationally recognized for his seminal research contributions to the understanding of lung disease and for the development of novel therapies for critically ill patients with acute inflammatory lung disease, Garcia has nearly 500 peer-reviewed publications. He has an expansive portfolio of National Institutes of Health-sponsored research and continues to direct large federally funded research programs.
A key member of the UA’s senior executive team, Garcia provides academic leadership for the five UA Health Sciences colleges: medicine (in Phoenix and Tucson), nursing, pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He also has direct leadership oversight of the UA Cancer Center.