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    Six Mayo Clinic alumni honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards for exceptional achievement

Mayo Clinic has announced its 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards, which acknowledge and show appreciation for the exceptional contributions to medicine of six Mayo Clinic alumni. The honorees: top row, Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., Gerald Gleich, M.D., Morey Haymond, M.D., Celestia Higano, M.D., and seated, Mary Burritt, Ph.D., and Stephen Burkhart, M.D.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic has announced its 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards, which acknowledge and show appreciation for the exceptional contributions to medicine of six Mayo Clinic alumni. This year's honorees are Stephen Burkhart, M.D.; Mary Burritt, Ph.D.; Gerald Gleich, M.D.; Morey Haymond, M.D.; Celestia Higano, M.D.; and Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards, established in 1981, honor Mayo Clinic alumni recognized nationally and internationally for achievements and leadership in education, research, clinical practice or administration.

More about the 2023 recipients:

  • Dr. Burkhart is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Baylor College of Medicine in San Antonio. He completed an orthopedic surgery residency at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Burkhart expanded the body of knowledge in orthopedic surgery and transformed the practice, developing techniques, instrumentation and devices that revolutionized arthroscopic shoulder surgery. He has 72 U.S. patents and 20 applications under consideration. Dr. Burkhart served as president of the Arthroscopy Association of North America from 2002 to 2003. In 2020, that group established the annual Stephen S. Burkhart Shoulder Innovation Research Award.
  • Dr. Burritt is an emeritus professor of laboratory medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. At Mayo Clinic, she was the first female member of the Clinical Chemistry faculty and the first woman to direct a clinical laboratory. She played a key role in establishing clinical chemistry as a discipline in laboratory medicine. She completed a fellowship in pathology at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester and joined the Mayo Clinic staff in 1978. Dr. Burritt served in leadership positions in national and international organizations for more than 30 years. She retired from Mayo Clinic in 2006.
  • Dr. Gleich is an emeritus professor of immunology and medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and a research professor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Dr. Gleich joined the Mayo Clinic Department of Medicine in 1965 and retired in 2001. He is the former George M. Eisenberg Professor of Medicine and Immunology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator. He chaired the Department of Immunology for nine years. Dr. Gleich and colleagues discovered and described five novel syndromes, including Gleich Syndrome.
  • Dr. Higano is an oncologist at Madrona Oncology in Seattle, Washington. She was one of the first women to achieve prominence in academic urologic oncology and is recognized internationally for her work in prostate cancer. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester. Dr. Higano pioneered the use of intermittent androgen deprivation therapy and studied its effects on bone mineral density and cognitive function in prostate cancer patients with biochemical recurrence. She conducted the first clinical trial showing interferon was an alternative to a second bone marrow transplant and studied the use of interferon in patients with cytogenetic-only relapse.
  • Dr. Petersen is the Chester and Debbie Cadieux Director of Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Cora Kanow Professor of Alzheimer’s Disease Research and a consultant in the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He completed medical school at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and a neurology residency at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education — both in Rochester — and joined the staff in 1984. He has made significant contributions to clinical neurology, neuroscience and the growth and development of scientific programs in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Dr. Petersen’s pioneering work has contributed significantly to disease-modifying Alzheimer’s therapies that work in the early symptomatic stages of the disease.

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