2011 Dean’s Honors Day Held at NYU Langone Medical Center

Three Master Scholars Recognized for their Contributions to Medicine and the Medical Center

October 6, 2011 - 11:50am

William R. Berkley Receives Valentine Mott Founders Award


NYU Langone Medical Center honored three faculty members for lifetime achievements in clinical excellence, education and science in a special convocation ceremony at the 10th Annual Dean’s Honors Day held yesterday. This is the fifth year that Master Awards were conferred on distinguished faculty members to recognize excellence at the institution. In addition to those receiving Master Awards, faculty members were honored for their appointments to endowed chairs, or department chairs, service as chairs, receiving tenure or promotions, and extramural and intramural distinctions. 

“The three people honored this year have woven together powerful intellect, sustained effort, steadfast achievement and greatness of spirit. They remind us that in our profession, excellence represents the highest form of service,” said Robert I Grossman, MD, Saul J. Farber Dean and CEO.

This year's Master Awards honorees included:

Master Clinician: Frederick Feit, MD, associate professor, Department of Medicine, director of Cardiac Catheterization and Interventional Cardiology, and a distinguished alumnus of the NYU School of Medicine.

In a field as technically demanding as interventional cardiology, there’s a well-known tendency to focus on the procedure, not the person.  And it might be assumed that for an expert as internationally renowned as Dr. Frederick Feit, that would be especially true. But Dr. Feit, as he has exhorted generations of residents and students to do, treats every patient as though s/he is the only patient he’s ever had combining the steadiest of hands in an emergency with the ability to make others feel he has all the time in the world for them.

His determination to understand everything that has brought someone to the cardiac catheterization lab with a blocked artery, creates such a bond that, even years later, patients will greet him with a “Hi, Fred,” as if he’d been their family doctor for decades.      

Dr. Feit’s profound attention to each person’s “whole story” has not only benefited the thousands of patients fortunate enough to come under his care, but also led to seminal contributions to the way doctors all over the world treat heart attacks.  

Today, if the first line of defense for a patient presenting with a heart attack is a thrombolytic injection to destroy the clot, it’s thanks to Frederick Feit.  If it’s understood that patients with both diabetes and multi vessel heart disease can be effectively treated with balloon angioplasty, rather than the far more invasive bypass surgery, it’s thanks to Frederick Feit.  And if we now have well-defined, proven-effective regimens for at-risk cardiology patients, it’s once again thanks to Frederick Feit. 

Dr. Feit has led some of the world’s most significant clinical trials to establish these standards of care, in the process shedding important light on the design of clinical trials themselves. He has educated peers in optimizing patient outcomes, both through extensive publications in the major medical and cardiology journals, and through countless presentations across the world, while also training more than 100 Interventional Cardiology fellows. Oh, and in his “spare time” Dr. Feit hosts the immensely popular weekly “Heart-to-Heart” program on  SiriusXM Radio - Dr. Radio. 

Master Researcher:  Ruth Lehmann, PhD, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology

A Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Ruth Lehmann is a scientist of truly international stature. She is an author with a stellar publication record, a speaker with invitations from around the globe, and a member of scientific advisory boards for some of the world’s most prestigious research organizations. 

Most impressively, Dr. Lehmann is an acknowledged trailblazer in three different disciplines-- developmental genetics, cell interactions in organ development and the biology of stem cells. Her originality of thought, creativity of design and rigor of execution have earned her an array of honors, most recently a medal for distinguished and sustained research from the Society of Developmental Biology.

Since joining our Medical Center in 1996, Dr. Lehmann has assumed a growing list of pivotal responsibilities in our scientific community. The climate of excellence she has fostered in her five years as director of the Skirball Institute has vastly burnished the Institute’s reputation and ability to attract outstanding new talent.  Her unparalleled ability to see patterns and connections where no one else can, has taken the Institute from a collection of four strong but self-contained programs, to a cohesive, interlocking unit capable of tackling even larger questions and finding even more important answers.

In parallel, the Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology, which Dr. Lehmann has led since its inception in 2006, now boasts over 45 faculty members, training program in the Sackler Institute, and training grants both from the National Cancer Institute and from NYSTEM to support pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees.  

As results like those make abundantly clear, Dr. Lehmann is revered as an inspirational leader, who not only sets the highest standards through the exceptional caliber of her own investigations in germ line biology, but who also creates an environment of encouragement, acknowledgement and excitement! She lives the values of collaboration and collegiality, both in the democratic, inclusive way decisions are made, and in her devotion to developing the talents of others.

Master Educator: Melvin G. Rosenfeld, PhD, associate professor; associate dean for Medical Education; director Histology Course, Departments of Cell Biology and Administration

Melvin Rosenfeld, PhD, joined NYU School of Medicine in 1978, as a gifted, highly productive post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. David Sabatini, conducting pioneering studies on protein trafficking and lysosome biogenesis. In 1984, to the immense benefit of generations of students, he entered the classroom, and promptly earned the “Teacher of the Year Award” from the first-year class three years in a row. 

Learning basic science at the very start of medical school from such an accomplished researcher has shaped the trajectory of countless careers, especially given  his  astounding knack for infusing subjects like cell biology and histology, traditionally so daunting for many students, with clarity, accessibility and profound relevance to clinical practice.  And that’s just the “knowledge-transmission” side of the equation.  The other side is the depth of rapport Dr. Rosenfeld builds with his students, through review sessions that are famous for reducing pre-exam anxiety… boundless personal support that often lasts for years…and tireless advocacy for the wellbeing of our student population as a whole. 

We are especially lucky that he has found so many ways to multiply the effects of his own wizardry in the classroom, through the leadership roles he’s taken on at our School over the years: from module director for the first-year basic science curriculum…to chair of the Students Life Committee…to co-chair of the Curriculum Committee…to the position of associate dean for Medical Education he holds today.   

Dr. Rosenfeld’s selfless devotion to the greater good is what brought out the best in everyone in the arduous consensus-building that ultimately yielded C21, the transformative approach to medical education we’re all so proud of today. And amid all those stunning accomplishments, he is someone who still manages to take time, if the centrifuge breaks down, say, or a colleague needs help with a tax return, to stop and fix the problem.

In addition to the Master Awards, The Valentine Mott Founders Award was conferred on Trustee William R. Berkley. The award, named for the father of modern surgery and co-founder of NYU School of Medicine, is presented to an individual who has shown exceptional support for the clinical, research and education missions of the Medical Center.

Mr. Berkley founded his first company with $2500 -- When he was barely old enough to vote.  In fact, he was still a student at Harvard Business School.  By 2004, it had joined the ranks of the Fortune 500!  A trustee of NYU Langone Medical Center since 2007, Mr. Berkley chairs the Compensation and Benefits Committee, and serves on the Finance and Operating Committees, as well. He’s also a vice chair of the Board of Trustees at New York University,  and chair of the Board of Overseers of the Stern School of Business. In each of those capacities, he exhibits that rare and indescribably helpful combination:  a thought leader who puts in major “sweat equity.” He has an uncanny eye for the smallest, salient detail…and the broadest intellectual panorama… at one and the same time. He can spot an emerging  long-term trend faster than most people can scan today’s headlines, and he has applied that phenomenal talent to helping organizations like ours plan far more wisely than we ever could without him.


Media Inquiries:

Lorinda Klein

212.404.3533 | 917.693.4846