At this year’s 11th Castle Connolly Annual National Physician of the Year Awards Gala at the Pierre, the honorees included Northwestern University’s urologist William Catalona Prostate Cancer SPORE Director; U. of Michigan Health Systems’ Prof. of Neurology Eva L. Feldman M.D., Ph.D.; and Suzanne Oparil M.D. Director of Vascular Biology & Hypertension Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Dept. of Medicine.
Castle Connolly’s National Health Leadership Award was presented to Todd Slotkin, Co-founder, director and former chairman of the Food Allergy Research & Education who launched his acceptance speech with a tribute “to the founding families of the Food Allergy Inititiative—the Hannans, the Jaffes, the Manns, the Silversteins, and the Sossins. Together we founded FAI almost 20 years ago and it was one of the predecessor organizations to Food Allergy research and Education or Fare.”
“Our goals was simple: We wanted to find a cure, and keep our children safe. We merged with other organizations in 2008 and in 2012 and became FARE…. My wife Judy was the one who in 1998 urged me to get involved in finding a cure for food allergies. Once our sons, Thomas, and Peter— who are here tonight—were diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies, she realized not enough was being done to support families who had to contend with the challenges posed by this major health problem 24/7. Imagine having to worry about every piece of food you eat or touch.
“Although there is still a great deal to do, we are proud of what we have accomplished: We have raised food allergy awareness; We were the impetus behind the 2004 plain English U.S. Label law regarding the listing of ingredients in food. We have granted and invested $80 million in research including the A-immune peanut study which is a Phase III oral immune therapy involving 500 children which—we hope— will lead to the first commercial introduction of an FDA approved therapy. And… FARE is now the undisputed leader and advocate for the 15 million food allergic Americans.”
And that includes members of my own family who owe FARE a debt of gratitude.
Emceed by TV journalist Jane Hanson, participants and award presenters included John K. Castle, Chairman; John J. Connolly, Ed.D. President and CEO of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd.; William Liss-Levinson, Ph.D., Vice President, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer.
So, if you are looking for a specialist, your best bet—with all due respect to relatives, best friends, neighbors, fellow train commuters or waiting room strangers who vow, “mine is the best doctor in the world”— is to check out the “Castle Connolly Annual Top Doctors Reference” in which fellow physicians vet their peers.