While their roles and backgrounds may be varied, Duke University President Vincent E. Price said that the five Duke employees honored with Presidential Awards on Thursday, including Andrew Lodge, MD, associate professor of surgery and pediatrics, and M. Louise Markert, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, are united in their drive to make Duke – and by extension the wider world – a healthier, more compassionate place.
“We’re laboring along nearly 40,000 employees with one common principle,” Price said during Thursday’s ceremony at the Washington Duke Inn. “And that’s by working together for the betterment of this university, we are able to transform the world around us. We’re here to today to celebrate that purpose.”
The Presidential Award, one of Duke’s highest honors, is given to staff and faculty for outstanding job performance and distinctive contributions within the past calendar year. The awards for 2017 are presented in five categories: Clerical/Office Support, Clinical Professional, Executive, Managerial and Service Maintenance.
Price presented the winners with a Presidential Medallion and a check for $1,000 at the ceremony. Also honored were 23 Meritorious Award winners drawn from the five categories.
“I can’t thank all of our university employees enough, but today is a special opportunity to say thank you to these exceptional Duke University people,” Price said.
Curiosity and generosity drive Presidential Award winners
Here are the Duke Children's and Duke Pediatrics Presidential Award winners for 2017:
Andrew Lodge, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, Duke University Hospital
Lodge’s commitment to serving Duke’s young patients was easy to spot in 2017, when, for nearly eight months, he was the lone pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Duke Children’s Hospital. During that time, he attended to 198 cases and performed 34 emergency surgeries. He was also on-call for heart transplants and emergencies the whole time.
He’s earned praise from colleagues for his work ethic – he’s published roughly 110 articles for medical journals – and for his generosity – he’s organized three trips to provide care to underserved children in the Philippines.
He’s also demonstrated unique compassion for patients he serves at Duke.
“This year, he performed ‘heart surgery’ on a patient’s American Girl doll so the patient and her doll would have the same scar,” said Anne Schmelzer, clinical nurse with Duke Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center. “This shows his love and dedication to the patients, their families and health care team.”
M. Louise Markert, MD, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics
A member of the Duke Department of Pediatrics’ Allergy and Immunology Division since 1984, Markert has spent most of her career researching the thymus transplantation as a treatment of DiGeorge syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects heart function and development.
The work of Markert and her team has yielded promising results and has expanded to focus on using thymus transplantation to help infants born with a rare and often fatal form of DiGeorge syndrome.
“There is no one else in the world doing this research,” said Rebecca H. Buckley, the James Buren Sidbury Professor of Pediatrics. “Support of her work is critical for her to be able to bring the promise of thymus transplantation, for all who will need it in the future, to fruition.”