Ralph Corey, MD, professor of medicine (Infectious Disease) and vice chair for education and global health, is the 2014 recipient of the Walter E. Stamm Mentor Award, presented by the Infectious Diseases Society of America at IDWeek 2014 in Philadelphia last weekend.
The Walter E. Stamm Mentor Award, which honors the memory of a former IDSA president who was renowned for nurturing the careers of others, recognizes individuals who have served as exemplary mentors, and who have been exceptional in guiding the professional growth of infectious disease professionals.
"This is a special honor," said Dr. Corey, adding his thanks for the many compliments and stories his former trainees and collaborators shared with the IDSA to reflect his deep commitment to training medical professionals.
In giving him the award, IDSA praised Corey for being a tireless mentor who has influenced the careers of hundreds of physicians.
For nearly 20 years, until 2002, Dr. Corey was program director of the internal medicine residency training program at Duke University Medical Center, where he created innovative training programs in clinical epidemiology and global health as well as combined programs in medicine/psychiatry and medicine/pediatrics. Now in his fourth decade of training physicians, he continues to teach and mentor housestaff, in addition to his ongoing research, clinical care, and global health work.
"This is both impressive and well-deserved," said John Perfect, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. "I am simply proud to have been his colleague for 37 years."
Dr. Perfect submitted one of three official letters nominating Corey for the award. Perfect noted that he continues to see Corey's commitment in guiding Duke's infectious diseases fellows and attempting to make an impact on the trainees.
"In his 4th decade of training he continues to be a force of nature around the Duke Medical Center with legendary status for teaching and caring for the development of physicians," wrote Perfect.
Helen Boucher, MD, associate professor of medicine at Tufts Medical Center, met Corey in 2002 as they planned to convene an adjudication committee for a global study of S. aureus bloodstream infection. She also submitted a letter of nomination, along with 11 letters of support written by former trainees of Corey.
"Dr. Corey's legacy is the success of his mentees, several of whom are division chiefs, professors, associate professors, program directors, and leaders in industry," wrote Boucher. The physicians who offered support letters, she added, echoed a key point: "Ralph Corey's mentoring role in their career was pivotal."
Boucher illustrated that by pointing to the fact that in more than 150 of Corey's 232 peer-reviewed publications, one of his mentees was a first or last author, while Corey assumed a less visible authorship spot.
"This fully exemplifies the qualities that the IDSA Mentoring Award seeks to honor," she wrote.
"Without Ralph Corey, there would be no Vance Fowler in academic medicine," said Vance Fowler, MD, MHS, professor of medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases).
Dr. Fowler completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Duke in the 1990s, when Corey was program director, and coordinated the nomination of Corey for this prestigious IDSA award. He currently leads six-year, $62 million federal grant that is coordinating a national leadership group focused on antibacterial resistance.