The Department of Medicine (DOM) is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the annual Department of Medicine Career Achievement Award: Jeffrey Crawford, MD, Louis Diehl, MD, and J. Brice Weinberg, MD.
Dr. Crawford is the George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor for Research in Cancer and a member of the Medical Oncology division. Dr. Diehl is a professor in the Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy division, and Dr. Weinberg is a professor in the division Hematology and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
The award recognizes a faculty member whose career at Duke has achieved extraordinary impact in one of the three core missions of the Department of Medicine: education, research, and clinical medicine. Recipients model Duke’s values of excellence, integrity, teamwork, respect, and innovation, and have created sustained legacies that have shaped the institution.
Dr. Jeffrey Crawford
During his long career at Duke, Dr. Crawford, an international leader in the field of thoracic oncology, has demonstrated excellence in medical education, clinical research, and clinical care, and helped to establish Duke as a top tier cancer program through his contributions to the thoracic oncology and medical oncology programs.
His clinical research program has led to chemotherapy approvals in the setting of non-small cell lung cancer, and ways in which to effectively administer chemotherapy through the use of growth factor. Dr. Crawford pioneered the use of colony stimulating factors in reducing fever and neutropenia in his 1991 New England Journal of Medicine paper.
“His work has truly changed the way in which we more safely and effectively administer cytotoxic chemotherapy to our patients with not only advanced cancer, but now to those in the curative intent,” notes nominator, Carey K. Anders, MD, professor in the division of Medical Oncology. “He has more recently turned his supportive care lens to that of cancer cachexia, and novel approaches to impact this critical complication of advanced cancer.”
Dr. Crawford has excelled in every domain of academic medicine including clinical excellence in the care of patients with lung cancer, outstanding contributions to research in both the therapeutic and supportive care realms, excellence in teaching the next generation, and organizational service and advancement in the mission of the department, the division of Medical Oncology and Duke Cancer Institute, Anders adds.
Dr. Louis Diehl
Dr. Diehl has shaped Duke into a premiere training program in hematological malignancies, ensuring the division’s ability to bring cutting-edge, exceptional care to patients, and he is the quintessential scholar, his nominating colleagues say.
A practicing physician for over 40 years, he has held numerous leadership positions at Walter Reed, Johns Hopkins and at Duke, repeatedly winning teaching awards at all of these prestigious institutions. Since his arrival at Duke in 2005, he has won awards at Duke from both the fellowship program and the department. Dr. Diehl is co-author on more than 90 manuscripts.
“He is a consummate clinician, educator, and physician,” says Nelson Chao, MD, MBA, chief of the division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy. “He is what you would call a physician’s physician. He treats all with care, compassion, generosity and thoughtfulness. One of the most important aspects is that all of the faculty view him as a trusted colleague who will challenge when appropriate and praise when appropriate.”
Driven by shear passion, Dr. Diehl remains an active inpatient physician on the hematological malignancies ward, caring for high numbers of the sickest patients in the hospital, his colleagues write in his nomination letter, and he continues to ensure amazing care of patients and mentorship to those long-ago trained and new to the field, and he does it with a unique blend of intensity and joy.
Dr. J. Brice Weinberg
This year marks Dr. Weinberg’s 45th year as a DOM faculty member. He has been a well-funded and highly productive investigator, with a common theme in his studies focusing on the interrelationships between nitric oxide (NO), cytokines, and monocytes and macrophages, to determine their contributions to a wide variety of disorders including human infections such as HIV, malaria, acute leukemia, other malignancies and autoimmune disorders.
He has more than 275 peer-reviewed publications and has received continuous scientific funding since 1978 from governmental, non-profit, industry, and philanthropic sources. His contributions on many fronts circle around his interest in the biology of NO and NO synthase, says his nominator, Thomas L. Ortel, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of Hematology.
“In collaboration with colleagues at Muhimbili Medical Center in Tanzania, he showed that NO levels are decreased in patients with malaria, and that higher NO levels appeared to be protective against the development of severe disease,” Ortel notes. “Subsequent work identified multiple mechanisms that contribute to low NO levels in patients with malaria and other observations that have opened the door for new studies evaluating novel adjunctive strategies to improve outcomes in severe malaria.”
Dr. Weinberg also has a longstanding clinical and research interest in leukemia, particularly chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Linking his studies in leukemia with his other areas of interest, he has shown that NO can kill leukemia cells as well as induce differentiation of immature leukemia cells into mature functional cells. He has also studied CLL through genomics projects, clinical investigations, and family studies.