The Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Awards® are awarded annually to honor those exemplary physicians and leaders whose dedication to medical care, education, research and public service have significantly impacted the delivery of healthcare in New Jersey and around the nation. This 80-year-old event debuted in 1939 and has been sponsored by MDAdvantage Insurance Company since 2003.
The mission of the EJI Excellence in Medicine Foundation is to promote and encourage excellence in medical care and healthcare for the citizens of New Jersey. The Foundation is committed to recruiting and retaining medical talent in New Jersey. Profits from this annual event will be dedicated to the Excellence in Medicine Scholarship Fund; significant scholarships are provided to medical and healthcare students who represent the values of the Foundation and intend to practice in New Jersey. The Excellence in Medicine Scholarship Fund brings the mission of the event full circle. By acknowledging the accomplishments of physicians and scientists in the prime of their careers, we are also inspiring our students to strive to make their own unique contributions.
This year’s awards dinner will be held on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at Park Château Estate and Gardens in East Brunswick, New Jersey. To order tickets, participate as a Scholarship Honor Roll member, place an ad in this year’s awards journal or make a direct contribution, please contact the Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Foundation at 609-803-2350 or visit www.EJIawards.org.
Stephen Garrett, PhD
Outstanding Medical Educator Award
Presented to a medical educator who has made an outstanding contribution to graduate or undergraduate medical education in New Jersey.
Stephen Garrett, PhD, is Associate Dean of Student Affairs of the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS).
Dr. Garrett received his PhD degree in 1986 from The Johns Hopkins University, where he was a Scholar of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in microbial genetics at Princeton University. After finishing his post-doctoral training, he joined Duke University Medical Center as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Cancer Biology in 1989, where he remained until he came to NJMS in 1997. Between 1989 and 2007, when he shut down his lab to assume a position within the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Garrett carried out NIH- and American Cancer Society–supported studies on the mechanisms of cell growth regulation and ion homeostasis and was awarded a Junior Faculty Award from the American Cancer Society in 1992.
Throughout his career, Dr. Garrett has been committed to student education, lecturing in more than 20 individual medical and graduate courses and designing and/or directing seven courses. Reflecting his commitment to education, Dr. Garrett was appointed Assistant Dean of Curriculum of the School of Graduate Studies in 2009, where he directed the design and development of courses contributing to the PhD and master’s programs. Within the NJMS curriculum, Dr. Garrett has directed the main infectious disease course within the preclinical curriculum for the past seven years and has lectured in the course for 20 years. More recently, Dr. Garrett played a major role in the development of the first-year medical course Foundations of Body Systems, which incorporated basicscience components from first- and second-year medical courses and was essential to the adoption of the New Jersey Medical School Organ System–based curriculum in 2014.
Along with his contributions to course direction and design, Dr. Garrett has served on a number of graduate and medical committees dedicated to education, including the Pre-Clinical Curriculum Committee and the Committee on Academic Programs and Policies of NJMS. For these efforts, Dr. Garrett has received multiple Golden Apple awards, the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Faculty Organization Teaching Award. In 2010, he was made a member of the Stuart D. Cook, MD, Master Educator Guild.
Dr. Garrett’s current position as Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Vice Chair for the NJMS Student Affairs Committee follows a long career of advocacy, including service as the inaugural Director of the Molecular Cancer Biology PhD graduate program at Duke, Director of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics PhD graduate program at Rutgers NJMS, Program Director of the Rutgers SGS master’s program and Campus Program Director of the Alfred Sloan Foundation–funded Minority PhD Program.
Bonita F. Stanton, MD
Outstanding Medical Educator Award
Presented to a medical educator who has made an outstanding contribution to graduate or undergraduate medical education in New Jersey.
Bonita F. Stanton, MD, is Founding Dean, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, and President, Academic Enterprise, Hackensack Meridian Health, and holds the Robert C. and Laura C. Garrett Endowed Chair for the School of Medicine Dean. Under her leadership, the School of Medicine matriculated its first class of students on July 9, 2018.
Dr. Stanton earned her medical degree at the Yale University School of Medicine, completed her pediatric residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (Case Western Reserve) and received her Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship training at Yale University School of Medicine.
During the period of 2002 to 2016, Dr. Stanton served as the Vice Dean for Research for four years and as the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatrician-inChief at Children’s Hospital of Michigan for 10 years. She had served for three years as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University and as Division Chief of General Pediatrics at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine for 11 years. Before that, she lived and worked with her family in Bangladesh for five years, where she served as a health consultant to the World Bank and a research scientist for the International Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research.
Dr. Stanton’s career has been focused on improving the health of under-represented minorities and disenfranchised populations. She has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for 25 years. While at the University of Maryland, she was the Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of the federally funded Center for Minority Health Research. Her research in the United States and the Caribbean has been concerned with health issues of urban youth, and her work overseas has similarly focused on vulnerable populations, including women (Bangladesh), migrant populations (China) and rural African youth (Namibia). In addition, she served as the Medical Director of Yale University’s School of Medicine Hill Health Center, delivering healthcare to the urban poor in New Haven and as the Director for the Urban Volunteer Program, a community-based research and service program directed to the health of Bangladeshi women and children living in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
She has consulted for numerous national and international groups, including the World Bank, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and USAID, on issues related to urban health, HIV/AIDS transmission in youth, maternal child health, vaccines and health services research. She has been an author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and has served as an editor of Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, along with many other journals and books. Among many local, national and international advisory roles, she was a member of the Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center and was President of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairpersons.
Gary S. Horan, FACHE
Outstanding Healthcare Executive Award
Presented to an executive in a healthcare-related organization or field who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the enhancement of patient care and medical practice in New Jersey.
Gary S. Horan, FACHE, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Trinitas Health and Trinitas Regional Medical Center since 2001.
Mr. Horan has extensive experience in healthcare leadership among hospitals in New Jersey and New York. Before coming to Trinitas, he served for 11 years as the President and CEO of Our Lady of Mercy Healthcare System, Bronx, New York, and he has held senior leadership positions with New York University Medical Center, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of New York and JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. Mr. Horan earned his MA degree in Healthcare Administration from the George Washington University, School of Government and Business.
Among his many professional and civic appointments, Mr. Horan is past Chairman and current Vice Chairman of the Hospital Alliance of New Jersey, past Chairman and current member of the Board of Governors of the Greater New York Hospital Association and a past Chairman of the Hospital Association of New York State. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Catholic Healthcare Partnership of New Jersey and is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Horan is a past Governor of The American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a past member of the Board of New Jersey Hospital Association and is currently Chairman of the New Jersey Hospital Association HealthPAC Board of Directors. Mr. Horan is a member of the Union County College Board of Governors and is a member of the Board of Directors of SOAR! He is also a member of the Board of CrimeStoppers of Union County.
Roger K. Strair, MD, PhD
Edward J. Ill Physician’s Award®
Presented to a New Jersey physician for dedication and extraordinary service to the profession and to the citizens of the state.
Roger K. Strair, MD, PhD, is the Chief of the Division of Blood Disorders, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Dr. Strair graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his hematology/oncology internship, residency and fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Woman’s Hospital. Dr. Strair held a faculty position at Yale and then joined what is now the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 1993 as a Founding Member.
Dr. Strair is an expert in hematologic malignancies and related diseases and works closely with colleagues across all disciplines at the Cancer Institute, at other national and international institutions and in the community to develop new treatments designed to improve the care of patients with acute or chronic leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelodysplasia or other blood/immune-related diseases. Dr. Strair is the author or co-author of more than 55 peer-reviewed publications and works as part of a basic, translational and clinical research team that has successfully developed a variety of new investigator-initiated treatment approaches currently being studied in clinical trials at the Cancer Institute.
David S. Kountz, MD, MBA
Verice M. Mason Community Service Leader Award
Presented to an individual who has personified, led and provided the vision for an organization, and to the organization served, for extraordinary commitment to improving the health and welfare of the citizens of New Jersey.
David S. Kountz, MD, MBA, will accept the Verice M. Mason Community Service Leader Award on behalf of the Hackensack Meridian Health. Dr. Kountz serves as Professor of Medicine and Founding Associate Dean for Diversity and Equity at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, Co-Chief Academic Officer and Vice President for Academic Diversity at Hackensack Meridian Health and Vice President, Academic Affairs, at Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Dr. Kountz earned his MD at SUNY/Buffalo School of Medicine and his MBA at Georgian Court University. After residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Kountz was a member of the faculty at Hahnemann, Temple and Robert Wood Johnson Medical Schools before joining Jersey Shore University Medical Center in 2007.
Dr. Kountz has been responsible for advancing the academic mission of the medical center and establishing community outreach programs with local schools and colleges. Mini-Medical School, initiated at Neptune High School in 2013 and now held in collaboration with Monmouth University, is an annual six-week event designed to inspire high school students to consider careers in the health professions. Since inception, more than 500 students have completed the program. In 2014, it was a recipient of the School Leader Award from the New Jersey School Board Association. Dr. Kountz also oversees a summer pipeline program at the medical school for students underrepresented in medicine.
Dr. Kountz has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, editorials and abstracts. In 2002, Dr. Kountz was elected to the Stuart D. Cook, MD, Master Educator Guild of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
William C. Gause, Phd
Outstanding Scientist Award
Presented to an individual or individuals who have made important contributions leading to advances in treatment.
William C. Gause, PhD, is Senior Associate Dean for Research at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, as well as Director of the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (i3d) and Director for the New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) Center for Immunity and Inflammation (CII). He is a tenured Professor of Medicine.
He earned his PhD in 1986 in Immunology, Biochemistry and Physiology from Cornell University and then joined the National Institutes of Health as a research fellow from 1986 to 1989. In 1989, he joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology at the Uniformed Services University, where he served until 2004, becoming a tenured professor and Director of the Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Program. He joined NJMS in 2004 as the Senior Associate Dean for Research and University Professor of Medicine. In 2006, he also became the Director of the interdepartmental Center for Immunity and Inflammation, and in 2016, he was appointed as the Director of the RBHS Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases.
Dr. Gause has published more than 100 papers in prestigious scientific journals, such as Science, Immunity, Nature Medicine, Nature Materials, and Nature Immunology. He has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1985. His work is highly cited and is focused on elucidating macrophage activation during parasite infection, including characterization of a macrophage phenotype that triggers anti-inflammatory and wound healing pathways. His studies have revealed novel immunoregulatory molecules and host-signaling pathways that may have therapeutic potential. Dr. Gause has recently been awarded a patent on the use of parasite products to activate the host-immune response to enhance tissue repair.
At NJMS, Dr. Gause has overseen the expansion of the research mission that has included creation of new research cores and highly productive research centers and institutes. They now serve as a catalyst for cutting-edge research and for fostering independent research programs by junior faculty. In this capacity, with the support of the Dean and the Chancellor, Dr. Gause has spearheaded a recent surge in recruitment to NJMS of outstanding faculty actively engaged in research.
Peter W. Rodino, Jr., Citizen’s Award®
Presented to a citizen or group of citizens of New Jersey who merits recognition for distinguished service in advancing and promoting the health and well-being of the people of our state.
Jack Morris is President and CEO of Edgewood Properties and Chairman of RWJBarnabas Health Board of Trustees and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Board of Directors. He also serves as a Board member of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Foundation, and is a partner in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.
Mr. Morris was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and spent most of his youth in Highland Park. He started Jack Morris Construction, specializing in the construction of custom homes at the young age of 18 years. In 1992, Jack Morris and his wife, Sheryl, formed Edgewood Properties, which is responsible for the development of residential and commercial properties throughout the United States.
Mr. Morris has served as a Board Director of the New Jersey Builders’ Association. He has been named an honoree by Spectrum for Living Foundation and has been honored by and is a Silver Life member of the New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association. He participates in many other charitable organizations, such as Make a Wish.
MDAdvantage Congratulates The 2019 Eji Excellence In Medicine Scholarship Recipients
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School – Class Of 2019
Rowan University School Of Osteopathic Medicine – Class Of 2019
Rutgers School Of Health Professions, Physician Assistant Program – Class Of 2019
A. Michael Luciani
Cooper Medical School Of Rowan University – Class Of 2019
Rutgers School Of Dental Medicine – Class Of 2019
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – Class Of 2019
Seton Hall University School Of Health & Medical Sciences, Physician Assistant Program – Class of 2019
Janet S. Puro, MPH, MBA, is Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Communications at MDAdvantage Insurance Company of New Jersey.