Health Care Hero Award Winners Feted for Excellence in Research, Medical Practice

Dr. Priscilla Wyrick, Dr. Ronald Hamdy, and the late Dr. Tiejian Wu

JOHNSON CITY (Posted June 30, 2011) – Two renowned professors from East Tennessee State University and a widely admired faculty member who passed away earlier this year are among the recipients of the 2011 Health Care Hero Awards presented by the Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia.

Award winners were Dr. Priscilla Wyrick, chair of the Department of Microbiology at ETSU’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine; Dr. Ronald Hamdy, chairholder of the Cecile Cox Quillen Chair of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology; and the late Dr. Tiejian Wu, who was an associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology in the College of Public Health.

The careers of all three ETSU honorees are marked with distinction in the fields of academic research and medical practice.

Wyrick received the Health Care Heroes Distinguished Service Award for her achievements in microbiological research. She is particularly renowned for her groundbreaking studies of chlamydia. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have funded her research for 30 consecutive years.

In the past year, Wyrick’s accomplishments were also recognized by colleagues overseas. The University of Zürich, one of the top scientific research centers in Europe, presented Wyrick an honorary doctorate.

Hamdy, a professor of internal medicine, is the director of the ETSU Osteoporosis Center. During the recent annual meeting of the International Society of Clinical Densitometry (ISCD), Hamdy received the ISCD Clinician of the Year Award, presented to an outstanding clinician for distinguished service to the field of densitometry in the areas of publication, education or leadership.

Actively involved in patient care, research and teaching in his main areas of expertise, Hamdy has four books and over 200 articles in medical journals and numerous chapters in textbooks to his credit.

Wu, who also held a faculty appointment in the ETSU Department of Family Medicine, remained steadfast in his pursuit of an NIH research grant even while battling cancer. His project, which aims to cut obesity among high school students, is innovative in using ETSU college students as ambassadors who will go into area high schools to promote supportive peer relationships and positive attitudes in regard to healthy eating habits and physical activity.

Wu designed the project and guided it through the application submission process before he died earlier this year. NIH has since notified the university that the grant was approved at the requested $978,000 funding amount, and Wu’s colleagues in the College of Public Health are moving forward with his research.

Profiles of the magazine’s Health Care Heroes and photos of the awards ceremony will be published in the July edition of the Business Journal.