Graduates and Supporters of MU School of Medicine Receive Prestigious Awards

April 22 Medical Alumni Organization awards

The University of Missouri School of Medicine and Medical Alumni Organization presented its most prestigious awards to graduates and supporters on April 22 in Columbia. The award recipients were honored during a reception and dinner at the Country Club of Missouri. This is the 63rd year that alumni have been recognized for outstanding achievement, contributions to the field of medicine and support of the School of Medicine.

“I am extremely honored to recognize our award recipients who embody our mission to improve the health of all people through exemplary education, research and patient-centered care,” said Steven Zweig, MD, Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of the MU School of Medicine. “Our alumni and partners are making a difference in their practices, at their institutions, in their communities and in the lives of the many patients and students they touch.”

Awards for 2020 and 2022 were awarded during the event. The School of Medicine’s highest honor — the Citation of Merit — for 2020 was awarded to Alan F. Barker, MD, graduate of the MU School of Medicine class of 1970. Barker is currently a professor of medicine, and pulmonary and critical care at the Oregon Health and Science University. He has conducted valuable clinical research into rare lung diseases, including alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and bronchiectasis and has been funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Alpha-1 Foundation, COPD Foundation and pharmaceutical companies.

The 2022 Citation of Merit was awarded to Lynn Cornelius, MD, a 1984 graduate. Cornelius is now the Winfred A. & Emma R. Showman professor and chief of dermatology at Washington University School of Medicine. Cornelius is an important influence in the dermatological community as a member of the Society of Investigative Dermatology, the Association of Professors in Dermatology, the Dermatology Foundation and the American Skin Association, as well as several other professional organizations. She has served as the vice president of the board of directors of the Society of Investigative Dermatology and has recently been nominated as president-elect among many other placements. Her publications include research papers, book chapters, scientific abstracts and clinical reviews. 

The Outstanding Young Physician Award is presented to distinguished alumni age 45 or younger at the time of nomination. The recipients of 2020 are:

  • Kari L. Martin, MD, class of 2007, associate professor of dermatology and child health at the MU School of Medicine.
  • Dale O. Okorodudu, MD, class of 2010, staff physician in critical care and pulmonary medicine at Dallas VA Medical Center and assistant professor of internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
  • Joshua M. Pevnick, MD, class of 2002, associate professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
  • Adam D. Wheeler, MD, class of 2005, founder of Big Tree Medical and Maverick Health Benefits insurance agency.

The Outstanding Young Physicians Awards for 2022 were given to:

  • Laura Hesemann, MD, class of 2007, associate chief medical officer at MU Health Care.
  • Christian Rojas-Moreno, MD, class of 2011, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Missouri.
  • Jacob Thomas, MD, class of 2007, ophthalmologist at Mattax Neu Prater Eye Center.

Alumni who have distinguished themselves through service to community, medicine or education are recognized with the Distinguished Service Award. For 2022, the School of Medicine honored three alumni:

  • Michelle E. Guy, MD, class of 2000, clinical professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco.
  • George P. Hubbell, MD, class of 1987, private practitioner for Women’s Health Consultants of the Ozarks.
  • Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH, class of 1979, dean and provost of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and CEO of SIU Medicine. He is also a tenured professor of family and community medicine.

For 2022, Mark Costley, MD, class of 1981, received the Distinguished Service Award. Costley is the medical director at Cox Medical Group, and from 2018-20, he served as dean of the MU School of Medicine Springfield Clinical Campus.

In addition, the Honorary Alumni Award is given to supporters who have made special contributions to the MU School of Medicine. For 2020, the School of Medicine recognized Richelle J. Koopman, MD. For 2022, Steve Edwards, president and CEO of Cox Health, received the award.