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University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson to Receive Top Honor for Advancing Diversity in Medicine and Access to Health Care

April 28, 2015

Donald E. Wilson, MD, MACP, AGAF

Pioneering Dean will be awarded the American College of Physician’s 2015 W. Lester Henry Award in Boston on April 30

The American College of Physicians (ACP) announced today that Donald E. Wilson, MD, MACP, AGAF, the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean Emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), will receive the 2015 W. Lester Henry Award for Diversity and Access to Care. The award is given to an ACP member with outstanding accomplishments in advancing diversity in clinical medicine or research and/or access to care in relation to diverse populations. Dr. Wilson will be honored at ACP’s 2015 Internal Medicine Meeting during the Convocation ceremony Thursday, April 30, 2015, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, in Boston, MA.

A resident of Owing Mills, MD, Dr. Wilson became the nation’s first African American dean of a non-minority medical school in 1991. During his 15 year tenure – the second longest ever for a medical school dean – Dean Wilson created one of the most diverse student bodies and faculties in the country, with the School of Medicine more than tripling the number of full-time underrepresented minority faculty. Now ranked among the top medical schools in the country, the University of Maryland School of Medicine benefitted from Dean Wilson's leadership that promoted the values of cultural and gender diversity and created an all-inclusive atmosphere at the medical school.

The W. Lester Henry Award for Diversity and Access to Care was established in 2008, and in 2012 was named in honor of Dr. W. Lester Henry, the first African-American Regent and Master of the College.

“There is no one more deserving of this award than Don Wilson,” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also the vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. Dean Reece followed Dean Wilson as the 30th Dean of the UM SOM. “He has done more to advance the cause of diversity in medicine more than anyone I know. We are fortunate to stand on his shoulders to continue his pioneering legacy. At the School of Medicine, we join the ACP in extending our heartfelt congratulations for this important honor.”

During his tenure at Maryland, Dean Wilson increased grant and contract awards from $77 million to $350 million; Philanthropic support for the school of medicine rose from $1.7 million to $37 million; and the school's research capacity was strengthened with the construction of two biomedical research buildings.

Dean Wilson's commitment to the education and training of minorities in medicine and research led him to become one of the founders of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians in 1986. He currently serves as president of the Association. An early advocate of curriculum reform, he generated greater awareness of problem-based learning and advocated better integration of basic and clinical education. He also was an early adopter of new technology, requiring all first-year medical students to have laptops and making informatics part of the first-year curriculum.

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Dr. Wilson earned his BA at Harvard University and his MD at Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his internship, residency and fellowship in Boston. Wilson trained in Medicine and gastroenterology and is board certified in both. He has served as chief of gastroenterology at the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago and Chairman of Medicine at SUNY, Downstate in Brooklyn.

During his time as dean at Maryland, Dr. Wilson served as chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission. Dr. Wilson is past chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the AAMC Council of Deans, the first African-American to hold each of these positions. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Clinical and Climatological Association.

He served as vice president of the AOA national board of directors from 2004-2011 and is a Master of the American College of Physicians. He has been honored several times during his career. In 2000 Dr. Wilson received the AAMC’s first Herbert Nickens Award for promoting equality and Justice in Medicine. In 2004 he received the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NIH) first Extramural Associates Distinguished Service Award. In 2006 he received the National Medical Association’s Distinguished Service Award and he was the first recipient of the Institutional Leadership Diversity Award from the AAMC Group on Student Affairs-Minority Affairs Section. Baltimore Magazine named him Baltimorean of the Year in 2007. In 2008 Dr. Wilson received the Abraham Flexner Award from the AAMC, an award given to an individual who has had a major impact on medical education nationally. He holds Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Tufts University and SUNY, Downstate

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

The University of Maryland School of Maryland, chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States, continues today as a leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland, and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists, plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S., with top-tier faculty and programs in vaccine development, cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the U.S., but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world.

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 141,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook. For more information about ACP’s Internal Medicine Meeting 2015, visit


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