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Three UMSOM Faculty Members Recognized as 2021 Maryland Daily Record Health Care Heroes

August 24, 2021

Dr. Vujaskovic, Dr. Frieman, and Dr. Reynolds, are Among those Honored for Extraordinary Work During the Past Year

Zeljko Vujaskovic, MD, PhDThe Maryland Daily Record has honored three leading faculty members at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) with its 2021 Health Care Heroes Awards. The award recognizes those who have provided exceptional service and made significant impacts on the quality of health care in the State of Maryland this year. An outside panel of health care experts selected the winners.

Zeljko Vujaskovic, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology and Director of the Division of Translational Radiation Sciences; Matthew B. Frieman, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; and H. Neal Reynolds, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Director for the Maryland Critical Care Network; are among 28 individuals recognized as Health Care Heroes this year.

Dr Vujaskovic received a Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his innovative contributions to radiation oncology and hyperthermic therapy.  Dr. Frieman was recognized in the COVID-19 Heroes Award Category, which recognizes individuals who have led the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Reynolds was recognized in the Physician of the Year Category for his innovative work with robots and telemedicine to treat COVID patients.

“The 2021 Health Care Heroes have faced incredible challenges but have never given up,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, senior group publisher for the Daily Record. “Their knowledge, skills, and leadership are making a significant impact on patients, families, the industry, and the community. Dr. Vujaskovic has been a longstanding leader in his dedication to improving outcomes for patients living with cancer.  Both Dr. Frieman and Dr. Reynolds have contributed outstanding work this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dr. Vujaskovic’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Matthew B. Frieman, PhDFor more than 30 years, Dr. Vujaskovic’s career has centered on transdisciplinary research that bridges the gap between basic science and clinical research to improve outcomes and long-term quality of life among cancer patients. He established the Division of Translational Radiation Sciences in 2021 with a mission to accelerate the discovery and clinical implementation of new therapeutic strategies in clinical radiotherapy. Recently, he assumed leadership of the Maryland Proton Alliance, where he plans to explore synergies between proton beam therapy and hyperthermia, among other research initiatives.  

“Receiving a Lifetime Achievement award from The Daily Record is a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Vujaskovic. “I am grateful to the amazing colleagues, students, and support staff who have helped shape our research in radiation and thermal oncology therapies and the unwavering support of the leadership at the UMSOM, even during the most challenging of years.”

Dr. Frieman’s COVID-19 Heroes Award

An internationally recognized virologist, Dr. Frieman specializes in studying highly pathogenic coronaviruses of public health concern. His overall goal is to create therapeutic interventions by developing a detailed understanding of how the viruses interact with the host. His successful development of mouse models has enabled the therapeutic development of vaccines, antibodies, small molecules, novel and repurposed drugs, and other therapeutics to combat these virulent viruses.

“I am honored to receive the Health Care Heroes award,” said Dr. Frieman. “We have faced so many unprecedented hardships since the onset of the pandemic. I feel privileged that my lab’s work has helped so many people.”

H. Neal Reynolds, MDDr. Reynold’s Physician of the Year Award

Dr. Reynolds has contributed extensively to telehealth and a tele-ICU program utilizing robotic technology. To continue treating patients while maintaining personal safety during the pandemic, Dr. Reynolds created a robotic telehealth program that can be controlled from his home over twenty miles away. After the initial COVID-19 outbreak, Dr. Reynolds could not continue working in the hospital due to an underlying health condition. His work with the telehealth robot, known as “Fast Freddy,” allowed him to communicate with patients and on-site health care workers. He is currently studying the use of infrared image enhancement to strengthen the quality of telehealth examinations. 

“It is a great honor to be recognized as a Daily Record Health Care Hero,” said Dr. Reynolds. “Health care workers across the globe have endured and overcome so much this past year due to the pandemic; they have risked their lives and devoted countless hours to help combat the virus. I am humbled to be recognized for my contribution.”

About The Daily Record

Celebrating 133 years of journalistic excellence, The Daily Record is a multimedia news source that publishes a print and online edition five days a week and breaks news daily on its website, In addition, The Daily Record publishes more than 30 special products a year including Women Who Lead, Doing Business in Maryland, Way to Be and Expanding Opportunities. The Daily Record also honors leading Marylanders through nine annual awards events including Maryland's Top 100 Women, Influential Marylanders, and Most Admired CEOs. Its Digital Marketing Solutions helps customers with social media, search engine marketing and optimization, retargeting, email marketing and more. The Daily Record is part of BridgeTower Media, one of the country’s leading business-to-business media companies with more than 40 print and digital publications in more than 25 U.S. markets.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 46 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs, and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has nearly $600 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding.  As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 students, trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of over $6 billion and an economic impact of nearly $20 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity (according to the Association of American Medical Colleges profile) is an innovator in translational medicine, with 606 active patents and 52 start-up companies.  In the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of the Best Medical Schools, published in 2021, the UM School of Medicine is ranked #9 among the 92 public medical schools in the U.S., and in the top 15 percent (#27) of all 192 public and private U.S. medical schools.  The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit



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