A Widely Recognized Physician-Scientist, Dr. Drake Joins Dean’s Leadership Team to Found New Sarcoidosis Research Initiative and Mentor Physician Faculty at UMSOM
University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Dean Mark T. Gladwin, MD, announced today that Wonder Puryear Drake, MD has been named Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Director of the Sarcoidosis Program at UMSOM, and faculty member in the Department of Medicine.
A highly respected and nationally recognized physician-scientist, Dr. Drake also will serve as the Director of a new UMSOM Center of Excellence dedicated to sarcoidosis, a rare disease of unknown origin that primarily affects African Americans in the U.S. Sarcoidosis is characterized by the growth of granulomas, or collections of tiny inflammatory cells, throughout the body. These often present in a patient's lungs and lymph nodes but can also affect the eyes, skin, and other organs.
Dr. Drake will provide strategic direction for the multi-disciplinary program, which will train a new generation of physician scientists in advancing the management of sarcoidosis, while expanding its diagnostic capabilities to gain a better understanding of this disease and implementing novel immunomodulatory therapeutics.
In addition, as Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Dr. Drake will lead efforts to mentor and develop the careers of physician-scientists. She will partner with programs such as the Center for Advanced Research Training and Innovation (CARTI) and the Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program to further accelerate progress in this area.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) were recently awarded a 5-year, $13.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enhance efforts at recruiting and training junior faculty from underrepresented groups in biomedical science. The grant comes from the NIH Common Fund, the Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program, founded last year for the purpose of supporting efforts to hire diverse groups of early-career research faculty.
“Dr. Drake is an accomplished academic leader, a widely published scientific investigator and pioneer in the field of Sarcoidosis. She has dedicated much of her career to mentoring young physician-scientists with a particular focus on under-represented minorities,” said Mark T. Gladwin, MD, Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “Dr. Drake will provide a tremendous resource for our junior faculty as they advance their careers in scientific research. I look forward to her playing a major role in helping us meet the challenge of recruiting, mentoring and advancing the careers of underrepresented groups on our faculty.”
Dr. Drake earned her MD degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, served her internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and completed a fellowship and joined the faculty in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Prior to joining UMSOM, she was a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She was also the Robert A. Goodwin, Jr. Professor of Medicine, professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, and served as the inaugural director of the Vanderbilt Sarcoidosis Center of Excellence.
In 2022, Dr. Drake was elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians, one of the nation’s most respected medical honor societies. She was previously elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (2008) and the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) (2016). Drake serves as an associate editor of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. In addition to having served or chaired NIH LCMI study sections, she currently serves on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases intramural Board of Scientific Councilors.
An accomplished investigator, Dr. Drake has sustained NIH funding in her research portfolio for sarcoidosis research, including focusing on the development of clinical prediction models for pulmonary outcomes in sarcoidosis. She also has lectured widely and published intensively.
“I am absolutely thrilled to work here at UMSOM. The collegiality, enthusiasm and intellectual prowess will enable us to propel sarcoidosis research to even greater heights,” Dr. Drake said. "Furthermore, the capacity to work in this capacity with such talented early career faculty is invigorating."
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 $1.3 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 medschool.umaryland.edu