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Elizabeth A. Rich, MD Award

Since 2000, the ATS Membership Committee has presented the Elizabeth A. Rich, MD award to an outstanding woman in ATS who has made significant contributions in the fields of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The award is presented on behalf of Elizabeth A. Rich, MD, a respected ATS member, a mentor, and peer who died tragically at the age of 46 years old. The award recognizes Elizabeth’s dedication and contributions to the field of lung disease research and her position as a female role model and mentor.

To be nominated for the annual Elizabeth A. Rich Award, a candidate should be an outstanding woman who:

  • Has made significant contributions in the fields of pulmonary, critical care and/or sleep medicine,
  • Is an ATS member and has made contributions to the ATS,
  • Is a leader and has mentored others.

The awardee is recognized at the Women’s Forum at the ATS International Conference at which she is invited to speak. She will also be recognized in ATS News, on the ATS web site and in other ATS communications. 

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Suzanne Lareau, RN, MS, FAAN (left), 2013 Elizabeth A. Rich, MD Award
recipient, with Anne Dixon, MD (right)

Over the years the ATS Membership Committee has presented this distinguished award to talented and outstanding women, including:

2013 Suzanne Lareau, RN, MS, FAAN
2012 Pamela Zeitlin, MD, PhD
2011 Serpil Erzurum, MD
2010 Sharon I.S. Rounds, MD
2009 Patricia W. Finn, MD
2008 Pamela Davis, MD, PhD
2007 Deborah Cook, MD
2006 Polly A. Parsons, MD
2005 Sally E. Wenzel, MD
2004 Lynn M. Schnapp, MD
2003 Claire M. Doerschuk, MD
2002 Deborah Shure, MD
2001 Molly L. Osborne, MD, PhD
2000 Jeanine Wiener-Kronish, MD

Nominations for the award may be submitted to jian@thoracic.org.

About Elizabeth A. Rich, MD

e-rich

Elizabeth A. Rich, MD, was born in Baton Rouge, LA and earned her bachelors degree from Memphis State. She went on to received her MD from the University of Tennessee and completed her internship and residency at the City of Memphis Hospital. When she finished her residency, she pursued her love of the violin for six months in France, returning to conduct research in laboratories at the University of Tennessee while supporting herself by moonlighting in the emergency room. Elizabeth’s goal was to become a first rate pulmonary immunologist, and in 1982 she moved to Case Western Reserve University for a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She soon became an independent world renowned expert in the pulmonary alveolar macrophage, tuberculosis, and AIDS. Her research portfolio grew to include major research programs in tuberculosis and AIDS, and her laboratory attracted numerous trainees, whom she mentored with characteristic respect, verve, and vision.

Elizabeth’s personal creativity spilled into her work and was characterized by novel thinking and insights into the function of the lung. Her dedication to finding the truth, her willingness to question dogma (including her own), her sly sense of humor, and her full engagement in life made her a sought-after mentor and treasured friend. At the time of her death, Elizabeth’s grant portfolio totaled about four million dollars and included, near and dear to her heart, a T32 training grant in pulmonary immunology. She was killed in a traffic accident in July of 1998, at the age of 46, and left a considerable scientific and personal legacy.

Written by Pamela David, MD, PhD (Elizabeth was Pamela’s former fellow)