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Release: April 25, 2000

Iowa Medical Society awards UI College of Medicine's Kelch, Crist

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Medical Society (IMS) honored two University of Iowa College of Medicine faculty and staff members with awards at the IMS annual banquet and sesquicentennial celebration April 14 in Des Moines.

Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine, and Louis Crist, director of the college's Office of Continuing Medical Education (CME) Division, received the awards for outstanding contributions to the field of medicine.

Kelch received the Merit Award, which goes to a physician who has made outstanding contributions to the profession and to the IMS, said Siroos Shirazi, M.D., president of the IMS and a UI professor of surgery. The award honored and recognized Kelch's achievements in academic medicine and his efforts to strengthen the role of organized medicine with academic physicians.

"I am greatly honored to have been chosen," Kelch said. "It has been a great pleasure for me to work with Siroos Shirazi and fellow members of the IMS. I have been especially pleased with the new directions the IMS has taken over the last several years, and I believe that together we can affect significant positive change in the health care of all Iowans."

In addition to holding the title of dean, Kelch is also professor of pediatrics in the UI College of Medicine. He recently led the successful $30 million fundraising campaign to provide new facilities and endowments for the college. Kelch received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and served as a resident and fellow, educator and administrator there before joining the UI in 1994. He serves in many professional organizations, including membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the advisory board of the council of deans of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Crist received the John F. Sanford Award, which is given annually to IMS nonmembers in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the public health of Iowans and the medical profession. Crist was specifically recognized for outstanding work in the area of continuing medical education for Iowa physicians. Past recipients have included former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray, John Colloton, vice-president of UI Statewide Health Services, and Elaine Szymoniak, state senator from Des Moines.

"This is not only a great honor, but it is somewhat humbling as well, considering the list of distinguished people who have been past recipients," Crist said. "I especially appreciate the kindness of Richard Nelson for nominating me and the number of Iowa physicians who followed up with letters of support."

Crist joined the UI College of Medicine in 1972 as part of the Iowa Regional Medical Program before joining the college's CME division in 1976. He became director of the division in 1996. The CME division provides services to faculty and staff, as well as individuals outside of the college who seek College of Medicine sponsorship of their continuing medical education activities.

The Iowa Medical Society seeks to advance medical science and promote fair medical laws and regulations in Iowa. The membership is made up of more than 4,000 physicians in Iowa.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.