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University of Iowa News Release

June 6, 2005

UI Carver College Of Medicine To Honor Distinguished Alumni June 10

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will honor the achievements of six alumni at its 2005 Distinguished Alumni Awards presentation Friday, June 10 in Iowa City.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor the college bestows upon its outstanding graduates. Established in 1998, this awards program recognizes former students and colleagues who have transcended their fundamental roles as health care providers, scientists and educators to become influential participants in the advancement of medicine.

The Award for Achievement recognizes UI Carver College of Medicine alumni for significant accomplishments in science and medicine. Receiving this year's award are William Connor, M.D., and Bruce Gantz, M.D.

The Early Achievement Award, established in 2004, honors individuals who are less than 15 years removed from their medical training at Iowa and who have already achieved distinction in their fields. This year's recipient is Gerard Clancy, M.D.

The Award for Service is presented to medical alumni for meritorious service to their community, state or nation. This year's recipients are Francois Abboud, M.D. (Award for Service and Achievement), David Sack, M.D. (Award for Service), and Clifford Smith, M.D. (Award for Service and Friendship).

William Connor earned his bachelor's degree (1942) and master's degree (1950) at the UI. He currently is professor of endocrinology, diabetes and clinical nutrition at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine in Portland, Ore. Today, the link between cholesterol and heart disease is common knowledge, thanks in large part to pioneering lipid and dietary cholesterol studies by Connor. He has spent his professional life exploring the relationship between what people eat and how it affects their hearts, their brains and the rest of their bodies. Connor joined the UI faculty in 1958, and his research showed that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat increased plasma cholesterol, and that saturated fats caused blood clots. He moved to Oregon in 1975, and published research showing how omega-3 fatty acids prevented blood clots and lowered blood triglyceride. Connor continues to conduct research and see patients twice a week at OHSU.

Bruce Gantz received his bachelor's (1968), master's (1980) and medical (1974) degrees at the UI. He also completed his medical residency in otolaryngology at the UI in 1980. Today he serves as professor and head of the UI Department Otolaryngology, and is known for his expertise in the area of cochlear implants. He has taken major leadership roles in the establishment of the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and in encouraging federal support for biomedical research. Gantz defines his most significant accomplishment thus far as development of the short electrode cochlear implant, which is currently in an expanded FDA clinical trial. In addition to his extensive work in cochlear implantation, Gantz has made clinical contributions in cholesteatoma, facial nerve disorders and skull base surgery. His current priorities include developing the Iowa Center for Auditory Regeneration.

Gerard Clancy followed his father, the late John Clancy, M.D., a psychiatry faculty member at the UI for more than 35 years, into medicine and psychiatry. He earned his bachelor's degree at Iowa in 1983; he received his medical degree in 1988 and completed his residency training in psychiatry at the UI in 1992. He joined the U.S. Air Force, becoming an officer, administrator and flight surgeon before returning to the UI. He was named assistant dean for student affairs and curriculum in the UI Carver College of Medicine in 1999, and in 2001 Clancy was named dean of University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa. Education has been an ongoing theme throughout Clancy's career. He has received frequent honors for teaching, often from junior medical students. Clancy also has been achieved distinction for his community service in Oklahoma, where he has established community outreach clinics and a mobile psychiatry team.

Francois Abboud completed his residency training in internal medicine at the UI in 1961, and he has devoted more than four decades of service to the UI Carver College of Medicine and the University. Abboud served as head of internal medicine from 1976 to 2002, and he has directed the UI Cardiovascular Research Center since 1975, making it one of the most prestigious centers of its kind. He continues today as the Edith King Pearson Professor of Cardiovascular Research at the UI. Abboud's contributions to cardiovascular science alone warrant distinguished alumni honors. His studies have focused on the brain's effects on the cardiovascular system, and he has been principal investigator of a major National Institutes of Health program since 1971. His studies have explored the interaction of cardiovascular reflexes, the effects of aging, hypertension and sleep apnea. His work has garnered him recognition and numerous honors over his long career. He has served as president of the American Heart Association, the Association of American Physicians and other organizations, and he has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

David Sack completed his residency training in internal medicine at the UI in 1974. He currently is executive director of the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh in Dhaka (ICDDRB) and a professor of international health at Johns Hopkins University. Recognized as an outstanding teacher of young researchers in developing countries, Sack himself is also one of the world's leading investigators in diarrheal disease research. Throughout his accomplished career, he has shared a deep, personal commitment to improving health conditions of people in the developing world. Sack and colleagues have developed oral rehydration solutions that cut childhood deaths from diarrheal disease by 60 percent worldwide. They have also created enteric infection vaccines and begun examining methods that use the innate immune system to fight antibiotic resistant pathogens. In 2001, ICDDRB and its 2,000 employees received the first Gates Award for Global Health.

Clifford Smith is a Waterloo, Iowa, native who earned his undergraduate degree from the UI in 1946. He received his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. He returned to the UI for residency training, and settled in New Jersey for another residency and several years of practice. He returned to Iowa in 1962 to the town of McGregor, where he spent the next 41 years as a family physician in the northeast Iowa town on the Mississippi River before retiring in 2003. Well regarded for his dedication and selflessness, Smith was known to accept chickens, pigs, eggs, fruit and vegetables, and hay for his horses as payment for doctoring. If necessary, he would see patients until 10 p.m. and often made house calls, a practice that continued until his retirement. The quintessential country doctor, Smith never went anywhere without his black bag. When he was named the National Rural Health Association's Practitioner of the Year in 1998, the town of McGregor celebrated "Dr. Clifford Smith Appreciation Day," and named a street after him. After retiring in 2003, Smith moved across the river to Prairie du Chien, Wis., but continues his position as medical director of a McGregor nursing home.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Media: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Program: Chad Ruback, 319-335-8595,