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About the Daniel Drake Medal

In 1985, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder, pioneering physician Daniel Drake. As part of that celebration, the college created a new award—the Daniel Drake Medal—to honor its distinguished living faculty and alumni.

Nominees for the Daniel Drake Medal are evaluated on outstanding scholarly achievements in biomedical science as evidenced by major significant contributions to medical research and/or a distinguished career as a clinician-teacher.

Considered the highest honor awarded by the College of Medicine, this year’s Daniel Drake Medals will be awarded during the Honors Day program on April 22, 2023.

2022 Drake Medal Recipients

Melanie Cushion
Melanie T. Cushion, PhD

Melanie T. Cushion, PhD, is senior associate dean for research and professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the College of Medicine, and one of 50 Veterans Affairs (VA) senior research career scientists in the country. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of fungi, having researched fungal pathogens for more than 30 years.

Early in her career, Dr. Cushion began working with organisms referred to as Pneumocystis, the leading killer of patients with advanced HIV infection in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. At that time, these microbes were thought to be protozoans, but her work with others in the college led to the discovery that they were actually fungal pathogens. She later initiated the Pneumocystis Genome Project, which helped to understand the metabolism and genetics of the fungus, and her laboratory was the first to report Pneumocystis carinii possesses a linear mitochondrial genome.

Further work in her lab also showed that Pneumocystis were highly efficient in transmission of infection. Recent research by Dr. Cushion led to the identification of Pneumocystis sexual reproduction as a new drug target. Inhibition of this mode of reproduction by the anti-fungal echinocandins resulted in prevention and eradication of Pneumocystis pneumonia, an entirely new paradigm.

Dr. Cushion’s research program has been funded since 1987 through more than $30 million in grants from the VA, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. She is a member of the Joint Program Committee-2 (JPC-2), the advisory body to the JPC-2 Chair for the Defense Health Program Military Infectious Diseases Research Program, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) Program.

As senior associate dean since 2013, Dr. Cushion has established several internal grant programs, grant pre-review workshops and training sessions, symposia and recognition awards for College of Medicine research faculty and staff. She has mentored and trained numerous graduate students, junior faculty, postdoctoral and infectious diseases fellows. In 2017, she was honored with the Antimicrobial Research Award from the American Society for Microbiology.

Michael Farrell
Michael K. Farrell, MD

Michael K. Farrell, MD, professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He came to Cincinnati Children’s as a resident in 1974 and then completed fellowships in ambulatory and emergency pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.

Dr. Farrell joined the College of Medicine faculty in 1979 and has held numerous leadership positions at Cincinnati Children’s, including Pediatric Residency Program director (1979 to 2001), medical director of home health care (1988 to 2017), chief of staff (1993 to 2015) and associate chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Pediatrics (1993 to 2015). He has specialized in treating gastrointestinal and nutritional diseases of children with special needs.

His research has focused on parenteral and enteral nutrition and he was among the first to study the relationship between infantile apnea and gastroesophageal reflux. He also helped define the hepatobiliary complications associated with parenteral nutrition and participated in important studies defining vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus requirements in infant parenteral nutrition solutions.

Dr. Farrell, a highly admired and inspirational mentor and teacher, has impacted hundreds of young physicians in training. He developed many combined residency programs at Cincinnati Children’s and the College of Medicine, including medicine and pediatrics, pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatrics and genetics, and a triple-board-certified program in pediatrics, psychiatry and child psychiatry.

Dr. Farrell has impacted medical education nationwide through his leadership roles in several national organizations. More than 30 years ago, Dr. Farrell and colleagues engaged Cincinnati pediatricians as teachers and developed office-based rotations in the community for additional learning opportunities for young physicians in training. Dr. Farrell’s lengthy career and interest in medical history led him to serve as chair of the History Committee of Cincinnati Children’s and also as a member of the UC Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions Advisory Board.

Bruce Giffin
Bruce F. Giffin, PhD

Bruce F. Giffin, PhD, associate dean for medical education and professor and vice chair in the Department of Medical Education at the College of Medicine, has been a faculty member since 1994. After beginning his career as a college music instructor and high school chemistry and music teacher, Dr. Giffin became a student at the College of Medicine, receiving his doctorate in neuroanatomy and cell biology in 1985. He then served on the faculty of the University of Dayton for five years before returning to the College of Medicine as a perinatal biology fellow and postdoctoral assistant.

Dr. Giffin has taught gross anatomy to medical students in addition to numerous other courses. A beloved and appreciated teacher, he continues to direct several courses in the medical school curriculum and has received, to date, nearly 40 teaching awards from medical students.

In 2012, Dr. Giffin received the prestigious Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, a national award honoring the best medical school teachers in North America. He also received the 2005 A.B. Dolly Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Cincinnati. Since 2014, Dr. Giffin has served as associate dean for medical education. He has taught more than 4,000 medical students during his career and has been an influential force in the evolution of the medical school curriculum, both as an educational leader and from the many innovations he has brought to his courses.

Dr. Giffin also has taught numerous unique courses in the college, including The Neuroscience of Creativity, The Neuroscience of Music, and Art and Medicine, and has been a cooking instructor for the college’s Clinical Nutrition elective. Dr. Giffin’s musical skills also have supported his work since 2003 as director of the College of Medicine’s Men’s and Women’s Choruses.

Past Recipients

2021 Drake Medal Recipients

William Barrett, MD
W. Brian Gibler, MD
Peter Stern, MD

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2020 Drake Medal Recipients

Alan Jobe, MD, PhD
Laura Wexler, MD

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