February 24, 2024

Henri Ford Junior Faculty Research Award

Applications are now closed. Please check back in early July 2024.

The Association for Academic Surgery Foundation (AASF) is thrilled to announce a new Junior Faculty Research Award named in honor of the AAS’s first Black president, Dr. Henri Ford.  This award will provide research support for persons considered underrepresented in the academic surgical community.

The Henri Ford Junior Faculty Research Award will provide annual funding to a full-time faculty member who is under-represented in medicine, is in good standing at their institution and has not yet attained the rank of Associate Professor. This scholarship aims to increase racial/ethnic diversity in the surgical research workforce by enhancing the path to independent funding.

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Dr. Ford has left an indelible impact on academic surgery and on the AAS and AASF. He was born in Haiti and moved to the United States at age 14, excelling in school despite speaking no English when he first arrived. Dr. Ford graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Medical School and then completed his surgical internship and residency at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Ford is currently Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He previously served as Surgeon in Chief at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Vice Dean for Medical Education at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Dr. Ford has done groundbreaking research on the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis and has written over 300 research publications. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, the National Trauma Registry for Children, and the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

In addition to his academic and professional achievements, Dr. Ford has volunteered extensively in his native country. After the 2010 earthquake, he returned to Haiti to provide surgical care to victims, initially for a two-week period.  However, over the next twelve months, Dr. Ford visited Haiti eight times, serving as a bridge between the U.S. and Haitian medical teams.

Dr. Ford has given selflessly of his time and expertise throughout all the stages of his career, helping to guide and mentor young surgeons who have become academic surgery leaders in their own right.  Among those whose lives he has touched are former AAS presidents, AASF board members, current department chairs, and lumenaries in academic surgery across the country.

Please consider making a donation today to help fund the Henri Ford Junior Faculty Research Award.

You’ll not only be recognizing Dr. Ford’s extraordinary contributions to the advancement of academic surgery but also ensuring that underrepresented young surgeons can carry out vital research to improve patient care.

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A Testimonial From a Grateful Dr. Ford Mentee

“It is a huge honor to have this opportunity to write a brief testimonial to describe the immeasurable impact that Henri has had on my career and on my life. I currently serve as pediatric surgeon in chief at the Johns Hopkins children’s center, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and Chief of the Division of pediatric general surgery at Johns Hopkins University. In this role, I partner with the senior leadership of Johns Hopkins Medicine to advance the surgical care of children in our region and beyond, while overseeing all pediatric surgical operational, quality, and programmatic growth across the pediatric surgical disciplines.

As a surgeon-scientist, my lab focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis, and in developing novel treatments for this devastating surgical disease of neonates. Henri has had an outsized impact on each of these roles. As a surgeon leader, Henri taught me that effective leadership involves selfless consensus building, the development of trust-based relationships, and the strategic deployment of charm and self-deprecating humor in order to find creative solutions to difficult problems. I’ll never forget watching Henri deploy these techniques and command a board room – be it at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh or at the AAS Council Meetings.

As a surgeon-scientist, Henri shared with me his insights and his passion for deciphering the pathogenesis of NEC, and he was an early supporter (both financial and intellectual) of my work in the field. But the real impact of Henri on my career is not measured in terms of my leadership roles or my research contributions, but rather in a very simple and practical way…Henri welcomed me to America, to his family, and to the field of pediatric surgery. You see, I first met Henri when I presented a paper at a surgical meeting as a surgical resident from the University of Toronto. Henri saw me present, and then invited me to the University of Pittsburgh to give a seminar to his research group. I guess that the presentation went fairly well, as I then matched to his pediatric surgery fellowship in Pittsburgh shortly afterwards.

After my fellowship, Henri offered me my first faculty position at Pitt, changing the course of my life forever from an academic career in Toronto, to one in Pittsburgh. Henri welcomed me into his surgical family, and Donna (his amazing wife) welcomed me into their home. How does one person ever pay back such a gift? By adhering to Henri’s underlying principles of pursuing excellence, seeking opportunities to mentor others, and maintaining a faith and an optimism in the goodness of all. This is the impact that Henri has had on me personally, an impact which I carry with me every single day.”

David J. Hackam, MD, PhD, FACS.
Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief and Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
Garrett Professor and Chief of Pediatric Surgery,
Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Cell Biology,
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

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