April 17, 2021

Henri Ford Junior Faculty Research Award

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

Dr. Ford played a critical role in my development as an academic pediatric surgeon and I am indebted to him for his support and guidance, especially early on in my career. Let me share one of many examples. During my fellowship in pediatric surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ford gave me the space, the time, and also the resources to write a K08 while I was on my neonatology rotation (which perhaps tells you something about the value of a neonatology rotation).

I remember working on the grant after hours, and dropping off versions of it to his home for his edits (he was always available, and somehow preferred the grant on paper over email!). When the grant was funded, Henri created an environment at Pitt for me to succeed as a K-funded investigator (along with Jeff Upperman who also received a K during his training with Henri).

The environment that Henri created was more than simply one of techs, reagents and mice – it was an environment of creative thinking, of challenging long-held beliefs, and of innovative approaches to science and to patient care. His insights and the lessons that I learned during my time with Henri as a mentee and then a faculty member, allowed me to successfully begin my journey as an academic pediatric surgeon, while learning the skills of effective mentorship. I strive to incorporate these Henri Ford-stylized effective mentorship techniques (responsive and clear communication, awareness of the needs of the mentee, content expertise) every day with my mentees.

Thus, from those early days as a K-awardee with Henri, to my current role as an academic pediatric surgeon, I am doing my best to continue Henri’s unparalleled legacy, which is so appropriately captured in this important award.

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
The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center

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