Two U profs receive high medical honor

Hayley Odom

Two University professors received one of the highest honors in the field of medicine last week.

Neuroscience professor Apostolos Georgopoulos and public health professor Mike Osterholm were named to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. Their membership in the institute recognizes their contributions to medical sciences, health care and public health.

“It’s a great recognition,” said Georgopoulos, who is also the Brain Sciences Center director at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “It makes me feel like I’ve done something with my work.”

Colleagues nominated both men for the honor. Sixty-three other people were also named to the institute.

Georgopoulos said being a member in the institute will give him a chance to work on committees that focus on current problems and aspects of health, medicine and science.

Through the institute, he will also be a part of advising committees to the community and the government.

“It’s very important for me to have a voice there,” he said.

John Finnegan Jr., School of Public Health interim dean, said being named to the institute reflects the respect colleagues have for inductees.

“For someone like (Osterholm) to get this at a relatively young age is a sign of this guy’s commitment and energy,” Finnegan said.

When Osterholm returned to the School of Public Health on Sept. 10, 2001, he established the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, Finnegan said.

“This was in some ways terribly tragic and ironic, but very shortly after Sept. 11 (the United States) had an anthrax outbreak,” he said. “It just underscored all of the things he’d been talking about. I’m just thankful that we had him in the School of

Public Health (and) had his advice.”

Osterholm was unavailable for comment.

Finnegan said having a faculty member recognized by the institute is a “tremendous” honor and great for the School of Public Health.

The institute was founded in 1970 and has an active membership of 1,416 people. It is recognized as a national and independent resource for analysis and recommendations on health issues, according to the institute’s Web site.