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Memphis Pediatric Specialist Receives Most Prestigious Pediatric Award


Pediatric nephrologist Russell Chesney, M.D., is the recipient of the 2011 John Howland Medal, the highest honor of the American Pediatric Society.

Pediatric nephrologist Russell Chesney, M.D., is the recipient of the 2011 John Howland Medal, the highest honor of the American Pediatric Society. Since 1952, this prestigious award has been given annually to an individual who has aided in the advancement of pediatrics. He is the first recipient in Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center history.

Dr. Chesney was awarded the Howland Medal at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting, held in Denver April 30 — May 3.

Since 1988, Dr. Chesney has served as the chair of the Department of Pediatrics for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He is the longest-standing Pediatrics Department chairman in the country and has been instrumental in shaping the care at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and children’s hospitals across the country.

“Dr. Russell Chesney is a wonderful example of a true clinician and educator — he is committed to excellence with his research, patients and students,” said Meri Armour, president and CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “His leadership has forever shaped the field of pediatrics and we are proud of his work at Le Bonheur and UT.”

Dr. Chesney’s nomination for this prominent award was supported by physicians from across the United States. In their letters, they praise his role as a clinician, educator, investigator, advocate for children and international leader in the field of pediatrics.

His research has contributed to the fields of pediatric nutrition, nephrology, genetics and metabolism. Specifically, Dr. Chesney is known for his research that has given clinicians a better understanding of the amino acid taurine and its role in transport by renal epithelial cells.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Chesney has demonstrated a tenacious commitment to scientific discovery. He has succeeded in translating his research into groundbreaking modalities of treatment that have made the difference in the lives of countless children and their families. Truly a giant in his field, we are proud to celebrate this international, well-deserved recognition,” said Steve Schwab, M.D., chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

His nominators call Dr. Chesney “the consummate pediatric clinician-scientist.” Over his 42-year career, he’s published hundreds of articles, book chapters and other publications. He’s given more than 500 presentations and lectured at universities across the country and around the world.

Dr. Chesney is also credited as an outstanding mentor to countless physicians in training.

“In our relatively small community of pediatric nephrologists, Dr. Chesney has long stood out as a beacon — a superlative role model of the academic ‘triple threat’ and an individual who is committed to mentoring and supporting those following in his footsteps,” wrote Lisa M. Satlin, M.D., chair of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital.

This prize follows receiving the similar high honors from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, Society for Pediatric Research, and the Federation of Pediatric Organizations. Dr. Chesney also received the Ira Greifer Award from the International Pediatric Nephrology Association in September.

After a 22-year career at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Dr. Chesney will step down from his position after the next chairman of the Department of Pediatrics has been named. Dr. Chesney is married to Joan Chesney, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist. They are the parents of two children and grandparents of three.

The first recipient of the Howland Award was Dr. Edwards A. Park of Baltimore.

Founded in 1952, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is the Mid-South’s first and only comprehensive pediatric medical facility. Every year Le Bonheur treats almost 140,000 children from across the country and throughout the world. Le Bonheur is home to one of the nation’s 10 busiest pediatric emergency departments and hosts one of the largest pediatric surgical brain tumor programs. Le Bonheur is building a new state-of-the art hospital. The $340-million facility is scheduled to open in 2010 and will significantly increase the space for patient care, research and teaching. For more information, please call (901) 287-6030 or visit www.lebonheur.org.