Memphis Researcher Recognized with Honor

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Memphis researcher Andrew H. Kang, MD has been recognized as the 2003 William S. Middleton Award recipient by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development.

Memphis researcher Andrew H. Kang, MD has been recognized as the 2003 William S. Middleton Award recipient by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development.

The Middleton Award is the VA’s highest honor for scientific achievement in biomedical research. Specifically, it recognizes Dr. Kang’s contributions to the understanding and treatment of connective tissue diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. It also recognizes his exemplary record of involvement in and service to the VA and to the biomedical profession.

Currently, Dr. Kang is a staff physician and researcher with the Memphis VA Medical Center, and the Goodman Professor and Director of the University of Tennessee Center of Excellence for Diseases of Connective Tissue. Dr. Kang has held the titles of Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at the Memphis VA Medical Center, and Chairman of the UT Department of Medicine.

To honor Dr. Kang, the VA’s Office of Research and Development will publish an announcement in an upcoming issue of a prestigious scientific journal. Also, he will receive $50,000 for three years to assist with research. The award will be presented to Dr. Kang at the VA’s inaugural Research and Development National Meeting in Washington, D.C. March 9-12, 2004.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Kang has become world-renowned for directing a multidisciplinary group of investigators who have made several original contributions to the biology of connective tissue. Their most significant discovery has been to identify the particular protein in a person’s joints where faulty cells attack, causing inflammation

and other rheumatoid arthritic symptoms. Now that they know what to target, Dr. Kang and his colleagues are working on two different ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

UT College of Medicine dean, Henry G. Herrod, MD, stated, “Dr. Kang has made significant contributions in the area of connective tissues. Having suffered from pains of arthritis himself, Dr. Kang is motivated to continue his research until people who suffer from this disease can live pain-free. This honor is well deserved, and I applaud him for his scientific contributions, which have already made a difference in medical treatment.”

VAMC Memphis Interim Director, Jacqueline I. Kuchyak, FACHE, stated, “We are delighted that a long-time member of our Memphis VA family has been recognized for his hard work and dedication. Through Dr. Kang’s significant contributions in the area of rheumatology, major advancements have been made in the provision of care to our veterans. On behalf of the entire staff here at Memphis, we congratulate Dr. Kang on this well deserved recognition.”

A native of Seoul, Korea, Dr. Kang became a naturalized citizen of the United States in the early 1960s. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Medical School. In 2001, he received the Ho-Am Prize of Korea, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize.