The Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology is bestowed on an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment and made outstanding contributions to hematology, and who has made a significant impact on education, research, and practice. This award will be presented to Dr. George at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, during the 54th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta.
Dr. George, who holds the George Lynn Cross Research Professorship in the Departments of Medicine and Biostatistics & Epidemiology at OUHSC, is a pioneer in the field of platelet glycoproteins. His early research focused on the radiolabeling of platelet surface components and their analysis by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Through these methods, in 1984 Dr. George and colleagues were able to describe the molecular basis of platelet function in hemostasis, one of his signature research achievements. Dr. George's original research is documented in more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. George's seminal work related to the diagnosis and clinical management of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) has shaped the field's modern understanding of platelet disorders. The cornerstone of Dr. George's current work in TTP is his initiation and maintenance of the Oklahoma Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura-Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (TTP-HUS) Registry, which has led to an increase in clinical knowledge of this rare disorder. Since Dr. George created the registry of all patients with clinically diagnosed TTP or HUS in central-western Oklahoma in 1989, it has uncovered important insights regarding clinical presentations and outcomes, predictors of disease severity, and the role of ADAMTS13 testing in TTP-HUS. Registry data have led to numerous manuscripts in the scientific literature over the past 20 years which have included the participation of many students and trainees. The data have also, more importantly, improved patient outcomes. Dr. George has been personally involved in the care of 92 percent of patients in the registry since 1995, making it one of the most well conducted and powerful registries to date.
Dr. George is also well known for his leadership in writing and publishing a landmark paper in Blood, ASH's peer-reviewed Journal, in 1996 designed to serve as a guideline to assist clinicians in the management of ITP. In addition to serving as the principal writer of the guideline - the first evidence-based ASH Clinical Practice Guideline for ASH members and the hematology community at-large - Dr. George chaired the panel that oversaw its compilation. Since it was first published, ASH's ITP Clinical Practice Guideline remains one of the most referenced manuscripts on the management of ITP, and has been updated several times to reflect numerous advances in the management of the blood disorder that have taken place in recent years.
The innovation and leadership Dr. George demonstrated in developing ASH's first Clinical Practice Guideline is one of his many contributions to the Society over more than 25 years. Dr. George, who served as ASH President in 2005, has also helped shape one of ASH's most important career development programs, the ASH Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI). This unique year-long education and mentoring program, now in its 10th year, is designed for hematology fellows and junior faculty interested in pursuing careers in patient-oriented clinical research. Dr. George is also credited with helping to develop the ASH Mentor Award and the ASH-Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, an initiative designed to increase the number of underrepresented scholars in hematology. He also edited ASH's first Self-Assessment Program in 2002 and has served as a member or chair of several Society committees and educational programs.
The Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology commemorates the innovative spirit, visionary leadership, and entrepreneurship of Wallace Henry Coulter who was best known for his development of the Coulter Principle - a proven theory that provided a methodology for counting, measuring, and evaluating cells and microscopic particles suspended in fluid. Further, his invention of the Coulter Counter provided the first standardized method to count different types of blood cells, revolutionizing the medical community's ability to screen for diseases through a simple blood test.
"With his steadfast commitment to hematology spanning nearly five decades and his innumerable contributions to the field and to ASH, Dr. George exemplifies the values of the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology," said ASH President Armand Keating, MD, of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. "His remarkable career has combined hallmark research investigation, the delivery of personalized patient care, and service to the current and future generation of hematologists. I can think of no more deserving recipient of this award than Dr. George."
Dr. George began his career in 1962 after receiving his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. From 1962 to 1970, he trained in internal medicine and hematology at Vanderbilt University, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and the University of Rochester. Dr. George's faculty career began at The University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio in 1970 where he remained until 1990, when he began his tenure at OUHSC. Since his arrival at OUHSC in 1990, Dr. George has served as Chief of the Hematology-Oncology Section (1990 -1999) and as Director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program (1990-2002).
Beyond his involvement with ASH, Dr. George is also a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Federation for Clinical Research, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Central Society for Clinical Research, and the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation. He has received numerous awards, including the American Association of Blood Banks Tibor Greenwalt Career Research Award and the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis Investigator Recognition Award for Contributions to Hemostasis.