ROCKVILLE, MD - The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has named Hal Dietz, MD, as the recipient of the 2019 Mentorship Award.
This award recognizes ASHG members who have significant records of accomplishment as mentors. It is open to individuals at all academic ranks who have shown a sustained pattern of exemplary mentorship at the graduate student, postdoctoral, residency, or fellowship level. The award presentation, which includes a plaque and $10,000 prize, will take place on Friday, October 19, during 69th Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas.
In addition to Dr. Dietz's extensive work in understanding Marfan syndrome, he also has dedicated significant time to mentoring. Over the past 20 years, he has mentored over fifty successful mentees, who have gone on to obtain independent funding for their own research and received prestigious awards. Ten of his mentees have received the ASHG/Charles J. Epstein Trainee Awards for Excellence in Human Genetics Research.
Science communication is an important focus for Dr. Dietz when mentoring. "Dr. Dietz is a master writer, and his mentees have unanimously felt that our writing skills improved after being under his tutelage. He tirelessly helps mentees prepare for research presentations and I feel these experiences have made us better scientists, writers, and communicators," wrote Hans Tomas Bjornsson, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Iceland, and a mentee of Dr. Dietz, in his nominator letter.
The value of a mentor is often seen in a long-lasting relationship that benefits both the mentor and mentee. "I think it speaks to Dr. Dietz's incredible and genuine desire to mentor young physicians and scientists to a successful career that Hal continues to have an active interest and fully supports individuals even after they leave his laboratory," said Ronald Cohn, MD, FACMG, President and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children, and a mentee of Dr. Dietz.
Dr. Dietz has received numerous awards and honors over the years, including the Antoine Marfan Award from the National Marfan Foundation (1994), the Art of Listening Award from the American Heart Association (2010), and Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translation Medical Science (2012). A longtime member of ASHG, Dr. Dietz served as president in 2016.