WASHINGTON -- Georgetown University Medical Center awarded its highest honor, the Cura Personalis Award, to John Ruffin, Ph.D., director the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The Cura Personalis medal and citation were presented during the medical center’s annual Convocation on November 15, 2012.
The Cura Personalis Award is bestowed upon a health professional who has made outstanding contributions to human health guided by compassion and service. The Catholic, Jesuit concept of cura personalis, which translates as care of the whole person, suggests individualized attention to the needs of others, distinct respect for unique circumstances and concerns, and an appropriate appreciation for singular gifts and insights. This is the founding principle of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), and has special significance for the scientific and educational missions of the university.
“Dr. Ruffin uniquely embodies qualities those of us at Georgetown hold dear -- namely his dedication to improving the health of those often underserved,” says Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health sciences at GUMC and executive dean of Georgetown’s School of Medicine. “It is an honor to present him with the Cura Personalis Award and to have him take his place among past winners who represent some of the best human qualities.”
A Visionary Leader
Ruffin is a renowned leader and visionary in the field of health disparities. He has devoted his professional life to improving the health status of minority populations in the United States and to developing and supporting educational programs for minority researchers and health care practitioners.
Ruffin’s success has been due in large part to his ability to motivate others and gain the support of key individuals and organizations, as well as to his expertise in strategic planning, administration, and the development of numerous collaborative partnerships.
For more than 15 years, Ruffin has led the transformation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) minority health and health disparities research agenda from a programmatic concept to an institutional reality.
A Transformative Commitment
Ruffin’s selection for the Cura Personalis Award comes at a time when Georgetown University is engaging in a transformative commitment addressing disparities in health. In the spring, the university announced the Georgetown University Initiative to Reduce Health Disparities. Shortly after the initiative’s launch, the medical center received a $6.1 million grant from the NIH to establish the “Center of Excellence for Health Disparities in Our Nation’s Capital.”
In October, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center announced the opening of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research in southeast Washington, D.C. The community-based office is a commitment to engaging underserved and ethnic minority populations in research focused on reducing cancer disparities. The office is located about a mile from Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC), a breast screening initiative of Georgetown Lombardi and an important component of its health disparities research program.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.