May 19, 2006

Two emeritus medical school professors at Case share Hovorka prize for exceptional achievements

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John H. Kennell, M.D.

Amasa B. "Buzz" Ford, M.D. and John H. Kennell, M.D., both emeritus professors of medicine at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, are the 2006 winners of the university's Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize.

Kennell, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the school of medicine and Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, remains an active member of the Behavioral Pediatrics and Global Health divisions. Kennell's contributions to the advancement of pediatric care have had a significant effect throughout the United States and the world, according to Avroy A. Fanaroff, M.D., professor and current chair of the department of pediatrics at Case who nominated Kennell for the award.

Largely due to Kennell's and former Case faculty member Marshall Klaus' research on bonding, many hospitals now offer 24-hour visitation to prematurely born or ill babies, early contact, and "rooming in" for healthy babies. Their work also has altered the care of pregnant women by introducing the concept of a caregiver known as a doula. Their doula-related work helped decrease the length of labor by 25 percent, cut in half the rate of cesarean-section births, and resulted in improved maternal mental health and infant care by the mother. Additional research on the care of mothers whose infants had died helped increase appreciation for the grieving process to ultimately enhance the bonding of such women and their future children.

"Together with Dr. Klaus, Dr. Kennell's infant bonding work revolutionized delivery room and hospital practices to include more family centered visitation and care," Fanaroff said in his nomination letter. "Over the past decade the results of his research on the impact of social support are revolutionizing support systems for women in labor. He was the first to document the striking findings that women who have doula support during labor require fewer cesarean sections and have less perinatal morbidity. This work has been expanded and the consistent results have changed delivery room behavior."

Kennell has influenced the lives and careers of thousands of medical students over the past 52 years. He continues in active student teaching and is a special mentor student group every Tuesday, something he has done for more than 30 years.

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Amasa B. "Buzz" Ford, M.D.

Ford, an emeritus professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and associate dean emeritus of geriatric medicine, has performed pioneering research in geriatrics, heart disease, work physiology, health services and community health. He participated along with Sidney Katz in developing the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Scale, which is the classic landmark assessment instrument for older adults. He has received several awards, including the Arnold L. Heller Memorial Award for Excellence in the Field of Geriatrics, the Golden Achievement Award for Gerontology, the Nascher Manning Award for distinguished achievement in clinical geriatrics and appointed to the Eliza Bryant Center Hall of Fame.

As a renowned expert in clinical gerontology, Ford has authored and presented hundreds of scientific and educational papers and presentations both nationally and internationally. His articles have been published in such prestigious peer reviewed journals as The Gerontologist, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of the American Geriatric Society, Journal of Aging and Health, Journal of Epidemiology and others. He has written or edited eight books, the most recent being Serving Minority Elders in the 21st Century.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Ford trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and University Hospitals of Cleveland. He currently serves as medical director of the Eliza Bryant Nursing Home where he has been instrumental in serving the African American community. The home's medical clinic is named after him.

May L. Wykle, dean and Florence Cellar Professor of Nursing at Case's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, nominated Ford for the Hovorka award.

The Hovorka Prize was established in 1994 by Dorothy Humel Hovorka, a member of the university's Board of Trustees at the time and a leader in the Cleveland community, in honor of her late husband, Frank, who was the Hurlbut Professor and chair of Case's department of chemistry. Each year the award recognizes a Case faculty member for exceptional achievements in teaching, research and scholarship that benefits humanity. Mrs. Hovorka is now an honorary trustee.

For more information: Laura M. Massie (216)-368-4442.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, May 19, 2006 11:27 AM | News Topics: HeadlinesMain, School of Medicine

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