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Release: Oct. 22, 2002

UI Carver College of Medicine to honor Abboud Oct. 25

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will host a special event honoring Francois Abboud, M.D. (left), professor, former head of the UI department of internal medicine and interim associate vice president for statewide health services, for his contributions to medicine and the college.

"Healing with Heart and Mind: A Celebration in Honor of Francois M. Abboud," will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 with a two-hour medical symposium in the Urmila Sahai Seminar Room in the Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility (2117 MERF).

Speakers include: James T. Willerson, M.D., professor of internal medicine and president of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston; Akira Takeshita, M.D., professor and director of cardiovascular medicine at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan; Helen H. Hobbs, M.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics, and director of the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; and Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., senior policy fellow and director of the Center for Domestic and International Health Security at RAND Corp. in Arlington, Va.

UI Carver College of Medicine faculty members Donald Heistad, M.D., the Zahn Professor of Cardiology, and Michael Welsh, M.D., the Roy J. Carver Biomedical Research Chair in Internal Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will chair the symposium.

A reception for Abboud will be held at 4 p.m., followed by a program at 4:30 p.m., in the atrium of the Eckstein Medical Research Building. Allyn Mark, M.D., interim executive dean and associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College, and the Roy J. Carver Professor and Chair in Internal Medicine, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Speakers at the program include: Robert A. Clark, M.D., professor and chair of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio; John T. Shepherd, M.D., professor emeritus and chair of physiology and biophysics, and former dean of the Mayo Medical School at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; David Skorton, M.D., UI vice president for research and external relations; John W. Eckstein, M.D., dean emeritus of the UI Carver College of Medicine; and Robert Kelch, M.D., dean of the College and vice president for statewide health services.

A UI faculty member since 1960, Abboud served as head of the UI department of internal medicine from 1976 through 2001. He is the Edith King Pearson Professor of Cardiovascular Research, director of the UI Cardiovascular Research Center, and he also holds a faculty appointment in the UI department of physiology and biophysics.

Currently, the UI Foundation is nearing completion on a campaign to raise $2 million to endow the Francois M. Abboud Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine.

Among his many professional accomplishments, Abboud is recognized for his contributions to the understanding of the causes of and treatments for heart disease. His research team is internationally known for its work in understanding how the nervous system regulates blood pressure by sending signals from nerves in the heart and arteries to the brain. Abboud and his colleagues were the first to prove in the early 1960s that insulin activates the nervous system to cause high blood pressure in the absence of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). His team also discovered that salt intake constricts blood vessels in people who are susceptible to high blood pressure. The UI Cardiovascular Research Center, which Abboud has directed since 1974, has become one of the most prestigious cardiovascular training centers in the world.

He has received numerous awards and honors, including: the ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics from the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; the Wiggers Award and Medal from the American Physiological Society, Cardiovascular Section; the CIBA Award and Medal for Hypertension Research from the Council of High Blood Pressure Research of the American Heart Association; the Merck Sharp and Dohme International Award for Research in Hypertension; the Research Achievement Award and the Gold Heart Award from the American Heart Association; the American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine; and the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chairman of Medicine Award from the Association of Professors of Medicine.

Abboud is the Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lecturer of the American Physiological Society. He also is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and he has served as president of the Association of American Physicians, the American Heart Association, the Central Society for Clinical Research and the American Federation for Clinical Research. He was editor-in-chief of the journal Circulation Research from 1981 to 1986 and co-editor of the "Handbook of Physiology: Peripheral Circulation and Organ Blood Flow" of the American Physiological Society in 1983. He chaired the Heart and Lung Program Project Research Review Committee of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NLHBI) of the National Institutes of Health from 1978 to 1980 and served as a member of the NHLBI Advisory Council. Abboud was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1988 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997. He is a Master of the American College of Physicians, and he holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and a Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from the University of Lyon, France.

Abboud also is highly regarded by colleagues at the UI and around the world for his extraordinary teaching and mentoring skills and the tireless enthusiasm he brings to his work.

"It's almost impossible to summarize the impact that Dr. Abboud has made, not just in terms of his four-plus decades of research, service and teaching related to cardiovascular disease, but also in terms of the influence he has had on so many medical students, residents and colleagues," Kelch noted. "The UI department of internal medicine has achieved international prominence in a number of medical specialties, which is in part a testament to Dr. Abboud's leadership."

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.