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University of Iowa News Release

June 9, 2003

UI Carver College Of Medicine To Honor Six Distinguished Alumni

Six alumni from the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will be honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards at a ceremony Friday, June 11, in Iowa City.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor the college bestows upon an alumnus. Established in 1998, the awards are given annually in three categories: achievement, service and early achievement.

The Award for Achievement recognizes UI Carver College of Medicine alumni for significant accomplishments in science and medicine. Receiving this year's award are Reginald Cooper, M.D., Herman Hein, M.D., and Yuan Chuan Lee, Ph.D.

The Early Achievement Award is a new category in the alumni awards program, established to honor individuals who are less than 15 years removed from their medical training at Iowa and who have already achieved distinction in their fields. This year's recipient is Judy Kersten, M.D.

The Award for Service is presented to medical alumni for meritorious service to their community, state or nation. This year's recipients are John Brinkman, M.D., and Marvin Piburn, M.D.

Reginald Cooper, professor emeritus in the UI Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, came to Iowa in 1955 to begin graduate study and residency training in orthopaedics. As a faculty member, he played a key role in the development of orthopaedics as a medical specialty at the UI, serving as department head from 1973 to 1999. Under Cooper's leadership, the department grew substantially in both size and stature. His own research on the biochemistry and molecular biology of skeletal muscles and bone exemplified the department's growing strength in basic research. His years of involvement with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons included terms as president and chair of numerous committees. He also has served as president of the Orthopaedic Research Society. Cooper also took a keen interest in graduate medical education, fostering improvements in residency training that have been followed nationwide. Today, the department continues to rank at or near the top 10 annually in national surveys.

Herman Hein, UI professor of pediatrics and director of the Iowa Statewide Perinatal Care Program at UI Hospitals and Clinics, earned his medical degree in 1963, and completed a pediatrics residency in 1966, at the UI. He joined the University faculty in 1973, the year he established the statewide program, a first-of-its kind regionalized system for perinatal care. Community physicians in Iowa now refer women with high-risk pregnancies and seriously ill newborns to facilities equipped to care for them, while the program offers training for physicians and neonatal/obstetric nurses statewide. The program has taken Hein and his team to every maternity service in Iowa. Hein has initiated other programs aimed at mothers and babies, and he has consulted for many years on maternal and child health issues for the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Judy Kersten completed residency training in anesthesiology at the UI in 1992 after receiving her medical degree at the University of Wisconsin. She is a professor of anesthesiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where she has built an outstanding reputation as a respected clinician, researcher and mentor. She serves on the editorial boards of several medical journals, and recently she was appointed chair of the myocardial ischemia and metabolism study section of the National Institutes of Health Cardiovascular Sciences Integrated Review Group. Kersten's research focuses on mechanisms responsible for increasing mortality and morbidity in individuals with diabetes. She examines models of myocardial ischemia, explores the effects of diabetes and hyperglycemia on coronary circulation, and studies how volatile anesthetics produce cardioprotective effects.

Yuan Chuan Lee, who earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the UI in 1962, is an internationally acknowledged scientist and a professor of biology at Johns Hopkins University. His work in analytical glycobiology (the study of how sugars impact living systems), structural glycobiology and carbohydrate recognition has helped build glycoscience from a small division of biochemistry to an established field. The synthetic proteins created in Lee's laboratory in the late 1970s boosted the speed and accuracy of experiments that showed how carbohydrates on cell surfaces affect cellular function. These and other findings have contributed to treatments for tissue rejection, hepatitis, nerve damage, cancer and inflammation. Lee's work has garnered numerous awards, including the Claud S. Hudson Award from the American Chemical Society, and the National Institutes of Health Fogarty Fellowship. He has published more than 300 scientific papers, and he has served as an executive editor for the journal Analytical Biochemistry since 1978.

John Brinkman earned a bachelor's degree in 1959, and a medical degree in 1962, at the UI. An endocrinologist, Brinkman's dedication to the profession has made him a leader among Iowa physicians and in the Mason City community. He has served the UI Carver College of Medicine throughout his career as a clinical associate professor of internal medicine, and he is a past chair of the college's alumni society board of advisors. He also has helped make Mason City a model community for rural health. In 1969, he joined the multi-specialty Park Clinic, and he later practiced at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa and served as medical director for the Mercy Diabetes Center and North Iowa Physician Hospital Organization. The Iowa Medical Society gave Brinkman its Award of Merit for his 1998 service as IMS president, and he also received the Laureate Award from the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Physicians. Brinkman recently was named the region's best family doctor by the Mason City Globe-Gazette newspaper, and he received accolades from patients upon his retirement.

Marvin Piburn earned his UI medical degree in 1948, but his long career of service began in 1942, when he was assigned as a pharmacist's mate in the U.S. Navy. He later enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a surgeon during the Korean War. In 1953, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries named Piburn a medical missionary physician and surgeon at Nyadiri Mission in southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He moved his wife and children to Africa and began work that would occupy them for nearly 30 years. Piburn returned to the United States on furloughs to learn new medical skills, and he spent another furlough in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970, caring for those ravage by war. Piburn's work at Nyadiri ended in 1982, and a year later the family joined United Methodist Urban Ministry to open a free clinic in Wichita, Kan., and expanded a clinic established in Hutchinson, Kan. The Hutchinson clinic, now known as the GraceMed Health Clinic, still operates today. Piburn retired in 1992.

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. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032, Program: Chad Ruback, 319-335-8595,