UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Joe G.N. ‘Skip’ Garcia Selected for American Thoracic Society’s Prestigious 2016 Trudeau Medal

The Society’s highest award recognizes lifelong major contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease through leadership in research, education and clinical care.

Skip Garcia 2016 cropped


TUCSON, Ariz. – Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2016 Trudeau Medal from the American Thoracic Society (ATS).

An internationally noted physician-scientist, health administrator, scholar and educator, Dr. Garcia also is the Dr. Merlin K. DuVal Professor of Medicine and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies). He has been an active member of ATS since 1980.


Founded in 1905, ATS is comprised of more than 15,000 physicians, research scientists, nurses and other allied health-care professionals who collectively are the leading authorities worldwide on respiratory disease, critical care illness and sleep disorders. The ATS awards the Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal annually to recognize lifelong major contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease through leadership in research, education and clinical care. The medal has been given since 1926 in honor of Edward Livingston Trudeau, a founder and the first president of the American Lung Association.


The Trudeau Medal will be presented to Dr. Garcia, a leading authority on the genetic basis of lung disease and the prevention and treatment of inflammatory lung injury, on May 15 at the ATS 2016 International Conference in San Francisco.


“Dr. Garcia is a superb physician-scientist who has made major contributions to pulmonary and critical care medicine through his research, teaching and mentoring of physician-scientists, passionate and effective advocacy for minority and underserved groups and outstanding academic leadership,” said Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH, who nominated Dr. Garcia for the award. Dr. Celedón is the Niels K. Jerne Professor of Pediatrics and professor of medicine, epidemiology and human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh and division chief, Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Throughout his career, Dr. Garcia has been a true transformative leader and a champion of those in need. He is most deserving of the Trudeau Medal from the American Thoracic Society,” noted Dr. Celedón.


“Dr. Garcia is an internationally recognized leader in pulmonary medicine. He was a pioneer in the application of genomic approaches to understanding the pathogenesis of lung disease before translational medicine was even in the dictionary,” said Fernando Martinez, MD, Regents Professor, inaugural director of the UAHS Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, Swift-McNear Professor of Pediatrics, and member and former director of the UA BIO5 Institute. “He is a tireless promoter of the need to specifically address disparities in health care in the United States. I don’t know of anybody who better fits the spirit of the Trudeau Medal than Skip,” Dr. Martinez said.


“The Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal recognizes lifelong major contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease through leadership in research, education or clinical care. This description characterizes Skip’s efforts to care for the underserved while developing innovative, integrative strategies to effectively understand the pathobiology of lung disease and personalized care,” said Monica Kraft, MD, the Robert and Irene Flinn Professor of Medicine and chair, Department of Medicine, UA College of Medicine – Tucson. “He has been a leader and mentor and I am so proud that he is receiving this honor,” added Dr. Kraft.


“I cannot think of a nominee who better reflects the spirit of the Trudeau Medal than Skip. He really is a role model for all of us,” said Naftali Kaminski, MD, Boehringer-Ingelheim Endowed Professor of Internal Medicine and chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine. “As a physician-scientist, he opened new areas of discovery integrating molecular biology, functional genomics and patient-relevant research. As a health-care leader, he consistently demonstrates an uncompromising commitment to the needs and plight of the sick, the poor and the underserved; as a colleague and mentor, his enthusiasm and willingness to share his wisdom and advice have impacted the careers of many, mine included,” noted Dr. Kaminski.


“It is a true honor to receive the recognition of the American Thoracic Society, my colleagues and peers,” said Dr. Garcia. “The Trudeau Medal signifies contributions to improving the health and well-being of patients suffering from respiratory diseases and I am extremely grateful to all of the national and international collaborators and trainees whose invaluable contributions made this award possible.”


Dr. Garcia previously was recognized by the ATS with the 2015 Leadership Award from the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly for contributions to the understanding of the vascular basis of lung disease and advancing knowledge in pulmonary vascular biology and medicine, and with the 2003 Scientific Accomplishment Award for his groundbreaking work in endothelial cytoskeleton and lung fluid balance.


Internationally recognized for his seminal research contributions to the understanding of lung disease and for the development of novel therapies for critically ill patients with acute inflammatory lung disease, Dr. Garcia has nearly 500 peer-reviewed publications. He has an expansive portfolio of National Institutes of Health-sponsored research and continues to direct large federally funded research programs.


A key member of the UA’s senior executive team, Dr. Garcia provides academic leadership for the five University of Arizona Health Sciences (UAHS) colleges: Medicine (in Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He also has direct leadership oversight of the UA Cancer Center.


Dr. Garcia’s prior leadership positions include director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University (1998-2005), chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago (2005-2009), and vice president for health affairs at the University of Illinois (2011-2013), where he oversaw the transformation and rebranding of the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, a $1.2 billion enterprise.


Dr. Garcia is a passionate advocate for the training of physician-scientists and is an active supporter of minority health professions students and aspiring biomedical researchers. He serves as the program director and principal investigator for the NIH-funded Arizona Pride-25 Advanced Health Disparities Training Program, which is designed to offer health disparities research training and project-based experiences to junior faculty members from across the nation. He has guided many minority students at UAHS, Johns Hopkins, UChicago and UIC into academic health professional pathways.




About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information:

Media Contact:  Jean Spinelli, 520-626-2531

Posted in AZBio News.