Mary E. Wilson, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine, Epidemiology, and Microbiology & Immunology, has won the 2018 Distinguished Mentor Award. This award honors faculty members whose abilities as an educator and mentor have shaped students into remarkable careers of their own. Mentoring can include training in the lab and in the clinic, direct classroom instruction, and faculty career development. Dr. Wilson will be recognized this fall, October 9, at the Daryl and Nancy Granner Distinguished Mentor Award Celebration.
Dr. Wilson is the first Carver College of Medicine Professor of Global Health, a position she has held since 2011. She was nominated for this award by Dr. Patrick Schlievert, Chair and DEO of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. In his nomination letter, Dr. Schlievert notes the critical nature of Dr. Wilson’s focus of research, the immunopathogenesis of Leishmania infections, which occur more than 250 million times annually. Given her near-singularity as one of the premier researchers in the United States and the global threat this parasite poses, Dr. Wilson is regularly called upon to mentor and instruct not just physicians and researchers in this country, but those from around the world, especially from Brazil.
Ten letters of support were included in the nomination packet from students and colleagues. Each offers a unique perspective, but a common thread of gratitude to Dr. Wilson binds them together. Dr. Nicholas Ettinger, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics-Critical Care at Baylor College of Medicine, cites Dr. Wilson’s generosity with her time and encouragement when he first joined her lab as a medical student. Dr. Kira Gantt, Associate Director of Outreach and Education at the Hume Center for National Security and Technology at Virginia Tech, credits Dr. Wilson’s example of consistent “integrity and composure” as well as her “patience and persistence” as contributing to her own success. Dr. Daniel Leung, Assistant Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, is grateful for the “freedom and inspiration” Dr. Wilson gave him to pursue his own interest, while still guiding him when he hit roadblocks. Dr. Judy Streit, Clinical Professor in Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa, makes clear that Dr. Wilson’s commitment to global health and underserved people “conveys that scientific inquiry is a privilege that can serve a great purpose.”
These excerpts only scratch the surface of the depth and scope of Dr. Wilson’s contributions to so many others’ beliefs and values in academic medicine. As each of these ten, and countless others who have the good fortune to learn from Dr. Wilson, go on to teach their own students, they pass those values on as well. Three departments, two colleges, the University of Iowa, and the medical profession itself is immeasurably strengthened by Dr. Wilson and her work.