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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 26, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 27
SoM's Neil Powe Named Distinguished Educator by NACRT

An expert in the treatment of kidney disease, Neil Powe has trained hundreds of researchers and medical students in the past two decades.

By David March
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Johns Hopkins internist and epidemiologist Neil R. Powe, who has trained hundreds of clinical researchers and medical students in the past two decades, has been named the 2007 Distinguished Educator by the National Association of Clinical Research Training.

Powe, an expert in the treatment of chronic kidney disease and a professor in the School of Medicine, will receive a plaque in honor of the award on Wednesday, March 28, at a ceremony held in conjunction with the association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

"Neil Powe's accomplishments represent the very best of Hopkins," said Myron Weisfeldt, the William Osler Professor of Medicine and director of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. "He is a reputable scholar in his own specialty, a recognized educator in clinical research who has changed national policy on how physicians care for their patients, and he is a mentor to other leaders in medicine, cultivating young scientists, especially minority groups, and leaving a legacy of talent at institutions across the country."

Among Powe's accomplishments are changes to practice guidelines for treating patients with end-stage renal disease, preventing the misuse of treatments, such as recombinant erythropoietin, and examining the effectiveness of various technologies, including peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis.

Since joining the Division of Internal Medicine in 1986, he has produced 273 peer-reviewed publications, served as the principal investigator or co-investigator on 46 federally funded health research studies and been a member of numerous national scientific advisory bodies.

In 1995, Powe led the introduction of the first instruction in health outcomes and effectiveness research to the Johns Hopkins medical curricula; the course, taught to master's and doctoral candidates (more than 60 students annually) as well as to medical students, focuses on how best to introduce new laboratory discoveries into clinical practice and how best to monitor and evaluate them. He also directs a federally funded K12 grant worth more than $13 million to train fellows and young faculty in clinical and translational research, plus another grant of $3 million to train medical students in clinical research.

Since being named in 1998 as director of Johns Hopkins' Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, a research training center, Powe has overseen the doubling of its size and stature. It now has 29 faculty, 94 trainees and nearly 120 research staff, and its annual research budget has grown to more than $16 million.

"Fellow researchers describe Neil as the quarterback of the team," said Weisfeldt, who is also physician in chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. "They just want to follow him because he offers moral leadership, is always positive, never edgy or harsh in offering critical feedback, and he takes greater pride in celebrating his students' accomplishments rather than his own. He fits the motto of William Osler — Hopkins' first physician in chief and widely considered to be the father of modern-day medicine — that a physician leader should be an island of calm in a sea of chaos."

Of the 38 clinical researchers personally trained by Powe, who is co-director of the Division of Internal Medicine, 25 have gone on to hold academic positions here and at other medical centers, nine are still in training, and the remaining hold clinical research positions in government or industry.

Current and former Welch Center faculty include Michael Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health; Daniel E. Ford, vice dean for clinical research at the School of Medicine; and the leaders of the school's Division of General Internal Medicine, Frederick Brancati, and Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Linda Fried.

A hallmark of Powe's leadership has been his commitment to promoting diversity in medical research. Fifty-two percent of the Welch Center faculty are women, and 26 percent represent visible minorities. He works nationally with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and with the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., to identify promising young minority faculty, fellows and medical school students for clinical research training at Johns Hopkins.

A recipient of numerous awards, Powe was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2003. He is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians and American Epidemiologic Society. Powe graduated from Princeton in 1976 and earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School and his master's in public health at Harvard School of Public Health, both in 1981. He completed his master's in business administration at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1986.


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