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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jill Aquino
(215) 589-6329 / jill@hepb.org

 

Hepatitis B Foundation Presents Distinguished Scientist Award 2009 to
Dr. Brian McMahon at Crystal Ball Gala
Dr. McMahon Honored for Advancing the Science and Medicine of Hepatitis B

 

DOYLESTOWN, PA (April 2009) – The Hepatitis B Foundation held its annual Crystal Ball on Saturday, April 4 at the Doylestown Country Club with more than 200 guests and community leaders attending the Foundation’s signature fundraising event. This year’s exotic theme was “Moonlight Over the Orient” with Asian-inspired food, decorations and auction items. KYW Newsradio 1060 award-winning suburban chief Brad Segall served as the celebrity host and state representative Kathy Watson pledged her support for the important work of the Foundation.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Foundation’s “Distinguished Scientist Award 2009” to Brian J. McMahon, M.D., Scientific Program and Clinical Director of the Liver Disease and Hepatitis Program, Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, AK. Dr. McMahon was honored with the Foundation’s highest scientific award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to advancing the science and medicine of hepatitis B.

“The Hepatitis B Foundation is proud to recognize the accomplishments and commitment of Dr. Brian McMahon whose work is not only among the most important in the field, but whose dedication and commitment to hepatitis B care and advocacy continues to inspire and motivate all of us,” enthused Timothy M. Block, Ph.D., Hepatitis B Foundation president. “The community owes a tremendous debt to Dr. McMahon who has almost single-handedly reduced the enormous burden of hepatitis B in Alaska Native people through his pioneering work in promoting vaccination and liver cancer screening.”

Dr. McMahon is internationally recognized for his research on viral hepatitis and expertise in the clinical management and prevention of viral hepatitis. He is also beloved for his career-long commitment to improving the health of Alaska Native and American Indian people. Dr. McMahon is a thought leader in the field who is called upon frequently to serve on expert panels that currently include the NIH Consensus Conference on Hepatitis B and the Institute of Medicine’s study on chronic viral hepatitis in the U.S. He is co-author of the AASLD Practice Guidelines for the Management of Hepatitis B which guide physicians nationally and internationally, author of hundreds of article, and recipient of many awards.

Nobel Laureate Baruch Blumberg, M.D., Ph.D., who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus, wrote in a special salute to Dr. McMahon, “I have long admired your work in Alaska in controlling the hepatitis B endemic and in providing detailed scientific reports on methods and results. Your steadfast persistence in establishing and executing the program … has saved many lives, [which is] one of the greatest goals that a physician can hope to reach.”

“This is a huge honor for me and an enormous privilege,” said Dr. McMahon in his thoughtful acceptance speech. “The Hepatitis B Foundation is doing important work and I urge all of you to continue your support because I expect great things to happen in the next several years as the efforts of the Foundation come to fruition.” In a nod to recent events in Alaska, Dr. McMahon ended on a light note by remarking, “This award is the biggest thing to happen to me since the volcano erupted!” In recognition of Dr. McMahon’s outstanding work, the guests gave him a standing ovation.

Hepatitis B Foundation Presents Distinguished Scientist Award 2009 to
Dr. Brian McMahon at Crystal Ball Gala
April 2009
Page Two

Past recipients of the Foundation’s distinguished awards include Nobel Laureate Baruch S. Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus; National Academy of Sciences members Dr. Harvey Alter, Dr. Francis Chisari, and Dr. Jesse Summers; and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Major Gala sponsors included Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bugajewski Facility Services, CCG Metamedia, Drexel University, Gilead Sciences, High Swartz LLP, Merck, Novartis, Quakertown National Bank, Univest Bank and Media Sponsor Bucks County Herald. All proceeds raised through the Gala will help fund the Foundation’s research, education and advocacy programs.

ABOUT DR. BRIAN J. MCMAHON - Dr. Brian McMahon, the Scientific and Clinical Director, Liver Disease and Hepatitis Program of the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, is internationally recognized for his research on viral hepatitis and his expertise in the clinical management and prevention of viral hepatitis. He is beloved for his career-long commitment to improving the health of Alaska Native and American Indian people.

The direct contribution of Dr. McMahon's work on the health of Alaska Native people of southwestern Alaska cannot be overstated. When Dr. McMahon first arrived in Alaska in the 1970’s, over 10% of the Alaska Native population was chronically infected with hepatitis B and the annual incidence of acute hepatitis B was staggering. He led a program that provided the hepatitis B vaccine to all susceptible persons and started a routine infant immunization program in the 1980’s, a decade before it became a national recommendation! As a measure of his success, by 1993 vaccine coverage among children under 10 years exceeded 90% and only 2 cases of new hepatitis B infections were documented during the past 10 years.

In addition to hepatitis B vaccination programs, Dr. McMahon initiated a blood screening program for the early detection of primary liver cancer when it is at a treatable stage. Today, over 1,000 Alaska Natives are contacted every 6 months for screening to help prevent this fatal outcome of chronic hepatitis B.

Dr. McMahon is a thought leader in the field who is called upon frequently: he co-authored the AASLD Practice Guidelines for the Management of Hepatitis B; published hundreds of articles; provided expert testimony at the NIH Consensus Conference on Hepatitis B; and serves on the expert panel for the Institute of Medicine’s study of chronic viral hepatitis in the United States.

During his distinguished career, Dr. McMahon has been the recipient of several awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation, from the National Indian Health Board, the Indian Health Service PHS Unit Award for Hepatitis A Outbreak Control Program, and elected to Mastership in the American College of Physicians. He currently serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Hepatitis B Foundation.

ABOUT THE HEPATITIS B FOUNDATION: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. For more information, please visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.



Page last modified April 9, 2009


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