Olympus America Honors Outstanding Pathologists During First Annual "Unsung Heroes" AwardsMelville, NyTracey Corey Handy, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner of Kentucky, and Matthew Zarka, M.D., affiliated with the University of Vermont and the Fletcher Allen Health Center, were recognized as the 1999 winners of the "Unsung Heroes" Awards. The awards, sponsored by Olympus America Inc., a world leading manufacturer of microscopes, in cooperation with the College of American Pathologists (CAP), were presented at a ceremony during the Fall CAP Conference in New Orleans.
The awards are the first in the on-going "Unsung Heroes" program sponsored by Olympus for the purpose of increasing public awareness of the vital and often invisible role pathologists have in saving lives. In addition to their expertise with a microscope, pathologists are the doctors who ensure that clinical laboratory testing is reliable and that diseases are accurately diagnosed. They are on the front lines whenever the public is threatened with disease. Their role in forensic science is crucial in helping prevent people from falling prey to abuse or avoidable illness. As Dan Biondi, Olympus Senior Vice President, points out, "Olympus is committed to supporting the work of the world's pathologists and to advocating an educated patient population."
Dr. Tracey Corey Handy is recognized as an "Unsung Hero" for her role in upgrading the well-being of children as Kentucky's Chief Medical Examiner. Along with several colleagues, Dr. Handy founded the state's "Living Forensics" team in 1991. Since its inception, the team has consulted on more than 700 cases of suspected child abuse. This effort has led to an increased conviction rate of abuse perpetrators and helps to reduce further cases of child abuse. In addition, Dr. Handy has initiated a program of routine screening for metabolic defects apparent in victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which has resulted in the correct diagnosis of conditions that would have otherwise been attributed to SIDS. Dr. Handy has also chaired the state's first child mortality review group that has resulted in the initiation of prevention programs, particularly in the event of accidental child death. A frequent speaker and contributor of her expertise to organizations throughout the country, she also teaches forensic pathology and has been published in more than a dozen peer-reviewed journals and books.
Dr. Matthew Zarka is recognized as an "Unsung Hero" for his efforts in aiding the extremely poor Mexican-Indian population in the remote mountain regions of Oaxaca, Mexico. Over the last two years Dr. Zarka has volunteered his time and services to bring much needed medical care to these impoverished communities. He and his OB/GYN team have been setting up the very first clinics throughout the area, enjoining the coffee companies of Mexico to spread word of the clinics to the local population and to help transport patients to the clinics. After each female patient underwent a gynecological examination, Dr. Zarka stained and read her Pap test. When needed, more extensive evaluations, biopsies, treatment and counsel were provided. Overwhelmingly successful, Dr. Zarka's outreaching medical mission has grown to include additional professional staff. By volunteering his time and expertise, Dr. Zarka provides the only real access most people of the region have to modern medical care. His contribution has undoubtedly saved lives that might otherwise have been lost.
The Olympus "Unsung Heroes" program was launched in May of this year. A panel comprise of board certified pathologists judged the candidates. The winners, Drs. Handy and Zarka, will each receive a microscope, donated by Olympus, to help them continue their work in clinical, forensic or research science.
Olympus looks forward to the "Unsung Heroes" awards in the year 2000, and will continue to support programs and initiatives that recognize the tremendous contributions of pathologists worldwide in doing the often unsung work that makes all of our lives better.
Olympus America Inc.
Olympus is a leading manufacturer of clinical and research microscopes used by laboratory technologists and medical researchers around the world. More information is available from Olympus America Inc., Scientific Equipment Division. Please call us toll-free at 1-800-455-8236, or visit our Web site at www.olympusamerica.com.
The College of American Pathologists
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) is a medical society serving nearly 16,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The CAP is an advocate for high quality and cost-effective patient care. For more information contact the College of American Pathologists at 1-800-323-4040, extension 7439, or visit our Web site at www.cap.org.
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