William N. Kelley, MD, MACP, MACR, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, was recently chosen as Doctor of the Decade for 2012-2022 given by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for his incredible work he has contributed for the 21st century.
While inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals is an honor in itself, only 1 Doctor is selected for this distinction. Dr. Kelley is being recognized for dedicating more than fifty years of his career as a Physician Scientist, Medical Doctor, and Educator.
In the late 1980s, he was one of the early physician scientists involved in the field of gene therapy. He was convinced that “gene based medicines and vaccines” would have a dramatic impact on treating, curing, and preventing human diseases thus improving & extending human life. Based on this strong belief and his commitment to this new discipline, he sought an academic position where he could execute this strategy. In late 1989, he accepted the position as Dean of the UPenn School Medicine and CEO of the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania. He and his colleagues began to build a program in the field by making this an attractive option for Penn faculty, trainees, and students as well as by recruiting the most outstanding faculty from around the world who had a special interest in pursuing this new discipline. He is extremely pleased and proud that Penn Medicine is now viewed as the world’s epicenter in the creation of “gene based medicines and vaccines”. The best known of the rapidly expanding new drugs and vaccines are the mRNA vaccines (Moderna & Biotech/Pfizer) which came from the Penn Medicine research labs of Dr. Katalin Kariko & Dr. Drew Weissman and have been used thru out the world to prevent or modify infection from Covid 19. These vaccines alone already have saved millions of lives worldwide.
He will receive his IAOTP recognition as Doctor of the Decade at their Annual Awards Gala being held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas this December. Furthermore, Dr. Kelley was also inducted into IAOTP’s exclusive Hall of Fame on stage at the Plaza Hotel last year. www.iaotp.com/award-gala
Stephanie Cirami, the President of the International Association of Top Professionals stated “Choosing Dr. Kelley for this most recent distinction was an easy decision for our panel to make. His knowledge, passion, contributions to medical research, education and, specifically his early role in supporting the development in gene therapy at a time when the concept was generating considerable resistance from the scientific community prove he is truly deserving of such an honor. We look forward to spending time with him and celebrating all of his merits at the 2022 Annual Awards Gala.”
Dr. Kelley earned his Doctor of Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, in 1963 and subsequently served an internship and residency in Medicine at the Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, TX. He completed his senior residency in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Kelley’s other titles have included Clinical Associate in Human Biochemical Genetics with the National Institutes of Health, and Macy Faculty scholar at the University of Oxford in England. Later in his career, he received an honorary Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.
His impressive repertoire of roles has included Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, and Founding CEO of the Penn Health System (the combination now known as Penn Medicine). Prior appointments included Professor of Medicine, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, and Chief of Rheumatic and Genetic Diseases at Duke University, followed by Professor of Biological Chemistry and Internal Medicine, and Chair of Internal Medicine with the Medical School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
From 1989 to 2000, at PENN, a large number of highly talented young faculty with a special interest in gene therapy were recruited to Penn medicine, and many have become giants in the gene therapy field over the decades that have followed. This partial list includes:
Dr. Jean Bennett (blindness)
Dr. Beverly Davidson *(gene regulation)
Dr. Katherine High (blindness and clotting disorders)
Dr. Carl June (CAR-T cells)
Dr. Katalin Kariko (mRNA)
Dr. Albert Maguire (blindness)
Dr. David Weiner **(DNA)
Dr. Drew Weissman (mRNA)
Dr. James Wilson (AAV vectors)
*Came to Penn after 2000
**Came to Penn prior 1989
Two of these individuals, Dr. Davidson and Dr. Wilson, actually received their PhD’s based on related genetic work while in Dr. Kelley’s laboratory at the University of Michigan in the 1980’s, prior to their coming to Penn.
While the road was a rocky one over the last three decades, he is proud to note that PENN Medicine is now the global leader in this new field.
Dr. Kelley is also noted for developing the first fully integrated university-based academic health system in the country at the University of Pennsylvania (now known as Penn Medicine) and expanding the Medical Center’s regional footprint by acquiring hospitals and private practices, including Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
Dr. Kelley was known for his breakthrough research and leadership of academic medical programs at Duke and the University of Michigan when he arrived at Penn. During Dr. Kelley’s Tenure, the Perelman School became a research powerhouse moving the school into the top 3 rankings for NIH funding. There is now a Professorship named in his honor at the Perelman School of Medicine.
Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Kelley has received many awards, accolades and has been recognized worldwide for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the profession. In 2005, Dr. Kelley was presented with the Kober Medal by the Association of American Physicians, and in 2000, the Emory Medal from his alma mater, Emory University. He was the recipient of the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the John Phillips Award of the American College of Physicians, the Gold Medal Award from the American College of Rheumatology, the Robert H. Williams Award from the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, and the National Medical Research Award from the National Health Council. Dr. Kelley has been featured in many magazines and publications, including Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and Who’s Who in the World. In 2018 he received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to his successful career, Dr. Kelley is a sought-after lecturer, speaker, and contributor to numerous professional journals and chapters to books. He was the co-inventor of a Viral-Mediated Gene Transfer System, now the most used method today for in vivo gene therapy. Dr. Kelley founded and edited numerous early editions of Kelley and Firestein’s Textbook of Rheumatology and Kelley’s Textbook of Internal Medicine. He was also editor-in-chief for Essentials of Internal Medicine and co-editor of Arthritis Surgery and Emerging Policies for Bio-Medical Research. Dr. Kelley has served on the Board of Directors for many public companies such as Beckman Coulter, Inc. and Merck & Co., Inc, and has been involved with many committees and subcommittees with the National Institutes of Health. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
Looking back, Dr. Kelley attributes his success to his perseverance, his education and his mentors, as well as the outstanding students, trainees, and junior faculty he has had the good fortune to work with along the way. When not working, he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. For the future, he hopes that his contributions will continue to improve human health worldwide.
For more information on Dr. Kelley please visit: www.iaotp.com
Watch his video:
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