Rutala, Koch selected for Barr, Greenberg awards
|April 18, 2012|
|William A. Rutala, PhD, MPH, and Gary G. Koch, PhD, were honored with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s most prestigious awards for alumni and faculty at a ceremony preceding the annual Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture on April 17.
Rutala, who earned master’s and doctoral degrees at the School in 1977 and 1979, respectively, received the Harriet Hylton Barr Distinguished Alumni Award. Koch, a biostatistics faculty member at the School for more than 40 years, was selected for the Bernard G. Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award.
The Barr Award
An internationally recognized expert in decontamination and sterilization, Rutala has dedicated his career to reducing risk of infections for hospitalized patients and researching ways to disinfect the hospital environment and sterilize medical and surgical instruments.
Rutala is co-founder and director of hospital epidemiology at UNC Health Care and professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC School of Medicine. He also directs the N.C. Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology (SPICE), an influential program responsible for training 99 percent of all infection preventionists working in acute care facilities in North Carolina.
“At local, state, national and international levels, Dr. Rutala is a collaborator renowned for his compassion and dedication,” said Cathryn Murphy, RN, PhD, immediate past president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), an international organization for infection control professionals.
Established in 1975 — and named in honor of its 1980 recipient, Harriet Hylton Barr — the Barr Award recognizes achievements of alumni and their contributions to public health. Recipients demonstrate leadership, experimentation, collaboration and innovation within the profession, impact within the practice arena, and outstanding service beyond the requirements of their employment.
The Greenberg Award
Koch, a professor of biostatistics, is well known as a mentor, teacher and researcher at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has taught courses in categorical data analysis at UNC for more than 40 years. He is a sought-after mentor–serving as adviser to more than 100 graduate students and many junior faculty members.
“While I was a doctoral student, he created numerous opportunities for me to learn the practice of biostatistics. I continued to receive his mentorship even after I joined the biostatistics faculty,” said Chirayath Suchindran, PhD, UNC biostatistics professor. “His door is always open for me to consult.”
Koch also is director of the Biometric Consulting Laboratory (BCL), which he founded with Dennis Gillings in 1980. The BCL provides biostatistical consulting for health and pharmaceutical researchers in industry and academia. The unique model combines teaching, research and service, generating funds to support five to 10 graduate students each year.
Another of Koch’s collaborations with Gillings – the international clinical research organization Quintiles –had a global impact on the clinical trials industry and the pharmaceutical regulatory environment. When Gillings left academia to build and run the business, Koch chose to stay at the university.
“Gary’s advice and wisdom during those formative years had a huge impact, and helped lay the foundation for what Quintiles is today,” said Gillings.
The Greenberg Award was established by the School’s Alumni Association to honor Bernard G. Greenberg, PhD, founder and chair of the Department of Biostatistics (1947-1972) and dean of the School (1972-82). The award is presented annually to an outstanding full-time faculty member for excellence in teaching, research and service.