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The Daily Wildcat


Senior Vice President of Health Sciences gets an award for outstanding achievement

Courtesy of Health Sciences
Dr. Joe “Skip” Garcia, senior vice president for the University of Arizona Health Sciences. Garcia was awarded the 2016 Trudeau Medal by the American Thoracic Society.

Dr. Joe “Skip” Garcia, the senior vice president for UA Health Sciences, was selected by the American Thoracic Society to receive the 2016 Trudeau Medal.

Garcia, who was previously recognized by the ATS when he received the 2015 Leadership Award from the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly, is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, is the Dr. Merlin DuVal Professor of Medicine and is the recipient of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2015 La Estrella Award.

“I’m very flattered to be receiving this meaningful award,” Garcia said. “I’ve been a part of the American Thoracic Society for 30 some years, and I think I’ve attended the meetings since I was a resident in internal medicine.”

Garcia, who has been at the UA since September 2013, said the Trudeau Medal is the highest honor the society gives.

Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Andrew Comrie said Garcia’s job is all about raising the profile of UA Health Sciences in terms of research, education and clinical realms.

“This award that he’s gotten just shows that he is a really great example of how to do well in those areas,” Comrie said. “This is a great sign that we have strong and really able leadership that has really high recognition and credibility … among his peers.”

Garcia said he thinks there’s no one thing in particular that got him the medal but rather a combination of the work he’s done throughout his career. Over the years, he’s worked at places like John Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois and now, the UA. Garcia has always had a hand in moving the agenda to promote diversity and creating programs to address health disparities.

Garcia was always interested in promoting the careers of young people and has mentored and advised people around the country.

“I think the final thing is that I’m a pretty good scientist, my science has been well recognized for many years,” Garcia said. “I think if you put all those things together, it’s probably what drove them to make these decisions.”

Garcia said that, at every institution he’s worked, he’s had a wonderful team and is proud of all their hard work. He said the accomplishments were a team effort.

Mike Jonen, senior associate vice president for UA Health Sciences, has worked with Garcia for over 10 years. Jonen said Garcia is an inspirational figure who, despite having many accomplishments, is very humble and easy to engage with.

He respects not only Garcia’s commitment to the academic mission, but also his ability to listen and engage with others while giving them the opportunity to be heard and making them feel valued.

Garcia said that President Ann Weaver Hart and the university were always supportive of him and health science efforts.

UA Health Sciences’ mission is to improve health in Arizona’s communities. With the university’s five health science colleges, strong research power and bright staff, they have the opportunity to make a difference and improve health in a sustainable way, according to Garcia.

“I have to be honest, in my field and as an academic scientist and academic leader, I have probably checked any box I ever would have dreamed of checking,” Garcia said. “I couldn’t be more pleased about what’s happened in my career, but my most important goal for the next stage in my career is to focus on my job leading the UA Health Sciences.”

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