7 individuals, 4 teams awarded 2023-24 Presidential Awards

Duke announced the winners of the 2023-24 Presidential Award, recognizing seven individuals and four teams for embodying a commitment to Duke’s values and excellence.

The 11 recipients were selected by the Office of the President in partnership with Duke Human Resources. They will be honored for their contributions to the University Mar. 7 at 4 p.m. in Page Auditorium, according to a Monday announcement. 

Team recipients

Bass Connections: This team was honored for giving Duke students, faculty and staff the opportunity to partake in interdisciplinary year-long research projects that tackle “complex societal problems.” Since its founding in 2013, the program has become a model in experiential learning, building on Duke’s dedication to knowledge in service to society, receiving more than $70 million in awards and responsible for almost 200 scholarly publications.

Duke Caregiver Community Event: Duke Caregiver Community Event was recognized for its initiative to empower and provide resources to caregivers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Their programming, including educational workshops on self-care and illnesses, flu vaccinations and education about resources has helped 5,200 caregivers between 2021-23.

Duke University Health System Infection Prevention and Epidemiology: Before the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, members of this team gathered and tested personal protective equipment and developed safety protocols for patient care. Since the onset of the pandemic, the team continued their work to navigate supply chain issues and shortages and develop Duke’s policies.

“Often, infection prevention is a thankless job that occurs in the background. Because of the excellence, dedication and compassion embodied by this team, they have been fully integrated into their work areas,” said Kristen Said, assistant director of Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness.

Steam Busters: This team was recognized for the work of hundreds of team members from six Duke University Hospital’s units to repair a broken pipe in the hospital’s HVAC system that rendered surgical operating rooms and supplies unusable.

The team’s swift work allowed the surgical team to resume their work just four days after the broken pipe was found.

“Everyone worked together round the clock to ensure we could safely care for patients on Monday morning. All elective cases proceeded on Monday, no emergency cases were missed, and every patient received their needed care,” said Allan D. Kirk, David C. Sabiston Jr. distinguished professor and chair of the department of surgery.


Harvey J. Cohen: Cohen, Walter Kempner distinguished professor of medicine, was recognized for 56 years of contributions to medicine. Those contributions include 17 books on geriatrics and geriatric oncology, 452 peer-reviewed research articles and 90 chapters of medical literature.

Cohen’s research addresses functional decline and resilience with aging, geriatric assessment and cancer and anemia in the elderly.

“He is part of [Duke’s] foundation and embodies our character,” said Heather Whitson, professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Aging, and Cathleen Colón-Emeric, professor of medicine and chief of the division of geriatrics.

Thomas B. Whiteside: Whiteside, a senior production technician with Duke Technical Services, was honored for over three decades of work behind the science to ensure that academic, athletic and performance events operate smoothly.

“His well-earned technical skills make university events better throughout this campus, while his ability to communicate comfortably with everyone helps put clients and audiences at ease,” said Selden Smith, manager of Duke Technical Services.

Natalie Hartman: Hartman was recognized for her work as the associate director for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her work has brought in millions of dollars to Duke to support student and faculty research and travel to Latin America.

“Natalie demonstrates genuine kindness, attention and care for everyone she works with, from the most senior faculty members to first-year graduate students, advocating equally for everyone regardless of status or time at Duke,” said Katya Wesolowski, lecturing fellow of cultural anthropology, and Professor of History John French.

Jane K. Pike: Pike was honored for her work leading efforts for patient access enhancements within the Duke University School of Medicine. Her work has saved $750 million for Duke Health.

“She inspires others to continue improving and learning, as her push for excellence is contagious,” said Elizabeth Howe, Duke Health integrated practice director of performance excellence.

Pamela C. King: King was awarded for her work with the Social Science Research Institute’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation and Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference since 2019. King’s work primarily lies in managing finances and grant funding, as well as coordinating logistics for meetings and other events.

Lorrie Schmid, SSRI data management and analysis lead, praised King for her “generosity of spirit, focused on a high level of excellence and with positivity and humor.” 

Atalaysha Churchwell: Churchwell was honored for her leadership in improving the health of the Research Triangle’s most vulnerable populations, particularly children and families facing mental health struggles. Gary Maslow, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, described her as a leader who always challenges herself to help patients.

“Every time an issue or challenge arises, she asks, ‘What is best for our patients?’” Maslow told Duke Today.

Craig Henriquez: The late Henriquez, professor of biomedical engineering and associate vice provost for faculty advancement, was posthumously awarded for his achievements as a faculty member in the Pratt School of Engineering. His research provided developments to the understanding of neurological signals driving heart function, and his character is remembered by students throughout the years.

“He was a true example of living one’s values through service and demonstrated a deep commitment to making Duke a world-class institution that welcomes individuals of all backgrounds,” said eight members of the Duke Faculty Advancement team.

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Abby Spiller | Editor-in-Chief

Abby Spiller is a Trinity sophomore and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 120th volume.


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