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Rutgers Board of Governors Announces Two Endowed Chairs in Medicine

New Brunswick, NJ, June 20, 2014 — The Board of Governors of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey yesterday announced that Leonard Y. Lee, interim chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery, has been named the James W. Mackenzie Chair in Surgery.  Dr. Lee is only the second faculty member to receive this honor.

In addition, Claire S. Philipp, professor of medicine and chief of the division of hematology, has been named the Melvyn, Ab and Yetta Motolinsky Chair in Hematology, endowed by the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Research Foundation.  Philipp also is the second faculty member at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to hold the Motolinsky Chair.

Established in 2001 and dedicated in April 2002, the James W. Mackenzie Chair in Surgery was the first endowed chair in surgery at the medical school. It is named for the founder of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s Department of Surgery, who served as chair of the department from 1969 through 1996, and as chief of the division of thoracic surgery from 1969 through 2001.

Two years after joining the faculty of what was then Rutgers Medical School, Mackenzie also was appointed dean of the medical school and served in that role from 1971 to 1975. During his tenure as dean, he spearheaded the conversion of Rutgers Medical School from a two-year to a four-year program, established a centralized faculty practice plan, and recruited many eminent academic physicians and scientists, including several department chairs.

At the time the endowed chair was dedicated, Mackenzie said he believed it reflected the maturity of research endeavors in the department, especially in cardiac surgery, and helped position the division of thoracic surgery for future momentum as a national contender in leading research.

Lee continues that work, with nationally recognized research. His numerous heart surgery and heart disease clinical research trials include current initiatives focusing on inflammation in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, as well as the use of stem cells for cardiac repair.

A 1992 graduate of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Lee completed residency training in general surgery at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, where he served as chief resident.  He performed a research fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and a clinical cardiothoracic fellowship there and at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Prior to joining Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Lee held leadership roles at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he developed new programs involving minimally invasive surgical approaches to heart disease and repairs of complex thoracic aortic aneurysms of all types.

In addition, he previously served as director of the cardiac surgery program and chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at New York Methodist Hospital, part of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell Heart Center. He also served as associate professor of clinical cardiothoracic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University.

Established in 1972, the Motolinsky Foundation is a living memorial to Melvyn H. Motolinsky, an alumnus of Rutgers University and Yale Law School, who died at age 26, only two months after he was diagnosed with leukemia.  For more than 40 years, the foundation has supported hematology research, funding efforts to treat and cure leukemia and other blood-related diseases, including several initiatives at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, such as a research laboratory and hematology fellowship training program.

Established in 2000 as the Melvin H. and Ab Motolinsky Chair in Hematology, the endowed professorship was renamed to honor Yetta, “the heart and soul of the foundation,” who passed away in 2005.

Reflecting the mission of the Motolinsky Foundation, Philipp’s clinical practice and research focus on hematology.  An expert in bleeding and clotting disorders, she is director of the Special Hemostasis Laboratory, a statewide referral laboratory for the performance of highly specialized diagnostic testing for these disorders.

Philipp also oversees the Thrombosis Center, the Women with Bleeding Disorders Program, and the New Jersey Regional Hemophilia Program at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she also is director of the Motolinsky Research Laboratory.

Philipp has been the recipient of multiple federal and state grants and has served on national and international committees on blood disorders.  She is a highly regarded medical educator who teaches medical students and residents, and serves as director of the medical school’s Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program, providing specialized training to physicians who have recently completed their residency.

An alumna of Brown University, Providence, RI, where she earned a bachelor’s of science and a doctor of medicine degree, Philipp completed a fellowship in hematology at New York University, followed by a National Research Council postdoctoral research fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Prior to joining Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1993, Philipp was section chief in the Hematologic Diseases Branch at the CDC.