2013 AAAAI Honorary Award Recipients

Allied Health Professionals Recognition Award

Cheryl K. Bernstein, RN, BSN, CCRC


Cheryl K. Bernstein, RN, BSN, CCRC, is director of the Bernstein Clinical Research Center and has worked as a clinical research coordinator in the fields of allergic disorders, asthma and COPD since 1982. In 1977, she received her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Miami in Florida. Early in her career, she was an intensive and critical care nurse and taught critical care nursing. Currently, Cheryl is responsible for the management and administration of her research center and oversees a team of experienced and well-respected clinical research coordinators who have conducted high quality pharmaceutical and NIH sponsored research. Cheryl has been active in the AAAAI as an allied health representative to the Program Committee and later as vice-chair and co-chair of Allied Health Assembly. Cheryl has also served as allied health representative to the ART Board and on the Electronic Medical Record Task Force. She has been a member of the AAAAl Associates since 1981. She continues to serve on AAAAI committees and is currently a member and speaker for the Practice Management Committee. Cheryl has been guest speaker for a number of organizations, presenting lectures on best practices in clinical research and preparation of allergen immunotherapy mixtures.


Distinguished Clinician Award

Mark Boguniewicz, MD, FAAAAI


Mark Boguniewicz, MD, is a Fellow of the AAAAI and past Chair of the DOD Interest Section and Eczema Committee. He is also a Fellow of the ACAAI. He is on the editorial board of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. He served on the AAAAI/ACAAI Joint Task Force on Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors and was co-chair of the treatment section of the AAAAI/EAACI PRACTALL Consensus Group for atopic dermatitis. He has served on the AAAAI/ACAAI Joint Task Force for the 2004 and 2012 Practice Parameters for Atopic Dermatitis. He is an investigator of the NIH Atopic Dermatitis Research Network. He has lectured at national and international meetings and has had over 300 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, book chapters and abstracts published. He is the recipient of the 1998-1999, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 Pediatric Allergy-Immunology Fellows Outstanding Teacher Award, the 2002 National Jewish Medical and Research Center’s Faculty Clinician of the Year Award and the 2006 AAAAI Richard S. Farr Memorial Lectureship, and has been selected for Best Doctors in America 2003-2013.


Distinguished Layperson Award

State Senator Cynthia Stone Creem


A State Senator for 14 years, Cynthia Stone Creem has taken a leadership role in many high-profile issues, blocking reinstatement of the death penalty, reforming the sex-offender registry, authoring a landmark law allowing stem-cell research and helping preserve equal marriage. In 2009, Cindy’s years of efforts culminated in a new law to increase food allergy awareness and establish education and training requirements for restaurant personnel on food allergy prevention. She continues to work on regulations creating a voluntary “food allergy friendly” restaurant designation. Cindy became interested in food allergy issues after witnessing her own sister’s struggles, but she credits a 14-year-old constituent with coming forward to suggest legislation. Cindy currently chairs the Judiciary Committee, successfully reforming the Probation Department, modernizing alimony laws and criminal history records, securing the right to DNA testing in criminal cases, and enacting sentencing reform to save money and reduce recidivism. Cindy practices family law as a partner in Stone, Stone and Creem. She and her husband Harvey live in Newton and enjoy spending free time with their two children and four grandchildren.


Distinguished Layperson Award

Chef Ming Tsai


James Beard Award-winning Chef, author and host/producer of PBS-TV's Simply Ming; Ming Tsai is chef/owner of two restaurants: Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon. An Emmy Award-winner, Ming hosts and executive produces Simply Ming, now in its tenth season. Ming is the author of five cookbooks, including his interactive cookbook Simply Ming In Your Kitchen that uses QR code technology to access videos and shopping lists. Ming is a national spokesperson for the nonprofit group FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education, a merger of FAAN and FAI), and is proud to have worked with Massachusetts Legislature to help write Bill S. 2701, signed into law in January 2009. This groundbreaking legislation, the first of its kind in the United States, requires local restaurants to comply with simple food allergy awareness guidelines. In 2012, Ming was invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to represent the United States with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chef Corps. The Chef Corps is a network of American chefs that participate in a number of official government programs that use food as a foundation for public diplomacy efforts at home and abroad.


Distinguished Scientist Award

Dean D. Metcalfe, MD, FAAAAI


Dr. Dean Metcalfe received his MD from the University of Tennessee, was a resident in internal medicine at the University of Michigan, a fellow in A/I at NIH and a fellow in rheumatology at the Robert Brigham Hospital. In 1979, he returned to NIH as a Senior Clinical Investigator within NIAID. In 1995, Dr. Metcalfe was appointed the first Chief of the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases. He was also Director of the A&I Clinical Fellowship program from 1993 to 2008. Dr. Metcalfe is an author on over 520 scientific papers and an editor on 14 books on mast cell biology, mast cell disorders, food allergy and asthma. He is a past Chairman of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology; a past President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; and a past Chairman of the ACGME-RRC for Allergy and Immunology. Dr.  Metcalfe has been elected to membership in the American Clinical and Climatological Association, the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians.


Distinguished Service Award

Thomas A. Fleisher, MD, FAAAAI


Thomas Fleisher received his MD and pediatric training at the University of Minnesota followed by allergy/immunology training at NIH. He is Senior Investigator at NIH, faculty member of the Allergy and Immunology Training Program within NIAID and adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at USUHS. Dr. Fleisher served on the Board of Directors of the ABAI from 1991 to 2000 and chaired this organization in 1996. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the AAAAI from 2003 to 2007 and was on the Executive Committee of the Clinical Immunology Society from 2003 to 2006, including serving as President in 2005. He has served in a number of editorial capacities including Editor in Chief of The Journal of Clinical Immunology from 2010 to 2012 and has co-edited of all four editions of Clinical Immunology: Principles and Practice. Dr. Fleisher is a member of the group of medical scientists who described and characterized the autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) and related conditions. His research interests focus on developing new diagnostic laboratory methods particularly pertaining to immune deficiency and dysregulation disorders.


Mentorship Awards

K. Frank Austen, MD, FAAAAI and Albert L. Sheffer, MD, FAAAAI

The Dr. Austen and Dr. Sheffer collaboration began in 1963. Frank had returned from Mill Hill in the UK where he worked with Walter Brockelhurst on the pathway for generating slow reacting substance of anaphylaxis (cysteinyl leukotrienes) and with John Humphrey on activation of isolated mast cells. Shef had returned from the Rockefeller Institute Laboratory of Merrill Chase where he worked on the development of experimental granulomas as a model for sarcoidosis. In a seminar, Frank summarized the proceedings from the First Immunopathology Conference where the findings of Donaldson and Evans were reported showing an absence of C1INH activity in hereditary angioedema (HAE). Frank was establishing his own immunology laboratory at the MGH and Shef had a large Canadian family with HAE in his practice. Thus, their collaboration was initiated and Shef in addition guided Frank’s preparation for certification. When Frank moved to the Robert B. Brigham Hospital in 1966 with his early postdoctoral fellows, Marty Valentine and Dan Stechschulte, Shef moved his office nearby to provide a clinical site for the allergy training program. Shef also assumed responsibility for the Allergy Clinic at the Peter B. Brigham Hospital and for inpatient consultations. Douglas Fearon and Irma Gigli joined in the HAE studies providing sensitive functional assays to guide development of various therapies. Shef and Frank then began to study mast cell disorders with Nick Soter who provided both insights and biopsies. This led to the recognition of exercise induced anaphylaxis (EIA) as a physical allergy and to studies with Allen Kaplan and Steve Wasserman on the mediators released during cold and cholinergic urticaria. The training program has continued to date, and its leadership now rests with Joshua Boyce and Mariana Castells, prior trainees. Other trainees include several past-presidents of the AAAAI such as Steve Wasserman, Allen Kaplan, Michael Kaliner and Dean Metcalfe, as well as many accomplished investigators, preclinical and clinical, both U.S. based and abroad.


Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award

Theodore M. Freeman, MD, FAAAAI


Dr. Freeman graduated from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and did his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at Jacksonville, Florida and Keesler AFB Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. He did his allergy and Immunology training at Wilford Hall, and a year of clinical lab immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was the training program director of A/I Fellowship at Wilford Hall from 1989 to 2004. He retired from the USAF in 2001 as a Colonel. Dr. Freeman has served on the RRC for A/I and the Advisory Council for NIAID. He has also served on the Board of Governors of the Texas Allergy Asthma and Immunology Society, and on the Board of Governors of the San Antonio Region of the American Lung Association. He has served as President of both the Society of Air Force Physicians and the Association of Uniformed Services Allergists and Immunologists. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the AAAAI and the President-Elect for the Texas Allergy Asthma and Immunology Society.


RSLAAIS Leadership Award

James M. Tracy, DO, FAAAAI


Dr. Tracy has dedicated his professional life to quality patient care and the service of the allergy/immunology specialty. He graduated from the University of New England, practiced pediatrics before his allergy training at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, and served as Offutt AFB’s Chief of Allergy and Special Consultant for Allergy and Immunology for the USAF Air Combat Command. He divides his professional time seeing patients, managing the largest allergy and immunology practice in Nebraska, teaching at Creighton University, and proctoring medical students at the community homeless shelter. He actively publishes on insect allergy, anaphylaxis and chronic infections, and serves on the FDA Pulmonary-Allergy Advisory Committee.

He tirelessly advocates for patients with allergic diseases and for practicing allergists. Under his leadership, the Regional Advocacy Discussion and Response (RADAR) network was developed. RADAR worked with the AAAAI, ACAAI and JCAAI, creating a network of local leaders to problem solve and advocate for allergy patients and professionals.

Active in the Omaha community, Dr. Tracy’s passion is the fine arts and serves on the boards of directors of several arts organizations. He resides in Omaha, Nebraska, and is married to his wife of 34 years, Susan. They have three sons and a granddaughter.


Special Recognition Award

Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI


Dr. Thanai Pongdee is a Senior Associate Consultant in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He is an Instructor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University and medical degree from the University of Kentucky. He completed a combined internal medicine/pediatrics residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. He then completed his fellowship training in allergy and immunology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Pongdee has been actively involved with the AAAAI since his fellowship training when he served as the Fellows-in-Training Committee Vice-Chair and Chair from 2002 to 2004. He then joined the AAAAI website editorial team in 2005 and later became the AAAAI Website Medical Editor in 2008. Dr. Pongdee is also actively involved in the Leadership Institute Working Group to foster leadership development in the AAAAI. Dr. Pongdee maintains an active clinical practice with research interests in asthma diagnostics and treatment, drug allergy, health disparities and social media in health care.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology