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2012 Distinguished Service Award Recipient Announced Print Email

February 29, 2012

The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) will confer the 2012 Distinguished Service Award upon Philip S. Clifford, Ph.D., at the NPA's 10th Annual Meeting, to be held March 16-18 in San Francisco, Calif.

Dr. Clifford is associate dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). As associate dean, he oversees professional and career development for postdoctoral scholars and graduate students.

His contributions at MCW have led to The Scientist naming the institution as one of the Best Places to Work for Postdocs for the past three years. Based upon the efforts of Dr. Clifford, the postdoctoral office at MCW now reflects a model system, in which individual responsibility and a committed institutional structure creates an environment that provides guidance while fostering postdoc independence.

Dr. Clifford's work has expanded beyond MCW to influence the postdoctoral community on the national level. He regularly provides practical career planning workshops at national meetings and regional postdoc conferences and serves as a guest speaker at numerous local institutions. He is widely recognized in the postdoctoral community for his dedication and active involvement toward the betterment of the postdoctoral experience.

He served as co-author of the Individual Development Plan (IDP) for postdocs, developed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's Science Policy Committee. The IDP delineates a process designed to assist with the identification of long-term career objectives and short-term goals and establishes a framework for communication between postdocs and their faculty mentors.

Dr. Clifford also worked with the Postdoctorate Committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) Group to co-author The Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors. Postdoc offices around the country use this document as the standard model for postdoc mentor relationships.

Most recently, he served on the authoring committee of the NPA Core Competencies, which were designed to offer guidance to individual postdoctoral scholars who must seek out relevant professional development opportunities, in collaboration with mentors, institutions, and other advisors who provide these opportunities.

A long-time NPA member, Dr. Clifford serves on the NPA Finance Committee and as a founding and current member of the NPA's Advisory Council (formerly Advisory Board). Among his many endeavors on behalf of the NPA, he has organized and led the Innovation in Action sessions at the NPA Annual Meeting for several years.

One of Dr. Clifford's nominators wrote: "Dr. Clifford's involvement, leadership, and achievements with the NPA, the AAMC GREAT group, FASEB, and other organizations clearly demonstrate his commitment to improving science education and postdoctoral training. He has been an outstanding mentor to me and to other postdoctoral affairs administrators and is always willing to share new approaches and tactfully suggest alternatives."

The DSA award represents appreciation for an individual or entity that has demonstrated either a profound, sustained, or leadership contribution to improving the postdoctoral experience. The award is presented in alternating years to either an individual or entity.

Members of the Nominating Committee were: Lori Conlan, Ph.D., director, Office of Postdoctoral Services NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education; Joan Lakoski, Ph.D., associate dean for Postdoctoral Education, University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences; Victoria McGovern, Ph.D., senior program officer, Burroughs Wellcome Fund; and Joel Oppenheim, Ph.D., senior associate dean, New York University Medical School.

Members of the Award Subcommittee were: Lisa M. Ambrose-Lanci, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Rachel Bergerson, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar, the University of Chicago; Caroline Rotondi, administrative director, Office for Postdoctoral and Research Careers (OPRC), Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (CFDD), Brigham and Women's Hospital; Tuba Sural, Ph.D., chair, DSA Subcommittee, postdoctoral scholar, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Dave Taylor, Ph.D., academic programs officer, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Service Award are:
2011 - Science Careers and The Gladstone Institutes
2010 - Trevor M. Penning, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and OB/GYN, and Director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
2009 - The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2008 - Shirley Malcom, Ph.D., Director, Education and Human Resources Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
2007 - Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
2006 - Laurel L. Haak, Ph.D., Science Director, Discovery Logics.
2005 - National Academies' Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.
2004 - Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., Senior Advisor to the Director, National Institutes of Health.


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