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Evelyn V. Hess, MD Award

In 2005, we created the Evelyn V. Hess, MD, MACP, MACR, Award to recognize a lupus researcher whose body of work has significantly advanced the science or medicine of lupus. This award is given annually and was created to recognize Dr. Hess' outstanding contributions to lupus research over the course of her long career.

2019 Awardee

This year’s awardee, Judith James, MD, PhD, was announced at the 2019 Annual American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.

2019 Hess Awardee Judith James
Judith James, MD, PhD

Dr. James, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) Vice President of Clinical Affairs, will be honored for her 25 years of accomplishments and contributions to the lupus research field. Her work has resulted in over 280 publications, and she has led or participated in over 25 clinical trials and has been awarded over 50 federally funded grant projects. One such project, conducted with the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health funding, focused on assessing factors that have the potential to delay or prevent lupus onset in at-risk people. The study found that anti-malarial drugs could slow the accrual of new autoantibodies and progression of clinical lupus – laying the foundation for prevention trials in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis which are ongoing at OMRF and other locations. Dr. James is recognized as a leader in the translational science of lupus and a pioneer in understanding the causes and early events of the disease. She has led the Oklahoma Autoimmunity Center of Excellence (ACE) over the past three funding cycles and served as principal investigator of the Oklahoma Rheumatic Disease Research Cores Center and Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources.

Past awardees have made significant contributions, such as:

  • Discovery of t-cell abnormalities, leading to new therapeutic targets: Dr. George Tsokos, 2014 recipient
  • Identifying specific risk factors for pregnancy loss in lupus: Dr. Jane Salmon, 2014 recipient
  • Opening rheumatology clinics in underserved areas: Dr. Betty Diamond, 2008 recipient
  • Identification of risk factors for congenital heart block in babies born to women with lupus: Dr. Jill Buyon, 2007 recipient

About Dr. Hess  

Evelyn V. Hess, M.D., MACP, MACR, was an internationally known expert in lupus, focusing on the environmental aspects of lupus. After her residency in London, she began her teaching career at the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine in 1965 and was the Director of the Division of Immunology from 1965 to 1995. She received a College of Medicine Endowed Chair and held the McDonald Professorship at the University of Cincinnati College Of Medicine since 1969.

In 2001, she was awarded the University of Cincinnati Drake Medal for distinguished service to the College and was also recognized through a fund for the Evelyn V. Hess Chair in Rheumatology to support faculty and fellow salaries for research and education in rheumatic diseases in the Division of Immunology/Rheumatology.

Dr. Hess was a Master of both the American College of Rheumatology and the American College of Physicians, and she was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, and the Royal Society of Medicine. She served as Governor of the Ohio chapter of the American College of Physicians and was an active member of many national and international societies, including the Pan American League of Associations for Rheumatology, the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and the International Society of Immuno-Pharmacology.