2013 John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award
Philip A. Pizzo, MD
Philip A. Pizzo, MD, has been drawn to science since his teenage years, when he enjoyed conducting experiments in his aunt's garage that involved mice purchased from the local pet store. Dr. Pizzo went on to earn scholarships that enabled him to attend Fordham University, and he became the first person in his family to graduate from college. When he graduated in 1970 from medical school at University of Rochester, he served his residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital in Boston, where he began to focus on infectious diseases and cancer.
Pizzo’s clinical research examined a wide range of issues involving infection and fevers in children whose immune systems were compromised by cancer and helped identify the best ways to treat the infections. After completing his residency, he went on to a fellowship in pediatric oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he continued both his clinical work and research. When his fellowship ended, Pizzo began working full-time at NCI.
By 1996, Pizzo had been at the NCI for 23 years, serving for 15 of them as chief of pediatrics. He had collaborated with physicians and researchers throughout the world and helped contribute to the significant gains in treating cancer and infectious diseases in children. But he wanted to spend more time training and mentoring the future leaders of pediatrics, and so in 1996 he went to Harvard, where he chaired the Department of Pediatrics.
In 2000, a search committee was looking for a new dean at the Stanford School of Medicine. Pizzo says that when he was approached about the Stanford deanship, he saw the possibility of helping to train medical leaders in fields beyond pediatrics. He accepted the job and began serving as dean in 2001.
In research, Pizzo created the school’s five Institutes of Medicine and implemented programs to ensure that the integrity of the medical school and its employees remain above reproach. This included prohibiting faculty members from accepting industry gifts of any size, including drug samples.
The John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award honors outstanding contributions by an individual or an organization to the field of pain through public education, dissemination of information, public service, or other efforts to further knowledge about pain. The award is named for John Bonica, a leading force in the development of the pain treatment movement, and his wife, Emma.