The BioTherapeutics, Education & Research (BTER) Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 William S. Baer Award for Outstanding Service in the Advancement of Biotherapy. The 6 award winners were presented at the 8th International Conference on Biotherapy, held recently in Los Angeles; they are: David Armstrong, MD, DPM, PhD; John Church, MD, FRCSE; Pam Mitchell; Eliot Mostow, MD, MPH; Kosta Mumcuoglu, PhD; and Aletha Tippett, MD, MCh.
The William S. Baer Award was established by the BTER Foundation in 2009, in honor of Dr. Baer. Dr. Baer was the first Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, and "grandfather" of maggot therapy in the 20th Century. The name "biotherapy" was originally coined by Dr. Church, one of the 2010 winners, during a brainstorming session at Ronald Sherman's maggot therapy laboratory in 1994. Initially, the term was applied only to maggot therapy, leech therapy and bee venom therapy; but soon other biotherapeutic disciplines were brought into the fold, including helmintherapy, canine olfactory detection, service dogs, hippotherapy, and more. Dr. Church is considered by many to be the "Ambassador of Biotherapy," traveling world-wide to teach and learn about all living organisms that can aid in healthcare. He was a Founding Member of the International Biotherapy Society, and its first President: 1996 - 1998.
Dr. Armstrong, director of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), was selected as an award winner because of his important research in maggot therapy, and his integration of maggot debridement therapy (MDT) into the hospital, the wound care clinic, and the classroom.
Dr. Mostow, head of the Dermatology Section at Northeast Ohio University College of Medicine and founder of the Wound Care Associates of Akron, has been using and teaching about maggot therapy for over a decade. Upon receiving the award, Dr. Mostow commented: "I owe much to the patience and enthusiasm of a wonderful woman, Pam Mitchell. I would say that Pam and I have a symbiotic relationship in that she has enhanced my education, along with the education of many physicians and students . . . . Every time I see her walking, I'm reminded of the importance of listening to patients."
Pam Mitchell is also a Baer Award winner. She began her "career" in biotherapy after maggot therapy was used to save her feet from amputation. She is a founding Board Member and patient advocate for the BTER Foundation. Pam has contributed significantly to the field of biotherapy through her work as an educator and motivational speaker, and through her tireless work supporting patients in search of information and care.
Dr. Mumcuoglu entered the field of biotherapy during the early 1990's, when he started a colony of blow flies in Israel and convinced local doctors to allow him to treat their patients' wounds with his maggots. He gathered and published important data concerning the efficacy and safety of maggot therapy. Dr. Mumcuoglu has also been a key figure in discovering the mechanisms by which medicinal maggots exert their therapeutic effects. He has treated over 600 patients with MDT and hirudotherapy, and has published over 20 peer reviewed articles on this topic. Dr. Mumcuoglu was President of the International Society of Biotherapy from 1998 through 2010.
Dr. Tippett has been a key proponent and educator in American biotherapy. One of Dr. Tippett's most important contributions has been the integration of biotherapy into mainstream medicine. She helped to develop policies and protocols for maggot therapy, which are now used by many centers around the country. Most of her wound care courses include sessions on biotherapy.
The awardees each received honorific status in the BTER Foundation, and a commemorative plaque. Monarch Labs, based in Irvine, California, donated $1,000 to support the projects of one of the recipients. Pam Mitchell was selected to receive this grant.