For immediate release: May 31, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - Three outstanding Texas physicians will receive the University of Texas Medical Branch Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award during a ceremony at Open Gates on Friday, June 1. The honorees - Robert E. Askew, M.D., Charles D. Fraser Jr., M.D., and Armond S. Goldman, M.D. - are all graduates of the UTMB medical school. They will also be recognized at the medical school commencement ceremony June 2 at Moody Gardens.

"These three physicians embody the best of the medical profession," said UTMB President John D. Stobo. "Each has a commitment to serve their patients, their profession and their communities, and each has succeeded in furthering the art and the science of medicine," he said. "We are honored to have physicians of this stature in our UTMB family."

The Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award - the highest alumni honor bestowed by the university's School of Medicine Alumni Association - recognizes outstanding service to the medical profession and to humanity. It honors the memory of Dr. Ashbel Smith, a prominent figure in Texas medicine, politics and education. Smith was the driving force behind establishing the University of Texas at Austin in 1881, and a medical department in Galveston that would later be known as UTMB in 1891.

Biographies of the honorees

Robert Askew Sr., a 1959 School of Medicine graduate, established a surgical practice in Austin in 1968, following his internship at the University of Michigan Medical Center, and a residency in general surgery at UTMB. He later formed The Austin Surgeons in partnership with his son, Robert E. Askew Jr., M.D. Askew served as chief of staff and chief of surgery at Austin's Seton Medical Center. He has presided over the Travis County Medical Society, Ellis County Medical Society, UTMB Singleton Surgical Society, Texas Surgical Society and the South Texas Division of the American College of Surgeons. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, serving as a governor of the American College of Surgeons from 1994 to 2000. Askew continues his service to the community as a board member of the Shivers Cancer Foundation, UTMB's Development Board and the Central Texas Institute for Medical Education and Biomedical Research. He is also chairman of the Advisory Council for the UT Austin School of Nursing and a member of the University of Texas System Chancellor's Council.

Charles D. Fraser Jr., a 1984 School of Medicine graduate, is chief of congenital heart surgery and cardiac surgeon in-charge at Texas Children's Hospital, the nation's largest pediatric hospital. He is a professor of surgery and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and an adjunct professor of bioengineering at Rice University. He holds the Donovan Chair in Congenital Heart Surgery at Texas Children's Hospital and has joint clinical appointments at the Texas Heart Institute and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He directs the Adult Congenital Heart Surgery Program at the Texas Heart Institute. Fraser has refined the surgical treatment of babies, children and adults with congenital cardiac disease. Since 1995 when he joined Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, he and his team have performed more than 7,000 congenital cardiac repairs and related surgeries in children. Fraser received a bachelor's degree with honors in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980. Following his graduation from UTMB, he completed a residency in cardiothoracic and thoracic transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed fellowships in pediatric cardiac surgery at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, cardiac transplant research at Johns Hopkins Hospital and cardiovascular surgery at the Texas Heart Institute. Frazer has contributed over 150 journal articles, chapters and textbooks to medical literature. His many awards include Outstanding Young Alumnus from the University of Texas in 1999, American Heart Association Medical Honoree in 2002 and the Michael E. DeBakey Distinguished Service Award in 2004. Fraser and his wife, Helen, have four children.

Armond S. Goldman, a 1953 graduate of the School of Medicine, helped to create the university's Department of Pediatrics where he served as a professor for 30 years. In 1959, he founded the Division of Immunology and Allergy and a fellowship program in pediatric clinical immunology and allergy. He also helped to create UTMB's Human Research Oversight Committee. Following medical school, Goldman interned with the U.S. Public Health Hospital in New Orleans and then returned to UTMB for specialty training in pediatrics. In 1955, he joined the U.S. Army and became chief of pediatrics at the U.S. Army Hospital in Wurzburg, Germany. Two years later he returned to UTMB where he completed his residency and became an instructor in pediatrics. Fascinated by immunobiology and immunity, Goldman was among the first to propose the concept of an immune system in human milk. The idea came from his research concerning living leukocytes and certain antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating agents in human milk. His studies highlight the uniqueness and superiority of human milk for the nutrition of human infants. Consequently, he received the Macy-Gyorgy Award from the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation in 2000. Goldman's research interests include ontogeny of immunity, evolution of the mammary gland's immune functions, food allergies, prevention of burn injuries, immune deficiencies and diseases of certain historically famous individuals. He has served many national and international organizations in leadership positions including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Pediatric Society, and the Subcommittee on Nutrition during Lactation (Institute of Medicine-National Academy of Sciences), and as the president of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation. Goldman and his wife Barbara have five children; three are physicians.
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