Established in 1998, the Distinguished Alumni Awards program recognizes former students, colleagues, and friends who have transcended their fundamental roles as health care providers, scientists, and educators to become influential participants in the advancement of the art and science of medicine. Excellence in these areas brings pride and distinction to the college. 



Award for Achievement

Honors University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine alumni for significant professional accomplishments in science, medicine, and/or education.

Harold P. Adams Jr., MD Distinguished Alumni, CCOM

Harold P. Adams Jr., MD

Harold Adams’ 50-year career in stroke research cemented his place as a titan of the field. He is among the originators of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, a tool to assess stroke severity that still guides patient care today. As director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, he spearheaded the development of vascular neurology as a subspecialty. Additionally, as principal investigator of the landmark multicenter study known as TOAST, Adams and colleagues steered physicians away from a commonly used anticoagulant toward safer and more effective therapies. He has served on national committees for the American Heart Association, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and more, but his proudest accomplishments were in teaching.

Anil Sood, MD, Distinguished Alumni, CCOM

Anil Sood, MD

Anil Sood’s pioneering contributions to basic and translational cancer research began when he showed that short fragments of RNA can be harnessed to shut down dysfunctional cell processes. This finding opened the door to a new approach to targeted therapies, some of which are now FDA-approved. He is an internationally recognized expert on ovarian cancers, and he has led MD Anderson Cancer Center’s ambitious Moon Shots Program for ovarian cancer research since its inception in 2012. With extensive funding from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense, among others, Sood has produced hundreds of peer-reviewed publications over the course of his career.

Award for Service

Honors University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine alumni for meritorious service in a professional capacity or in the broader community.

Susan K. Beebout, MD Distinguished Alumni, CCOM

Susan K. Beebout, MD

01MD, 04R
Susan Beebout has committed her life’s work to meeting health care needs in under-resourced communities in Africa. She has lived in Niamey, Niger, since 2007, where she worked with the Evangelical Church of Niger to establish the Clinic Olivia Primary Care Center. Two years ago, a second clinic was opened in Dongondoutchi, a commune in Niger. She also teaches students and residents at the public medical school in Niamey. Beebout collaborates with the Carver College of Medicine’s Global Health Programs to place medical students, faculty, and alumni in health care settings in Niger, where the trainees and their Nigerien colleagues can mutually exchange knowledge from their diverse health care experiences and backgrounds.

Janifer Judisch, MD Distinguished Alumni, CCOM

Janifer Judisch, MD

Janifer Judisch co-founded the Children’s Cancer Center (CCC) in Tampa, Florida. The programs she developed at CCC brought together music therapy, social work, child life, and other disciplines to create holistic care for the social and emotional needs of sick children and their families. She revolutionized how children at CCC are informed of their diagnoses, going against the prevailing wisdom of the time to withhold the diagnosis from a child and instead leading with truth and empathy to promote better overall well-being during a child’s illness and treatment. After 25 years of service, Judisch retired in 2000 and continues to contribute as a CCC board member.

Award for Early Career Achievement

Honors University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine graduates of the past 20 years who have achieved early distinction in their field.

Denise Martinez, Distinguished Alumni CCOM

Denise A. Martinez, MD

Denise Martinez worked tirelessly to address health disparities throughout Iowa during her time with UI Health Care. Alongside her creation and support of student organizations focused on inclusion and belonging in medical training, she has connected students of all backgrounds with opportunities in medicine through individual mentorship. She has also encouraged the next generation of health professionals to serve rural and disadvantaged patient populations with empathy. Martinez served as interim associate VP for health parity and associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion through July 2023. She now serves as associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine. 

Nicholas Mohr, Distinguished Alumni, CCOM

Nicholas Mohr, MD, MS

06MD, 14MS
Nicholas Mohr built the emergency care research program in the UI Department of Emergency Medicine as its first tenured professor. His main research focus is improving community and rural hospitals’ care for critically ill adults through telemedicine and other operational interventions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he distinguished himself with research related to the pandemic’s effect on health care workers through his leadership of the Project PREVENT study. As a medical educator, Mohr has been honored with teaching and mentorship awards from medical students and resident physicians.