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October 29, 2014

Drs. Philip Harvey and Michael Oxman share 2014 Barnwell Award

The 2014 recipients of VA's John Blair Barnwell Award, from VA's Clinical Science Research and Development division, are Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D., of the Miami VA Healthcare System, and Michael Oxman, M.D., of the San Diego Healthcare System.

HarveyPhilip D. Harvey, Ph.D.

Harvey, the first psychologist to receive the Barnwell Award, was recognized for his research on cognitive and functional deficits in patients with schizophrenia, and for his contributions to advancing the diagnosis and treatment of the condition in the Veteran population. Also a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the division of psychology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, he has studied schizophrenia for three decades. Currently, he is chairing a 25-site VA study to examine 18,000 veterans with severe mental illness and identify the genetics of impaired everyday functioning. "Some recent advances in assessment technology now have the potential to allow us to identify genetic contributions to the skills that underlie disability," he says. Harvey also has a $3.2-million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health for a study aimed at improving everyday functioning in schizophrenia. In addition to the Barnwell honor, he was recognized this fall with the first Outstanding Clinical/Community Research Award from the Schizophrenia International Research Society. Read more about Harvey's work and his VA award here.

OxmanMichael Oxman, M.D

Oxman was recognized for his significant contributions to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of viral diseases, particularly those in the herpes family. His work on shingles prevention has played a vital role in the treatment of that disease and in the development and evaluation of the herpes simplex and varicella-zoster virus treatments. In particular, Oxman's leadership was integral to the success of the Shingles Prevention Study, one the largest adult vaccine trials ever. The study showed that the vaccine was well-tolerated and protected older adults from herpes zoster, or shingles, and its most common debilitating complication, a persistent chronic pain syndrome called postherpetic neuralgia. Based mainly on the trial's results, the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine in 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended its routine use for adults aged 60 and older. It became available for VA patients in 2007. In more recent years, Oxman and the Shingles Prevention Study team has continued to analyze the data and observe the large study population, publishing a number of important studies.

The Barnwell Award is the highest honor for scientific achievement given by VA Clinical Science Research and Development. The award aims to recognize senior VHA investigators who have achieved international acclaim for clinical research accomplishments in areas of prime importance to VA's research mission and who have also demonstrated a high level of clinical commitment to the patient population. The award was established in 2007 to honor distinguished educator and physician-scientist John Blair Barnwell, M.D., who was the director of Research and Education at the Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) in the 1940s. Barnwell's contributions included the formation of the Veterans Administration-Army-Navy Cooperative Studies in the Chemotherapy of Tuberculosis Program, which pioneered the model of the multisite clinical trial. He and his group tested treatments for tuberculosis following World War II.

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