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Award Recipients

Established in 1962, the Chicago Medical School Distinguished Alumnus Award has been bestowed upon CMS alumni who have distinguished themselves in the medical profession and exemplified consistent commitment and dedication to the Chicago Medical School. To date, 143 CMS alumni have been recognized as distinguished alumni.

Throughout the country and world, CMS alumni are influencing the delivery of health care, changing the course of medical education and conducting groundbreaking research. Each year, outstanding individuals are honored as Distinguished Alumni for their professional achievements and service and their influence in the world of science and medicine.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement

is bestowed upon CMS alumni who have made a significant impact in the field of medicine and whose efforts have brought distinction to the Chicago Medical School.

Wayne J. Olan, MD ’89
Trailblazing Clinician, Researcher and Educator

Wayne J. Olan, MD ’89, is board-certified in radiology, and currently serves as the director of interventional and endovascular neurosurgery, co-director of the endovascular stroke program and as an associate professor of neurosurgery and radiology at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Dr. Olan serves as a consulting physician to the National Institutes of Health, the United States Congress and is a member of the White House Medical Unit. Dr. Olan’s clinical and research interests involve the endovascular treatment of cerebrovascular disorders, including the treatment of cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, the endovascular treatment of stroke and assisting in setting up endovascular stroke programs around the country. He has interests in the interventional, minimally invasive treatment of spinal disorders and is a leader in the treatment of degenerative spine disorders. He is also at the forefront of regenerative medical technologies, exploring autologous solutions for many degenerative or inflammatory disorders. Dr. Olan has published extensively on minimally invasive spinal interventions, endovascular therapy for aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations as well as stroke intervention and treatments. He lectures and teaches around the world on these topics as well as is involved in the development of many devices and ground breaking technology in these arenas.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Service

is bestowed upon CMS alumni for unselfish devotion of time and service in a professional capacity or in the broader community that have brought distinction to the Chicago Medical School.

Kwan Kew Lai, MD ’79, DMD
Infectious Disease Specialist and Disaster Relief Volunteer

Kwan Kew Lai, MD ’79, DMD, an infectious disease specialist and a Harvard medical faculty physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, and Needham Hospital in Needham, MA, has volunteered her medical services all over the world. She cared for surviors after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and volunteered as a mentor to health workers addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Vietnam, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, and Malawi, and provided earthquake relief in Haiti and Nepal, hurricane relief in the Philippines, and drought and famine relief in Kenya and the Somalia border. Dr. Lai worked with refugees of the Democratic Republic of Congo, internally displaced people in Libya during the Arab Spring and South Sudan after the civil war, and treated Ebola patients in Liberia and Sierra Leone. She served as a medical volunteer in Haiti and the Syrian refugee camps in Greece. Most recently, she offered medical relief to Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar. Dr. Lai has blogged extensively about her experiences and recently published “Lest We Forget”: A Doctor’s Experience with Life and Death during the Ebola Outbreak.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Early Career Achievement

is bestowed upon CMS alumni of the past 15 years who have achieved early distinction that proudly reflects the power of a Chicago Medical School education.

Kevin J. De La Roza, MD ’04
Problem-solving Healthcare Innovator

Dr. de la Roza is a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist at The Heart Center at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando, Fla. Following a surgical internship at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Dr. de la Roza completed his anesthesia residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2008 and went on to complete a fellowship in pediatric anesthesia at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. de la Roza is the Co-Creator of EASE (Electronic Access to Surgical Events), a HIPAA compliant messaging app that updates the status of patients undergoing medical procedures via texts, photos and videos. He is a founding member and the Chief Medical Officer of EASE Applications, LLC. Dr. de la Roza specializes in anesthesiology for all types of complicated pediatric surgery with a special interest in the care of neonatal and pediatric patients with congenital heart disease.


Rosalind Franklin University Philanthropy Medallion

The Rosalind Franklin University Philanthropy Medallion is bestowed in recognition of extraordinary philanthropic support that empowers the RFU mission. The medallion recognizes persons who have greatly strengthened RFU through their own generosity.

Elliot Rubinstein, MD ’69 and P.A. Rubinstein
Generous CMS Scholarship Benefactors

Elliot Rubinstein, MD ’69 and his wife, P. A. Rubinstein, have offered the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University their unwavering support for over four decades. Married in 1970, Dr. Rubinstein served as a general medical officer in the Vietnam War. Following a pediatrics residency at Buffalo Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, NY, Dr. Rubinstein completed a fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at Buffalo General & Children’s Hospital, NY. Dr. and Mrs. Rubinstein moved to Ithaca, NY, in 1977 where he has served his community with care and compassion for over 40 years. The Rubinsteins possess a powerful empathy for the Chicago Medical School and its students. They humbly acknowledge that CMS has given them many opportunities and those opportunities have been extended to their children and grandchildren. “Our ability and success now gives us the opportunity to give back to Chicago Medical School.” Earlier this year, they established the Elliot Rubinstein, MD ’69 and P.A. Rubinstein Honorary Endowed Scholarship to help CMS students become outstanding physicians.