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2 longtime faculty members awarded IU president’s highest honor

Nov 1, 2019

Dr. Robert Einterz, executive director of the AMPATH consortium and director of the Indiana University Center for Global Health, and Jeffrey Palmer, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, were recently presented with the highest honor an IU president can bestow.

IU President Michael McRobbie shakes hands with Dr. Robert Einterz
IU President Michael A. McRobbie shakes hands with Dr. Robert Einterz during the 13th annual Academic Excellence dinner at IUPUI.Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

IU President Michael A. McRobbie awarded Einterz and Palmer the President’s Medal for Excellence during the 13th annual Academic Excellence Dinner at IUPUI on Oct. 28.

“Tonight, I want to recognize two faculty members who have earned enormous distinction and whose work at Indiana University has contributed in major ways to the university’s continued strength and excellence in the areas of the life sciences and global health,” McRobbie said at the event.

Einterz, an alumnus of the IU School of Medicine, will retire from the university in January after serving on the faculty at IU for more than 30 years.

“Dr. Einterz is one of the visionary founders of AMPATH, the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, a groundbreaking program that has transformed – and saved – many lives,” McRobbie said. “Under Dr. Einterz’s outstanding leadership, AMPATH has expanded beyond its original focus on HIV and AIDS to provide more comprehensive care to people in Western Kenya.”

IU President Michael McRobbie shakes hands with Jeffrey Palmer
IU President McRobbie shakes hands with Jeffrey Palmer.Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

Palmer recently retired from IU after serving for 30 years on the faculty.

“Professor Palmer is a world-renowned expert on plant molecular evolution and phylogeny,” McRobbie said. “A member of the IU faculty since 1989, Professor Palmer has made landmark discoveries spanning topics as diverse as plant phylogeny and the evolution of introns, segments of genes that are removed as part of the gene expression process.”

Dr. Robert Einterz

Einterz serves in many roles at IU, including as the director of the Center for Global Health. He is also director of AMPATH, which he co-founded in 2000. In partnership with Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, AMPATH serves more than 8 million people in western Kenya and is working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health to build a comprehensive health care system on the foundation of the successful HIV program.

Einterz also serves on the advisory board for the Fogarty International Center, a division of the National Institutes of Health, and is one of 25 faculty members from IU who have been named Bicentennial Professor.

Jeffrey Palmer

While serving at IU, Palmer was instrumental in the development of Simon Hall, the multidisciplinary science building dedicated and opened in Bloomington in 2007. He has trained 40 postdoctoral fellows and 20 graduate students.

He has been identified as one of the top 15 researchers in the world in the field of plant and animal science by the Institute for Scientific Information. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has also been awarded the McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies by the Maize Genetics Executive Committee, a professional organization for scientists and researchers working in the field of maize genetics.

The President’s Medal for Excellence is awarded for outstanding academic, artistic or professional accomplishments or for exceptional service to IU. The silver medal is a replica of the jewel of office IU’s president wears during ceremonies.

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