UNC School of Medicine presents Distinguished Alumni, Faculty, and Service Awards

As part of the UNC School of Medicine's Spring Alumni Weekend, the annual Distinguished Medical Alumni and Faculty Awards were presented. This year's Distinguished Medical Alumni honorees are: Marcus Randall, MD, Richard Vinroot, MD, and Sara Hoyt, MD. The Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to Laurence Dahners, MD. Frederick Burroughs, MD, and Tim Burnett were honored with Distinguished Service Awards. Read more about all the honorees.

UNC School of Medicine presents Distinguished Alumni, Faculty, and Service Awards click to enlarge (L to R): Frederick Burroughs, Laurence Dahners, Richard Vinroot, Tim Burnett, Marcus Randall, and Sara Hoyt

Distinguished Medical Alumni Winners:

Marcus Randall (Class of 1982)

In the 35 years since Dr. Marcus Randall graduated from the UNC School of Medicine, he has established himself as a national authority on the treatment of gynecological cancer. A renowned clinician, researcher, and teacher, Randall’s work has greatly increased the understanding of these conditions. Throughout his career, he has never lost sight of his commitment to providing compassionate care for patients.

As a researcher, Randall’s work to develop optimal treatments for women with gynecological cancers has led to close to 100 peer-reviewed publications. He has dedicated his life to the study of these diseases, and his contributions have made a tangible impact on patient care for women throughout the world.

He’s shared his work with colleagues throughout the world as a prominent speaker at various events and conferences and a teacher for younger researchers and physicians.

“Dr. Randall has a really nice way of making complicated concepts seem logical, and has a very matter-of-fact style that conveys the information totally without pretension,” said Lawrence Marks, MD, Dr. Sidney K. Simon Distinguished Professor of Oncology Research, and Chair, UNC Department of Radiation Oncology.

Randall has served as Chair of the Department of Radiation Medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine since 2006. Prior to beginning his time in Lexington, Randall served as the Director of the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. He has also served on the faculty at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine.

Dr. Achilles Fakiris, now a Clinical Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the UNC School of Medicine, first met Randall as a medical student applying for residency at Indiana University.

“He has a way of attracting and inspiring the right candidates and creating an environment that fosters creativity and brings out the best in people,” Fakiris said. “His active involvement in resident education helped me and my colleagues expand our knowledge base, challenge our clinical practice, and strive to improve each day.”

Randall has been recognized for his ability to use his research knowledge and skills as a teacher and researcher. Since 2002, he has been heavily involved with the Gynecologic Oncology Group, a national group with a grant to study gynecologic malignancies. He has served as committee chairman, as well as co-chair and chair of several important trials led by this group.

In nominating Randall for this year’s Distinguished Medical Alumni Award, Marks summed up his qualifications concisely.

“Dr. Randall has earned the respect of everyone in our field of Radiation Oncology. He has made meaningful contributions to our specialty and greatly improved the quality of care for women with gynecologic malignancies.”

In recognition of his exceptional achievements as an educator, clinician and leader in the field of radiation oncology, we are proud to present the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award to Dr. Marcus Randall.

Richard Vinroot (Class of 2004)

Dr. Richard Vinroot is an emergency physician at one of New Orleans’ busiest hospitals. The stress of that work would be enough for most, but not Vinroot, who has taken his skill and passion for caring for people in need across the globe.

Vinroot was a resident at Charity Hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city. He immediately threw himself into the efforts to care for those affected by the storm’s devastation.

“Being there at that time was like a disaster medicine fellowship,” Vinroot said. “I was essentially living in a hospital in New Orleans and treating all kinds of illnesses that resulted from the storm and from the living conditions that followed. And actually, throughout that period, I was also being flown around in helicopters by the Navy to treat others in the region affected by the storm.”

The years after the storm were so unique that he couldn't picture himself going straight to work in a conventional hospital setting following residency. Instead, he volunteered and joined Medecins Sans Frontieres/ Doctors Without Borders. He served as a TB/ HIV Field Physician in the Mathare Slum, in Nairobi, Kenya for a year. This led to him being sent to Haiti during the earthquake disaster, one year later. Going forward, both experiences had a huge influence on his career.

In 2013, Vinroot joined the Navy. He was 43 years old. In the years since, his service has taken him across the world. He has served as a Trauma Team Leader during Operation Enduring Freedom in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2014, caring for soldiers injured by IED blasts. He served in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, at Camp Lemonnier, a base of roughly 4,000 U.S. military personnel and Coalition forces. Soldiers from the base often deploy on operations related to counterterrorism and antipiracy.

Through all of this, Vinroot has maintained a close relationship with Chapel Hill and UNC, serving on the UNC Board of Visitors, the Gillings School of Public Heath Alumni Board, the boards of both the Medical Foundation of North Carolina and the Center for the Study of the American South. When he’s able to find downtime, he says he likes to catch up on his Carolina alumni magazines.

During his military career, Vinroot has been honored with multiple awards, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the US Army Achievement Medal, the NATO Service Medal, and others. He’ll now add the Distinguished Medical Alumni Award from his beloved alma mater.

In nominating Vinroot for this award, Dr. James Hundley (UNC SOM ’67) put his unique qualifications into perspective.

“Although Rich is younger than our usual awardees, he has provided services that few others have during his career. In addition, to my knowledge, he has placed himself at much greater risk of bodily harm than other recent alumni. In doing so, he has brought great honor and distinction not only to himself, but also to the UNC School of Medicine.”

In recognition of his exceptional achievements and selfless service to our nation, we are proud to present the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award to Dr. Richard Vinroot III.

Sara Hoyt (Class of 1954)

Sara Hoyt was a true pioneer at the UNC School of Medicine. Hoyt graduated in 1954, one of only two female members of the institution’s first class of four year graduates.

She arrived in Chapel Hill already possessing years of professional experience that helped her to succeed as a student. A graduate of Tusculum College, Hoyt received a master’s degree in medical technology from Wayne State University. Following this graduate training, she worked as a medical technologist for several years before enrolling at the UNC School of Medicine.

After her graduation in 1954 from the UNC School of Medicine, Hoyt completed an internship in Pediatrics at Duke before returning to UNC for two years of residency training. When her husband, Bill Hoyt, completed his PhD training at Duke Divinity, he took a faculty position at Berry College and the young family moved to Rome, Georgia.

In Rome, Hoyt joined a local private practice, seeing patients full time until 1966. At that point, she made the decision to leave private practice in order to spend more time with her three young daughters. The decision was difficult, but Hoyt felt raising her daughters should be her most important priority.

Though she was no longer a full time pediatrician, she never was very far away from her passion for patient care. She would often fill in for local pediatricians when they were ill or on vacation, up until 1997.

She was also a prominent leader and community advocate in Rome, serving on the board for Hospitality House, a home for abused women and children, the Rome Arts Council, the Rome Beautification Society, and other organizations.

In 2001, the Hoyts moved to Asheville. Even now, Hoyt stays close to the medical field, keeping current with medical literature and attending meetings and lectures at MAHEC and Mission Hospital.

“Dr. Hoyt is a trailblazer and incredible role model, accomplishing her academic pursuits successfully, even as a distinct minority, building a robust career as a clinician, advocate, and leader,” said Julie Byerley, UNC School of Medicine’s Vice Dean for Education.

In recognition of her exceptional achievements as a clinician, advocate, and enduring role model, we are proud to present the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award to Dr. Sara Hoyt.

Distinguished Service Awards:

Frederick Burroughs

In the late 1960s, when Frederick Burroughs opened his practice in Southeast Raleigh, he became Wake County’s first board-certified pediatrician. This distinction is something he’s proud of, but doesn’t come close to the defining his decades-long career in medicine.

His full impact can be seen in the former patients who drove great distances so that their own children could be cared for by him. It can be heard in the way the students he trained as an adjunct professor at the UNC School of Medicine speak of him, even decades later.

“He was truly an extraordinary physician; he wanted his patients to receive great care and he did everything he could to make sure that occurred,” said Alan Stiles, MD, Brewer Distinguished Professor at UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care’s Vice President for Network Development and System Affiliation. In the late 1970s, he was one of many UNC medical students and residents mentored by Burroughs at his Raleigh practice.

So, yes, Burroughs was the first African-American pediatrician in Raleigh. But for several decades, he was also one of the best and most respected physicians in the Triangle and across the state.

A native of New Jersey, Burroughs attended Hampton University in Virginia. Upon graduation, he was drafted into the Army. Once his service was completed, he made good on his dream to go to medical school. Burroughs attended Meharry Medical College, at the time one of the most prominent medical schools for African American students. After finishing his residency training, he and his young family moved to Raleigh in 1969.

Early on, Burroughs made a commitment to care for his patients, no matter where they came from or what they had.

While he was building his own practice, he was also recruiting more African American physicians to the area and lobbying to make it easier for them to practice. Along with several of these physicians, he opened Sunnybrook Medical Center, a standalone facility offering multiple specialty services, which was open for 27 years. In 1977, Burroughs joined the Rex Hospital medical staff, becoming the hospital’s first African-American physician. He maintained this affiliation with Rex throughout his career.

In addition to his own work, Burroughs was a dedicated teacher and mentor to generations of medical students from UNC who trained with him on clinical rotations.

Dr. Julie Byerley, Vice Dean for Education, learned from Burroughs during her residency at UNC.

“He showed us the way that doctors should build trust with families,” Byerley said. “Every one of his patients felt like he was there to care just for them.”

Stiles said he remembers working closely with Burroughs as both a medical student and a resident.

“We rotated with several physicians and saw a lot of practices, and I’m quite sure that if Fred had chosen to, he could have practiced in a very different way, but he didn’t. We all knew that as trainees. And we all admired him for it,” Stiles said.

Though he officially retired in 2011, Burrough’s legacy is evident to the families he cared for and the physicians he helped to train.

In recognition of his decades of compassionate care and mentorship to generations of UNC medical students, we are proud to present the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Frederick Burroughs.

Tim Burnett

Tim Burnett began his decades of service to the University of North Carolina as a student in the early 1960s. A Morehead Scholar, Burnett was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, and the Order of the Old Well, prestigious honor societies that recognize students of exemplary character, intellect, and accomplishment. Upon his graduation from UNC in 1962, Burnett went on to earn his MBA from Harvard University.

Burnett returned to North Carolina and built an incredibly successful real estate career. He currently serves as President of the Bessemer Improvement Company, based in Greensboro.

Throughout his illustrious career, Burnett has maintained a close connection to UNC, giving of his time, energy, and expertise serving in multiple leadership roles.

He served eight years on the UNC Board of Trustees, including two years as Board Chair. He served two terms on the Board of Visitors, twice serving as Chair of that group. He has served on the steering committee for multiple University initiatives, including the Carolina First Campaign, Bicentennial Campaign, and as a member of the Morehead-Cain Central Selection Committee.

He has also served with distinction on the UNC Health Care Board of Directors from 2008 to 2016, including a stint as Chair.

“A true Tar Heel, Tim is universally respected throughout the UNC community. His leadership has helped us to forge strong connections with the University and across the state, allowing us to fulfill our mission of caring for all the citizens of North Carolina,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, CEO of UNC Health Care and Dean of the UNC School of Medicine.

During this time, Burnett played a key role in the continued growth and success of UNC Health Care.

“Tim’s time on the UNC Health Care board of directors coincided with a period of growth for UNC Health Care and dramatic change across the entire health care industry. Tim’s leadership and guidance have been keys to our success throughout this period and we are grateful to him for his service,” said Gary L. Park, President of UNC Hospitals.

He has earned multiple honors from the University and now adds the UNC School of Medicine’s Distinguished Service Award to his lengthy list of accomplishments.

Distinguished Faculty Award:

Laurence Dahners:

In his 31 years at the UNC School of Medicine, Dr. Laurence Dahners has received numerous awards for his abilities as an educator. His research has earned him acclaim and respect across his field of orthopaedics. His skill as a surgeon allows him the ability to perform difficult trauma cases that have frustrated other surgeons. His patient referrals come from across the region.

When added up, all of these accomplishments make Dahners more than qualified as this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award.

Those who nominated Dahners for this honor described him as an “excellent clinician with a scientist’s understanding of bone and soft tissue physiology.” This allows him to perform difficult procedures that others may shy away from. In addition to his acumen, colleagues have praised Dahners’ ability to clearly communicate with his patients.

Dr. J. Wills Oglesby completed his orthopaedics residency at UNC Hospitals under the mentorship of Dahners and now practices in Tennessee.

“Dr. Dahners has the rare talent of being able to harness his intelligence so that non-medically savvy patients can understand him and appreciate exactly what he is trying to do for them,” Oglesby said.

His skills for clear communication also translate into his abilities as an educator. Countless medical students and residents have benefitted from his tutelage and mentorship. And they have shown their appreciation with a host of honors. He has served as a research preceptor for hundreds of students, many of whom have served as co-authors on his many research publications.

Over the course of his career, those publications go into the triple digits. In addition to journal articles, Dahners has published numerous book chapters and is recognized as an international authority on ligaments and their healing properties.

Dr. Douglas Dirschl, now the Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Chicago, also did his orthopaedics residency training at UNC.

“Laury strongly influenced not only my choice of career in orthopaedic trauma, but also my philosophy and approach to orthopaedic fracture care, to academic medicine, and to medical research,” Dirschl said. “And for years he has provided the same level of guidance to medical students and residents. I can think of no other faculty member more deserving of this honor.”

In recognition of his exceptional achievements as an educator, clinician and leader in the field of orthopaedics, we are proud to present the Distinguished Faculty Award to Dr. Laurence Dahners.

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