Massachusetts General Hospital neurologist to be honored at 2023 Boston Heart and Stroke Ball

The American Heart Association is pleased to announce that Lee Schwamm, MD, will receive the 2023 Paul Dudley White Award for his decades of dedication to improving the health outcomes of stroke patients.

Dr. Schwamm, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School who holds the C. Miller Fisher Endowed Chair of Vascular Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, will receive the award at the Boston Heart and Stroke Ball on May 13.

The Paul Dudley White Award has been presented annually since 1974 to a Boston-based medical professional who has made extraordinary contributions to cardiovascular or stroke care. It is named after one of Boston’s most revered cardiologists, Paul Dudley White, MD, a founder of the American Heart Association who is regarded as the father of preventive cardiology.

Dr. Schwamm was selected to receive this year’s award by a committee of area physicians. In choosing Dr. Schwamm, the committee praised him as a pioneer in the treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke. They also credited his more than 25 years as a volunteer for the American Heart Association.

As a member of the American Heart Association’s National Board of Directors until 2022, Dr. Schwamm helped guide the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic. He led the development of its Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke program, which was founded in 2001, and improves stroke care in hospitals by promoting consistent adherence to the latest treatment guidelines. More than 3,000 U.S. hospitals have entered nearly 10 million cases, leading to well over 200 academic publications in high impact journals. In 2022, Dr. Schwamm received the Gold Heart Award, the Association’s highest volunteer honor.

“Dr. Schwamm is a talented stroke neurologist, thoughtful colleague, and respected investigator,” said Natalia S. Rost, MD, chief of the Stroke Division at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, who was one of several people to nominate Dr. Schwamm for the award. “Through his leadership at MGH and the American Heart Association, he exhibits the dedication, passion, and humanity that is highly deserving of this recognition.”

Joshua N. Goldstein, MD, PhD, who also nominated Dr. Schwamm, praised his work in telemedicine, the virtual care platforms that allow health care professionals and patients to meet by phone or video chat. Dr. Schwamm developed the first large-scale, national telemedicine network to treat stroke, which now serves more than 50 rural and community hospitals across seven states.

“This pioneering program helped usher in a modern age of stroke care, with innumerable hospitals able to provide high quality stroke care without needing an in-person neurologist in every community,” said Dr. Goldstein, an emergency physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The Paul Dudley White Award selection committee also recognized Dr. Schwamm for his outstanding record of mentorship. He is known for nurturing, supporting and encouraging junior faculty and has personally trained and mentored dozens of neurology fellows.

“He is always available to the junior faculty seeking advice, and as a mentor, he is thoughtful and constructive,” said Dr. Rost.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Schwamm previously served as executive vice chairman of neurology, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center and director of the Center for TeleHealth. He has authored more than 580 peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. Schwamm graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1991 and completed his neurology residency and subsequent neurology fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Harvard University before changing his career path to medicine and becoming “smitten” with neurology.

He met his wife, Dr. Lisa Leffert, in medical school, and together they have supported each other’s careers in academic medicine. After working at Massachusetts General Hospital for more than 20 years, Dr. Leffert recently became chief of anesthesiology at Yale New Haven Hospital and Nicholas Greene Professor of Anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine.

Drs. Schwamm and Leffert enjoy traveling to other countries with their sons, Sam and Eli, and discovering their cultures by bicycle.

The Boston Heart and Stroke Ball will be held on Saturday, May 13, at the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport. It is a celebration of the year-round Heart of Boston campaign, which support the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal to reduce barriers to health care access and quality.

For more information about the event, visit or contact event director Rachel Adjemian at