Boston cardiologist to be honored by American Heart Association

BOSTON – Dr. Peter Libby will receive the Paul Dudley White Award at the 2020 Boston Heart and Stroke Ball, the American Heart Association announced Thursday.

Since 1974, the Paul Dudley White Award has been given annually to a Boston physician who has made extraordinary contributions to cardiovascular or stroke care.

Dr. Libby, a cardiovascular specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, has gained worldwide recognition for his pioneering work unraveling the role of inflammation in cardiovascular disease.

Boston cardiologist to be honored by American Heart Association

Dr. Peter Libby

“Dr. Libby is a superb cardiologist,” said Dr. Eugene Braunwald, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and founding chairman of the TIMI Study Group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “He is a careful physician, always available not only to his patients but to their families. He is a considerate, empathetic physician in the manner of Paul Dudley White.”

The award is named in honor of one of Boston’s most revered cardiologists, Dr. Paul Dudley White, a founder of the American Heart Association who is regarded as a pioneer in the field of preventive cardiology.

Dr. Libby was selected to receive the Paul Dudley White Award by a 12-member committee of prominent Boston physicians from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Tufts Medical Center.

Dr. Libby is a longtime American Heart Association volunteer. He is also a consulting physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He served as chief of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1998 to 2014, after heading its vascular medicine and atherosclerosis unit from 1990 to 1997. Before joining the hospital, Dr. Libby was at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston.

Dr. Libby’s peers recognize his outstanding record of mentorship. He is known for nurturing, supporting and encouraging junior faculty and has personally trained and mentored hundreds of cardiology fellows. Many of his trainees now hold leadership positions in departments, medical schools and research institutes across the world.

“His candid style, integrity, and impeccable work ethic contribute to his reputation as an ideal role model,” said Dr. Alice K. Jacobs, a professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Boston cardiologist to be honored by American Heart Association

Dr. Peter Libby reacts to the surprise announcement that he will be the 2020 recipient of the Paul Dudley White Award. AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION/CHRIS CAMIRE

Dr. Libby’s record as an educator mirrors that of Dr. Paul Dudley White, said Dr. John F. Keaney Jr., chief of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“Dr. Libby epitomizes the spirit of Dr. Paul Dudley White in that he is an outstanding clinician, educator and academician in the field of cardiovascular medicine,” said Keaney.

Dr. Libby earned his medical degree at the University of California, San Diego, and completed his training in internal medicine and cardiology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital). He also holds an honorary master of arts degree from Harvard University, and honorary doctorates from the Université de Lille in France, the Université Laval in Québec, and Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.

He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research accomplishments, including the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology (2011), Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association (2011), the Anitschkow Prize in Atherosclerosis Research of the European Atherosclerosis Society (2013), the Special Award of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (2014), the Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine (2016), and the Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association (2019). He has also received a number of other awards including several lifetime achievement awards from various organizations.

Dr. Marvin Konstam, who received the Paul Dudley White Award in 2019, called Libby a “world-class” scientist.

“[His] discoveries have radically changed our thinking about the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” said Konstam, the chief physician executive at the CardioVascular Center at Tufts Medical Center.  “He has further translated these discoveries into impactful clinical research programs, with far-reaching therapeutic potential.”

Dr. Libby lives in Cambridge with his wife, Dr. Beryl Benacerraf, a professor of radiology and of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. They have two children, Oliver and Brigitte, and two granddaughters, Lucie and Vivian.  Dr. Libby is an ardent supporter of early music groups in Boston and serves on the Board of Directors of Emmanuel Music, an organization rooted in the music of J.S. Bach and affiliated with Emmanuel Church in Boston.  Dr. Libby likes to jog and cycle. He completed two half-marathons in 2019.

Dr. Libby will receive the Paul Dudley White Award at the Boston Heart and Stroke Ball on May 2 at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in Boston’s Seaport District.

The Boston Heart and Stroke Ball celebrates the American Heart Association’s mission, donors and volunteers — and most importantly, survivors of heart disease and stroke. Funds raised support life-saving scientific research and prevention programs in Greater Boston and across the country. For more information visit bostonheartandstrokeball.heart.org.

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