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BioMed SA Recognizes Alan Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP with 2018 Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience for his Groundbreaking Research Leadership to Prevent, Detect and Treat PTSD
July 31, 2018

BioMed SA also honors Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D. with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifelong contributions to burn and trauma care

(SAN ANTONIO) July 31, 2018 –  BioMed SA, the non-profit corporation founded in 2005 to promote and grow San Antonio’s leading industry, healthcare and bioscience, will present its 2018 BioMed SA Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience to Alan L. Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP. A San Antonio-based researcher and psychologist, Dr. Peterson is chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and the organizer and leader of two nationwide consortia that are advancing groundbreaking new methods to prevent, detect and treat a signature wound of post-9/11 military deployment: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The BioMed SA award honors innovators from San Antonio and elsewhere who have put novel ideas into action with tangible, transformational results.  Dr. Peterson will accept the award at BioMed SA’s annual award dinner in San Antonio on Sept. 13, 2018. 

In addition, BioMed SA will recognize one of the “founding fathers” of modern trauma and burn medicine, Basil A. Pruitt Jr., M.D., with a special Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Pruitt was the commander and director of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research for 27 years prior to joining UT Health San Antonio as a clinical professor in the Department of Surgery, where he holds the Dr. Ferdinand P. Herff Chair in Surgery.

“Both of this year’s honorees are former military medical leaders who transitioned into San Antonio’s civilian healthcare and bioscience community after retiring from active duty,” noted BioMed SA President Ann Stevens. “Their accomplishments epitomize the value of the ongoing collaboration between the civilian and military medical communities here in Military City USA and the innovation that springs from it.”

2018 Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience - Alan L. Peterson. Ph.D., ABPP

Dr. Alan Peterson is the nation’s foremost research leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of combat-related PTSD and related conditions in active-duty military personnel and veterans. His lifelong efforts have resulted in dramatic improvements in how to address PTSD as one of the signature wounds of post-9/11 military deployments.

During his 21 years of military service as an Air Force clinical psychologist, Dr. Peterson was among the first to recognize the need for evidence-based treatment for PTSD for active-duty service members. While on active duty, Dr. Peterson deployed three times and was called upon to treat service members with PTSD in the combat theater. With no leading treatments designed or tested for this purpose, he nimbly and successfully adapted a leading civilian therapy called prolonged exposure. The results of the therapy for active-duty service members were dramatic and were documented in the first published case study on the treatment of PTSD in theater.

After retiring from active duty in 2005, he joined UT Health San Antonio, where he assembled and led a nationwide coalition of military, Veteran’s Administration and civilian investigators to conduct randomized clinical trials on PTSD in military settings. Today, the group’s impact is being felt nationwide. Through his vision and leadership, Dr. Peterson has brought together a world-class team of more than 150 collaborating investigators from more than 40 military, VA, and civilian institutions working through the STRONG STAR Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP), the world’s largest research consortia studying combat-related PTSD. They are the nation’s only research group capable of conducting multiple, large-scale psychological health randomized clinical trials in military settings.

The work of these consortia, directed by Dr. Peterson, involves more than 50 research projects with over $150 million in peer-reviewed research funding. With a number of seminal studies completed or nearing completion, Dr. Peterson’s network has advanced the quality of care for psychologically wounded warriors and influenced policy changes that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) already has implemented as a direct result of this work.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award and grateful for the recognition of the work being done through STRONG STAR and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD to help our service members and veterans recover from the psychological wounds of war,” said Dr. Peterson. “I consider this effort to be the most important work of my career, but I’m not doing it alone. I share this recognition with my esteemed colleagues at UT Health San Antonio and across the country who make up the world-class team of STRONG STAR investigators, and with our nation’s war heroes who are our daily inspiration.”

“Dr. Peterson’s achievements in leading broad research and assistance efforts for psychologically wounded warriors are simply unprecedented, addressing a significant public health crisis,” commented Ted Day, chair of BioMed SA’s 2018 Award Selection Committee.  “The research findings of his nationwide consortia on PTSD and related conditions are paving a pathway forward that will help not only military service members and veterans, but also civilians who suffer from the aftereffects of traumatic events.”

Special Honor: Lifetime Achievement Award – Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Basil Pruitt’s lifetime of innovations in biomedical research, clinical burn and trauma care, organizational leadership and mentorship have quite literally changed history by revolutionizing the management of trauma, burns, and critically ill or injured patients worldwide.

For the past half-century, as commander and director of the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research for 27 years and subsequently as a clinical professor in UT Health San Antonio’s Department of Surgery, Dr. Pruitt has had a transformational impact on an international scale, driving forward a multitude of innovations that have dramatically advanced medical practice and improved patient care. These innovations include the pioneering use of burn wound biopsies, cohort nursing, high-frequency interrupted flow ventilation for inhalation injuries, and extensive characterization of metabolic stress and endocrine responses in burn patients, leading to today’s understanding of metabolic support of critically ill patients.

He is internationally recognized by his peers through his work on editorial boards for a number of prominent peer-reviewed journals and as one of the world’s top published authors on burn care. He was elected president of 10 national and international surgical societies and has received numerous honors including Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Society of University Surgeons and the American Burn Association, and the 2008 King Faisal International Prize for Medicine. He was most recently named an Icon in Surgery in 2017 by the American College of Surgeons as well as the inaugural Emeritus Fellow of the National Trauma Institute. Perhaps his most enduring legacy is his mentorship of physicians and scientists who have gone on to become international leaders in medicine. Among them are 46 directors of burn centers in the U.S. and abroad, 23 department chairs, 11 past presidents of the American Burn Association and numerous other leaders in the field.

“Clearly, Dr. Pruitt’s work for more than half a century has had a remarkable transformational impact on an international scale,” commented Walt Downing, chair of the BioMed SA Board of Directors. “Dr. Pruitt is in a league of his own, and our Award Selection Committee and Board felt that creation of a special Lifetime Achievement Award is the best way to recognize a longtime innovator of his stature.”


The BioMed SA Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience celebrates local and national innovators in the healthcare and bioscience field, including healthcare delivery, biomedical education, research and development, leadership, public policy and medical technology. Previous recipients of the BioMed SA Award include prolific biotechnology inventor Leonard Pinchuk, Ph.D., D.Sc. (2017); cancer immunotherapy pioneer George E. Peoples, Jr., M.D., FACS (2016); Nobel Prize-winning chemist W.E. (William Esco) Moerner, Ph.D. (2015); nationally-renowned pediatric transplant surgeon and former Chancellor of The University of Texas System, Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., (2014); world-renowned engineer, medical inventor and entrepreneur from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Robert S. Langer, Sc.D., (2013); emergency medicine physician and the pioneer of today’s leading intraosseous vascular access technology Larry Miller, M.D. (2012); president and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D. (2011); dean of engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. (2010); internationally acclaimed inventor Dean Kamen of DEKA Research & Development Corp. in New Hampshire (2009); San Antonio pediatric surgeons Drs. Robert Campbell, Melvin Smith (deceased) and Kaye Wilkins from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (now known as UT Health San Antonio) and CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital (2008); president of The Commonwealth Fund in New York Karen Davis, Ph.D. (2007); and the inaugural honoree, Julio Palmaz, M.D., of UT Health San Antonio, inventor of the Palmaz stent (2006).

The 2018 BioMed SA Award Dinner will take place Sept. 13, 2018, at the Vista at Valero. Reservations can be made by calling 210-468-1848 or emailing Sponsorship opportunities are also available.



San Antonio, the seventh largest city in America, is increasingly recognized as a City of Science and Health as well as the Home of U.S. Military Medicine. Healthcare and bioscience are a leading engine of the city’s economy, employing more than 1 of every 6 members of the San Antonio workforce, with an annual economic impact exceeding $37 billion. San Antonio’s biomedical sector combines unique assets, diverse resources, and a tangible spirit of collaboration. Innovations that save lives around the world are being discovered, developed, and commercialized in San Antonio.

BioMed SA is a non-profit, membership-based organization, supported in part by the City of San Antonio. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of San Antonio’s healthcare and bioscience sector, create regional economic benefit, and contribute to the health of San Antonio and beyond by establishing San Antonio as a global leader in healthcare and bioscience.

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