By Ben Resini
PHILADELPHIA – More than a dozen national and regional medical pioneers of Italian descent, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who became a household name during the global COVID pandemic, were honored for their achievements and contributions to the field of medicine during the Italian-American Medical Awards gala on Oct. 14.
The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum hosted the evening of honors, saluting the medical professionals for a wide array of contributions to research, leadership and mentorship in the American medical community.
Nominees included Dr. Alfonso Bellacosa, Dr. Franca Cambi, Dr. Antonella Cianferoni, Dr. Michael Cirigliano, Dr. Giovanni de Gaetano, Dr. Antonio DiCarlo, Dr. Stefania Gallucci, Dr. Mina Giordano, Dr. Anthony Macchiavelli, Dr. Anthony Mannarino, Dr. Olimpia Meucci, Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, Dr. Pasquale Santangeli, Dr. Alex Vaccaro, and the late Dr. Rose and Dr. Joseph Mattioli.
Their professional dedication and commitment became the evening’s common theme as the awards were distributed and nominees began to address the crowd. In their remarks, many of the honorees noted that a driving force behind their choice of careers was their passion for “giving back to the community.”
Dr. Fauci, a researcher, immunologist and head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, accepted the Italian American Medical Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was not able to attend the event, but acknowledged the award in a brief video message in which he expressed deep appreciation to the organizers and attendees of the event.
“This award is especially meaningful to me, as I have a strong kinship to Italy and my Italian heritage. Both sets of my grandparents came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. They have influenced the evolution of my career and principles by which I live. Like many Italian-American immigrants, my family was infused with the spirit of gratitude that included a love of this country and a desire to give back to it,” Fauci said.
Large Italian flags hung from the rafters throughout the showroom floor overlooking the bevy of guests mingling among the dignitaries. Attendees sampled a sumptuous catered buffet offering prosciutto, cheese, pasta and other Italian specialties.
The host of the event was Dr. Fred Simeone, and the co-chairs were the entrepreneur and politician Amato Berardi along with AJ Mattia, the New Jersey teen known for spearheading pediatric cancer-awareness initiatives.
Proceeds from the event, presented by the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum and the Smart Congressional Initiative, benefit the National Kidney Foundation, which supports issues affecting funding, research and treatment of kidney disease in the United States.