UC, UC Health Healthcare Heroes Honored at 2024 Awards

Feb. 23, 2024

Please join us in congratulating our Healthcare Heroes finalists and winners recognized for excellence in patient care, innovation & community outreach.

On Thursday, Feb. 22, the Cincinnati Business Courier recognized Healthcare Heroes finalists and winners at their 2024 Healthcare Heroes Awards dinner. Among these finalists and winners are five researcher and physician leaders at UC Health and the UC College of Medicine:

UC College of Medicine Med Mentors

UC Med Mentors, led by Dr. Charles Cavallo, is an affinity group at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine in partnership with the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC), which provides training for medical students to be effective mentors. The mentees are K-12 students in the Cincinnati Public Schools systems.

Community Outreach – winner

Leeya Pinder, MD: University of Cincinnati Cancer Center

Dr. Pinder is a global health clinician and international researcher dedicated to improving the health of women worldwide. Her research includes implementing clinical trials tailored to women in low- and middle-income countries and reducing disparities around gynecological-related cancers.

Innovator – winner

Lauren Wang, MD: UC Health Timothy Freeman, MD, Center for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Dr. Wang is an advocate for improving health care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (DD) and changing systems that have previously made access to care difficult. She and her team at the Freeman Center provide coordinated, specialized care for adults with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other conditions. Services include primary care, psychiatry, mental health counseling, physical rehabilitation and dietary care.

Patient Experience – winner

PEP Buddy: Muhammad Zafar, MD, and Ralph Panos, MD

Helping the 10% of adults who suffer shortness of breath as a result of lung disease is just one of the ways a University of Cincinnati Venture Lab-backed startup expects to improve people’s lives. The startup, PEP Buddy, was created by Muhammad Ahsan Zafar, MD, and Ralph J. Panos, MD. Zafar is an associate professor in pulmonary and critical care and a quality improvement expert at the UC College of Medicine. Panos is a professor emeritus in pulmonary and critical care at the UC College of Medicine and is the director of national tele-ICU program for the U.S. Veterans Affairs.

Health Entrepreneur – Finalist

RNA Nanotherapeutics: Xiaoting Zhang, PhD

A University of Cincinnati Venture Lab-backed startup is developing a breast cancer treatment that may be more effective with fewer side effects thanks to RNA nanotechnology that is similar to what was used to produce COVID-19 vaccines. The startup, RNA Nanotherapeutics, was founded by Xiaoting Zhang, a UC researcher who has spent the past 20 years investigating fundamental mechanisms and new treatments for breast cancer. He has developed an innovative, patented RNA nanotechnology-based approach that has received funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Health Entrepreneur – Finalist

Now in its 27th year, the Cincinnati Business Courier’s annual Healthcare Heroes awards recognize those who have made an impact on healthcare in our community through their concern for patients, their research and innovation, and their service to the community.

A warm congratulations to each of our UC Family winners and finalists!