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Wake Forest Medical Alumni Association Honors Three

The Medical Alumni Association (MAA) of Wake Forest School of Medicine has presented its annual awards to distinguished alumni. Honored during Wake Forest School of Medicine’s annual M.D. Alumni Weekend activities on Sept. 23 were:

  • Jon S. Abramson, M.D. ’76, of Winston-Salem, Distinguished Faculty Award;
  • Joseph R. Overby Jr., M.D. ’71, of New Bern, N.C., Distinguished Service Award; and
  • Roger E. Stevenson, M.D. ’66, of Greenwood, S.C., Distinguished Achievement Award.

Abramson, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., has devoted his career to children’s health, spanning patient care, research and education.

He is professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, which he joined in 1981. In 1996, he was named the Weston M. Kelsey Professor and Chair of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief for Wake Forest Baptist Health-Brenner Children’s Hospital.

He was instrumental in leading the 2002 expansion of Brenner Children’s, and he worked to ensure that families had a voice in decisions concerning the design of the hospital’s physical space and its services.

As a member of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunizations (SAGE), Abramson has chaired a number of its working groups including those focused on cholera, meningococcal and varicella vaccines. He also has served on working groups aimed at the rubella vaccine, a global vaccine action plan, and influenza seasonal and pandemic vaccine. In September 2013, he was appointed to a three-year term as SAGE chair.

He has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases, and chair of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He stepped down as chair of pediatrics in 2014 to devote more attention to his work with SAGE.

Abramson holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and completed his medical training with a residency at Wake Forest Baptist.

Overby, a native of Smithfield, N.C., has served New Bern and surrounding communities as a primary care physician for 40 years.

In 1976, he helped found New Bern Family Practice to address the need for primary care physicians in North Carolina’s Craven and Pamlico counties. He is medical director of the HOPE Clinic in Bayboro, N.C., and on the medical staff at MERCI Clinic in New Bern. Both clinics serve the uninsured. Overby also operates a free walk-in clinic at a homeless shelter and has led numerous medical mission trips to Ukraine, China, Russia and India.

He is associate clinical professor with the Department of Family Practice at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, medical director of CarolinaEast Home Health, former chief of staff at CarolinaEast Medical Center and a board member with the CarolinaEast Foundation.

At Wake Forest Baptist, he has served on the boards of both North Carolina Baptist Hospital and the Medical Center. He led the Wake Forest MAA as president in 2006-07 and established the Joseph Randal Overby IV Memorial Scholarship Fund at the medical school in memory of his grandson.

Overby holds a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and completed his medical training with an internship in medicine and pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist and a family practice residency at Medical College of Virginia.

Stevenson, a native of South Carolina, has focused his medical career on birth defects, intellectual disability, and autism and related disorders.

In 1974, he co-founded the Greenwood Genetic Center, the first independent center in the nation to provide comprehensive genetic services. The center offers medical genetics training programs, clinics, diagnostic laboratories and research programs in Greenwood and clinics in the South Carolina cities of Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Florence.

He has authored numerous publications including three editions of “Human Malformations and Related Anomalies,” two editions of “Atlas of X-linked Intellectual Disability Syndromes” and two editions of “The Fetus and Newly Born Infant: Influences of the Prenatal Environment.”

His previous honors include induction into the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars; honorary degrees from Furman, Lander and Clemson universities; and The Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor of South Carolina, presented to individuals who have made contributions of statewide significance.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Furman University, and he completed a pediatric residency and fellowships in metabolism and genetics at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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