At its semiannual board meeting this evening, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will add Oklahoma First Lady Kim Henry and four others to its board of directors. Joining Henry as new board members will be Gary Pierson, Dave Lopez and Jerome Holmes of Oklahoma City and Gregory Walton, M.D., of Enid.
Also this evening, OMRF will award the Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord Prize for Scientific Achievement to OMRF researchers John Harley, M.D., Ph.D., and Judith James, M.D., Ph.D. In addition, it will present the President’s Service Award to Diana Szeto.
Prior to becoming First Lady, Henry was an award-winning educator at Shawnee High School. She has been involved in numerous health-related causes, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Children’s medical Research Institute and serving as OMRF’s spokesperson. As First Lady, she has been a strong advocate for healthcare, most recently working to obtain Medicaid reimbursement for breast cancer and cervical cancer screening.
Pierson is the chief operating officer for the Oklahoma Publishing Company. Before that, he served as OPUBCO’s general counsel and as vice president of the Oklahoma City law firm of McAfee & Taft.
Lopez is the president of Downtown Oklahoma City and a director of numerous Oklahoma civic organizations. A former executive at SBC Communications, he recently co-chaired Gov. Brad Henry’s EDGE Steering Committee.
Holmes is the deputy criminal chief and anti-terrorism coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma. He holds a law degree from Georgetown University and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Walton, who earned his medical degree at the University of Oklahoma, is a surgeon in Enid.
Harley and James will share the Gaylord Prize for Scientific Achievement. The award is named in honor of the late Edward L. Gaylord, who served on OMRF’s board for over 40 years, and his late wife, Thelma.
Harley and James earned national and international acclaim for a groundbreaking study about lupus they published last year in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study, which may someday help researchers develop a vaccine for the disease, earned a major story in The New York Times and coverage from numerous TV and print media around the globe.
Szeto will become only the second person ever to receive the President’s Service Award. She has worked at OMRF for more than three decades and currently serves as the foundation’s grants and contracts administrator.
OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and only member of the National Academy of Sciences in the area of biomedical research.