Growing up, Dr. Judith James’ game of choice was something she called doll hospital. Instead of make-believe tea, she would feed Raggedy Ann and her stuffed animals medicine (actually, crushed vitamins). When her younger sister wanted to play store, she’d agree only if that store was a pharmacy, and the workers could, in Judith’s words, “pick up the medicine to deliver to the children of Nepal or the doll hospital.”
Suffice it to say that you didn’t need a crystal ball to see that this remarkable young person would one day become a physician. Still, there was no predicting the heights she would reach in the fields of medicine and medical research.
As you’ll read in these pages, Dr. James was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in October, making her only the fifth Oklahoman – and first woman – to receive this honor, one of the highest in the field. It’s but the latest well-deserved plaudit for a physician-researcher whom a peer at Stanford University aptly describes as “the most respected rheumatologist in the country.”
We couldn’t be prouder of Dr. James and all she’s done. Still, when it comes to remarkable people at OMRF, you’ll see from this issue that she’s in great company.
There’s Dr. Benjamin Miller and his colleagues, who are on a quest to rewrite the book on healthy aging. Dr. Hal Scofield may, in fact, be the world’s most interesting man, juggling a staggering array of interests while also leading a research lab and cracking mysterious cases in the clinic. Kevin Henry has brought his winning ways on the basketball court to our fundraising team. And with a record-breaking class of summer scholars, it looks like the next generation of game-changers has already entered OMRF’s building.
I think you can tell that all of this gets me really excited. I hope it does the same for you.
I’m just now marking my one-year anniversary in Oklahoma and at OMRF, but it seems much longer. In a good way. Whether at OMRF or going about life outside the foundation, my family and I feel like we’ve yet to meet a stranger. The warm welcome we’ve received has been nothing short of incredible. With the number – and quality – of friends we’ve made, it can be easy to forget that we’re still newcomers.
In the coming year, I’ll be traveling around Oklahoma to get to know my new home state better – and to share all the good news coming out of OMRF. We’ll announce more details about this statewide outreach effort in the next issue of Findings. In the meantime, please enjoy this one.
As you read, be sure to take pride in every scientific achievement, discovery and life changed. Because we are more than the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. We are Oklahoma’s medical research foundation.
Andrew S. Weyrich
Read more from the Winter/Spring 2023 issue of Findings