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Alumni Awards

Charles W. Cummings, MD ’61

April 30, 2016 — The UVA Medical Alumni Association recognized Charles W. Cummings, MD ’61, as co-recipient of its 2016 Walter Reed Distinguished Achievement Award during a presentation by UVA School of Medicine Dean David S. Wilkes, MD, on April 30 in Charlottesville. Dr. Cummings received the award along with Peter H. Wiernik, MD ’65 .

The Walter Reed Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes professional accomplishments, outstanding innovation, and exemplary leadership in the field of medicine.

Charles W. Cummings began his career as a medical student at the University of Virginia and graduated in 1961. He returned to the University for his year of general surgery before serving as a captain in the United State Air Force. After his military service, he entered into his residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School and completed his training in 1968. During his residency, he began his first research project to study the Otoxicity of Nitrogen Mustard. He was certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology in 1968.

Dr. Cummings joined the clinical faculty at Mass Eye and Ear as an instructor, and then assistant surgeon. In 1976, he joined the faculty at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse where he embarked on a life-long career as an educator and clinician in the field of head and neck surgery. In 1978, he was recruited to the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle as department chair and he served there for 12 years. His tenure was so successful there that when the chairmanship in otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins opened, he was recruited to fill the prestigious position.

After stepping down as chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins in 2003, he continued to serve the institution. In 2003, Dr. Cummings was recognized by Johns Hopkins University and generous patients with the establishment of the Charles W. Cummings Professorship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Cummings has continually advanced in his academic career and has been recognized as a leader in the specialty. He is known for relating well with other leaders and continues his activities in basic research, clinical research, teaching, and patient care.

Since 1983, he has worked on 4 long-term grants from the NIH, primarily relating to basic training and research in otolaryngology. He has registered over 140 publications and participated in several textbook submissions or revisions.

As part of his dedication to the medical profession and his academic career, Dr. Cummings has served as a member and/or chairman of over 20 national committees, and over 40 academic committees.

Congratulations to Dr. Cummings on this well-deserved honor.