April 7, 2006

Turner Fund set to honor Hazinski

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Thomas Hazinski, M.D.

Turner Fund set to honor Hazinski

For the past decade, The Steve and Judy Turner Research Fund in Pediatrics has been providing annual grants to support the research activities of young pediatric faculty members.

It was the Turners' hope that their $1 million unrestricted gift would help propel Vanderbilt Children's Hospital as a national leader in the discovery of new knowledge about childhood medical care.

Approximately two dozen researchers have been named Turner Scholars over the years. Nearly all are still at Vanderbilt, and the majority of them have active research programs underway.

Past Turner Scholars include Mark Denison, M.D., Jim Crowe, M.D., and Brent Polk, M.D. These faculty members have each gone on to secure more than $1 million in annual funding by the National Institutes of Health, placing them among the top investigators nationally.

The Turners credit the late Tom Hazinski, M.D., in helping their fund reach new heights. Hazinski, a beloved faculty member and mentor to many pediatric researchers, died in January. The Turners wished to honor his tireless efforts to assist pediatric researchers and bring more attention to their fund.

"Judy and I are so grateful for Tom's ability to leverage our gift and create even more research opportunities in pediatrics. We want future scholars to know, appreciate and celebrate his legacy," said Steve Turner, Nashville philanthropist and a former chairman of the Children's Hospital Board of Directors.

The Turner Scholars have now taken on a new name which honors Hazinski — the fund is now called the Hazinski Scholars of the Turner Fund for Pediatric Research.

"Tom Hazinski's passion in academic pediatrics was the mentoring and career development of fellows in training and young faculty,” said Arnold W. Strauss, M.D., chair of Pediatrics. “Since the inception of the Turner Fund for Research at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, Dr. Hazinski carefully monitored, assisted and advised the faculty who received awards to do research from the Turner Fund to initiate research programs.”

Hazinski's wife, Mary Fran Hazinski, R.N., M.S.N., said she deeply appreciates the Turners' gesture.

“Our family is honored to have Tom's name associated with the Steve and Judy Turner Fund for Pediatric Research. Tom was dedicated to the mentoring of faculty and the Turner Fund has been instrumental in the development of young researchers.”

Hazinski was a long-time member of the faculty at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. He came to Vanderbilt in 1984, and founded the Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, where he served as director until his death. Along with Nancy Brown, M.D., Hazinski founded the Vanderbilt's Master of Science in Clinical Investigation Program. Since 2004, he also served in the newly created role of associate dean for Faculty Affairs.