Each year, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society (SRS) select outstanding leaders in sleep medicine as recipients of awards. The awards are given out annually at the SLEEP conference, which in 2019 takes place in June in San Antonio.

The 2019 AASM award recipients, who were selected by the AASM board of directors, are:

Patrick J. Strollo, Jr., MD

Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award for dedication to the sleep field and significant contributions in the areas of administration, public relations, and government affairs

Strollo is a professor of medicine and clinical and translational science and vice chair of medicine for Veterans Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and he is chairman of medicine at the VA Pittsburgh Health System. Strollo has made numerous contributions throughout more than 30 years as an AASM member, especially by leading the AASM as the 2010 – 2011 president, serving as the AASM physician representative to the American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, and representing the AASM within the AMA House of Delegates. He also has made a lasting, positive impact on the sleep field as chair of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board and through his research exploring the novel treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the impact of OSA on cardiovascular risk.

Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD

William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award for exceptional initiative and progress in the areas of sleep education and academic research

Ancoli-Israel is a professor emeritus of psychiatry and professor of research at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Throughout 35 years as an AASM member, she has made a lasting impact on the sleep field as a clinician and educator, including her service as research and education director at the UC San Diego Sleep Medicine Center. She also has helped advance the field of sleep and circadian science through her research in areas of critical importance, such as aging and cancer, and through her leadership in positions such as deputy director of the UC San Diego Stein Institute for Research on Aging and co-director of the UC San Diego General Clinical Research Center Gillin Laboratory of Sleep and Chronobiology.

Loretta Colvin, ACNP-BC

Excellence in Education Award for outstanding contributions in the teaching of sleep medicine

Colvin is a clinical assistant professor of nursing at Maryville University and a nurse practitioner at SSM Health in St. Louis. Throughout nearly 10 years as an AASM member, she has served as chair of the AASM APRN/PA Task Force, two-time chair of the Sleep Disorders for the APRN/PA course, and member of both the AASM Education Committee and the AASM Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. Her work has helped advance education for all members of the sleep team, and she has been a leader in advocating for the important role of advanced practice providers in the field of sleep medicine.

Senator Anthony Portantino

Mark O. Hatfield Public Policy or Advocacy Award for developing public policy that positively affects the healthy sleep of all Americans

Senator Anthony Portantino represents California’s 25th State Senate District. He recently reintroduced SB-328, “Pupil attendance: school start time,” which made it all the way to the governor’s desk in 2018 before being vetoed. The bill would require the school day for middle schools and high schools in the state to begin no earlier than 8:30 am, which is in agreement with an AASM position statement. The bill demonstrates that legislation promoting healthy sleep for teens can garner bipartisan support, and it provides a model for other state legislators throughout the country.

The 2019 SRS award recipients, who were selected by the SRS board of directors, are:

Louis Ptá?ek, MD

Distinguished Scientist Award for significant, original and sustained scientific contributions of a basic, clinical, or theoretical nature to the sleep and circadian research field, made over an entire career

Ptá?ek is a distinguished professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. Ptá?ek’s and his colleagues’ work has opened a whole new field of human genetics in sleep that has spanned from studies of human subjects/phenotypes and identification of genes/mutations to molecular characterization of functional consequences and in vivo studies. Ptá?ek is a pioneer in establishing genetic studies of human sleep behavior. His stature in the field has led to his election to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Association of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Science.

As the SRS Distinguished Scientist Award recipient, Ptá?ek also receives the honor of presenting an invited lecture at the SLEEP 2019 annual meeting. He will present the lecture, “Homo sapiens as a model system for circadian rhythm genetics and biology.”

Frank A.J.L. Scheer, PhD and Steven A. Shea, PhD

Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award for novel and seminal discoveries of a basic, clinical, or theoretical nature that have made a significant impact on the sleep field

In 2009, Scheer and Shea, together with their colleagues, published a landmark paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, “Adverse metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of circadian misalignment.” Their work demonstrated that disruption of the alignment between the internal circadian system and the sleep/meal cycle leads to adverse cardiometabolic consequences in humans. This work also sparked many follow-up studies across the world. Their study showed that the mistiming of behaviors has strong and negative effects on cardiometabolic control, raising scientific and clinical interest into circadian misalignment and timing of behavior across the world.

In addition to the value of the publication, Scheer and Shea are scientists at the forefront of clinically relevant human circadian research, using sophisticated laboratory protocols. Scheer is director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Shea is director and professor at Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University, each leading their independent laboratories expanding their work on circadian misalignment and leading the way in studying mechanisms, translation, and therapeutic interventions.

Martica Hall, PhD

Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award for excellence in education related to the sleep and circadian research field

Hall is a professor of psychiatry, psychology, and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also co-director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Sleep and Circadian Science. Since beginning her career in sleep research in the mid-1990s, one of her long-standing passions has been educating researchers outside the field of sleep medicine on the importance of sleep to health and functioning. She has trained a significant number of students and guided them to promising careers in which sleep is a central or secondary focus. Hall has been the driving force behind the establishment of an entire campus of sleep researchers at the University of Pittsburgh by providing mentorship to numerous students, organizing the weekly Multidisciplinary Sleep Grand Rounds, and developing the (now annual) Sleep Research Day on campus.