Directors' Award 2014 - Freddy Nguyen
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The Directors' Award was given to Freddy Nguyen, founder of the American Physician Scientists Association, in recognition of his innumerable contributions to APSA since the organization's initiation. To honor Freddy's legacy, the Board of Directors will present the Founder's Award (successor to the Directors' Award) to recognize extraordinary and dedicated service to APSA. Freddy will play a role in selecting the recipient of that honor. Read below for Freddy's reflections on a decade of APSA.

Acceptance Remarks

Freddy Nguyen - April 25th, 2014 at the APSA Welcome Reception

Photo of Freddy Nguyen accepting his award From left: Eve Geneva, Chair, APSA Board of Directors; Freddy Nguyen, Founder, APSA;
Evan Noch, President, APSA

I still find it hard to believe to this day that 10 years has passed since the founding of APSA. I am even more amazed at how far it has come since then. APSA was created with the spirit and vision for an association that physician-scientist trainees could call home. A place where you can be part of a community beyond the silo of your own institution. A place where you can become more informed about the issues facing your training and how to navigate them. A place where you can get advice from your peers and from your mentors. In that sense, APSA has continued to grow and the annual meeting has continued be the cornerstone of this organization, and a place where you can become inspired and even renewed in your pursuit of this physician-scientist career path.

It has also been very heartwarming to see the role APSA has played for individuals over the years, just like Evan’s story about how he started off as an institutional representative, attended his first regional meeting in New York, and has now become President of the organization. There are stories like that every year with all of our leaders in the organization.

Throughout this time, APSA has faced many internal and external challenges but has always managed to persevere through. If the membership committee thinks they are having a hard time recruiting new members now, I can remember talking to Jon Kleen back in 2008 when we decided to go from a free membership to a dues-paying membership and seeing our membership numbers go from 1500-2000 to zero within a month. But now, we are back up to 1300 dues-paying members supporting the organization, so we always manage to come through.

It has also been great to see our international partners at this meeting and their renewed spirit of collaboration. In the earlier years, I very much enjoyed having candid discussions with David Winkler from the Swiss MD/PhD association, which was founded in 2003, only a or so year before APSA, or the first president of CITAC, the Canadian association which was founded only in 2006. Or being involved with the French helping build their own organization in 2009.

So, it has been encouraging to see the expanded outreach by APSA and its local chapters to non-dual degree students and undergraduate students. I can remember when APSA first started awarding poster awards at this annual meeting, and you’ll be amazed that one of the six poster awards actually went to an undergraduate that year. She competed head to head against medical students, residents, and fellows. So, to those undergrads who are here at this meeting, keep coming.

However, all this would not be possible without the members and the leadership of APSA that take their time and effort towards APSA’s mission. This includes for example some of our Board members like Eric Schauberger, who started off on the A/V subcommittee of our annual meeting back in 2007 and who eventually became chair of the policy committee and now is a member of the Board of Directors. Or Kerry O’Banion, who has been on the board ever since the founding of the organization.

So, APSA would not be here without all of you, without all of your support and dedication to this organization. So, thank you again for this award, and give yourselves a round of applause.