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Founder's Award 2017 - Joseph Bast
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Photo of Joseph Bast Joseph Bast, PhD


Joseph Bast, PhD was a longtime member of the faculty at Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC) and is Director Emeritus of the MD/PhD Program at KUMC. Dr. Bast has long been an advocate for physician-scientist trainees, and his counsel was an important guiding force in APSA's early years, where he served as a founding member of the Board of Directors. In addition to his Directorship, he served as the interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at KUMC.  Dr. Bast has received numerous awards during his career, including the KUMC Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, and today the APSA Founder's Award.

Award Remarks

Freddy Nguyen - April 22nd, 2017 at the APSA Dinner

Freddy Nguyen, APSA's Founder, presented the 2017 Founder's Award to Dr. Bast at the 2017 APSA Annual Meeting dinner. Prior to delivering the award, Freddy spoke of Dr. Bast's contributions to APSA, and his remarks are below.

It truly gives me great pleasure to present this year’s APSA Founder’s Award to Dr. Joseph Bast. The award was created in 2014 during APSA’s 10th Annual Meeting to recognize individuals who have had a significant impact on the growth, and development of APSA. APSA was founded in 2005 by 4 MD-PhD students who came together with the purpose of creating a community for physician-scientist trainees to call home. An organization we could look to for support, advice, and mentoring on our path to becoming physician-scientists. An organization that could connect trainees across institutions, states, and countries. An organization that would advocate on behalf of trainees at the national and international level promoting and supporting the physician-scientist career. Over the years, many individuals, including many in this room ranging from trainees to faculty to members of the ASCI and AAP, have gone above and beyond with their time, commitment, and dedication to APSA and its mission. What started as naïve email exchange with Dr. Skip Brass in 2004 suggesting that we engage the ASCI leadership, led to a dialogue with Dr. Leonard Zon, ASCI President at the time, and who, as you heard this morning, was instrumental in establishing the APSA Annual Meeting to be held in conjunction with the ASCI/AAP Joint Meeting in 2005. And just last year, 11 years later, the meeting was fully rebranded and integrated into the AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting or the Trisocietal meeting, the premier annual meeting for physician-scientists.

Tonight, we recognize Dr. Joseph Bast for his invaluable role in the formative years of APSA since the initial idea in 2003, and his relentless support of physician-scientist trainees. Dr. Bast was the MD-PhD program director at the University of Kansas at the time. In the words of Hope Karnes Nicely, one of his former MD-PhD students, “he truly always ‘had our backs’”. He was an invaluable mentor, and friend providing countless advice as APSA traversed through those bumpy roads. No question was too small, no problem was too big, for him to lend his insights to a group of young physician-scientist trainees with a vision to connect physician-scientist trainees. He empowered them to be proactive about their own education and the career they were heading into. Dr. Bast has a been constant and enthusiastic supporter and mentor for APSA and its young leaders. I am thankful for the many phone calls we had over the years as we discussed APSA, physician-scientist training, and the future of our community. Joe was a founder member of the Board of Directors serving from 2005 to 2010.

Photo of Joseph Bast and Freddy Nguyen at the Founders Award ceremony Drs. Bast and Nguyen at the Founders Award Ceremony

In addition to his role in APSA, he was “an unwavering and fearless advocate for the MD/PhD students at [the University of Kansas] … sometimes to his own detriment” said Shane Stecklein, a former student. Dr. Tim Fields, the current MD-PhD program director, says: “Joe is a truly dedicated teacher and mentor … 100% dedicated to his students. With great vision and near tireless effort, he … single-handedly brought the MD-PhD program to life at KU. … his students’ welfare is ALWAYS on his mind.” Even though Dr. Bast is now retired, Megan Jack, says “he is still just a phone call or text away when [you] need advice about career or life”. I think Hope Karnes Nicely, said it best: “More than just a mentor, Dr. Bast was an advocate, a cheerleader, and a friend.”

Joe, thank you so much for picking up the phone so many years ago and over the years and always being there for me, for APSA, and for your students! Joe you are joining a well deserved group of individuals, Dr. Kerry O’Banion and Dr. Jaimo Ahn who are also here tonight, who have all been instrumental to what APSA has become today. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Joe Bast in receiving this year’s Founder’s Award!