Joseph Sweeney, MD Receives Milton Hamolsky Lifetime Achievement Award

May 23, 2014

Joseph Sweeney, MDThe Rhode Island Chapter of the American College of Physicians has awarded the 2014 Milton Hamolsky Lifetime Achievement Award to Joseph Sweeney, MD.

The award, recognition for distinguished service, was given to Sweeney for his outstanding contributions in both the field of internal medicine and to the Rhode Island Chapter. As medical director of the blood banks at The Miriam and Rhode Island hospitals, Sweeney oversees the transfusion of about two-thirds of all the blood transfused in the state of Rhode Island. And, as Lifespan’s director of coagulation and transfusion medicine, he is responsible for ensuring safe and appropriate transfusion and managing blood coagulation problems.

“Since coming to Rhode Island 20 years ago from Virginia, where he was chief medical officer and head of research at the Norfolk American Red Cross, Dr. Sweeney has pioneered the use of new technologies,” said Thomas F. Tracy, Jr., MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president of medical affairs at The Miriam. “As a result, he has been a recognized leader in safe transfusion practices, while eliminating waste and inefficiencies.”

A resident of Barrington, R.I., Sweeney is medical director of the School of Technology at Rhode Island Hospital, where he oversees curriculum and teaching of technologists in training. He is also medical director of the blood bank at Roger Williams Hospital and is a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He has extensive experience and expertise in coagulation and transfusion medicine, writing more than 230 scientific papers and abstracts.

“Dr. Sweeney provides that critical knowledge for many of the patients who come into our Level 1 Trauma Center at Rhode Island Hospital in the middle of the night in need of immediate, quality care,” Tracy added. “He is the one fielding those time-sensitive, critical questions and advising on the best care.”

From 1986 to 1991, Sweeney served as medical director of the Hemophilia Center of Western New York and medical director of the blood bank at Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, and then went on to his post as chief medical officer and head of research at the American Red Cross in Norfolk, Virginia. Sweeney is board certified in internal medicine, hematology and blood banking. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians; the Royal College of Pathologists in the United Kingdom; and the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland in the faculty of pathology. He has served as a member of the Technical Committee of the American Association of Blood Banks; currently serves on the board of directors of the Rhode Island Blood Center and the Editorial Board of Transfusion; and is an honorary scientific member of the Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion Collaborative.

In addition to teaching residents and fellows, Sweeney also engages in blood transfusion research. His recent publications on blood management have received special recognition by The Joint Commission, and he was recently accepted as a member of the Brown University Alpha-Omega-Alpha, a U.S. medical school honor society.

Sweeney received his medical degree from the National University of Ireland at Galway. He trained in internal medicine and hematology in Dublin, Ireland, becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He subsequently trained in clinical hematology and blood banking at Montefiore and the Bronx Municipal Hospitals in New York City, and in medical oncology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.