RIH annual award honors internationally known infectious diseases physician

February 15, 2017

The medical staff of Rhode Island Hospital recently honored Leonard Mermel, D.O., Sc.M., with the 2016 Annual Milton Hamolsky Outstanding Physician Award.  Mermel, an internationally noted expert in infectious diseases and infection control, is the medical director of Rhode Island Hospital’s Department of Epidemiology & Infection Control. He joined the Rhode Island Hospital staff in 1991.

“Dr. Mermel is a world leader in epidemiology of hospital-acquired infections, most specifically as it relates to catheter-associated bloodstream infections. He has a remarkable background with more than 100 peer reviewed publications… (and) has represented the hospital and Brown University faculty in myriad national and international meetings,” said Jorge Albina, M.D.,who nominated Dr. Mermel for the award. Dr. Albina added that Mermel was a tremendous resource to Rhode Island Hospital and the entire Lifespan system on issues related to H1N1, Ebola, and C. difficile, among other issues. 

“The benefits of Dr. Mermel’s expertise have had a direct impact not only on our hospital community and our state, but across the nation and in the global health community,” said Latha Sivaprasad, M.D., chief medical officer of Rhode Island Hospital.

Mermel, a resident of Barrington, is also a professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and adjunct clinical professor in the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. He has served in expert advisory capacities for numerous state, national and global organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Drug Administration, and NASA, as well as national bodies in Switzerland, Ireland, Israel, Germany and the United Kingdom. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

After training as a Doctor of Osteopathy at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa, Mermel completed his residency in internal medicine at St. Louis University Hospitals and a fellowship in infectious disease at University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. He also holds a Master of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

The Milton W. Hamolsky Outstanding Physician Award is presented each year to a doctor who has made exceptional contributions to patient care and leadership. The late Milton Hamolsky, M.D. was an endocrinologist who came to Rhode Island Hospital in 1963 and served as the first full-time physician-in-chief. Hamolsky served as the chief administrative officer of the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline and was a noted pioneer of medical education in Rhode Island.

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Christina Spaight O'Reilly

Rhode Island Hospital