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Valerie Castle, M.D. to receive RARE award for Healthcare Excellence

added 10/23/03

Ann Arbor - Valerie Castle, M.D., pediatric oncologist and recently-appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School, has been chosen to receive the 2003 RARE Foundation award for Healthcare Excellence.

The RARE Foundation’s mission is to “Recognize Achievement and Reward Excellence” by identifying people in the local working community who set exceptional examples for today’s youth. Rather than celebrating the famous, the foundation acknowledges the accomplishments of those who serve as local role models and heroes in everyday life. The Foundation shares the stories of these award winners through a unique video-based teaching curriculum which is distributed to elementary schools throughout the community. Believing that nothing teaches better than example, the program is designed to validate the values represented by the award winners, and give teachers an effective tool to motivate students while teaching those values.

Castle’s selection reflects her skills and compassion for children and families, according to Sheila Morris, Child Life Specialist with the Child & Family Life program at the University of Michigan Health System. “Countless young people have been touched by Valerie’s remarkable gifts,” says Morris. “Without a doubt, children and teens who struggle each day will find hope and courage to pursue dreams as they learn about or meet Dr. Castle”. Morris’ enthusiasm about Castle’s nomination is echoed by Marcy Bohm Waldinger, M.H.S.A., Associate Director of Administration at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. “All of us at the Cancer Center applaud this recognition of Dr. Castle’s efforts,” says Waldinger. “Her leadership in both clinical care and basic research has contributed to Michigan’s national stature in pediatric cancers. In her work ethic and her interactions with others, she’s an unbeatable model for young people to emulate.”

Castle will receive the award in a ceremony to be held Monday October 27, 2003. The evening will feature a special presentation spotlighting Castle’s life and career accomplishments.

Castle received her bachelor’s degree in 1979 from McGill University in Montreal and her medical degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1983, where she completed her pediatric residency in 1986. Castle also completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at the U-M Medical School in 1990.

Castle's research focuses on the pediatric solid tumor neuroblastoma. She is specifically interested in mechanisms of chemotherapy and radiation resistance as well as the control of neuroblastoma invasion and metastases. She is also an expert on the clinical management of this disease and maintains an active practice within the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Castle serves on a number of medical, research and children-related boards and committees, including the Advisory Panel on Research of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

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