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The Ellis Island Medal of Honor to Dr. John Bilezikian

Dr. John P. Bilezikian is one of approximately 100 distinguished Americans who received this spring the Congressional Medal of Honor: The Ellis Island Award. “The Ellis Island Medals of Honor are awarded annually to a group of distinguished American citizens who exemplify a life dedicated to community service. These are individuals who preserve and celebrate the history, traditions and values of their ancestry while exemplifying the values of the American way of life, and who are dedicated to creating a better world for us all.”

Dr. Bilezikian is Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine for International Education and Research and Chief, Emeritus, of the Division of Endocrinology which he directed for three decades. He is Director of the Metabolic Bone Diseases Program at Columbia University Medical Center. Since receiving training in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bilezikian has regularly contributed new insights into our understanding of major disorders of the skeleton such as osteoporosis. Over the past four decades, he has published more than 800 articles in major medical journals and has edited or co-edited over 20 major textbooks in Endocrinology. He has held major leadership positions in virtually every clinical and research society in his specialty. He is a major national and international spokesperson for the field of metabolic bone diseases. For his ancestral homeland, Armenia, Dr. Bilezikian has delivered, over the past decade, instrumental capability and educational resources in order for the country to acquire the wherewithal to diagnose osteoporosis and be at the forefront of knowledge in the field. Regular international conferences have catapulted Armenia to the very top of Eurasian countries in these capabilities. In October, 2017, he founded the Osteoporosis Center of Armenia which is serving not only its citizens but the entire region. Dr. Bilezikian has received numerous honors, including the award of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), of which he served as President, for excellence in clinical research. For his achievements as a premier educator, Dr. Bilezikian has received the Laureate Distinguished Educator Award (Endocrine Society), the Global Educator Award (McMaster University), and the Gideon A. Rodan Mentorship Award (ASBMR). The mentorships awards recognize the legions of national and international physicians and physician-scientists who have trained with him. He received the First Annual Global Leadership Award, now named in perpetuity for him, of the International Society of Clinical Densitometry. He also earned the Distinguished Physician Award of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, as well as Lifetime Achievement and Recognition Awards from  the California and Boston Armenian American Medical Societies and the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization. In 2017, he received Doctor Honoris Causa PhD degrees from the Carol Davila School of Medicine, in Romania, and from the University of Pisa, in Italy.

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