Dr. Ann McKee Wins the First Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal
On October 16, 2019, at the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals Gala, Dr. Ann McKee was awarded the first annual Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal for her extraordinary work as a trailblazer in the field of head trauma.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service established the “Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Award” in honor of the chairman and founder of the Volcker Alliance, Paul Volcker. The award, supported by a generous gift from Ray and Barbara Dalio, will be presented to an honoree every fall as part of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (the “Sammies”). Finalists for this award are ranked on demonstrated leadership, the significance and impact of their accomplishments, how well they foster innovation, and the extent to which they exemplify excellence in public service over a career of at least twenty years in federal government.
Dr. Ann McKee is the Chief of Neuropathy for the Department of Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. Her research revolutionized our understanding of the long-term effects of concussions, especially in veterans and athletes. Her work proved that repetitive mild head trauma is not just an acute injury—it can provoke a progressive neurodegeneration. Because of McKee’s findings, the military has adopted more dependable procedures for screening veterans for head trauma, and the NFL has committed $200 million for neuroscience research, revamped its approach to treating player concussions, and made changes to the rules of play. Her research continues to inform the science of other neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s.
Paul Volcker worked in the federal government for almost thirty years and is known for his deep commitment to effective government that works tirelessly to achieve results that matter to citizens. The Volcker Alliance’s work is inspired by his legacy of pubic service. This award is a significant testament to Mr. Volcker’s legacy and his extraordinary contributions to public service and our country. We hope that this award will elevate and acknowledge the significant contributions of others like him—the dedicated citizens who pursue lives of public service.
At the Volcker Alliance, we envision a public sector workforce with the experience, preparation, and commitment to ensure that government delivers with excellence. Dr. Ann McKee is an inspirational example of this kind of true expertise and commitment to working towards the public good.