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Untitled Document

History of the Gold Headed Cane

Canes were commonly carried by English physicians in the 1600’s. They contained a cavity for aromatic substances such as rosemary, camphor or Marseilles vinegar to counteract offensive odors and prevent contagion.

The tradition of the Gold Headed Cane originated in 1689 with John Radcliffe, who had a particular interest in asthma as the personal physician to King William III, an asthmatic. Dr. Radcliffe began the tradition of passing the cane to a successor whom he considered to be the greatest English physician of his time. Recipients of the Gold Headed Cane were Richard Mead (1714-1754), Anthony Askey (1754-1774), William Pitcairn (1774-1791) and Matthew Baillie (1791-1823). The widow of the last physician gave the illustrious cane to the Royal College of Physicians in London, where it remains.

The Gold Headed Cane Award is a concept used today by many medical schools and specialty societies to recognize a physician who symbolizes the pursuit of the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity. The award serves as an inspiration to younger doctors and encourages them in family, social, civic, religious and professional life to cultivate character that earns the respect and goodwill of colleagues and the profession at large.

Past Gold Headed Cane Award Recipients

Harold S. Nelson, MD
2001 Recipient
  Joseph A. Bellanti, MD
2002 Recipient
  Edward J. O'Connell, MD
2003 Recipient
  Elliot F. Ellis, MD
2004 Recipient
John C. Selner, MD
2005 Recipient

  Phillip L. Lieberman, MD
2006 Recipient

  Betty B. Wray, MD
2007 Recipient

  Donald W. Aaronson, MD,

2008 Recipient
Emil J. Bardana Jr., MD
2009 Recipient
  Raymond Slavin, MD
2010 Recipient
  Ira Finegold, MD
2011 Recipient

2012 Candidate Biographies

Dr. Robert Dockhorn Robert J. Dockhorn, MD, FACAAI
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
ACAAI President, 1981-1982

Dr. Dockhorn was honored with ACAAI’s Distinguished Fellow Award in 1983; the Clemens von Pirquet Award in 1969; and presented the Bela Schick Lecture in 1983. A Fellow of the College for 41 years, he served on the ACAAI Board of Regents and was a member of the Food Allergy Committee, the International Food Allergy Symposium Program Committee and moderated the 46th Annual Meeting in 1989.

He also served as president of the American Association of Certified Allergists; president of the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; and chairman of Scientific Affairs for the American In-Vitro Allergy Immunology Society, also serving on its Board of Directors and as chairman of Scientific Affairs. He is a member of the American Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom.

After his 30 years of practicing medicine in Allergy/Immunology and Pediatrics, Dr. Dockhorn has been conducting clinical research, designing complete drug development programs and developing regulatory strategies for over 20 years.

He held positions for two industry-leading clinical research organizations in Lenexa, Kan., as president and founder of International Medical Technical Consultants, Inc. (IMTCI), 1979-1997, and executive vice president and chief operating officer of Pharmaceutical Research Associates, Inc. (PRA International), 1997-1999.

Dr. Dockhorn was founder and chief medical officer for AIRS L.L.C., a professional consulting group providing a range of services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and device companies including the planning and implementation of development programs to move products from early research through global marketing authorization in the United States and Europe. He has been actively involved with over 500 clinical studies and published over 150 articles, abstracts and publications in the areas of allergy, respiratory and immunology. He served as reviewer for numerous prestigious journals, and is frequently invited to speak at major national and international meetings and symposiums.

He is active in a number of civic organizations in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He is a member of the Heritage Society and Board of Trustees at the Barstow School in Kansas City, Mo., and a member of the Foundation Board and Board of Trustees at the Ozanam School for Boys, also in Kansas City, Mo. He was a Troop Leader for Troop 91 of the Boy Scouts of America and is currently a St. Michael and All Angels Foundation member and Vestry member in Mission, Kan.

Dr. Dockhorn received his medical degree from the University of Kansas and completed his internship at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, Calif., and his residency at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif. His fellowships were completed at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan., and The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

He currently resides in Prairie Village, Kansas with his wife Beverly. He has three children and eight grandchildren.

Dr. Rufus Lee, Jr. Rufus E. Lee, Jr., MD, EFACAAI
Dothan, AL
ACAAI President, 1983-1984

Dr. Lee, an ACAAI Fellow for 36 years, orchestrated and participated in several actions during his leadership that helped build the College’s future foundation, including hiring James Slawny with Executive Administration Inc., our current management group. Joseph Bellanti, MD, FACAAI, also was hired as editor-in-chief of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the Annals was made the sole property of ACAAI.

An extensive ACAAI membership drive recruited 200 new members and Allergy-Immunology board-certification was enacted as a requirement for College membership. Yearly financial audits, the Site Selection Committee, Visiting Professor grants and Fellow-in-Training grants were established. The first all-academic Annual Meeting was held when Dr. Lee was program chairman. He continued his involvement as a member of the Annals Editorial Board, 1983-90, and is current chair of the Financial Oversight Committee.

Dr. Lee was president of the American Association of Certified Allergists, 1985-1986, and a member of the first Joint Council of Allergy and Immunology, 1979-1985. Former co-chair of the Joint Task Force of Practice Parameters, Dr. Lee worked for over 10 years as editor, sharing responsibility for development of 20 practice parameters and updates for all major diseases and problems treated by allergists-immunologists.

Active locally, he was founder and served as president of the Alabama Society of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, 1975-76, 1990-91. He was regional vice president of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association; chairman of Southern Medical Association-Section on Allergy; counselor for Medical Association State of Alabama; president Los Alamos, New Mexico County Medical Society; chairman of Los Alamos New Mexico County Health Board; president of the Houston County Medical Society; chairman of the Houston County Alabama Health Board; and a member of the Alabama Physician Medicaid Advisory Committee.

Dr. Lee received numerous honors including ACAAI’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999, Distinguished Fellow Award in 1985, and Awards of Appreciation from ACAAI and JCAAI. He also received the Ira L. Meyers Service Award from the Medical Association of Alabama in 2004.

He received his medical degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, in 1957. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota at the Mayo Foundation Hospital, Minneapolis, in 1960, and his fellowship at the McGovern Allergy Clinic at Baylor, Houston, Texas, in 1972. He retired from private practice in 2001.

Dr. Lee served as Captain in the United States Air Force. He was a member of the ALAPAC (Alabama political action committee) Board of Directors and the Governor’s Council on Drug Abuse in New Mexico. He served as secretary and vice president of the Sandestin Owners Association Board of Directors for over 5,000 homeowners in Destin, Fla., and started a homeowner newsletter and email notification system for homeowners. He also served as founder and co-editor of the Globe newspaper in Sandestin.

He continues to reside in Dothan with Mary Julia, his wife of 58 years. Mrs. Lee is past president of the ACAAI Alliance. Their three children are Russell, Mary Stacy and Chris.

Dr. Don Mitchell Don Q. Mitchell, MD, FACAAI
Jackson, MS
ACAAI President, 1999-2000

A Fellow of the College for 33 years, Dr. Mitchell served as treasurer in 1993-1997 prior to his presidency. He also was president of the ACAAI Foundation Board, 2001-2003. He chaired the Annual Meeting Committee, Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Investment Oversight Committee, Nominating Committee, Publications Committee, and Credentials Committee. He was awarded the ACAAI Distinguished Fellow Award in 1996. As a member of the Board of Regents, he was instrumental in initiating the procurement of ACAAI Fellow-in-Training Travel Grants.

Dr. Mitchell was president of the Mississippi State Medical Association,1993-1994, and was president of the Central Mississippi Medical Society. He was on the Executive Committee of the State of Mississippi Board of Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool Association for eight years.

As delegate to the American Medical Association from 1992-2002, he chaired the Mississippi State Medical Association delegation and the Southeastern States delegation. He served six years on the AMA Foundation Board and three years as an officer.

Dr. Mitchell was a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and a visiting teaching physician at the university hospitals and clinics. His involvement in the University of Mississippi Medical Center continued as he served as co-chair for two three-year fundraising campaigns. He was presented the Lyceum Brick Award for exceptional service by the University of Mississippi. He was active in the solicitation for permanent minority scholarships to the medical school, four of which bear his name each year. He served on the Admissions Committee for Prospective Students of UMC for eight years. He was awarded the University of Mississippi Alumni Association Guardian Society’s Honoree of the Year in 2007 for his service to the medical school.

A native of Cleveland, Mississippi, he received his medical degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1967. Following his internship there, he was a resident in internal medicine and a fellow in allergy-immunology at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He was a specialist in allergy-immunology at the Mississippi Asthma and Allergy Clinic in Jackson, 1975-2010.

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Dr. Mitchell was on active duty from 1968-1975. He remained in the Mississippi Air National Guard, serving as state air surgeon, until his retirement as a Brigadier General in 1990. He was awarded the USAF Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit.

Active in his community, college, and church, he has served on the Greater Jackson Community Foundation for six years. He is presently on the Board of Trustees of Millsaps College, having previously been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the alumni association. At Christ United Methodist Church, he has been Chair of the Administrative Board and a member of the Staff-Parish Committee. He was president of the Jackson Preparatory School Parent-Teacher Association and an officer on the Board of Trustees. As an active fundraiser, he has served the Metro Habitat for Humanity for many years.

Dr. Mitchell and his wife, Mary Sue, have three children and seven grandchildren.

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