Georgetown University

2011 Patrick Healy Award Biography

The Patrick Healy Award was established in 1969 to honor those who, although not Georgetown alumni, have distinguished themselves through a lifetime of outstanding achievement and service to Georgetown, the community and his or her profession.

C. Richard Schlegel, M.D., Ph.D., Rockville, Maryland

Few individuals exemplify Georgetown’s commitment to cura personalis and “smart science with a heart” more than Dr. Richard Schlegel.

After attending Rutgers University as an undergraduate, Dick earned an M.D. and Ph.D. in Microbiology from Northwestern University and completed his residency and postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School. Dick worked as an investigator and senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, where he eventually served as Chief of the Cell Regulation and Transformation Section in the Laboratory of Tumor Virus Biology.

Dick’s work attracted Georgetown’s attention, and he was recruited as a professor in the Department of Pathology in 1990 to join forces with immunology and pathology experts who were researching the connection between cervical cancer and HPV. Dick became chair of the department in 2003, and has served as the Oscar B. Hunter Chair of Pathology since 2009.

In 1992, Dick and his research team changed the cancer landscape forever when they disclosed the invention of a vaccine that would block the two strains of human papillomavirus responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006, more than 33 million doses of the vaccine, Gardasil, have been administered to young women and men across the country.

Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in developing nations—but because of Dick’s diligent work and innovation, millions of women and men around the world will enjoy significantly longer and healthier lives. Dick and his team were awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to work on further generations of preventive, therapeutic and low cost HPV vaccines for distribution in the developing world.

In recognition of his contributions to the advancement of global health, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia awarded Dick with the 2006 President’s Medal. Dick also received Georgetown’s Vicennial Medal in 2010 for his 20 years of devoted service to the university.

Dick and his wife, Susan, have three children—Matthew, Jennifer and Kimberly.