The Khatali Physician Alumni Association recently presented UNM faculty member and School of Medicine alumnus Wilmer L. Sibbitt, Jr., M.D., with the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award. The award, presented annually by the UNM School of Medicine alumni group, honors an alumnus or alumna who has contributed significantly to the UNM School of Medicine. Sibbitt received the award at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Khatali Physician Alumni Association Reunion last month.

Sibbitt received both his undergraduate degree in Chemistry and his M.D. from the University of New Mexico. He is a member of the School of Medicine class of 1977, and after completing his residency at the University of Arizona, he returned to UNM to join the department of Internal Medicine, first as fellow in immunology and rheumatology, and then as a faculty member. Sibbitt has pursued an ambitious research career while also earning awards of distinction from the university, the Arthritis Foundation, and other organizations, for his clinical teaching and medical service.

In addition to his active research, teaching, and clinical schedules, Sibbitt is an inventor who holds a number of patents on innovative medical devices and procedures. He is founder and CEO of AVANCA, a company established to produce and market a unique reciprocating syringe that allows fro more accurate needle placement and precise injection while using only one hand.

Sibbitt also has close family ties to the university. Several of his siblings are UNM alumni, and together they have created an endowed scholarship fund at the School of Medicine in honor of their mother and father.

The Khatali Distinguished Alumnus Award celebrates Sibbitt’s significant achievements in medicine and research. In her introductory remarks, Khatali Physician Alumni Association President Sandra Whisler, M.D., noted that Sibbitt has been a highly productive scholar with numerous peer-reviewed publications, among his many other achievements. Whisler presented Sibbitt with the award, a crystal Eagle Dancer sculpture, during a dinner attended by more than eighty members of the School of Medicine reunion year classes from 1972 through 1997, distinguished guests, and Sibbitt’s family members.

The Khatali Physician Alumni Association was established to build alumni support for the UNM School of Medicine. Through their membership dues, members support student scholarships, provide vital financial assistance for current medical student travel to conferences and professional meetings, and sponsor activities to help alumni reconnect with each other and with the School of Medicine.

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Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322