SMH/FSU Present 2024 Research & Innovation Awards

Thursday, May 30, 2024

SARASOTA, Fla. (May 30, 2024) – The Sarasota Memorial Research Institute and Florida State University College of Medicine held its 2024 Interprofessional Research Conference on the SMH-Sarasota Campus on May 1, showcasing interprofessional research and clinical innovation that is enhancing care throughout southwest Florida.

SMH Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica, MD (left) presents the 2024 Distinguished Physician Research and Innovation Award to Antonio Moretta, MD

Nearly 250 healthcare professionals attended the event featuring more than 70 poster, panel, and podium presentations by physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other clinicians in the region. Joann Farrel Quinn, PhD, MBA, an associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and founder and academic director for its People Development Institute, presented the keynote address, "The Role of Emotional and Social Competencies in Healthcare." 

This year, the Morganroth family donated $25,000 to support local clinician-initiated research and innovation. Recipients of the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's first two Morganroth research grants were: Kunal Saigal, MD, for his study on "Assessment of Bolus Application for Post Mastectomy Breast Cancer Patients During Chest Wall Radiation Therapy," and Mariah Pierre, BSN, MEDSURG-BC, HNB-BC, for her study on "The Impact of Administering a Music Intervention on Behavior and Patient Outcomes for Patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit." 

Associate Chief Nursing Officer Jean Lucas (right) presents the Distinguished Nurse Research & Innovation Award to Mariah Pierre, BSN, RN, MEDSURG-BC, HNB-BC

James Fiorica, MD, chief medical officer for Sarasota Memorial, commended clinicians at the conference for their commitment to advancing evidence-based practice and the many others supporting their work. SMH and FSU leaders also presented nine research and innovation awards, supported by a grant from the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation (see list below).

"Research is an investment in the health of our community," Dr. Fiorica said. "It helps us create a sustainable, innovative learning environment that attracts top-tier physicians to our region and brings leading edge treatments to Sarasota Memorial and southwest Florida."

The 2024 award recipients are:

  • SMH Distinguished Physician Research and Innovation Award – Antonio Moretta, MD
  • SMH Distinguished Nurse Research & Innovation Award – Mariah Pierre, BSN, RN, MEDSURG-BC, HNB-BC
  • SMH Research & Innovation Excellence Award – Jake Moran, BAS
  • SMH Distinguished Allied Health Professional Research and Innovation Award – Miriah Mattox, PT, DPT
  • SMH Distinguished Pharmacy Research & Innovation Award – David Ragoonanan, PharmD, BCCCP
  • FSU Emergency Medicine Resident Research Award – Aaron Grossberg, DO
  • FSU Emergency Medicine Distinguished Faculty Research Scholar Award – Tamas Peredy, MD
  • FSU Internal Medicine Resident Research Award – Ian Vargas, MD
  • FSU Internal Medicine Distinguished Faculty Research Scholar Award – Fadi Kayali, MD

This is the second annual conference hosted by the local health system that highlights interdisciplinary research and Sarasota Memorial's national reputation as a teaching hospital. Its research and graduate medical education programs have tripled in size in recent years, with more than 50 active studies under way and thousands of physicians competing for residency and fellowship opportunities at SMH each year.

Sarasota Memorial's new Kolschowsky Research and Education Institute is currently under construction, thanks to support from the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation and local philanthropists, most notably a $25 million gift from the Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation. Slated to open in 2025, the Institute will be a state-of-the-art training and research center that expands research and training opportunities for physicians and clinicians caring for patients on the Suncoast.

About the Sarasota Memorial Research Institute

Sarasota Memorial Research Institute (SMRI) provides advanced research services and a highly qualified staff that advances the latest treatment options for patients in our community. Located on Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s Sarasota campus, the Institute provides the knowledge, expertise, and infrastructure essential to evaluate and manage innovative drug, device, registry, and biospecimen clinical trials. SMRI offers research trials across a wide spectrum of disease processes, including cardiology, infectious disease, gastroenterology, neurology, oncology, pulmonology, urology, vascular, and more. For more information about clinical studies or participating in clinical trials, contact the Sarasota Memorial Research Institute at (941) 917-2225.