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Jefferson Health NJ Infection Control Officer Dr. Cindy Hou to be Honored 2020 ACOI Researcher of the Year - National Award Recognizes Excellence in Osteopathic Medicine


Jefferson Health Infectious Diseases specialist Cindy Hou, DO, FACOI, FIDSA, will be honored this fall as Researcher of the Year by the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI), a national professional organization dedicated to promoting the principles of osteopathic medicine. ACOI will bestow the honor on October 23 during its Annual Convention (#ACOI2020), which will be held virtually this year.

Each year, physicians are chosen from a pool of ACOI members nominated for their accomplishments and activities. Winners are selected by the ACOI Honors and Awards Committee based on specific criteria for each award, which include Researcher of the Year, Internist of the Year, and Teacher of the Year.

To qualify for Researcher of the Year, a physician must demonstrate a major contribution to clinical or basic research related to osteopathic internal medicine, which may include:

  • A substantial record of extramural funding from Federal or foundation sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, American Osteopathic Association, the American Heart Association, etc.;
  • Publications of original research in referred journals;
  • Discovery of new technology, therapeutic interventions, or a new approach to clinical care that has had a significant impact on clinical care.

Dr. Hou was nominated for the award by Dr. Joanne Kaiser-Smith, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean Graduate Medical Education at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. In her nomination letter, Dr. Kaiser-Smith said, “I can think of no other individual in our Osteopathic Internal Medicine Community more deserving to be acknowledged and recognized for her contributions to the science of medicine.” Dr. Hou, she wrote, is “recognized at our institution, as well as within the state [of New Jersey], as an expert in antibiotic stewardship, quality and safety, infection control and prevention … and most importantly, her work in the field of sepsis.”

Dr. Hou, who is on the Advisory Board of the national Sepsis Alliance, spearheaded the then-Kennedy Health System Sepsis Program that was honored with a national Sepsis Hero Award in 2016. More recently, Dr. Hou has played a leading a role in management and direct care of Jefferson New Jersey's COVID patients, along with offering support to other frontline physicians.

She is also the New Jersey Principal Investigator for a Jefferson Health enterprise research trial to provide COVID-19 survivors with convalescent plasma donated by recovered COVID-19 patients. Part of a regulated research project, blood is collected at the Jefferson Blood Donation Center in Philadelphia from qualified, recovered Jefferson COVID-19 patients. The blood is then centrifuged, or “spun down,” to separate the plasma, which is thought to contain antibodies. The research hopes to prove that the antibodies help to aid in COVID patients’ recovery.