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October 11, 2023
Every year, the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) stands as the highest honor bestowed by the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), recognizing individuals—current or former full-time faculty, volunteer faculty, or staff members—for their distinguished contributions. These honorees, nominated by MCW faculty and staff, undergo a rigorous selection process, with recommendations reviewed by a committee representing various departments, groups, and organizations before being approved by the President and Provost.
This year, four outstanding individuals have been selected to receive the DSA, each recognized for their exceptional dedication to MCW, among them, Dr. Frank Pintar, PhD—Dr. Robert D. and Dr. Patricia E. Kern Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Founding Chair of the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.
MCW provided the following remarks on Dr. Pintar's service to the community.
Dr. Frank Pintar, PhD, has left a lasting mark on the fields of biomedical engineering and neurosurgery. With a career spanning 36 years at Marquette University and MCW, Dr. Pintar has made significant contributions as a scientist, educator, mentor, and visionary leader.
A Remarkable Journey at MCW and Marquette University
Dr. Pintar's journey at MCW began in 1987 when he joined as an assistant professor of neurosurgery. Over the years, he held dual positions at MCW and Marquette University, steadily rising through the ranks. His dedication and passion led him to become an adjunct professor at Marquette in 1999 and a professor of biomedical engineering at MCW's Department of Neurosurgery in 1997. He assumed his current academic role within Marquette University and MCW's Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering as professor in 2017 and the founding chair in October of 2018.
A Pioneering Scientist
Dr. Pintar's impact on the scientific community is undeniable. At the forefront of his accomplishments stands the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network center, continuously funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since its inception in 2001. Among its numerous groundbreaking discoveries, Dr. Pintar and his team's decade-long effort yielded fundamental medical and engineering data crucial in establishing global side impact safety standards for vehicles.
In recent years, Dr. Pintar's involvement in a multicenter project sponsored by the US Army has contributed to the development of a specialized test dummy designed for evaluating vehicle safety in underbody blast scenarios, further emphasizing his commitment to advancing safety standards.
A History of Research Excellence
Throughout his career, Dr. Pintar secured substantial funding from the US Department of Transportation, the Department of Defense, and the Army. His prolific output includes over 500 scholarly works, including more than 330 peer-reviewed publications, nearly 50 reviews, and over 100 non-peer-reviewed reports. His scholarly influence, measured by an h-index of 77, places him among the world's most influential scholars.
Recognitions and Honors
Dr. Pintar's contributions have not gone unnoticed. In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and in 2017, he became one of the inaugural members of MCW's Society for Research Excellence. These accolades reflect his unwavering commitment to discovery, mentorship, leadership, and research advancement.
A Courageous and Visionary Leader
Dr. Pintar's leadership extends to his pivotal role as the founding chair of the first joint department in MCW's history. In this capacity, he led a strategic planning process that fostered a culture of mutual respect and collaboration among students, faculty, and staff from both institutions. Under his guidance, the joint department expanded its academic programs, initiated clinical immersion opportunities, and fostered interdepartmental collaboration, benefiting over 60 clinicians. His recruitment efforts brought in faculty members who collectively secured over $5.5 million in grant awards, effectively doubling the total number of grants awarded under his leadership.
An Inspirational Educator and Mentor
Dr. Pintar's influence extends beyond research and leadership; he is an exceptional educator and mentor. Over the years, he has guided and advised more than 50 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, residents, fellows, and junior faculty members. His students appreciate his excellent guidance, state-of-the-art facilities, commitment to sound scientific and engineering practice, and access to world-renowned experts in automobile safety and biomechanics.
A Compassionate and Respected Colleague
Beyond his scientific achievements, Dr. Pintar is known as a compassionate and respected colleague. His work ethic and dedication serve as a beacon of inspiration, earning him the affection and admiration of all who have had the privilege of working alongside him. Colleagues describe him as a beloved figure who embodies the ideal model of institutional citizenship at MCW.
His impact on MCW, Marquette University, and the broader scientific community is immeasurable, leaving an enduring legacy that will inspire generations to come.
Additional recipients of this year's Distinguished Service Award include Tifany Frazer, MPH—Director of the Office of Global Health; Ravi Misra, PhD—Dean of the MCW School of Graduate Studies and Professor of Biochemistry; and Pamela Stanick, CPA—Vice President for Finance and Treasury.
Congratulations to all!