Acclaimed physician Larry Kwak receives Korean American group award

January 22, 2016 | by City of Hope

City of Hope’s Larry W. Kwak, M.D., is officially a hero. 

Kwak, the director of City of Hope's Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center, was honored by the Korean American Graduate Medical Association (KAGMA) earlier this month when the group gave him its first-ever Health Hero Award.

“Dr. Kwak’s stellar accomplishments as a physician and scientist have been recognized internationally, and it is an honor for us to present to him with the KAGMA Health Hero Award,” said David S. Kim, M.D., president of KAGMA. “His contributions to medicine are exemplary, and this award gives us a chance to introduce him to the Korean American community in Southern California.”

The Health Hero Award recognizes exceptional medical leaders who have made a significant impact in their fields. As a physician and researcher known for his ability to assemble and lead research teams whose work leads to medical advances, Kwak’s bona fides certainly fit the bill.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this inaugural award from a group of esteemed colleagues,” Kwak said. “I look forward to working closely with KAGMA on increasing awareness of health problems in Asian American communities, and forming partnerships to address those challenges.”

A leader in City of Hope’s Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute since last spring, Kwak has been named by TIME magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people for his 20-year commitment to the science of cancer immunotherapy.

Kwak joined City of Hope from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he served as chairman of the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma. He was also co-director of that Center for Cancer Immunology Research there. 

Prior to his work in Houston, Kwak served as head of the Vaccine Biology Section, Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch, at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for 12 years. While there, his laboratory was credited with the bench-to-clinic development of a therapeutic cancer vaccine for B-cell malignancies.

Kwak, a graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, also earned his Ph.D. in tumor cell biology there in 1984. At City of Hope, he holds the title of the Dr. Michael Friedman Professor in Translational Medicine. 

Kwak also serves in the dual leadership role of inaugural associate director for developmental therapeutics and translational research for City of Hope’s NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. 

 
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