NDRI Award

Joe DiRienzi, center, receiving NDRI award. Bill Leinweber, President & CEO, NDRI (left), Howard M. Nathan, President & CEO, Gift of Life Donor Program (right)

PHILADELPHIA—Describing him as “a trusted steward of the precious gifts donated for research from selfless individuals, family members, and loved ones,” the National Disease Research Interchange presented Penn Medicine ‘s Joseph A. DiRienzi, with its 2018 Service to Science - Outstanding Tissue Procurement Partner Award earlier this month.

In citing DiRienzi, the organization noted that “Joe is a prolific provider of exceptional-quality biospecimens for NDRI research partners, having shipped tissues to researchers in virtually every state and all over the world.” DiRienzi received the award as part of a ceremony at which, among others, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health, were also honored by the NDRI.

DiRienzi, a pathologists' assistant and lead medical pathology coordinator in the Anatomic Pathology Division at Penn Medicine, was cited for his “unparalleled blend of compassion and excellence” in biospecimen procurement. He was also recognized for key contributions to the groundbreaking National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ HIV Replication Study aimed at improving HIV treatment.

In congratulating DiRienzi, Leslie A. Litzky, MD, director of Medical Pathology and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, said, “Joe works so hard, both here at Penn and outside in the community, using his awesome talents to support research, clinical care, and education in the greater Delaware Valley. This is a truly well-deserved honor.”

DiRienzi has served as a pathologists' assistant in the medical pathology section of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Penn since 1985. Earlier, he was an electron microscopist in the department. DiRienzi holds a degree from the School of Histotechnology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. (Histotechnology is a field dedicated to the preparation of tissue for examination under a microscope to diagnosis disease and abnormalities.) A member of the American Association of Pathologists' Assistants and the National Society of Histotechnologists, he was a co-recipient of the 2016 Spirit of Caring Award, presented annually by the Department of Pastoral Care and Education at Penn Medicine.

The National Disease Research Interchange is the nation's leading source of human tissues, cells, and organs for scientific research. Founded in 1980, the non-profit organization partners with a nationwide network of over 130 tissue-source sites, including organ procurement organizations, tissue banks, eye banks, and hospitals to provide biospecimens from donor populations, and facilitates the timely provision of fresh tissues directly to researchers around the world.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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