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Ochsner Names 2019 Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease Honorees

For thirty-four years, Ochsner Health has annually recognized scientists who have made major contributions regarding the relationship between smoking and disease along with the development of innovative treatment modalities. The 2019 Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease Award has been bestowed to:

  • Paul M. Cinciripini, PhD (Professor, Dept. of Behavioral Science and Director, Tobacco Treatment Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX)
  • Edwin K. Silverman, MD, PhD (Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Physician, Dept. of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA)

Each honoree will receive a $7,500 honorarium, an award medallion, and a plaque describing key research findings.

Paul M. Cinciripini, PhD

Dr. Cinciripini devises methods for smoking cessation, employing insights from behavioral science, genetics, neuroscience, and clinical studies. He developed a treatment and smoking cessation technique called "scheduled smoking” – a treatment that promotes gradual cessation by progressively increasing the interval between cigarettes over several weeks. This method has improved abstinence over other forms of reduction and has been used both in the design of clinical trials and clinically in patients in the MD Anderson Tobacco Treatment Program. Through the Tobacco Treatment Program, Dr. Cinciripini’s work reaches more than 6,000 cancer patients annually, providing both low-touch and more intensive treatment approaches to smoking cessation.

With more than thirty years’ experience in healthcare, Dr. Cinciripini holds both a masters and PhD in clinical psychology from Auburn University. He completed his post graduate training at the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine.

Edwin K. Silverman, MD, PhD

Dr. Silverman’s work focuses on understanding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease genetics and epidemiology. This work explains the interaction of cigarette smoking and genetic predisposition to increased chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk. Dr. Silverman has identified more than eighty genomic regions that are associated with COPD risk and confirmed functional genetic variants near the Hedgehog Interacting Protein (HHIP) and FAM13A genes that influence the risk of COPD. His work demonstrates that COPD is the result of a complex interplay of genetics and environment and not simply a smoking-related disease.

Dr. Silverman has more than twenty years’ experience in healthcare and earned both his medical degree and PhD from Washington University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The Ochsner Award is named in honor of the Alton Ochsner, MD – co-founder of the Ochsner Clinic (now known as the Ochsner Health System) based in New Orleans, LA. In 1939, Dr. Ochsner published the first evidence indicating that tobacco smoking was the major cause of lung cancer.

For more information on the Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease call 504-842-3700. For more information on Ochsner Health System, visit


About Ochsner Health System

Ochsner Health is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the #1 ranked hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report and is recognized as a “Best Hospital” across two specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner Hospital for Children is the only facility in Louisiana to be recognized as a top 50 children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.