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Congratulations to Special Reunion 2012 Awardees

At Special Reunion 2012 on Saturday, April 28, Poly honored Alumni Distinguished Achievement awardees Dr. David Biro '82, James Blumstein '62, amd James Zirin, esq. '62, and School Service awardee Matt Walsh '92 at Convocation in Commons Hall.

These awards are presented by the Alumni Board of Governors and recipients are recognized for their dedication to the school.

Congratulations to the awardees! Below are this year's award winners' bios.

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Awards

Dr. David Biro ‘82 holds a medical degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in English Literature from Oxford University. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Biro received the American Academy of Dermatology’s Volunteerism Award in 2011, was recognized in 2009-10 as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” and named one of New York magazine’s “Best Doctors” consecutively from 2005-2008.

Dr. Biro’s practice is the Bay Ridge Skin & Cancer Center in Brooklyn, New York. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. There, he teaches in the medical humanities division, directing a course on medicine and literature.

In his first book, One Hundred Days: My Unexpected Journey from Doctor to Patient, Dr. Biro chronicles his experience undergoing a bone marrow transplant for a rare blood disorder. Last year, his second book was released, The Language of Pain: Finding Words, Compassion, and Relief, where he explores some of the ideas at the heart of medical humanities: the difficulty of expressing pain in words and the ways in which artists throughout history have used metaphor to give voice to it. The book ties together centuries of artists.

In January 2011, Dr. Biro returned to Poly to visit Upper School Chapel, where he shared his journey with students, including his love for Latin—first fostered at Poly.

His articles and essays have been published in various medical journals as well as The New York Times Magazine, The London Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Slate.

Professor James Blumstein ‘62 holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University, an M.A. in Economics from Yale University, and an LLB. from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Health Law at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, as the John M. Olin Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Policy Sciences at Duke Law School.

In 2010-11, Blumstein served as one of two inaugural Scholars-in-Residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, has served as a member of the IOM Committee on the Adequacy of Nurse Staffing in Hospitals and Nursing Homes, and as a member of the IOM Advisory Panel on the Study of Defensive Medicine and the Use of Medical Technology.

Currently, Blumstein is a University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy at Vanderbilt University and the Director of the Health Policy Center at Vanderbilt, where he has received the Sutherland Prize, a university-wide award for lifetime research achievement, and the Hartman Award, the law school’s award for exceptional teaching. He has received the Liberty Bell Award from the Nashville Bar Association and the President’s Award from the Tennessee Bar Association.

Blumstein was nominated by President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and served as a retained counsel to Governor Phil Bredesen (D-TN) for TennCare reform. He serves as a consultant to Leadership Nashville and had a similar position with Leadership Music for over ten years. Blumstein has litigated constitutional issues in state and federal courts. Most recently, he has written and spoken about the states’ constitutional challenge to the expanded Medicaid component of the Affordable Care Act, filing a friend-of-the-court brief on the issue in the Supreme Court.

Blumstein is among the nation’s most prominent scholars of health law, law and medicine, and voting rights.

James D. Zirin ‘57 is a leading trial and appellate lawyer, writer and cable TV talk show host, and a partner in the New York office of Sidley Austin LLP. For three years, he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and served in the criminal division under Robert M. Morgenthau.

Zirin has appeared in state and federal courts around the nation. His practice has featured the defense of major accounting firms charged with violations of professional responsibility and in substantial class actions. His clients have also included the Rockefeller Foundation, Merrill Lynch, Citibank, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the City of New York.

Zirin’s op-ed articles on legal, political, and foreign policy subjects have been published in Forbes, Barron’s, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Times, the New York Sun, and the New York Law Journal. He is co-host, with James Goodale, of the weekly primetime cable television program The Digital Age. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, The Economic Club of New York, and the executive committee of the Pilgrims of the United States. In August 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed him to the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the chair of its International Law Committee, and a past chair of its Alternatives for Dispute Resolution Committee; a member of the advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University; a trustee of New York Law School; and a member of the Consolidated Corporate Fund Leadership Committee of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He is a member of the Board of Editors of the New York Law Journal. He is also listed in “Who’s Who in America.”

A graduate of Princeton University with honors, Zirin received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School where he was an editor of the Michigan Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He is married to Marlene Hess and has two children.

School Service Award

Matthew Walsh ‘92 began his journey at Poly in Ms. Marie Corkhill’s (Science) 5th grade classroom. He graduated Poly in 1992 and is a graduate of Princeton University.

Since 2001, Matthew Walsh has worked as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Treasurer, for Genesee & Wyoming Inc., the short-line and regional freight railroad holding company.

From 1996-2001, Walsh was an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. and Schroder and Co., Inc. both in New York and London. He currently serves on the Board of the Railroad Clearinghouse, which was established to create the administrative systems and banking functions for electronic settlement of all rail industry interline freight systems.

Walsh lives in New York City with his wife Kate and four children. He has enthusiastically remained active in the Poly community since graduation, serving as a Class Agent for several years and on the Alumni Board of Governors since 1998.
    • Right to left: James Blumstein '62 & Headmaster David Harman

    • Right to left: Hal Rose '74, P'04 '09 (President, Alumni Board of Governors), Headmaster David Harman, Dr. David Biro '82

    • Right to left: Headmaster David Harman, Matt Walsh '92 (Chair, Board of Governors, Awards Committee)

    • Right to left: James D. Zirin '57, Headmaster David Harman

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