Medicine professor honored with Bush Excellence Award for Public Service

May 4, 2015

Barbara Gastel, M.D., professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences recently received the Bush Excellence Award for Faculty in Public Service.

The award is given annually by the Bush Presidential Library Foundation to recognize a Texas A&M University faculty member who makes outstanding contributions to public service, defined as a sustained long-term application of a faculty member’s disciplinary expertise to the public or non-profit sector in local, state, national, or international arenas.

Gastel has pioneered programs that teach science writing and editing to researchers and medical professionals in China, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Rwanda, Ghana, and other developing and emerging countries. Gastel co-led the China Medical Board Program in Biomedical Writing for more than a decade, which included yearly delivery of a two-semester course in biomedical writing at multiple leading health science centers throughout Asia from 1996 until 2007.

Also, since its inception in 2007, she has been a member of the leadership team of AuthorAID, a project to help researchers in developing countries write about and publish their work. For the past seven summers, Gastel has also led an intensive three-week course in research writing, mainly for researchers from Mexico and other countries.

“Public service through promoting effective science communication has long been a major part of my activity as a faculty member,” Gastel said. “Having completed more than a quarter century of such service, I am happy to be observing its long-term impact and especially to be seeing the impact amplified by those I have mentored or trained. Although such service is its own reward, I am honored to win the Bush Excellence Award for Faculty in Public Service.”

Gastel’s previous prestigious honors include the 2012 Texas A&M Association of Former Students Award in Extension, Outreach, Continuing Education & Professional Development and the 2010 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, which is given by the international research society Sigma Xi. The McGovern Award recognizes individuals who are prominent spokespersons for the public understanding and appreciation of science, with other past winners including Condoleezza Rice and Norman E. Borlaug.

— Katherine Hancock