Gurnett and Ssewamala receive awards for their teaching achievements – The Source

Gurnett and Ssewamala receive awards for their teaching achievements – The Source

Christina Gurnett, MD, PhD, and Fred Ssewamala, PhD, have been selected by their academic peers to receive the 2024 Faculty Achievement Awards from Washington University in St. Louis, Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announced.

Gurnett, the A. Ernest and Jane G. Stein Professor of Developmental Neurology in the School of Medicine, will receive the Carl and Gerty Cori Faculty Achievement Award.

Ssewamala, the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor at the Brown School, will receive the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award.

The awards will be presented at the university’s annual Founders Day Dinner on November 9.

“It is a true honor to present the Carl and Gerty Cori and Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Awards each year,” Martin said. “Both Compton and the Coris were brilliant researchers who made discoveries that transformed their fields, but they did not believe that their role in society could or should be limited to the confines of the university campus.”

“Christina Gurnett and Fred Ssewamala were chosen by their faculty colleagues to represent this spirit: academic excellence combined with a commitment to public service. I join the Washington University community in congratulating them both.”

About Gurnett


Gurnett is the head of the Division of Child and Developmental Neurology and co-director of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at the School of Medicine. She has made significant breakthroughs in the understanding of musculoskeletal disorders by identifying genes associated with common childhood conditions such as scoliosis, clubfoot and arthrogryposis, a condition in which children are born with limited joint mobility.

Gurnett is an epilepsy specialist who treats patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she is neurologist-in-chief. She is also associate director of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences and co-director of the Precision Medicine Pathway for graduate students in the Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.

Gurnett has addressed the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in important ways. By coordinating the collection and distribution of biospecimens from patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, Gurnett supported the university’s successful efforts to develop a saliva test based on the disease.

Gurnett is known for her clinical and scientific efforts to prioritize the needs of vulnerable and medically underserved patient populations. She is leading a large-scale gene sequencing study of scoliosis in African American adolescents. She is also co-leader of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Population (RADx-UP) SARS-CoV-2 testing study, conducted in partnership with the IDDRC and the Special School District of St. Louis County.

Gurnett is also recognized for her efforts in clinical education and laboratory research to advance and support the careers of clinicians and researchers from underrepresented groups.

Information Ssewamala


Ssewamala leads innovative, interdisciplinary research that develops and tests economic empowerment and social protection interventions aimed at improving life chances and long-term developmental outcomes for children and youth affected by poverty and health disparities in resource-poor communities. He is based in the School of Medicine and directs the International Center for Child Health and Development (ICHAD) and the SMART Africa Center.

Currently, Ssewamala is conducting eight large-scale, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded longitudinal randomized controlled trials across sub-Saharan Africa: Bridges-R2, Kyaterekera Project, M-Suubi, Obuvumu (Discrete Choice Experiment), Suubi+Adherence-R2, Suubi+Adherence4Youth (MOST), SuubiMHealth, and Suubi4Stronger Families. In addition, he is co-principal investigator of several NIH-funded programs focused on training early career researchers dedicated to work in child behavioral health.

Ssewamala has published over 190 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as The Lancet, American Journal of Public Health, Social Science & Medicine, Journal of Adolescent Health, PLOS One, Prevention Science, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Adolescent Health and an associate editor of Global Social Welfare. He is a member of the Society for Social Work and Research, the American Public Health Association, and the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and School of Medicine, and a member of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.