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November 18, 2011 - Dr. Mary Townsley Honored by American Heart Association
Dr. Mary Townsley, professor of physiology and internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was honored by the American Heart Association (AHA) with the 2011 Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation (3CPR) Distinguished Achievement Award on Nov. 15, 2011, in Orlando, Fla.

Dr. Townsley has been part of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine faculty since 1988 and serves as associate dean of faculty affairs and director of training programs for the USA Center for Lung Biology. The 3CPR award is given annually by AHA to an individual who has “contributed substantially to the AHA Scientific Council.”

“I feel honored,” Dr. Townsley said of receiving the award. She credits her mentor, USA emeritus professor of physiology Dr. Aubrey Taylor, who also was a recipient of the award in 1996. Dr. Townsley explained that as her mentor, Dr. Taylor’s “theoretical approach” to science and his involvement helped inspire her to “get involved in the broader network of leadership organizations and professional societies.”

Serving as council chair for 3CPR from 2005-2007, Dr. Townsley says her philosophy on leadership is simple. “Leave the place better than when you found it.”

Dr. Townsley serves on several editorial boards including Pulmonary Circulation and Microvascular Research and peer review groups. In addition, she has served as the inaugural chair of the AHA united peer review steering committee.

Dr. Townsley’s research laboratory focuses on structural and functional adaptations in lung and heart failure. Dr. Townsley says that being from a smaller medical school doesn’t limit your opportunities in large professional organizations. “It’s not about where you’re from; it’s about what you bring to the table.”

With mentorship being crucial to her success, Dr. Townsley believes encouragement and strong leadership is “absolutely vital.” A testament to her motto, Dr. Townsley established the USA Women in Science group, which organized the Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) program. Dr. Townsley says GEMS has grown exponentially in the past few years, beginning with 40 girls and rising to 400 last year.

Dr. Townsley received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis and completed post-doctoral studies at the University of South Alabama.

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