The Dr. Rodman E. Sheen and Thomas G. Sheen (Sheen) Award has been presented annually by the beneficiaries of a trust fund administered originally by the Fleet Bank of Atlantic City, NJ. At present, the Bank of America, N.A., in Providence, Rhode Island, serves as the Trustee under the Will of Thomas G. Sheen with the responsibility to administer a perpetual trust, with the income to be used to make an annual award “to further the study of medicine and the science of medicine and to compensate an outstanding Doctor of Medical Science in the United States each year.”
In 1938, Thomas G. Sheen, a well-known tailor, clothier, and real estate professional in Atlantic City created an extraordinarily important and philanthropic legacy to honor doctors who have made outstanding contributions to mankind through the fields of medicine and medical research. He did this through his Will, which stipulated that a portion of his estate, upon the demise of his immediate relatives, be directed into a trust fund, and that the income of this trust fund be awarded annually to an individual selected by the Sheen Family Trustee. Mr. Sheen’s legacy was inspired by a deep affection for his brother, Dr. Rodman E. Sheen, a radiologist, and pioneer in the medical use of Roentgen rays. Dr. Sheen was injured in the course of his research when a Roentgen tube exploded in his lab. The severity of his injuries forced him to abandon his practice. He continued working by operating a candy store in Ventnor, just south of Atlantic City, until declining health, aggravated by the accident, caused him to retire. Dr. Sheen died in 1937 at just 47 years of age.
A local New Jersey committee known as the Sheen Advisory Committee, originally chaired by S. Stuart Mally, MD, FACS (a recipient of the College’s Distinguished Service Award in 1992), makes the final selection and the recipient is a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons New Jersey Chapter. This advisory committee is comprised of physicians from the southern New Jersey region, where the Sheen family lived and worked. Half of the members are surgeons and the other half represent a spectrum of other medical specialties.
A stipulation in the trust agreement specifies that a national medical organization is to be consulted for selection of the recipient. Through 1981, the American Medical Association administered the Award, but since 1982, the American College of Surgeons’ Honors Committee has been responsible for considering nominees and making recommendations. The Honors Committee submits the names of three nominees, in order of preference. In addition, nominations are received from members of the Sheen Advisory Committee and from the American College of Physicians. The Award is $25,000.
Nominees should be on the frontiers of medical science doing work that has great promise, should be currently involved in teaching and research in medicine, and should not be retired or semi-retired.
Submit a Sheen Award Nomination Form and provide the following information: