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Doctors Younger and Barnett to be Honored at 29th Annual Evening at Pops

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On May 8, Joslin doctors Donald Barnett, M.D. and M. Donna Younger, M.D. will be honored at Symphony Hall at the 29th Evening at Pops event. The doctors will be given the Frank and Jean Ring Memorial Award in the Fight Against Diabetes as a tribute to their remarkable careers and extraordinary commitment to Joslin Diabetes Center.

Both Dr. Younger and Dr. Barnett worked alongside Dr. Elliot P. Joslin early in their careers and they have continued his legacy by contributing to significant milestones in diabetes treatment and education.

Dr. Younger began her National Institutes of Health traineeship at Joslin in 1959 and had the honor of learning from Dr. Elliot P. Joslin himself. “Participating in the journey of medical progress over the last half century has been a great honor, enabling me to see those with diabetes achieve healthier and much longer lives,” said Dr. Younger.

She joined the Joslin team at a time of intense scrutiny over Dr. Joslin’s protocols for diabetes care, which were believed to be too strict. Throughout her career she has helped to prove that careful treatment results in better health. She helped introduce Dr. Joslin’s intensive approach to diabetes management to the wider medical community. Eventually these protocols were supported by the Diabetes Control and Complications Study in 1995.

Shortly after joining the clinic staff, Dr. Joslin asked Dr. Younger to be his primary care physician, which was indeed a great honor.

Dr. Younger has had a unique perspective on the transition of diabetes care over the past 56 years. Younger recalls that during the 60s and 70s, diabetes was managed through weekly urine tests to determine a rough estimate of blood glucose, which guided diabetes management. Home blood glucose monitoring became available in the 80s.

“Those with diabetes face challenges every day that require knowledge, attention and discipline,” said Dr. Younger. “Advances have been gradual and difficult but have made it possible for those with diabetes to protect the health of eyes, heart, kidneys and mobility and enabled many more young women to have healthy babies.”
Dr. Younger is grateful to be receiving this award. “I thank Joslin for honoring me with the Frank and Jean Ring Memorial Award and for this recognition of the clinical relationship that helps patients with diabetes,” said Dr. Younger. “It means so much to me. I am forever thankful for the honor.”

Dr. Barnett, the co-honoree at this year’s Pops event, has been with Joslin Diabetes Center for more than 5 decades. He practiced as a physician at Joslin for 35 years and then continued on to become a consultant, historian, and is currently the Joslin curator. While completing his National Institute of Health traineeship, he had the honor of working with Dr. Joslin for two years before Dr. Joslin passed away. Dr. Barnett created an archive of historical papers, photographs, artifacts and other pieces of diabetes history from Dr. Joslin and his colleagues. By establishing the archive, Dr. Barnett hopes to secure the Joslin legacy for patients, scholars, and physicians. Currently, Dr. Barnett has almost completed a biography of Dr. Joslin, which has been his focus for 10 years.

For 29 years, Joslin Diabetes Center has honored its outstanding supporters at the annual Pops event. In 2014, this award was renamed the Frank and Jean Ring Memorial Award in the Fight Against Diabetes after Frank Ring, who passed away in 2008, and Jean Ring who passed away in 2013. Frank Ring, an overseer at Joslin and a leading member of the Evening at Pops Committee, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 12 years old. He participated in many studies and events at Joslin. Frank’s wife, Jean, also supported Joslin tirelessly alongside her husband.

The 29th Annual Evening at Pops event at Symphony Hall will include a pre-concert reception with food and entertainment followed by a presentation of Singin’ in the Rain: Film with Orchestra. The proceeds from this event will benefit Joslin’s High Hopes Fund, which directly supports vital diabetes clinical care programs and ground-breaking research initiatives at Joslin Diabetes Center.

For more information on the event and to purchase tickets or sponsorships, please contact Jean Doliber at jean.doliber@joslin.harvard.edu or 617-309-2512.

Page last updated: September 25, 2017