Lunze Receives Humanitarian Awards for Contributions to Global Health

Drs. Fatima and Karsten Lunze
Drs. Fatima and Karsten Lunze

Karsten Lunze, MD, DrPH, MPH, FACPM, FAAP, a research assistant professor of medicine, who also serves as a preventive medicine physician at Boston Medical Center recently received two awards in recognition of his humanitarian efforts in medicine.

Most recently, he and his wife, Fatima Lunze, MD, ScD, PhD, FASE, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, were awarded a United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Medal for delivering advanced health services and provider trainings for victims of war and terrorism in an area in Russia known as the North Caucasus. Following the 2004 tragedy in Beslan, Russia, where 330 hostages – including186 children – were killed in a school siege, the couple established “Health for the Caucasus,” a non-profit dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and victims of war and terror. For more than a decade, they have led efforts to improve the region’s health sector troubled by recent violent conflicts and helped foster international collaborations.

Nominated jointly by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Russian Federal Organization for Emergency Situations, the Lunzes were honored for leading international capacity-building efforts on both sides of the conflicts to strengthen local health systems and for serving people in the Caucasus who were directly and indirectly affected by the violent conflicts. In collaboration with their partners in the Caucasus, they have reported their analyses, implementation strategies and operational results in international journals.

In addition, Lunze received the American College of Preventive Medicine’s (ACPM) Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award for his outstanding achievements and contributions in the field. He received his award during the ACPM’s annual meeting in Washington, DC, to recognize his global health work demonstrating how public health can contribute to and facilitate humanism in medicine. The award also highlights his work on individuals with substance use issues and his engagement for victims of war and terror.

Lunze has a clinical background in pediatrics and preventive medicine and conducts research at the intersection of global health and human rights at both BUSM and BMC in collaboration with Jeffrey Samet, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and chief of general internal medicine. His previous research has shown that human rights violations perpetrated against people who use drugs have adverse effects on their drug use behavior and HIV risks.

“I’d like to thank my wife, who I consider to be a role model as she demonstrates how compassion and empathy are critical components of individual and population medicine in both her teaching and practice,” said Lunze. “My mentors and colleagues at Boston Medical Center and BU School of Medicine, including Jane Liebschutz and Jonathan Berz, demonstrate every day how to incorporate humanism into preventive medicine and public health, and I am grateful for the experience of working among and learning from these talented individuals.” He also credits the BU Preventive Medicine Residency and the combined Internal/Preventive Medicine Residency and their academic research fellows and preventive medicine residents “whose activities in afterschool programs, research for the underserved and advocacy work in federal and local public health actively promote humanism in medicine.”

Lunze received his medical and a doctoral degree in genetic epidemiology from Charité Medical School in Berlin, Germany. He received his master’s in public health from Harvard School of Public Health.  He trained in pediatrics and pediatric cardiology at Charité Medical School in Berlin and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.