Biographies of the 2009 Laureate Award Honorees

In 2009, the Texas Chapter presented its highest award to two distinguished members -- Don W. Powell, MD, MACP and Eugene W. Stokes, MD, FACP.

The Laureate Award honors Fellows and Masters of the ACP who have demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research, and in service to their community, the Chapter, and the ACP.

Don W. Powell, MD, MACP

Dr. Powell is currently the Director of the UTMB Institute for Translational Sciences-Clinical Research Center and Director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Internal Medicine at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston.  He is the Bassel and Frances Blanton Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Professor, Neuroscience and Cell biology.  He currently directs the NASA Flight Analog Research unit as part of his Clinical Research Center responsibilities. Dr. Powell stepped down from the Chair of Internal Medicine at UTMB in 2002, a position he held for 11 years and he served as Associate Dean for Research from 2002-2006. 

Dr. Powell earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Alabama, Birmingham. He completed his residency training at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and at Yale-New Haven Community Hospital and completed a Special National Institutes of Health Fellowship in Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine. He was a member of the faculty at University of North Carolina for 20 years, where he was Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition and Director the NIH-funded Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease. 

He has been funded by the NIH for research in gastrointestinal science for over 40 years. He has served on Study Sections, Councils and Advisory Committees at the NIH, the editorial boards of numerous medical and scientific journals. He was an Associate Editor of the Cecil Textbook of Medicine, the Yamada Textbook of Gastroenterology, now in its 5th edition, and a new 1st edition text: Principles of Clinical Gastroenterology.  He has authored and co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, textbooks and chapters, teaching aids, reviews, and editorials. He has been named in numerous issues of Who’s Who and named to Best Doctors in America, America’s Top Doctors, etc. many times from 1979 to 2009.

Dr. Powell served on the Boards of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) from 1996 to 2000 and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society from 1999 to present. In 1993-1994 he served as President of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). In 2001, he was given the AGA Friedenwald Medal in recognition of lifetime achievement in gastroenterology and he received the AGA Mentors Research Scholar Award in 2005. In 2009 the Don W. Powell Lecture was established by the AGA Institute. He was honored as a Master of the American College of Physicians in 1999. In 2002, he received the John P. McGovern, M.D. Award in Oslerian Medicine from UTMB, and was elected as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2003. The inaugural UTMB-Don W. Powell Lecture was held in 2007, made possible by an endowment from the Edward and Sally Futch Charitable Fund in honor of Dr. Powell. He remains active and is productive in the major areas of academic medicine.

Dr. Powell lives in Galveston with his wife Frances. He was three children, Dr. M. Paige Powell, Houston, Texas; Drew W. Powell, Clarksville, Georgia; Shawnne M. McDaniel, Newbern, North Carolina; and four step children, Melnotte Rourke, Jr., League City, Texas; Katheryn Cox of Cedar Park, Texas; Andrew Rourke, Dickinson, Texas and Stephanie Rourke, Houston, Texas. Dr. Powell also has 10 grandchildren.

The Texas Chapter of the ACP is pleased to bestow the Laureate Award on Don W. Powell, MD, MACP.


Eugene W. Stokes

Gene Stokes was born in Texas. He travelled the world in a military family and eventually settled in El Paso where he attended high school and college.  His studies then led him to Lubbock where he attended Texas Tech University School of Medicine. After graduating he entered military service where he completed post graduate training in internal medicine and gastroenterology.

He then continued his career in Big Spring where he blended the practice of internal medicine and gastroenterology. During this 18-year practice, he witnessed the evolution of healthcare from a focus on primary care to one of subspecialty medicine. As a result of this change, new physicians were being lured away from internal medicine. It quickly became evident that primary care physicians were fundamental to the delivery of healthcare in our country, specifically, the discipline of internal medicine with its unique understanding of the complexities of human disease. Concern for the future of internal medicine led Dr. Stokes to become an advocate for fellow internists and patients. In addition, he has come to believe the best care for patients is delivered in an environment in which physicians retain autonomy and utilize research-based practice guidelines.

His involvement with the Texas Chapter began with his membership in the Texas Society of Internal Medicine in 1986 followed by induction into the Texas Academy of Internal Medicine Board of Directors in 2000. Dr. Stokes served as President of TXACP Services in 2004 and President of the Texas Chapter in 2006. His commitment to the Texas Chapter led to active involvement with the Texas Medical Association, where among other responsibilities, he served as a founding representative for the Texas Chapter and the first chair of the Primary Care Coalition. He has also been active in the recruitment of new physicians into internal medicine through his involvement in the General Internal Medicine Statewide Preceptorship Program and the Medical Students Committee of the Texas Chapter of the ACP. Dr. Stokes has been an active preceptor in the GIMSPP and chaired the GIMSPP Advisory Committee in 2002 and the subsequent Medical Students Committee since 2003.

Dr. Stokes has been a tireless advocate for the GIMSPP, traveling to Austin to lobby for increased state funding to provide preceptorship opportunities to more medical students and to represent internal medicine in meetings with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and TMA. He has participated in numerous ACP Leadership Days in D.C. to advocate on behalf of general internists.

In gratitude, Dr. Stokes thanks the Board of Directors of the Texas Chapter of the ACP for their consideration and the honor of Chapter Laureate. He is deeply humbled by this recognition from his colleagues. He firmly believes in the values of the ACP and is committed to continuing his long and trusted relationship with the organization.

As no one travels this path alone, he acknowledges and thanks the many colleagues with whom he has worked and the countless friends made along the way.Dr. Stokes’ family includes his wife, Cindy, daughter, Michelle and son, Chris. He loves golf, his Harley Davidson, and he just recently became a granddad.

The Texas Chapter of the ACP is pleased to bestow the Laureate Award on Eugene W. Stokes, MD, FACP.