Histotechnologist of the Decade

NSH was founded in 1973 by a small group of histotechnologists looking to unite the profession and make the exchange of knowledge easier. A few years later in 1980, the Society presented its first Histotech of the Decade Award, which was given to Dezna Sheehan, now famous to histology students as the author of the histology textbook, Theory and Practice of Histotechnology.

Dezna Sheehan, a charter member of NSH, worked for 52 years in the field. She was dedicated to educating new histologists, starting a program for training histologic technicians at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1950. She also held evening classes from 1967 through 1980 for those histologic technicians working in area hospitals. Just three years after receiving the Histotech of the Decade Award, Dezna passed away from carcinoma.

The Histotechnologist of the Decade Award has since been revived every decade and given to acknowledge an exceptional individual that has made tremendous contributions to the field of histotechnology over a sustained period of time. In 1990 the recipient was Lee Luna, known to many as the author of the staining manual, Manual of Histologic Staining Methods of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and organizer of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology meeting that preceded the NSH Symposium/Convention. After NSH’s founding in 1973, Lee Luna became the first Chair of the Convention Committee, setting the standard for the Convention that still continues to this day. (We’ll be in Reno this year!). Lee went on to hold many other positions within the Society including Society President and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Histotechnology. He was also the editor of the newsletter, Histo-Logic, the archives of which can be found on the Sakura Finetek USA website. Lee Luna passed away in 1992, just two years after receiving the Histotech of the Decade Award.

NSH celebrated the new millennium in 2000 by awarding the Histotech of the Decade Award to Freida Carson, author of Histotechnology: A Self-Instructional Text. Freida has held numerous positions within the Society, and in addition to her textbook, published numerous articles in the Journal of Histotechnology. Freida is still an active member of NSH, contributing her expertise to discussions on NSH’s member community, The Block.

The most recent awardee was Charles Churukian, who received the honor in 2010. From Rochester, NY, Charles worked at the University of Rochester, and was an expert in special stains. His book, Manual of the Special Stains Laboratory was developed in 1977. He was also one of the pioneers of using microwave heating to accelerate staining methods. Charles passed away in 2011, a year after receiving the award.

It is now 2020, which means it is time to select the recipient of this year’s award. NSH will be accepting nominations from now until July 1st. Click here to view the nomination guidelines.

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