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VA Puget Sound endocrinologist receives European Association for the Study of Diabetes' top honor


September 17, 2019

Seattle , WA — During its 55th Annual Meeting in Barcelona, Spain today, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) awarded VA Puget Sound Health Care System Endocrinologist Steven Kahn with its highest honor in diabetes research, the Claude Bernard Medal.

The medal and lectureship recognize an individual’s innovative leadership and lifetime achievements in diabetes research.

“It is our honor to award the Claude Bernard Prize 2019 to Steven Kahn, a scientist who has transformed our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes,” said European Association for the Study of Diabetes President, Professor David R. Matthews. “I would like to congratulate Steven Kahn on his outstanding achievements, which have contributed to shaping the future of diabetes research. He is in all respects an extremely worthy and deserving winner of this prize.”

Dr. Kahn, also the study chair of the NIH multicenter Restoring Insulin Secretion (RISE) Study and a University of Washington School of Medicine professor of medicine, has spent his scientific career undertaking studies focused on the pathogenesis of the hyperglycemia of type 2 diabetes and how to optimally prevent and treat the disease. Along with its adverse outcomes and premature mortality, it is a major non-communicable disease challenge, the prevalence of which continues to increase as its development is tied to obesity.

“Dr. Steven Kahn is an exceptionally gifted clinician and researcher,” said Veterans Health Administration Executive in Charge Dr. Richard Stone. “His receipt of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ highest honor, the Claude Bernard Medal, exemplifies the caliber of staff who choose to care for our nation’s Veterans, and why the VA ranks as one of the leaders in health research.”

During his EASD lecture, Unraveling Beta-cell Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes: From The Unpredicted to The Unknown, Dr. Kahn discussed the critical role the pancreatic islet beta-cell—which is key to the body’s ability to make and release insulin—plays in the disease and the unpredicted observations that were made and how they informed our understanding of the disease process.

“It is critical that we rethink approaches to address type 2 diabetes for both adults and children,” Dr. Kahn stressed. “Only by doing so, will we avoid the continued expansion of the global epidemic in adults and what is on the horizon, a global epidemic of this previously rare form of diabetes in youth.”

Dr. Kahn set the tone for the annual meeting where many presentations throughout the week will focus on type 2 diabetes and the challenges faced in understanding the nature of the disease and the best ways to intervene to reduce its impact. He focused on key areas: the critical role of reduced insulin secretion in the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes; the importance of the evolution of beta-cell dysfunction in the progression of the disease; and that the beta-cell in youth manifests different deficiencies that may explain why type 2 diabetes seems to progress more rapidly in youth.

Dr. Kahn has received numerous awards for his research, including the Endocrine Society Clinical Investigator Award, Department of Veterans Affairs John B. Barnwell Award, European Association for the Study of Diabetes Albert Renold Award and American Diabetes Association Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Diabetes Research Award.

About VA Puget Sound Health Care System:

VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to more than 110,000 Veterans across its nine facilities in the Pacific Northwest. It has the 5th largest research program within the national VA system and seven Centers of Excellence (in areas from limb-loss prevention and prosthetic engineering to primary care education and substance abuse treatment). More than 2,000 trainees participate in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. For more information visit

About EASD:

The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) is a membership based academic non-profit organisation with more than 4,000 members from over 110 countries. It was founded in 1965 and is based in Düsseldorf, Germany. The aims of the Association are to encourage and support research in the field of diabetes, the rapid diffusion of acquired knowledge and to facilitate its application.

The EASD Annual Meeting is one of the largest diabetes related conferences in the world with more than 15,000 participants from over 130 countries. EASD is also an active player in postgraduate education, organizing numerous courses each year both inside and outside of Europe. Since 1972, EASD has trained over 30,000 health care professionals through postgraduate training courses and online education activities.

In 2000, EASD increased its commitment to stimulate diabetes research in Europe by creating the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD). Since its inception, EFSD has committed over Euro 100 million to diabetes research in Europe by various funding means.

EASD is the publisher of Diabetologia, a major monthly international diabetes journal.

For more information, please visit:

Media Contacts:
VA Puget Sound Health Care System: Tami Begasse,, (206) 277-1711
European Association for the Study of Diabetes: Simon Müller,, +49 211 758 469 0

Media contacts

Tami Begasse, Public Affairs Officer


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