2017 Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor Recipients

 George Kuchel, MD, FRCP, AGSF is The Travelers Chair in Geriatrics and Gerontology and director of the Center on Aging at UConn Health. He is one of the nation’s foremost scientists and clinicians in geriatrics.

Under Dr. Kuchel’s leadership, the Center on Aging brings together clinicians, educators, clinical investigators, basic scientists, and researchers committed to the discovery of strategies for promoting independence and health in old age. His own research is focused on precision gerontology, an approach designed to help older adults remain healthy and independent in a manner that is both personalized and guided by mechanistic research. His work has focused on the pathophysiology of common geriatric syndromes, with an emphasis on the pathways that contribute to functional declines that affect quality of life—mobility, cognition, voiding, and host defense.

Dr. Kuchel was born in the former Czechoslovakia, where he spent his early years, and later became a Canadian citizen. He earned an MD CM degree from McGill University in Montreal. He trained in internal medicine at McGill and in geriatrics and gerontology at Harvard University. Following postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Mount Sinai Medical Center, he returned to McGill in 1992. As an eminent gerontologist, Dr. Kuchel joined UConn Health in 2001, where he has continued to raise the profile of UConn’s renowned Center on Aging over the past 15 years.  

Robert and Renée Samuels, of West Hartford, have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of patients and families through their philanthropy. Their generous support for the Center on Aging has helped UConn Health remain one of the foremost aging programs in the country.

The Robert and Renée Samuels Program Fund for Healthy Aging makes myriad clinical and outreach programs possible at the renowned Center on Aging, including lectures, exercise classes, memory training, life style counseling, and nutrition education.

The couple’s support stretches beyond UConn Health. In addition to significant support in Farmington, they have endowed scholarships at the main campus in Storrs for student-athletes on both the women’s and men’s basketball teams.

Mr. Samuels has made substantial donations of his time and expertise across UConn. He served on the UConn Health Board of Directors, the advisory board for the School of Medicine, and the campaign steering committees for UConn Health (as chair) and the Division of Athletics. The couple also has provided substantial support year after year for numerous events, including the White Coat Gala, Mohegan Sun Jim Calhoun Golf Classic, and UConn Cancer Research Golf Tournament.

Mrs. Samuels has served on the Board of Regents at the University of Hartford and held a number of volunteer leadership positions at the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School. Mr. Samuels is former president and CEO of ABS Development and Finast Supermarkets. He is life director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and is past director at the Institute of Living and the Joslin Diabetes Center. Together the couple was recognized in 2015 as Heroes for the Cure by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for their lifetime of volunteerism and philanthropy. The couple has four children and 11 grandchildren. 

Past Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor Recipients

Bess Economos
Pramod Srivastava, PhD, MD

Mark and Laura Yellin
Straumann USA

Irene E. Engel, BS, RN, CNA
Richard and Jane Lublin

Philip E. Austin, PhD
Arnold and Sandra Chase
David and Rhoda Chase
Cheryl Chase and Stuart Bear
Richard A. Garibaldi, MD (posthumous)
Thomas D. Taylor, DDS, MSD

Peter J. Deckers, MD
Barbara E. Kream, PhD
John "Jack" W. Rowe, MD

Jim Calhoun
Marja M. Hurley, MD
Ravindra Nanda, MDS, PhD

Lawrence G. Raisz, MD