Graham Cancer Center Medical chief Petrelli to receive Tilton Award


The 2019 Tilton Award will be presented to Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., Medical Director of the Helen Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.

Among his medical accomplishments throughout his nearly five-decade career, Petrelli is credited with helping take the State of Delaware from number one in cancer mortality to No. 18 during his tenure as Medical Director, where he oversees the state’s largest cancer program.

Recognized both nationally and internationally as an expert on colorectal cancer, Good Housekeepingand American Health magazines listed him among the best doctors in the nation and as one of the top 100 cancer physicians in the United States.

The Tilton Award, named after James Tilton, MD, a revolutionary war surgeon, founder and first President of the Medical Society of Delaware in 1789, and the first Army Surgeon General, is given annually to a Delaware physician who exhibits superior leadership, vision, innovation, and who has shown a life-long commitment to service for the betterment of patients, local community, and the nation.

Previous recipients of the Tilton Award include Stephen Permut, M.D, J.D., who is presently a professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and G. Dean MacEwen, MD, an endowed chair for the Department of Orthopedics of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Nominees for the Tilton Award are vetted and selected by a panel comprised of board members from the Medical Society of Delaware, the Tilton Mansion Preservation Society, and the University and Whist Club. Each year, the Tilton Award honoree receives a bronze bust of Tilton, commissioned to local sculptress Olga Nielsen in 2016.

This year an honorary Tilton Award will be presented posthumously to the late William H. Duncan, MD for his service to his country and the practice of medicine. Duncan, a past president of the Medical Society of Delaware and Vice President for Ambulatory Services for Wilmington Medical Center, died in December.

The Medical Society of Delaware has partnered with the Tilton Mansion home to the University and Whist Club, with this year’s sponsors including Brown & Brown Private Client Insurance, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, and USI Insurance Services.

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