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Celebrating dedication and excellence in the SNOMED CT Community

January 16, 2020

London, United Kingdom, Jan. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SNOMED International recently presented its Award for Excellence and Lifetime Achievement Award at its Awards Gala held in conjunction with the SNOMED CT Expo 2019 hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last October.  Award recipients are nominated from among the community to recognize exceptional contributors to the evolution and ongoing guardianship of SNOMED CT. 

The Award for Excellence is given for outstanding contribution to the improvement of SNOMED CT and its successful implementation in health and social care. In 2019, this award was presented to Dr. Mark Jurkovich.  Mark’s commitment to SNOMED CT’s Dentistry Clinical Reference Group and its Special Interest Group predecessor, has made it among the most productive and successful of its kind.  First established as an element of an American Dental Association cooperation agreement signed in 2012, Mark was appointed Chair and has continued to play a leadership role since that time.  

Mark’s ability to bring together different parties with varied backgrounds, knowledge and views on the alignment between SNODENT and SNOMED CT has been critical to support the global requirements for the General Dentistry Diagnoses refset and the Odontogram refset.  His diplomacy has ensured that all contributions are respected, leading to a consensus view supported by all stakeholders. 

Mark continues to be a great ambassador for SNOMED CT, the SNOMED International organization and the Dentistry clinical reference group, as well as for vendors who are implementing Electronic Dental Records.  His contributions in support of the profession of dentistry and the development of interoperability standards in the oral health setting are nothing short of extraordinary.

This past October, the organization was pleased to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to 2 recipients, Dr. Stewart Jessamine and Lies van Gennip, PhD. 

Through the course of his professional lifetime, Stewart Jessamine dedicated over 25 years to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, progressing and successfully accomplishing many projects of which SNOMED CT implementation was a principal focus.  He impressed upon everyone his vision for a future health system that ran on information, enabled by SNOMED CT. At the Ministry of Health, he worked in medicine regulation, chairing a ministerial committee for over 20 years, and eventually becoming the executive responsible for all public health. It was in founding the New Zealand medicines terminology that Stewart’s association with SNOMED CT began.

Stewart was a driving force and contributor to the IHTSDO and now SNOMED International community.  His passion for the global implementation and adoption of SNOMED CT was unparalleled, lending his time to progress the development and evolution of our vision and mission, having served as Chair of the General Assembly on two separate occasions.  

Stewart was instrumental to the changing role of governance for IHTSDO, having not only impacted it from the leadership level, but also his support and guidance for changes in the organization.  Awarded posthumously after Stewart’s untimely passing in February 2019, his contributions and jovial attitude has left a lasting impression on all he worked alongside.  

SNOMED International could not be more pleased to recognize the recent Chair of the General Assembly, Lies van Gennip also as a 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.  Lies has made a significant and sustained contribution to the community of practice and to the ongoing development of SNOMED CT.  Throughout her career, Lies has focused on promoting initiatives improving population and patient health at the national level in the Netherlands. 

With this experience, Lies has developed an appreciation for the important role of standards in improving quality and safety.  As CEO of Nictiz, the national IT institute for health and care in the Netherlands, Lies navigated a challenging era and made it the leading organization in the nation’s effort to improve health through better information, consistently describing the value of SNOMED CT in achieving unity of language and clear recording and exchange of data.

Lies has served SNOMED International by representing the Netherlands with General Assembly representation over many years, and has held the position of General Assembly Chair twice.  Lies has been consistently open, fair, honest and extremely knowledgeable of both the intricacies and nuances of e-health, and also the sensitivities and individual needs of Members and their respective countries.  A vocal and adamant proponent of SNOMED CT, Lies has supported its value and uptake not only in the Netherlands, but also through her writings in blogs, articles and in many speaking occasions internationally. 

Establishing a number of initiatives both within the General Assembly and other groups across SNOMED International, Lies is a collaborative leader who never forgets that citizens and patients are at the center of what SNOMED International does, and what SNOMED CT can deliver.  Lies’ has an unwavering and lifelong passion to achieve better health outcomes for citizens achieved by data-driven clinical informatics and has demonstrated strong and undeniable support for SNOMED CT. This organization owes significant gratitude for all that Lies has done over the years for SNOMED International and its Members.

Please join SNOMED International as we recognize the dedication and achievements of our 2019 award recipients, Dr. Mark Jurkovich, Dr. Stewart Jessamine, and Lies van Gennip, PhD.



SNOMED CT is the most comprehensive and precise clinical health terminology product in the world, owned and distributed by SNOMED International. SNOMED CT has been developed collaboratively to ensure it meets the diverse needs and expectations of clinicians worldwide and is now accepted as a common global language for health terms.

ABOUT SNOMED International:

Owned and governed by its Member countries, SNOMED International (formerly IHTSDO) is a not-for-profit organisation charged with setting global standards for health terminology, a critical element of safe and effective healthcare. Our core product, SNOMED CT, is owned, administered and developed by SNOMED International and establishes vocabulary that enables the clear exchange of health information across all health systems, services and products in the world.

Learn more at www.snomed.org 


Kelly Kuru SNOMED International 1 416 566 8725 kku@snomed.org 


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