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Isenberg honored for donating medals to those with great "mettle"

Jan. 17, 2013

Steven Isenberg, M.D., volunteer clinical assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the IU School of Medicine, was recently honored for his role as the founder of a not-for-profit group that boosts the spirits of those who are facing or battling serious debilitations and illnesses, including many children.

Steven Isenberg and young patient

Steven Isenberg, M.D., is seen here with a patient at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Medals4Mettle, founded by Dr. Isenberg in 2005, collects medals earned by marathon runners and other volunteers for donation to patients. Many are won personally by Dr. Isenberg, who is a marathon runner as well as surgeon, businessman, and published poet and writer.

“It is a great honor to receive the Jefferson Award for Public Service on behalf of Medals4Mettle, our dedicated global volunteers, medal and financial donors, and all of our courageous medal recipients who inspire us,” said Dr. Isenberg, who graduated from the IU School of Medicine in 1975 and served as the president of the IUSM Dean’s Council from 2004 to 2007. He also performed his residency at the school in 1979.

Currently, Dr. Isenberg serves as a physician and member of the medical staff at IU Health on the north and east side of Indianapolis. The idea to begin the organization stemmed from Isenberg’s practice of giving his marathon medals to his patients and friends. 

Dr. Isenberg's charity, operated by volunteers, has 60 chapters around the United States, as well as across the globe in places such as Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom and France.

The Jefferson Award, known to many as the “Nobel Prize for community and public service,” was established by the American Institute for Public Service in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard. Its mission is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.

Past Jefferson Award recipients include Barbara Bush, Jimmy Carter, Peyton Manning and Oprah Winfrey.  

Each summer, one award recipient is selected to represent Central Indiana at a national ceremony in Washington, D.C. 

Dr. Isenberg’s work was featured Jan. 10 on Indianapolis' WRTV.

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