Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek

Past Awardees

2020 // Tom Hill, Senior Advisor on Addiction and Recovery at the National Council for Behavioral Health

2019 // Don Coyhis, Founder of White Bison and the Wellbriety Movement

2018 // Beverly Haberle

2017 // Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek

2016 // Johnny Allem

2015 // William L. White

Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek

2017 William L. White Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Mary Jeanne Kreek, MD, is a graduate of Wellesley College and of the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and is a Professor and the Head of the Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at The Rockefeller University in New York City.

Dr. Kreek went to The Rockefeller Institute in 1964 to join the late Professor Vincent P. Dole and the late Dr. Marie Nyswander; the team of three performed the initial studies of the potential use of a long-acting opioid agonist, methadone, in chronic management of heroin addiction. These studies led to the development of the methadone maintenance treatment that has proven to aid individuals entering into and staying in long-term recovery. Her work with John Lewis, a chemist at Reckitt Colman, led to a new formulation of buprenorphine that reduced the liability for treatment of opiate abuse and has become the standard for buprenorphine assisted treatment. Dr. Kreek has documented the role of the endogenous opioid system in cocaine, alcohol, and heroin addiction, which has resulted in more than 400 scientific reports. She believes that teaching individuals both inside and outside the recovery community about these medical assisted treatments and reducing the stigma around substance abuse disorders and their pharmacological treatment are key.

Dr. Kreek received the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons Alumni Association’s Gold Medal for Lifetime Distinguished Achievements in Academic Medicine in 2004 and has honorary doctorates from Uppsala University, Sweden (2000), the University of Tel Aviv (2007), and the University of Bologna (2010). Dr. Kreek was born in Washington, DC but now resides in New York City. She most enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

Congratulations, Dr. Kreek, for receiving the 2017 Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award!