The Citation, instituted in 1949, is presented at each UNO commencement. The Association's highest honor, it encompasses professional or career achievement, community service, involvement in business and professional associations, and fidelity to UNO. Stephen G. Bodner, 2004 chairman of the UNO Alumni Association Board of Directors, will present the award. Kahn is the 134th recipient of the Citation.
Kahn graduated cum laude from the University of Omaha in 1954, earning a bachelor's degree in biology. Twenty years later he and Dr. Paul Grant applied for a patent for the topical version of the drug minoxidil after discovering that patients who had been receiving it orally to treat hypertension grew hair.
Pharmaceutical company Upjohn had patented minoxidil in 1971 as a hypertension treatment. The FDA in 1988 approved minoxidil for topical use to stimulate hair growth, and Upjohn began manufacturing and selling it as Rogaine. Kahn and Grant entered into an Interference Settlement Agreement with Upjohn under which the two doctors received royalties.
Kahn, a practicing dermatologist in Miami, since has contributed his time and money to various humanitarian and charitable endeavors. He has been a major benefactor to many institutions, including the University of Nebraska Medical Center. UNMC named a floor at its Leon S. McGoogan Library of Medicine in Kahn's honor after he endowed a fund responsible for much of the library's computer hardware. He also is responsible for helping the library boost its resources pertaining to medical ethics.
A native of Trier, Germany, where he was born in 1934, Kahn also supports the Anti-Defamation League, providing funding to send college students to Poland and Israel. The students spend two weeks visiting various sites, including the death camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Kahn also has been a major contributor to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, where the dermatology department is named after him, and he travels extensively to lecture. He has researched and documented the role German physicians played in the Holocaust, and his speeches on the topic include 20 at medical universities in Germany and Austria.
Kahn immigrated to the United States in 1938 with his parents and an older brother. He attended Central High School, graduating from there in 1951 to attend OU. He graduated with honors from UNMC in 1958 then completed his internship in Pennsylvania at Philadelphia General Hospital before enlisting in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. In 1965, he served a medical residency in dermatology at the University of Miami, leaving three years later to teach at the medical school of the University of Colorado in Denver.
Since 1974 Kahn has practiced dermatology at Parkway Regional Medical Center in North Miami Beach, Fla. His special interests include the treatment of skin cancer, children's skin diseases and infections of the skin. He is the author of more than 100 articles concerning diseases of the skin.
Kahn has received numerous awards throughout his career, including:
- Distinguished Inventor of the Year, 1998;
- Selection to "The Best Doctors in America: Southeast Region"
- Membership in the Dermatovenereology Association of Turkey for his participation in the Turkish-American Dermatology meeting in Izmir
- UNMC College of Medicine Alumnus of the Year, 1996
- Honorary doctorate of science from UNMC, 2002, "in recognition of his pioneering discovery and contributions to the dermatology field."
- Membership in the Omaha Central High School Hall of Fame.