Dr. Klassen receives Friend of VA Research Award

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC strategic communications | July 08, 2021

Image with caption: Lynell Klassen, MD,

Lynell Klassen, MD,

Lynell Klassen, MD, received the Friend of VA Research Award recently. Dr. Klassen, who retired July 1, was the Robert L. Grissom Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology.

The award is given for demonstrating commitment to VA research, supporting biomedical research and disseminating information in the community to advance VA research and encouraging partnerships from those outside of VA Research Service.

Nominators spoke of Dr. Klassen as an esteemed mentor, educator and excellent physician.

"Dr. Klassen has been a huge proponent for the VA," a nominator wrote. "Whether it is through his years of service to the VA, his continuous 'extolling the virtues' of the VA to young faculty, or his personal support of programs and individuals, he has been a constant friend of the VA."

Dr. Klassen has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on about 30 National Institutes of Health, VA, state and other grants, totaling over $22 million. He also was one of the founders of the VA Alcohol Center grant that was first awarded in 1991and ran until 2006. Dr. Klassen is one of only three people at UNMC to be awarded the prestigious R37 NIH MERIT grant in 1999, of which all research was performed at the Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System in Omaha.

He has been awarded two patents for his work at the VA.

In 1982 when he came to UNMC with James Armitage, MD, to start the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, he also became founding chief of the Section of Rheumatology and Immunology at UNMC and the chief of rheumatology services at the Omaha VA Hospital.

In his VA roles, Dr. Klassen has served as associate chief of staff for research at the Omaha VA Medical Center and staff physician (retired from VA in 2017). At UNMC, he served as chairman of the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine until 2014.

Tom O’Connor
July 09, 2021 at 10:53 AM

Congrats on a great career, Dr. Klassen. Enjoy the next chapter.

Meg Johnson
July 08, 2021 at 7:47 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Klassen. And thank you for your many years of service to UNMC!

Lisa Runco
July 08, 2021 at 7:12 AM

Dr. Klassen, you are one of a kind. Thank you for your service to the VA and UNMC for so many years. Your legacy of great work will continue on through the myriad of people that you have trained and mentored. Brilliant.

Howard Gendelman
July 08, 2021 at 6:30 AM

Congratulations Lyn on this honor and for a job well done.