Dowling wins society gold medal

The American Irish Historical Society has named Limerick native Michael J. Dowling, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore-LIJ health system, as its 2011 Gold Medal recipient.

Previous honorees of the Manhattan-based AIHS have included Bono, President Ronald Reagan, John Cardinal O'Connor, Donald Keough and Liam Neeson.

As an immigrant from Ireland, Dowling embodies "all the extraordinary accomplish­ments" of Irish emigrants over the decades and centuries.

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"He has risen to the top in his field through hard work, dedication and vision," said AIHS President-General, Dr. Kevin Cahill.

Prior to taking his current job in 2002, Dowling was the health system's executive vice president and chief operating officer. Before joining North Shore-LIJ in 1995, he was senior vice president at Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Dowling also served in New York State government for 12 years while before his public service career he was a professor of social policy and assistant dean at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services, and director of the Fordham campus in Westchester County.

Dowling has received many awards over the years, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He earned his undergraduate degree from University College Cork and his master's degree from Fordham University. He also has honorary doctorates from Hofstra University and Dowling College.

Founded in 1897, the AIHS is, by its own description, "a center of scholarship, education and cultural enrichment dedicated to promoting the significant, on-going contributions to the United States of America made by Irish immigrants and their descendants."