UPMC transplant pioneer Thomas Starzl has received the National Institute of Medicine's 2009 Gustav O. Lienhard Award for "outstanding national achievement in improving personal health care services in the United States."
Dr. Starzl, who performed the world's first liver transplant and established UPMC as a leader in organ transplantation, has received several national and international awards since his retirement, including the National Medal of Science in 2004. The Lienhard award is named for the former president of Johnson & Johnson and former board chairman of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a leading health philanthropy.
Harvey Fineberg, the institute's president, said that Dr. Starzl "began his work in transplantation at a time when the field existed as little more than theory and led the way in making transplantation a life-saving reality for many illnesses once considered untreatable." One of Dr. Starzl's chief contributions, Mr. Fineberg noted, was advancing the field of immunosuppression -- medications and other therapies that reduce the rejection of transplanted tissue. He also was lauded for the number of top transplant surgeons and scientists he trained in Pittsburgh.
The institute provides evidence-based advice on health policy issues, and was established under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Starzl is the 24th recipient of the Lienhard Award, which includes a medal and a $25,000 prize.