Tuesday, June 26, 2007

UHN Global Impact Awards

Leading lights of lung transplantation and thoracic surgery honored by Toronto's University Health Network with their Global Impact Award on June 20, 2007

It was my great honor to participate in the ceremonies for this year's UHN Global Impact Awards by speaking as a grateful lung transplant recipient.

Awarded every year since 2004, the awards recognize the physicians and scientists throughout the history of University Health Network (UHN) for their creative discoveries in medical science that have had major impact worldwide.

This year’s awards were given to Dr. Joel Cooper who was the first surgeon in the world with his team to successfully perform a single and then a double lung transplant, and to Dr. Griffith Pearson, whose work with diseases of the trachea, esophagus and thorax led to many innovations now used around the world. That's me between Dr. and Mrs. Cooper with Dr. and Mrs. Pearson on the right.click for larger view
Dr. Joel Cooper performed the world's first successful single-lung transplant on Tom Hall, November 7, 1983. In 1986 Dr. Cooper and his team performed the world's first successful double-lung transplant.

Dr. Griffith Pearson, an appointee of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest honor for lifetime achievement, achieved international recognition as a surgeon, researcher and educator. Dr. Pearson played a key role in the establishment of thoracic surgery as a medical discipline. Toronto was one of the first programs in the world to split off the thoracic component from the larger field of cardiothoracic surgery, allowing surgeons the dedicated time and energy to study lung cancer and other thoracic procedures separately from the heart.

I first met Dr. Cooper several years ago when he took the time to describe the operation on Tom Hall who suffered from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), the same disease I had and he has been my hero ever since. Because of his pioneering efforts thousands of lives have since been saved by a lung transplant.

Read the full story in UHN's News Release.

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