Kirklin Named Inaugural Recipient of the PHTS Lifetime Achievement Award

James K. Kirklin, M.D.,

James K. Kirklin, M.D., director of the James and John Kirklin Institute for Research in Surgical Outcomes, has been named an inaugural recipient of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society Lifetime Achievement Award. As director of KIRSO, Kirklin oversees data collection and analyses for the PHTS registry, which is performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Kirklin is a professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicineand currently holds the James K. Kirklin Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery. He formerly held the John W. Kirklin Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery, as well as the UAB Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Surgical Research.

Kirklin served as director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery from 2006-2016 and was consistently cited in “Best Doctors in America.” In his clinical role, Kirklin provided support to the UAB Cardiovascular Institute, which is among the largest programs of its kind in the Southeast and features the most advanced technology available.

Kirklin retired from clinical cardiac surgery in 2017, focusing his time on research. His clinical interests focused on surgery for pediatric and adult congenital heart disease, heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support, while his research interests involve cardiac transplantation, mechanical circulatory support and outcomes research in cardiac surgery.

In 1990, Kirklin and his colleagues at UAB established the Cardiac Transplant Research Database, which generated the first multi-institutional collaborative research in heart transplantation, producing numerous seminal publications over a 20-year span. In 1993, Kirklin and his UAB research group initiated the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study Group, which continues to lead the field in multi-institutional studies.

Kirklin was first author on the premier textbook on heart transplantation and co-author of the fourth edition of the Cardiac Surgery textbook. He has written more than 500 scientific publications.

PHTS is an international multidisciplinary, professional and collaborative organization dedicated to advancing the science and treatment of children through the journey of heart transplantation. In 2020, Kirklin also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

“This is a great honor to be given this lifetime achievement award,” Kirklin said. “A major part of my career has been dedicated to heart transplantation and pediatric cardiac surgery, and our research and clinical advances will only continue to grow from here.”

“Dr. James Kirklin is a world-renowned surgical scientist who has truly dedicated himself to the field of cardiothoracic surgery,” said the Fay Fletcher Kerner Endowed Chair Herbert Chen, M.D. “We are glad that Dr. Kirklin has called UAB Surgery home for over 40 years, and I look forward to his continued achievements.”

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