Health + Behavior

Ronald W. Busuttil, Executive Chairman of UCLA Department of Surgery, Receives American Surgical Association’s Highest Honor

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Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil, professor and executivechairman of the UCLA Department of Surgery, has received the American SurgicalAssociation's Medallion for Scientific Achievement, joining a list thatincludes the nation's most distinguished surgeons.

Busuttil, who is internationally recognized for his expertise in livertransplantation and surgery, received the award April 26 during theassociation's annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"To receive this award from the mostprestigious surgical organization in the world and to consider theaccomplishments of the prior recipients gives me a feeling of great humility,"he said. "I could never have achieved this great distinction without theincredibly dedicated and talented medical and surgical team at UCLA, with whomI have had the privilege to work for more than 25 years."

Busuttil, who also holds UCLA's William P. Longmire Jr. Chair in Surgery, isfounding chief of the division of liver and pancreas transplantation and directorof the Pfleger Liver Institute, which includes the Dumont–UCLA TransplantCenter and the Dumont–UCLA Liver Cancer Center.

"TheUCLA Health System is extraordinarily proud of Dr. Ron Busuttil for thisrecognition by his peers as one of the foremost liver transplant surgeons inthe world," said Dr. Gerald S. Levey, UCLA vice chancellorfor medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "UCLA valuesRon's leadership as executive chairman of the department of surgery, as well ashis commitment to research and teaching the next generation of surgeons."

Busuttil graduated magna cum laude from LoyolaUniversity in New Orleans and earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Tulane University.He served his surgical residency at UCLA under Dr. William P. Longmire Jr., UCLA'sfirst chairman of surgery, and trained in transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh with Dr. Thomas Starzl, also a Medallion recipient. Busuttilhas been on the UCLA surgical faculty since 1978.

In 1984, he established the UCLALiver Transplant Program, one of the nation's first, which has since grown intoone the world's largest liver transplant centers. Busuttilhas been the program's director and chief surgeon for more than two decades,and he and his team have performed more than 4,000 liver transplants.

In addition to his pioneering accomplishments in surgery, Busuttil has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to teachingand advancing the field of transplantation and surgery. His laboratory hastrained many research fellows, including surgical residents and trainees inbasic science disciplines. And his liver transplantation training program,considered one of the world's best, has produced more than 150 American andinternational transplant surgeons, many of whom now lead their own programs.

His basic science research is focused on ischemia-reperfusion injury ofthe liver. Studies from his lab on adhesion molecule blockade are now in PhaseII clinical trials. Earlier in his career, he made seminal contributions toresearch in surgical infectious disease, surgery for portal hypertension andthe biology of aortic aneurysms.

Busuttil serves as an editorial board member or reviewer for many prestigiousjournals and is co-editor of "Transplantationof the Liver," the definitive textbook on the subject, now in its secondedition. He has written more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, 60book chapters and 400 abstracts. He is an active member of all the majornational and international surgical and transplantation societies and routinelyholds key committee positions. He is vice president of the American SurgicalAssociation, a past president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, amember of the council of the Transplantation Society, president-elect of theInternational Liver Transplantation Society and a former board member of theUnited Network for Organ Sharing.

Founded in 1880, the AmericanSurgical Association is the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgicalorganization. Members include prominent surgeons from the nation's leadingacademic medical institutions, many of whom are chairs of their respectivedepartments of surgery. The association's mission is to be the premierorganization for surgical science and scholarship, to provide a national forumfor presenting the developing state of the art and science of general andsubspecialty surgery, and to elevate the standards of the medical/surgicalprofession.

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