March 7, 2017

Around the nation: Pioneering transplant surgeon dies at 90

Daily Briefing
  • Massachusetts: Boston Medical Center (BMC) has received the largest gift in its history—$25 million—to create a new treatment center to help fight drug misuse and the opioid epidemic. The donors, John Grayken and his wife, Eilene, opted to make the donation publicly to help destigmatize substance misuse and encourage similar philanthropy. BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh said the gift was a game changer because it "brings addiction medicine out of the philanthropic shadows" (Pfeiffer, Boston Globe, 3/6).

  • New York: Mount Sinai Health System, in partnership with the Actors Fund, a social services agency focused on the performing arts, opened a new clinic Monday in Times Square. The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts offers primary and specialty care, including dermatology and ear, nose, and throat services. Robbins Gottlock, senior medical director of Mount Sinai Doctors Downtown, said actors frequently have unique health needs and the goal of the clinic will be to get them back on stage quickly. He said, "The mantra 'The show must go on' is the reality in their lives." The Actors Fund invested $2 million in the project (Modern Healthcare, 3/4).

  • Pennsylvania: Thomas Starzl, a pioneering surgeon and researcher who completed the first successful liver transplant in the 1960s, died on Saturday at his home in Pittsburgh. He was 90. Starzl—after years of experimentation and setbacks—performed the first liver transplant on a human patient in 1967 at the University of Colorado. At the time, many in the medical community "had dismissed [the procedure] as impractical, if not impossible," according to the New York Times. Starzl was also instrumental in advancing breakthrough, anti-rejection drugs for transplant patients, thereby increasing patient survival rates (Pearce, New York Times, 3/5).

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