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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: 2015 Recipients of the ISHLT Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Awards

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For 2014, the ISHLT was very fortunate to have nearly 100 writers who contributed to the ISHLT Links Newsletter. With the rapid movement of replacement therapy, the importance of understanding the immune system, transplantation and prevention cannot be emphasized enough. The 2015 winners of the ISHLT Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Awards were a cut above the other candidates for this year's writer awards. There were 10 outstanding writers carefully selected from a pool of nearly 50 eligible authors for the Writer of the Year award. This year, for the first time, we have a winner who was unanimously selected to receive the top ISHLT Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Award. This year's Writer of the Year Award goes to none other than Pam Combs. Our First Runner-Up is Manreet Kanwar, and Honorable Mention awards go to Oveimar De la Cruz, Heather Henderson, Simon Urschel, and Erin Wells.

Let's extend warm ISHLT congratulations to these writers.

Writer of the Year: $2,500

links image Pamela S. Combs, PhD, RN
MCS Clinical Manager
Seton Medical Center
Austin, Texas, USA

This year's winner, from "Deep in the Heart of Texas," is Pam Combs. She is the Mechanical Circulatory Support Clinical Manager at Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas. Pam has become a major figure in the world of mechanical circulatory support and advanced heart failure disease management. She possesses extensive experience with nearly all devices and has secured a Doctorate in Nursing from the University of Louisville. She is an important member of the Nursing, Health Sciences and Allied Health Council of the ISHLT and actively participates in the Education, Standards and Guidelines and Communications Workforces. Furthermore, she is a member of the Heart Failure Society of America, Board Member of the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians, and VAD Coordinator Co-chair of American Society for Artificial Internal Organs. Her contributions to the Links this year were nothing short of splendid and, thus, she was unanimously chosen as this year's winner. Her articles, including VAD Programs Driving Ahead with the Inclusion of Bioengineering Students, Silent to Talkies: The Evolution of VADs, At the VAD Holiday Table and Shared Decision-Making: Its Involvement in the World of VADs, unequivocally indicates a thoughtful mind with clarity, conciseness, brevity and imagination, especially on such a timely topic for the ISHLT. See for yourself as you peruse her well bioengineered and turbocharged contributions on the revolutions and evolution from silence to communication and shared care as this driving topic has become part of the holiday table preferably free from any sediments and impediments. Let's extend a well-deserved ISHLT congratulations to Pam Combs.

First Runner-Up: $1,500

links image Manreet Kanwar, MD
Allegheny General Hospital
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

This year's sole first runner up of the Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Award goes to Manreet Kanwar, MD. Manreet is a repeat winner, who received the Links honorable mention Award last year. She is a Cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Institute of the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is an active member of ISHLT and serves as this year's Chair of the Scientific Council for Junior Faculty and Trainees. Her contributions to the Links have been consistently outstanding articles that have proven useful to many ISHLT members, especially for our young trainees. For proof of such talented writing, we refer you to her articles from this year: Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)-Scan For It!, Wow What a Ride! One Year We Will Never Forget, and Junior Faculty and Trainee Council - On the Horizon. We are pleased to give special recognition to Manreet Kanwar for her indelible accomplishments.

Honorable Mention (4 recipients): $500

links image Oveimar De la Cruz, MD
Transplant Infectious Disease Specialist
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia, USA

Dr. Oveimar De La Cruz is a Transplant Infectious Disease specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. He is another honorable mention Links Travel Award recipient. With his imaginative and organized style, Oveimar provided us with important insight into the immune system with another shade on our graying population from his cleverly crafted article on Immunosenescence and Lung Transplantation - What Does It Mean to Be Old? Congratulations to Oveimar De La Cruz for his thoughtful overview.

links image Heather T. Henderson, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist
Duke University School of Medicine
Durham, North Carolina, USA

Dr. Heather Henderson is a Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant specialist at Duke University School of Medicine. She is an honorable mention Links Travel Award recipient. She gave us a splendid and touching compilation of heart failure care in children, from infancy to independence. We refer you to her high quality summary on Pediatric Heart Failure: It's Finally Growing Up. Congratulations to Heather Henderson for important reminder that children are truly not small adults.

links image Simon Urschel, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA

Dr. Simon Urschel is a Pediatric Cardiologist from the University of Alberta where he serves as Clinical Director of the Pediatric Cardiac Transplant Program. Simon is another repeat winner after receiving this year's honorable mention Links Travel Award. He too has contributed several outstanding articles to the ISHLT Links Newsletter, including an insightful piece from last year, First Naïve, Later Delinquent: How Immune Maturation Benefits and Jeopardized Transplantation. We then turn your attention to his work on The Science and Fiction of ABO Incompatible Transplantation that gave him merit for this year's award. Congratulations to Simon Urschel for his dedication and contributions.

links image Erin Wells, RN, BSN, CPN
Lung Transplant Care Manager
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Erin Wells is the Care Manager of Cincinnati Children's Lung Transplant Program. She is another honorable mention Links Travel Award recipient with her article on Lessons Learned. This pithy, simple and direct article embodies life, success and what's it all about. We urge you to read this article several times, but all it takes is once and you will know. Congratulations to Erin Wells for her clear and concise message.

History of the ISHLT Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Awards

The ISHLT Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Awards, funded in part by the generous support from W.O. and Joan Leach (Gadsden, Alabama, USA), Mrs. Sue Abramson (Birmingham, Alabama, USA) and Mr. Larry Imhoff (La Place, Louisiana, USA), were created to support the growth and development of our future leaders from within our society including physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Those motivated enough with investigation, communication, and dissemination of new ideas for the betterment of patients with failing lungs and/or a failing heart including such conditions as pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, pulmonary hypertension, and from ischemic, nonischemic to congenital heart diseases should be awarded for their efforts.

Eligibility requirements include:

  1. Any healthcare professional including but not limited to nurses, nurse coordinators, social workers, pharmacists, therapists, dietitians and early career physicians are eligible and must be a member of the ISHLT regardless of duration in their career.
  2. An imposed restriction on physicians is that they must be in their Early Career-within 7 years of training, Assistant Professor equivalent, or junior faculty level with rare exceptions.
  3. Individuals must display some form of research interest, basic, clinical, translational or outcomes investigations or at a minimum display some skill in journalism best exemplified by their contributions to the Links Newsletter engendering fresh and creative ideas.

Each year, the winners are selected from a pool of nominees by the ISHLT Links Travel Award Committee (LTAC). This committee includes the following individuals: the Links Editor-in-Chief, ISHLT Executive Director, ISHLT President, ISHLT Program Chair, and the Links Managing Editor. ■

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