ISHLT Honors Kirklin, Hess, and Taylor with Lifetime Achievement Awards

Published 27 April 2021
  • Achievement Award
  • Grants, Awards & Scholarships
  • Past Grants, Awards & Scholarships
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New Distinguished Service Award created to honor longtime Executive Director Amanda Rowe

ADDISON, TX – 27 April, 2021 – During its 2021 virtual Annual Meeting, the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) honored the recipients of its 2020 and 2021 Lifetime Achievement Awards, and announced the creation of the Amanda W. Rowe Distinguished Service Award.


Headshot of Michael HessMichael L. Hess, MD (1942-2019), a founder and first President of ISHLT, was awarded a 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Hess’s work led to the first informal meeting of the ISHLT at the 1980 AHA meeting in Miami; and the first formal meeting on 14 March, 1981. His vision for the ISHLT included a venue for the discussion of cardiac transplantation, which became the Annual Meeting, a scientific registry, a truly international Society, and an independent Journal. All of these ideas have become realities in the modern incarnation of ISHLT.

Dr. Hess graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with his MD, completing his residency and fellowship there. He received cardiology training at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London before joining the faculty at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV), now Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in 1971. During his distinguished career, he published more than 200 research papers and edited or authored three full-length books.

Dr. Hess was married to Andrea Hastillo, MD, also a cardiologist, and their partnership made up the initial core of ISHLT. They had one child, Samantha Hastillo Hudson, MD, an endocrinologist.

Jack Copeland, MD, ISHLT Past President, presented a moving tribute to Dr. Hess at the 2021 ISHLT Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions.


Headshot of Jim KirklinJames K. Kirklin, MD, a cardiac surgeon who has made significant scientific and surgical contributions in the fields of heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support devices, was named an ISHLT 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Dr. Kirklin has had a long and distinguished career focused on cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support in the treatment of advanced heart failure in pediatric and adult patients, as well as surgical repair of congenital cardiac defects. He is first author of the field’s premier textbook, Heart Transplantation, and co-author of the fourth edition of the Cardiac Surgery textbook. He has been a lifelong supporter of ISHLT, including serving as its president in 2009-2010, as well as JHLT Editor, Monograph Editor, and in other Board and committee leadership roles. He was instrumental in creating the global mechanical circulatory support registry IMACS.

The son of the late heart surgery pioneer John Kirklin, MD, Dr. Kirklin graduated from The Ohio State University in 1969, received his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1973, and completed general and cardiothoracic surgery residencies at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received additional training at Boston Children's Hospital and the UAB School of Medicine. Dr. Kirklin is a professor in the division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he holds the James K. Kirklin Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery.

Dr. Kirklin presented a recipient lecture to close the opening plenary session at ISHLT2021, entitled “The History of ISHLT: Through the lens of pioneers, Presidents, and prescient luminaries.” His talk explored a historical perspective of ISHLT, focusing in part on the many visionaries who have led the Society at various points in its history. The talk also highlighted some of the most important breakthroughs and milestones in the Society’s history, such as the creation of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the genesis of the Caves Award, and much more.


Headshot of David TaylorDavid O. Taylor, MD (1959-2020) was recognized as an inspiring leader in the field of advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology. Dr. Taylor was a professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, where he served as director of the Heart Failure and Transplantation Fellowship. He provided exceptional service, education and leadership to the advanced heart failure and heart transplant cardiology communities in a multitude of capacities during his lifetime.

Dr. Taylor devoted much of his professional time to the transplant community, including serving in many roles with ISHLT. He served as program chair for the 21st ISHLT meeting in Vancouver in 2001 and as ISHLT President in 2012-2013. He continued to contribute to ISHLT in important ways after concluding his presidential term: by serving as chair of the Standards & Guidelines Committee and serving as chair of task forces on Education and the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Dr. Taylor was described by fellow past ISHLT presidents as having “a keen sense of heart transplantation[…] a true leader in the field,” one of the “very few of us who have dedicated our entire careers to what we enjoyed most,” “the consummate clinician and a tenacious patient advocate,” and “a calm and sensible voice who earned the huge respect and affection of us all.”

Dr. Taylor completed his internal medicine residency, cardiology fellowship, and heart failure and transplant fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV), now known as Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). At MCV, Dr. Taylor was under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Hess. He served as Medical Director of Cardiac Transplant, as well as Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology, at the University of Utah. In 2001, he joined the Cleveland Clinic in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine. He published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, review articles, and book chapters. In addition, he lectured at prominent universities throughout the world, including lectures in Japan, Brazil, South Korea, India, France, Eastern Europe, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore, to name a few.

At the second plenary session at ISHLT2021, Randall Starling, MD, MPH, FACC, FAHA, FESC, FHFSA, of the Cleveland Clinic, delivered a poignant laudation honoring him as the Lifetime Achievement Awardee. “David Taylor was the epitome of a professional,” Starling said. He was a master clinician and educator. For Dr. Taylor, patients were always first… his priorities were always ‘we’ and never ‘me.’”


Headshot of Amanda RoweAt the closing plenary session of ISHLT2021, the Society announced the creation of the ISHLT Amanda W. Rowe Distinguished Service Award, an award designed to recognize individuals and organizations that have made non-scientific contributions to ISHLT as an organization. The inaugural award was given to its namesake, Amanda W. Rowe, who retired in 2020 after having served as ISHLT Executive Director for 27 years.

Rowe presided over the Society as it grew from a few hundred members to a global voice for the field, with nearly 4,000 members in 45 countries.

At the closing plenary, Rowe was honored by Stuart Sweet, MD, ISHLT Immediate Past President. “Under Amanda’s leadership,” Dr. Sweet said, “ISHLT grew to become the world’s premier scientific professional and educational organization for heart and lung transplantation and mechanical circulatory support.”

“It’s been an amazing job for 28 years, an amazing career, with unforgettable memories, a lot of hard work, and also—so much fun, and so many wonderful people,” Rowe said as she received the award. “I’ll never forget ISHLT.”

Dr. Sweet also shared that with the creation of the ISHLT Amanda W. Rowe Distinguished Service Award, the ISHLT Board of Directors hoped to create an award that embodies Amanda’s extraordinary service. Going forward, the Award will be given to individuals or organizations for sustained, significant, and outstanding service to ISHLT.

The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation is a not-for-profit, multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease through transplantation, mechanical support and innovative therapies. ISHLT members represent more than 15 different professional disciplines, together comprising the world’s largest organization dedicated to the research, education and advocacy of advanced heart and lung disease.For more information, visit