International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation Honors Dr. Lori J. West with Lifetime Achievement Award

Published 12 February 2024
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Society celebrates Dr. West’s pioneering work and contributions to the transplantation field

CHICAGO, IL – 12 February, 2024 – The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation will honor Lori J. West, MD, DPhil, with the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Award will be presented as part of the 44th Annual ISHLT Meeting & Scientific Sessions in Prague on Thursday, 11 April, 2024.

Headshot of Lori West“For more than four decades ISHLT has been the vibrant conduit supporting effective global collaboration amongst the members of our diverse professional community,” Dr. West said. “I feel tremendously honored to receive the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award from my ISHLT colleagues. It is an immense privilege to receive acknowledgement of efforts, in the context of teams comprising many talented individuals, towards advancing new therapies for children with devastating heart conditions.”

“Dr. West is the mother of ABO incompatible pediatric heart transplantation,” said Andreas Zuckermann, MD, Chair of the ISHLT Past Presidents Forum. “Without her courage, leadership, and ability to pass her knowledge globally, a lot of young patients had the chance to receive a heart transplantation and a new life. Dr. West’s work exemplifies the spirit of innovation, collaboration, and compassion that ISHLT values, making her an inspiring figure for all those dedicated to advancing heart and lung transplantation.

See interviews with Dr. West regarding her career and contributions to the field. Watch the video series here.

Dr. West, Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery, Medical Microbiology/Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine/Pathology at the University of Alberta, Director of the Alberta Transplant Institute in Edmonton, Scientific Director of the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program (CDTRP), has been at the forefront of pediatric and adult heart transplantation for more than three decades. Her pioneering work in the development of cross-compatible transplantation practices has significantly increased the survival rates of infants born with congenital heart disease. Dr. West's research into the immunological barriers to heart and lung transplantation has led to groundbreaking protocols that have dramatically improved outcomes for transplant recipients of all ages. Dr. West built a national framework inclusive of all streams of research across all organ transplants, demonstrating the transformative power of collaborative team science.

As ISHLT’s 27th President, Dr. West strived for more substantial inclusion of members from all parts of the world and advocated for Society activities to address prevalent issues in developing countries. Notably, her leadership in the international consortium that established global standards for antibody testing has revolutionized the field. This standard is now integral to the organ matching process, ensuring that patients around the world receive transplants that are less likely to be rejected. Her innovative approaches to the management of pediatric transplant patients has also led to the adoption of new, less invasive surveillance techniques that have become the gold standard worldwide.

Beyond her scientific contributions, Dr. West has been a fervent advocate for policy change to improve organ donation systems globally. Her efforts have been instrumental in the development of ethical frameworks that guide organ transplantation practices, ensuring they are equitable and accessible to those in need. Dr. West's dedication to education is evident in her role as a mentor to the next generation of transplant specialists. She has educated and inspired countless medical professionals through her teaching, publications, and participation in global forums. Finally, in tribute to the legacy of pioneers in our field, Dr. West established the ISHLT History Archives, a library of 30+ video interviews memorializing past accomplishments that have informed the evolution of heart and lung transplantation internationally.

The ISHLT Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Society, bestowed on individuals who have made a significant contribution toward improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease or engaged in pioneering work that improved the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease.

For more information about the ISHLT 2024 Annual Meeting and Dr. Lori West's contributions to the field, please visit www.ishlt.org.

About 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 circulatory support and innovative therapies. ISHLT is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the research, education and advocacy of end-stage heart and lung disease. For more information, visit www.ishlt.org.