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07:22 AM

Asher Kimchi, MD: 1946-2022

Founder, Medical Co-Director of Preventive and Consultative Heart Center of Excellence at Smidt Heart Institute Remembered

Asher Kimchi, MD, clinical chief of Cardiology, vice-clinical chief of the Department of Medicine, and founder and co-medical director of the Preventive and Consultative Heart Center of Excellence at Smidt Heart Institute, passed away  Friday, Oct. 7. He was 76.

“Dr. Kimchi leaves behind an indelible Cedars-Sinai legacy,” said Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB, executive vice president of Academic Affairs, distinguished professor of Medicine and dean of the medical faculty at Cedars-Sinai. “For 40 years, he was a highly accomplished and devoted cardiology faculty leader, teacher, clinician, role model and investigator. He was dedicated to his family, patients, colleagues, trainees and staff, coupled with his utmost devotion and loyalty to Cedars-Sinai. We will sorely miss his wise counsel, professional expertise and wonderful friendship. The empty void will be enduring.”

Kimchi completed fellowships in cardiology research and critical care at Cedars-Sinai before becoming an attending physician in the Division of Cardiology in 1983. During his 40-year tenure, he served as clinical professor of Medicine and Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai. He was clinical chief of the Division of Cardiology from 2013-2016 and subsequently played a key role in establishing The Smidt Heart Institute’s Department of Cardiology. He was an elected member of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Executive Committee for 11 years.

Kimchi founded and served as chair of the International Academy of Cardiology, was a member of the board of directors for the American College of Cardiology, California Chapter, and was president of the American Heart Association, Greater Los Angeles Affiliate.

Kimchi also founded and served as chair of the World Congress on Heart Disease, holding 23 international congresses in the U.S., Israel, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Canada and Russia, and attended by cardiologists and allied healthcare professionals from 55 countries around the globe.

Kimchi was devoted to post-graduate education and clinical research. He founded and served as editor of two peer-reviewed medical journals and edited or co-edited  12 books devoted to advances in cardiac care, especially heart failure.

Kimchi was a leader in many professional societies and was honored with  awards and recognitions, including the Passion of the Heart Award from the American Heart Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Cardiovascular Science, Medicine and Surgery from the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences.

“Dr. Kimchi pushed himself to be as perfect as he could be in everything he did and to always do the right thing,” said friend and colleague Daniel S. Berman, MD, co-director of the Preventive and Consultative Heart Center of Excellence at Smidt Heart Institute. “A wise man, he knew the complexity of human beings, but saw the good in everyone and without fail judged to the side of merit. He was warm, kind and caring. A loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and physician, Dr. Kimchi was a mensch, a model human being. His passing is a devastating loss to all of us who knew him.”

Berman, Cedars-Sinai’s director of nuclear cardiology and cardiac imaging, added, “Dr. Kimchi was indefatigable. Second only to his devotion to his family, his passion was his medical career. He had a busy private practice of cardiology for 40 years. Dr. Kimchi was a superb, caring physician. He loved taking care of his patients, always there for them at any time, for as long as they needed.”

Kimchi earned his medical degree in 1971 from Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. After training in Internal Medicine, he joined the Israeli Air Force as a flight surgeon where he  served with distinction as  Commander of the Aero-medical Evacuation Unit, achieving the rank of Major.  

“Dr. Kimchi’s passing is a devastating loss to his family, his patients and our physician community,” said Marc A. Edelstein, MD, Cedars-Sinai chief of staff. “To say that he was both a leader and a legend here is a vast understatement. He will be deeply missed.” 

Kimchi is survived by his wife of 45 years, Rebeca, their sons Eitan and Eyal, and four grandchildren.