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Renowned Cardiologist Honored for Medical Contributions in Heart Transplantation

Smidt Heart Institute’s Jon Kobashigawa, MD, to Receive Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award From International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation

Internationally recognized cardiologist in heart transplantation Jon Kobashigawa, MD, director of Advanced Heart Disease and the Heart Transplant Program in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, and chief medical officer of the California Heart Center Foundation, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai, has been selected to receive the highly coveted 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT).

The award, to be presented to Kobashigawa on April 20, 2023, recognizes those whose work has either made a significant contribution in improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease, or who are engaged in pioneering work that improved the care of patients.

Kobashigawa is known for both, said Christine Albert, MD, professor, chair of the Department of Cardiology and the Lee and Harold Kapelovitz Distinguished Chair in Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute.Christine M. Albert, MD, MPH

“Dr. Kobashigawa is incredibly deserving of this high honor, and we are thrilled to see him recognized for his outstanding achievements,” Albert said. “He has selflessly dedicated his career to heart transplantation, leading landmark research efforts and developing guidelines for the field that have advanced transplant medicine. In addition, he continues to provide excellent clinical care that has improved the lives of numerous heart transplant recipients.”

Kobashigawa, the DSL/Thomas D. Gordon Chair in Heart Transplantation Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, also serves as associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute and associate director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Cedars-Sinai. He previously served as president of ISHLT and has held leadership positions on multiple committees advocating for national policy development, clinical guidelines and interdisciplinary collaborations.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the ISHLT 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award, the most prestigious in the field of heart transplantation,” Kobashigawa said. “I share this award with all my colleagues who have dedicated their professional careers to saving the lives of countless patients with end-stage heart disease. I am awed to be included in the group of legendary leaders in our field who have also received the award.”

Kobashigawa has published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and has chaired multicenter heart transplant clinical trials. He currently serves as protocol chair on a multicenter National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial that seeks to make new discoveries related to the rejection process in heart transplantation.

He has also been a featured editor/reviewer for numerous journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Medicine, American Journal of Transplantation and Circulation.  In 2017, Kobashigawa authored, edited and published Clinical Guide to Heart Transplantation, a reference book providing a comprehensive review of cardiac transplant patient evaluation and management.

In addition, Kobashigawa has devoted his career to the training, mentoring and professional development of hundreds of students, residents, fellows and junior faculty.  

Lara Danziger-Isakov, MD, ISHLT past president and nominating committee chair, said she was honored to be part of the ISHLT nominating committee presenting this year’s award.

“Dr. Kobashigawa is a prolific researcher and collaborator, and his work evaluating the markers and risks for rejection and graft failure after heart transplant has been invaluable to the discipline,” Danziger-Isakov said. “Further, he’s a thought leader who continues to develop consensus conferences to share global perspectives and develop approaches to evaluation, diagnosis and management of our patients.

“Perhaps most of all, Dr. Kobashigawa has been a generous mentor, with a notable legacy of growing the next generation of leaders in the field.”

Kobashigawa will be the 14th recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award when it is presented in Denver during the ISHLT 43rd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions.

Read more from the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Being Patient: The Delicate Timing of Organ Transplantation