Thursday, September 15, 2008
Generous Gift from Grateful Lung Transplant Patient Creates Professorship
Bartley P. Griffith, MD, will be named the first Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The professorship, to support research into thoracic transplant surgery, is the result of a generous $2.5 million gift from the Hales Family Foundation, founded by New York resident Thomas E. Hales and his wife, Alice Marie.
“Dr. Griffith saved my life,” says Mr. Hales, who underwent a successful double lung transplant last November at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Hales created the professorship out of gratitude to Dr. Griffith for his skill and compassion in treating Mr. Hales. Dr. Griffith specializes in treating patients with the most severe heart and lung diseases.
“I was really at the point where I was not going to make it,” says Mr. Hales, the former Chairman and CEO of U.S.B. Holding Co. Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary, Union State Bank.
“My gift is intended to draw attention to the quality of care I received from Dr. Griffith and the entire medical and surgical team at the University of Maryland,” Mr. Hales continues. “This professorship at the School of Medicine will support research to advance the field of thoracic surgery to the benefit of future patients.”
Before his transplant, Mr. Hales’ lungs had suffered from pulmonary fibrosis, a disease with unknown causes that results in scarring of the lung. As the lung tissue scars, it loses its ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. There is no current treatment for the condition, other than transplant.
“The Hales’ gift will help advance the field of heart and lung transplantation by supporting even more cutting-edge science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine,” says E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs, University of Maryland, and The John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “The School of Medicine is an established leader in cardiovascular research, and this gift will enhance that important scientific work.”
“The Hales’ gift places us a giant step closer to improving transplantation science to better assist patients with severe heart and lung conditions,” says Dr. Griffith. “I am grateful to them for their generosity and for this honor.”
Prior to Dr. Griffith’s arrival at the University of Maryland, he served as vice chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he was also chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Henry T. Bahnson Professor of Surgery.
Dr. Griffith was also the creator and director of the new internationally recognized McGowan Center for Artificial Organ Development, now known as the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Griffith’s clinical work focuses on treating patients with the most severe forms of heart and lung disease. His research interests are concentrated on heart and lung transplantation and advancing use of artificial organs. He is internationally respected for his contributions to the field and has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health as a principal research investigator since 1988. His research funding includes the development of an artificial lung, a pediatric size heart pump, and a study to reduce muscle scar after heart attacks.
Dr. Griffith received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College and completed a surgery internship and also a general and cardiothoracic surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Health Center Hospitals. He has published more than 500 articles and book chapters, has lectured at professional meetings nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including induction into the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, Scotland.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty surgeons have long been leaders in transplant surgery and related research. To describe the surgeons’ innovations in transplant surgery as “cutting edge” is becoming less of a play on words and more of an accurate characterization, as minimally invasive transplant techniques continue to evolve.
Dr. Stephen T. Bartlett, chairman of the Department of Surgery and The Barbara Baur Dunlap Professor of Transplant Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, was recruited to the University of Maryland in 1991 from the University of California to develop a major clinical and research transplant program. Under his leadership, the program’s achievements include Maryland’s first simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant and the state’s first successful pancreas-alone transplant.
The increase in kidney transplants is due in large measure to major advancements made by the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s faculty surgeons in laparoscopic organ removal from living donors. “We were the second center in the U.S. to perform laparoscopic organ removal from living donors, and our work popularized the procedure,” said Dr. Bartlett. “Of the live organ transplants, 98 percent of the removals are done laparoscopically.” According to Dr. Bartlett, the greatest challenge in organ transplantation is the shortage of donors.
The Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales Distinguished Professorship will be open-ended. The Hales Foundation will fund the first $2.5 million. The Hales are allowing further contributions in order to enhance the value of this Distinguished Professorship.
All such donations should be sent directly to the University of Maryland Development Office.
Tierra Dorsey, Director of Development
University of Maryland School of Medicine
100 N. Greene Street, Suite 600
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Telephone: (410) 706-2846
Facsimile: (410) 706-2995
All donations of any size will be acknowledged and the Development Office will notify the Hales Foundation.