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Transplant society honors Helderman’s contributions

Aug. 21, 2014, 9:29 AM

More than three decades ago, J. Harold Helderman, M.D., medical director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, joined a handful of colleagues from across the country to create a society for transplant physicians.

J. Harold Helderman, M.D.

The American Society of Transplantation (AST) was founded in 1982 and has grown into an organization of more than 3,000 professionals dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation.

At this year’s annual meeting, Helderman received the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifelong work in the advancement of transplantation.

“This award is the highest award that the American Society of Transplantation gives out,” said Helderman, chief of Renal Transplant and professor of Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

“It is their premier award and over the last several years has honored people who are recognized as true pioneers in organ transplant. To be included in that company of people was simply humbling and affirming,” he said

Helderman, who also served as president of the organization from 1997-1998, was recognized for his longtime service to the organization as well as for being the co-creator of the AST/ASN Renal Transplant Fellowship Training Accreditation Program.

“Dr. Helderman’s dedication to fostering the next generation of transplant professionals is evident through his commitment to this program as well as through his continued mentoring efforts at his institution,” reads the nomination.

“He is a consummate clinician with the attributes of an inquisitive and curious scientist, interested in providing superb care to his patients, but also relentless in his desire to further the field of transplantation science and medicine.”

Helderman came to Vanderbilt in 1989 from the University of Texas Southwestern. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rochester and received his medical degree, also Summa Cum Laude, from the State University of New York. He trained at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the National Institutes of Health and completed his transplant fellowship at Harvard University in Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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