Friday, April 27, 2012

Kawai first incumbent of Cosimi Chair

HIGHEST HONOR: Kawai, left, with Cosimi at the April 13 ceremony

Tatsuo Kawai, MD, PhD, a transplant surgeon and surgical director of the Dialysis Access Program, was honored as the first incumbent of the A. Benedict Cosimi Endowed Chair during an April 13 ceremony in the Trustees Room. The chair is named in honor of distinguished physician-researcher A. Benedict Cosimi, MD, chief emeritus of the Division of Transplantation, who has worked at the MGH for more than 40 years.

“To have an endowed chair establishing that my name will be borne by future MGH transplant surgeons is the highest honor of my academic career,” Cosimi said. “I am most appreciative of the generous donations provided by my family, colleagues, former fellows and patients who made this possible. It is a special pleasure to have Dr. Tatsuo Kawai – a fine scholar and longtime friend who is at home both in the OR and in the laboratory – named the first incumbent of the chair.”

During the ceremony, Kawai thanked Cosimi for being an outstanding mentor for more than two decades. “When I first met Ben, I asked him the secret of success. He told me, ‘Young surgeons tend to try to do too many things, but if you really want to achieve something, you have to focus on what you really want to do.’ So I took his advice seriously, and after joining MGH in 1991, I decided to focus on tolerance induction, the holy grail of organ transplantation.”

Kawai and Cosimi were instrumental members of the team that introduced tolerance in kidney transplantation, and in attendance at the event was Jen Searl, MLS, a health educator at the Maxwell and Eleanor Blum Patient and Family Learning Center, who was the world’s first patient to receive a nonmatched, transplanted organ without needing immunosuppressive drugs. Also providing remarks during the ceremony were Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, James Markmann, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Transplantation, and Keith Lillemoe, MD, chief of the Department of Surgery.

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