The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) will honor three of its legendary physician-scientists for their internationally recognized contributions to medicine at its fifth annual Legends dinner celebration May 1 at Trump National Golf Club.
Dominic DeCristofaro, M.D., Grant B. Hieshima, M.D., and Jerrold Turner, M.D., are the three Legends to be honored at the dinner event. All three are alumni of LA BioMed, one of the nation’s largest independent not-for-profit biomedical research institutes.
“After 56 years of discovery, cures, commitment and lives saved, LA BioMed will take one night to honor those who helped the institute achieve so much over the last half century,” said LA BioMed President and CEO Kenneth P. Trevett J.D. “Drs. DeCristofaro, Hieshima and Turner are outstanding examples of the dedicated physician-scientists at LA BioMed, and each of them has contributed greatly to the advancement of science and medicine, as well as to the betterment of this campus.”
Legends Event Chairman Joel Kopple, M.D. is planning a memorable evening that will feature Olympic Champion Rafer Johnson as the master of ceremonies. Johnson is a world record-setting decathlete who won the silver medal at the 1956 Olympics and the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. After retiring from the sport, he became a sportscaster, an actor, a community leader and a philanthropist.
The winner of the Liu Young Investigator Award, sponsored by Institute Board member Patty Liu, also will be announced during the dinner. Kevin Bruhn, Ph.D., Agnes Chen, M.D., and Stanislav L. Karsten, Ph.D., are the nominees for the $10,000 award that seeks to nurture excellence and provide support for an outstanding young scientist conducting research on LA BioMed’s campus.
Details on the 2008 Legends
Dr. DeCristofaro is a renowned cardiologist who chose that specialty after watching his older brother, Nick, struggle with rheumatic heart disease. Dr. DeCristofaro earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his medical degree from Chicago Medical School. After completing his internship in internal medicine at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Dr. DeCristofaro came to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he pursued research as a resident, earning fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association (AHA).
Upon completion of his research fellowships, he entered private practice in Long Beach and became director of the cardiac catheterization lab at St. Mary Medical Center. He also helped establish a cardiology training program with support from AHA, the St. Mary Medical Center Foundation and the medical group to which he belongs, Cardiovascular Associates.
During the almost 40 years since then, Dr. DeCristofaro’s name is synonymous with heart care at St. Mary’s. He has served in numerous capacities, including chief of staff, chair of the Department of Medicine and as a member of the Board of Directors. He has co-authored numerous publications and invited presentations on diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. He also continues to practice cardiology part-time at St. Mary’s.
Dr. DeCristofaro served as president and chairman of the LA BioMed Board of Directors when the institute was known as the Research and Education Institute. He also served as president of the California AHA affiliate. He chaired the annual meeting for the California Heart Association, and he served the AHA national organization as the chairman of the Southwest Regional Research Review and Advisory Committee. He and his wife have been active fundraisers and volunteers for AHA, and the organization recognized his service in 1998 by awarding Dr. DeCristofaro its prestigious Heart of Gold Award.
Dr. DeCristofaro is now a UCLA clinical professor of medicine, honorary status. He and his wife, Marge, live in Rolling Hills, their home for the past 30 years.
Dr. Hieshima was born in 1942 at the Santa Anita Racetrack Assembly Center, a gathering spot for Japanese-American internees before they were shipped off to relocation camps during World War II. He attended UCLA and received his medical education at Tulane University, where he graduated in 1969 with honors.
His postgraduate training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center began in surgery and then changed to radiology. In 1973, he completed a residency in diagnostic radiology and subsequently obtained subspecialty training in neuroradiology and nuclear medicine.
Appointed assistant professor of radiology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in 1974, he worked to evolve new techniques in the management of vascular trauma. After moving to the UCLA Center for Health Sciences in 1983, he became a professor of radiology and helped to pioneer new therapies for aneurysms and vasospasm.
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recruited him in 1986 to be a professor of radiology and neurological surgery. There, he directed the neurovascular section devoted to multi-disciplinary evaluation and treatment of arteriovenous fistulas, malformations, aneurysms and stroke. In 1996, Dr. Hieshima was named director of the Neuroscience Institute at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Orange County, California.
Dr. Hieshima is recognized nationally and internationally as one of the premier figures in the field of interventional neuroradiology, a minimally invasive approach using imaging techniques to detect and treat vascular diseases of the central nervous system. Dr. Hieshima has trained more than 100 fellows in diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology. He has more than 150 scientific publications and 60 book chapters. He also has lectured at more than 400 medical conferences.
He has been involved in more than 20 grants and research awards to study new techniques for the treatment of intracranial aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, cerebrovascular thrombolysis and angioplasty.
In 1997, he was honored by the Joint Section of Cerebrovascular Surgery with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, he received the Luessenhop Award as well as the exclusive Gold Medal from the American Society of Neuroradiology.
He is retired and lives with his wife, Donna, in Huntington Beach.
Dr. Turner first became interested in tropical diseases when he was in junior high school. As a medical student at UCLA, he worked with the faculty of the Division of Parasitology in the Department of Infectious Diseases. His summer parasitology research project in Guatemala was interrupted when he acquired paralytic poliomyelitis, an acute onset of paralysis.
After weeks in a Guatemalan hospital, he was transferred to the student health section of the UCLA Medical Center for rehabilitation. A year later, he joined the Class of 1958 for his senior year of medical school.
After an internal medicine internship at the UCLA Medical Center, Turner rejoined the Division of Parasitology as a faculty member and began his academic teaching career. He studied tropical medicine in Puerto Rico, Haiti, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt. He also obtained a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Dr. Turner returned to clinical internal medicine by joining the residency program at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in 1964. He taught parasitology at UCLA until retirement, earning four “Golden Apple Teaching Awards” and an “Exceptional Quality Teaching Award” from the medical students. He also taught parasitology at the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine.
Dr. Turner served in several administrative roles at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He’s also received numerous honors and awards, including the Silver Knight of Management Award, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, from the National Management Association in 1982; the Distinguished Service Award from the UCLA Medical Alumni Association in 1988, and the Distinguished Service and Leadership Award from the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s Department of Medicine in 1991 and 1997.
He was a co-director of the Parasitic Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at LA BioMed, when it was still known as the Research and Education Institute. For four years, this laboratory examined all specimens collected by the Los Angeles County Health Department for parasitic disease diagnosis. In 1984, Dr. Turner opened Turner Parasitology, a private laboratory for diagnostic parasitology.
Dr. Turner also served as the chief of the Section of Parasitic Diseases in the Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center from 1973 until his retirement. Dr. Turner and his wife, Ellen, live across the street from UCLA in Westwood.
The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by a dinner and ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
About LA BioMed
Founded 56 years ago, LA BioMed conducts biomedical research, trains young scientists and provides community services, including childhood immunization, nutrition assistance and anti-gang violence programs. The institute’s researchers conduct studies in such areas as cardio-vascular disease, emerging infections, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, dermatology, reproductive health, vaccine development, respiratory disorders, inherited illnesses and neonatology.
LA BioMed is an independent research institute that is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. The institute is located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance. Please visit our website at www.LABioMed
Source: Laura Mecoy
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed)