John Kirklin, M.D., a pioneering heart surgeon who played a large role in the development of UAB into a major medical center, will be inducted into the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame during ceremonies Tuesday, Sept 16. The induction of Kirklin, along with Josiah Morris, a founder of the city of Birmingham, will be at 11:30 a.m. at a luncheon at The Club.
Kirklin revolutionized cardiovascular surgery through his development and refinement of the heart-bypass machine. In the 1950s, he modified the Gibbon heart-lung machine and performed the first open-heart operations carried out at the Mayo Clinic. He improved the original pumping and oxygenator system to the point that utilization of the machine is part of the everyday practice of cardiac surgery.
Kirklin joined the UAB faculty in 1966 as chair of the Department of Surgery and University Hospital surgeon-in-chief. He held these positions until 1982, during which time he built one of the most prestigious cardiovascular surgical training programs in the world. He retired from surgery in 1989.
Kirklin’s son, James Kirklin, M.D., a prominent surgeon at UAB, will deliver the keynote address.
The Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame was created in 1987 by the Alabama legislature to recognize those men native to or identified most closely with the State of Alabama who made significant contributions within their profession.