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Drs. Matloff, Riggs, Uman Honored at Annual Meeting

Pioneer Award honoree inspired 'generation of young surgeons'

Members of the medical staff rose to their feet at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Staff to honor the man who brought "modern open-heart surgery" to Cedars-Sinai.

Jack M. Matloff, M.D., founder of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the hospital, received the 2008 Pioneer in Medicine Award from Vice Chief of Staff Norman Schulman, M.D., at the Oct. 20 meeting and luncheon.

"This is an extraordinary honor for me, and I promise no one will ever wrest this award from me," Dr. Matloff joked.

Also honored at the meeting were Richard V. Riggs, M.D., who received the Chief of Staff Award, and Stephen J. Uman, M.D., who was given the Medical Staff Lifetime Service Award.

Dr. Matloff came to the hospital in 1969. After establishing the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dr. Matloff served as chairman of the division through 1996, establishing an international reputation and training generations of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. During that time, he also established one of the first cardiac surgery databases in the country and was a pioneer in valve surgery, including the Harken valve and St. Jude bi-leaflet valve.

"He brought modern open-heart surgery to Cedars-Sinai," said Stephen Shapiro, M.D., in a video presentation about Dr. Matloff. Dr. Shapiro, one of several physicians who took part in the presentation, said he was Dr. Matloff's first resident.

"You've inspired a whole generation of young surgeons," Dr. Shapiro said of Dr. Matloff.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Matloff said he was "mightily impressed" by the current state of the medical center, adding that the staff has "great treasures" here.

"We have all cared for each other literally and figuratively," Dr. Matloff said of his co-workers at Cedars-Sinai.

Drs. Riggs and Uman also attended the annual meeting where they were honored.

In awarding Dr. Riggs the Chief of Staff Award, Dr. Brien noted the former's service on the Medical Executive, Clinical Improvement and two CS-Link committees. Riggs also chaired the Multidisciplinary Committee on appropriate anticoagulation in surgical patients.

Later in the program, Dr. Brien announced that Dr. Uman, a former chief of staff and former clinical chief of infectious diseases, would receive the Lifetime Service Award.

Dr. Uman, flanked by his wife and state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas, was surprised by the honor. He said he almost skipped the event because he wasn't feeling well. After taking the podium, he regaled the audience with tales of his long hair and early days at Cedars of Lebanon.

"I always assumed you thought I was Orthodox and that's why you put up with it," said Dr. Uman, drawing laughter from those in attendance.

Uman has been a member of the Medical Executive Committee for more than 20 years.

During the Chief of Staff report, Dr. Brien highlighted some of the medical staff's accomplishments and gave updates on the new electronic health record - CS-Link - and the campaign to stop hospital-acquired infections.

"The idea of getting to zero is more than just a number," said Dr. Brien regarding the HAI campaign.

"This is really remarkable," said Dr. Brien of HAI data so far, "as this project just started a year and a half ago."

Cedars-Sinai President and CEO Thomas Priselac and Senior Vice President and COO Mark Gavens also spoke at the luncheon.

The names of those elected to the MEC beginning Jan. 1 also were announced. Click here for a list of representatives by department.

Dr. Riggs accepts the Chief of Staff Award from Dr. Brien, right.

Dr. Uman shows the Lifetime Service Award to his wife. The couple are surrounded by Dr. Brien, Dr. Howard and state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas.