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ASTS History

History of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons on the Occasion of its 20th Anniversary

Below is the text of the book published for ASTS' 20th anniversary in 1994, in sections. Some Presidential Addresses are also available separately.

Founding and Early Years
Presidential Reminiscences
Presidential Addresses
The Scientific Program and Scientific Progress
Accreditation of Training Programs, Fellowship Grants and Faculty Development, and Postgraduate Course
The Chimera ASTS Newsletter, Societal Perceptions and Ethical Issues, Politics and Patients
ASTS Membership and Bylaws 1994

Chimera Chronicles


Click here to explore Great Stories in Transplantation Surgery

ASTS presents living legacies, pioneers sharing their great stories in transplant surgery.

The American Society of Transplant Surgeons was founded in 1974 in an effort to unite surgeons involved in the fledgling field of transplantation The effort was spearheaded by Drs. Frederick Merkel and John Bergen from Northwestern University and Dr. Aaron Bannett from Albert Einstein Medical Center. The idea to form a national society grew out of a meeting originally convened by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to obtain input from transplant surgeons concerning the Social Security Act of 1972. This act, later signed into law, established the End-Stage Renal Disease (ERSD) Program.

A special organizational meeting was held at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport in the Spring of 1974. There the name and membership details were established. In October of 1974, a meeting was held in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons meeting in Miami Beach, Florida. Sir Roy Calne of the United Kingdom addressed the inaugural meeting and galvanized the group to proceed with the new society.

There were 127 Charter Members,19 of whom have served as ASTS President. Dr. Thomas Starzl was elected as the Society's first President and presided over the First Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, May 23, 1975.

Over the next 20 years, the Society established a strong presence in transplantation research, education and training, and advocacy. These basic principles are still the pillars that the Society stands upon: to foster and advance the practice and science of transplantation for the benefit of patients and society; to guide those who make policy decisions that influence the practice and science of transplantation; defining and promoting training and career-long education of its members; and, advancing the professional development and careers of its members.

Today the American Society of Transplant Surgeons' membership includes more 2,000 transplant surgeons, physicians, scientists and allied health professionals from all around the globe.