Michael DeBakey, seated, with Lasker Award statuette

Michael DeBakey, seated, with Lasker Award statuette
DeBakey received the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award in 1963 "For his brilliant leadership and professional accomplishments, which were responsible in large measure for inaugurating a new era in cardiovascular surgery.". According to the Lasker Foundation website: "Believing that modern technological developments and the discovery and commercial production of synthetic materials could be applied to the solution of problems of cardiovascular disease hitherto regarded as incurable, Dr. DeBakey began, 30 years ago, to perfect new techniques in the surgical laboratory which might be applied for the benefit of man." The statement goes on to describe DeBakey's accomplishments in this vein, including the roller pump, artificial blood vessels, surgical treatment of aneurysms, and other daring procedures. It closes by saying: "His contributions have inspired surgeons throughout the world to higher standards and greater achievements; they honor him, as we do today, as a trail blazer, a medical statesman, and a master surgeon.". The widely respected Lasker Awards program, which began in 1945, recognizes "the contributions of scientists, physicians, and public servants who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease." There is a Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, which "honors investigators whose contributions have improved the clinical treatment of patients." DeBakey became a good friend of Mrs. Lasker, and served as Chairman of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation medical research awards jury from 1964-1994.. The Awards Program is named for Albert and Mary Lasker. Mary Woodard Lasker was a champion of medical research and an activist of public funding for medical research. She was instrumental in increased appropriations for the National Institutes of Health and the creation of several NIH institutes. Her husband, Albert Davis Lasker, was a pioneer advertising executive.
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