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Thomas Jefferson University Holds Commencement for Class of 2013


Robert H. Barlett, MD, FACS, developer of extracorporeal life support, will address graduating class

PHILADELPHIA— Thomas Jefferson University will hold its 189th Annual Commencement to graduate students from Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Jefferson School of Population Health on Thursday, May 30th at 10:30 a.m., at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Dr. Robert Bartlett, known for the development of extracorporeal life support, will be the guest speaker. Robert H. Bartlett, MD, FACS, is Emeritus Professor of Surgery, Sections of General and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he continues to conduct laboratory and clinical research in applied physiology in surgery. He is known for having developed extracorporeal life support (ECLS) from the laboratory through the first successful clinical trials to routine practice worldwide.

Dr. Bartlett received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Albion College in Michigan in 1960, and he earned his medical doctorate with honors from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1963. He completed an internship and residency in surgery at Peter Bent Brigham and Children's Hospital in Boston. In 1970 Dr. Bartlett became assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, Irvine. Over the next decade, he served as the assistant director of surgical services, the director of the burn center and was named professor of surgery.

He returned to the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1980 as the director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Director of Graduate Education and Chief of the Trauma/Critical Care Division. Later he was a Professor of Surgery in the Sections of General and Thoracic Surgery and developed a Surgical Critical Care Fellowship and the Extracorporeal Life Support Program.

Dr. Bartlett is known for his exceptional vision, creativity, persistence and energy. In 1969, he published an account of a membrane oxygenator that allowed partial cardiopulmonary bypass in animals for up to four days. The following year he described a simple, reliable membrane oxygenator for organ perfusion. In 1975, Dr. Bartlett successfully treated an infant with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO.

When Dr. Bartlett moved to the University of Michigan in 1980, he continued to work on the project, eventually handling several cases a month. He standardized the technique and exported his ideas throughout the world. Over many years, the technology has been successfully adapted for use with pediatric and adult patients.

Dr. Bartlett has received 26 research grants, 14 from the National Institutes of Health, including an RO1 grant for the development of a totally artificial lung. He has held leadership roles in most of the professional societies associated with critical care and the development of artificial organs. He has been president of both the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs and the International Society for Artificial Organs. He has served on the editorial boards of 10 major medical journals and written more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed publications.

Among his many honors, Dr. Bartlett has received the American College of Surgeons' (ACS) prestigious Sheen Award for Research and Jacobson Award for Innovation in Surgery. He has also been awarded a Medal of Special Recognition from the National Academy of Surgery of France, the McGraw Medal of the Detroit Surgical Association and the Medallion for Scientific Achievement from the American Surgical Association, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

For more information, contact: Danielle Servetnick, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals, 833 Chestnut Street, Suite 1140, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 955-2238, (215) 955-5008 fax or email