Tomas A. Salerno, M.D., professor of cardiothoracic surgery, DeWitt Daughtry Endowed Chair in CT surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 International Coronary Congress (ICC) Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of surgical myocardial revascularization.
The ceremony, which took place in New York City, is one of the most prestigious international congresses held in the field of coronary artery surgery, attended by many prominent leaders in the specialty. This year’s event honored Dr. Salerno who has been recognized internationally for over 40 years as one of the most prominent and innovative academic cardiac surgeons in the field. His clinical and research work in warm heart surgery, atrial natriuretic factor, myocardial protection, off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, beating heart valve surgery, the Batista Operation, and pulmonary protection during heart surgery have further made him a standout figure.
To add to his accolades, Dr. Salerno has more than 500 peer-reviewed publications with very h-index (a metric that measures productivity and citation impact of publications), has lectured worldwide, and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cardiac Surgery, a leading journal in the specialty. Dr. Salerno, who is also chief emeritus of cardiothoracic surgery at the Miller School and Jackson Memorial Hospital, has trained more than 120 prominent national and international heart surgeons and continues to influence students, residents, and surgeons as they pursue a career in cardiac surgery.
While Dr. Salerno has received numerous international accolades and awards, he acknowledges the ICC Lifetime Achievement Award as the most special, as it represents recognition by his peers worldwide.
“I was humbled when I was informed by Drs. John Puskas, David Taggart, and Mario Gaudino, that I was unanimously nominated to be the recipient of this most prestigious award,” Dr. Salerno said. “The 2021 ICC Lifetime Achievement Award was in recognition from students, residents, and surgeons all over the world whose lives I had touched and inspired.”
At the Miller School and Jackson, Dr. Salerno held various chair positions, served as faculty senate chair for the University of Miami, and was a member of many committees. This was all done while he continued his academic career in teaching, research, and clinical work. Dr. Salerno continues to be sought as a motivator and inspiring speaker in the field of cardiac surgery.
“Looking back, I can say that the way I may have made a difference is by thinking outside the box in many aspects of cardiac surgery,” Dr. Salerno said. “I continue to enjoy a career dedicated to academia where I have helped change the cardiac field in many ways. I owe great gratitude to the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, University of Miami, and Jackson Memorial, along with all patients, students, residents, and faculty from different specialties, who have taught and inspired me more than I could ever be thankful for.”