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Gordon Tobin, MD, Named 2017 Ephraim McDowell
Physician of the Year

Dr. Gordon Tobin at Doctors' Ball

Gordon Tobin, MD, was awarded the Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year at the 2017 Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation Doctors’ Ball.

The Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year honors a physician who has made significant contributions to the field of medicine, provided humanitarian service, and demonstrated the highest ethical standards. This is typically a physician who has shown long-term service to the community.

Born and raised in Idaho, Dr. Tobin completed his undergraduate degree at Whitman College in Washington and his medical degree at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco. He completed residencies and General Surgery and Plastic Surgery at the University of Arizona before coming to Louisville.

Dr. Tobin career encompasses surgical education, pioneering medial research, care for the underserved at home and abroad and physician leadership in local, state and national organizations. Professor of Surgery and former Plastic Surgery Director, he founded a robust research laboratory that developed many new reconstructive techniques and pioneered hand and face transplantation. He is Director of Craniofacial Transplantation at UofL and an original member of the team that laid essential research foundations and performed the world’s first successful hand transplant in 1999.

Dr. Tobin is a member of the Jewish Hospital and UofL Cardiac Innovation Institute Pancreatic Islet Transplantation Team, which seeks a cure for diabetes. He also studies and writes extensively on medical ethics and medical history. He has written more than 300 scientific and medical papers, book chapters and books.

As founder of the UofL Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory, Dr. Tobin’s early research provided many breakthroughs in reconstructive surgery for cancer, burns and trauma. His technique of pelvic and vaginal reconstruction after radical pelvic cancer has become the preferred method worldwide. He pioneered reconstruction of cardiac and thoracic surgery defects, as well as early excision and coverage of burns. He also developed methods of vital organ coverage in separation of conjoined (Siamese) twins, working with UofL Pediatric and Cardiac Surgery teams.

Throughout his career, Dr. Tobin has embraced medical missions abroad and at home. In 1991, he co-founded the Vietnam Burn Care Mission to bring modern burn care to Southeast Asia. The mission team made repeated medical care and teaching visits to Vietnam burn centers over the subsequent decade, leading to vastly improved burn survival. He is a care provider and Board Member of Healing the Children, and he supports the volunteer efforts of Surgery On Sunday. His long-standing support of The Healing Place has helped the recovery program reach beyond alcohol-dependency recovery to address the current opioid and heroin epidemic.

Dr. Tobin is also a long-standing supporter of Kentucky’s Supplies Over Seas (SOS) organization. He led the 2005 SOS effort for Afghanistan and is involved in current relief effort for Syrian refugee camps. In 2015, he obtained a grant from the Kentucky Medical Association Foundation to test and refurbish costly, high-tech equipment. This effort recycles sophisticated equipment worth millions of dollars for impoverished overseas hospitals while keeping tons of metal and toxic electronics out of U.S. landfills. He has received multiple humanitarian service awards and election to humanitarian honor societies.

Dr. Tobin has served in local, state and national roles in various medical societies. He is Past President of both the Greater Louisville Medical Society (GLMS) and the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) and continues service on the KMA Foundation Board. His key advocacies are promoting health-enhancing behavior, protecting a health-sustaining environment and finding consensus solutions to fully insure health care for all citizens.

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