Kirklin Leads by Example

James K. Kirklin, M.D., is supporting research at the UAB School of Medicine through the Faculty and Staff Campaign.
james kirklin 2011 2As The Campaign for UAB moves toward its largest fund-raising goal to date, faculty and staff support is more important than ever. James K. Kirklin, M.D., director of the UAB Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, has always been a leader when it comes to giving back. Kirklin’s gifts over time have created the James K. Kirklin Heart Transplant Fund, which supports research in surgical solutions for advanced heart failure and provides assistance to needy patients.

Recent gifts include creating a visiting professorship in cardiothoracic surgery; an endowed fund in mechanical circulatory support, in partnership with Robert C. Bourge, M.D., former director of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease; and support for the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center and ArtPlay, where his daughter Kimberly is director of education and outreach.

“Philanthropy has always been very important to my family,” Kirklin says. “It is an opportunity to invest in missions that have captivated my professional life, which have required financial planning like any other investment and have yielded important personal satisfaction for my family and myself.”

Beyond UAB, Kirklin established an International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation endowment for publishing a yearly monograph about the science of thoracic transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. He has served as president of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation and as editor of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Kirklin is internationally known for his expertise in cardiac surgery, heart and lung transplants, congenital heart disease, and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) placement therapy. In honor of his many contributions to UAB and to cardiothoracic surgery, the Department of Surgery established the James K. Kirklin Endowed Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery, complementing the division’s four other endowed chairs.

Kirklin believes the philosophy of philanthropy is an essential part of the dedication that successful academic physicians require. “This philosophy has motivated my family to invest personally in important endeavors,” he says. “We hope to inspire other physician stakeholders to think similarly.”

For more information about giving to the School of Medicine, visit