Dr. Arnold G. Diethelm is Professor Emeritus of Surgery and was Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery from 1982-1999.


  • 2019 Mark H. Deierhoi, M.D.
  • 2018 Nancy Ascher, M.D.
  • 2017 Christian P. Larsen, M.D., D.Phil.
  • 2016 Elmi Muller, M.D.
  • 2015 A. Joseph Tector, M.D., Ph.D.
  • 2011 Eugene H. Blackstone, M.D.
  • 2009 Emeritus Professor Russell W. Strong
  • 2008 Carl G. Groth, M.D., Ph.D.
  • 2006 Jean-Michel Dubernard, M.D., Ph.D.
  • 2005 Hans Sollinger, M.D., Ph.D.
  • 2004 Ronald W. Busuttil, M.D., Ph.D.
  • 2003 John S. Najarian, M.D.
  • 2002 Sir Peter J. Morris, Ph.D., FRS, PRCS
  • 2001 Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D.
  • 2000 Joseph E. Murray, M.D.

About Arnold G. Diethlem

Dr. Arnold G. Diethelm’s career at UAB began in 1967 when he joined the Department of Surgery at the invitation of Dr. John W. Kirklin. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Diethelm received his B.A. degree from Washington State University in 1953 and his M.D. from Cornell Medical College in 1958.

Dr. Arnold G. Diethlem

Joining the faculty at UAB upon the completion of his two-year fellowship at Harvard, Diethelm accepted the challenge of building a nationally recognized transplantation program from the ground up. The first kidney transplant in Alabama took place in 1968, followed by the first heart transplant in the Southeast in 1981. These milestones were followed by the first liver transplant in the state in 1983, the first simultaneous pancreas/kidney transplant in 1988 and the first lung transplant in 1989.

Diethelm is the author or co-author of more than 210 publications in peer-reviewed journals, has served as a member of 26 surgical societies, as well as the chair of the UAB Department of Surgery from 1982 to 1999, and has been honored with numerous memberships, awards, visiting professorships and appointments.

Diethelm recalls one of the highlights of his career in 1974, when he was appointed visiting scientist in the Division of Surgical Science and the Division of Cryobiology at the Clinical Research Centre in Middlesex, England. Working in the field of immunology under the distinguished Sir Peter Medawar, the experience led to a lifelong interest in the field of immunological and tolerance-inducing medicine. His research led to pioneering work in the field of transplant tolerance, and because of his dedication, UAB has emerged as a leader in the exploration of new immunosuppressive agents.

Under Diethelm’s leadership, UAB’s renal transplant program has become one of the largest and busiest in the nation. In addition, Diethelm has helped develop the Alabama Organ and Tissue Procurement Centers, expanding supply of critical bone substance for bone allograft transplantation.

The UAB School of Medicine awarded Diethelm its highest award by naming him the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer in 1994.

The Arnold G. Diethelm Lectureship in Surgical Sciences was founded to foster the type of pioneering vision and dedicated work for the betterment of medicine that Dr. Arnold G. Diethelm exemplifies.