Family members, friends, colleagues, former patients, hospital staff and others gathered
together on May 27, 2011 at Memorial Medical Center to celebrate the lifetime achievements of the late Alan G. Birtch, MD, as the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program was named in his honor.
Dr. Birtch was recruited by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine to join its faculty and serve as the first director of the Memorial Medical Center and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Transplant Program in 1972. He performed the first of 345 transplant procedures in July 1973.
Under his leadership, the transplant program offered a personal, holistic approach that involved patient education, coordination of long-term medical care, social work support and helping patients resolve concerns about costs for necessary medications.
A remarkably gifted surgeon and educator, Dr. Birtch served as medical director of the transplant program from its inception in 1972 through his retirement as professor emeritus at the SIU School of Medicine in 1996.
In 2002, Dr. Birtch was honored for the impact of his leadership on organ donor programs throughout his career when he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Much gratitude is owed to Dr. Alan G. Birtch. His vision and fortitude have provided life for those afflicted with kidney failure and given hope to those who await transplantation. Through his sharing of knowledge, skills, wisdom and passion, many have been inspired to follow him in the work of giving life to others. It is our privilege to express our gratitude for how Dr. Birtch gave of himself to our community and the patients he served by naming The Alan G. Birtch, MD Center for Transplant Services at Memorial in his honor.