Dr. David Herndon, the Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Chair in Burn Surgery at UTMB and chief of staff and director of research at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Galveston, will receive an international award for his contributions to the field of burn care research and innovations in improving the care of burn survivors.
Herndon is the eighth person to receive the International Burn Foundation’s Tanner-Vandeput-Boswick Burn Prize since the quadrennial award was established in 1984. He will be honored in October at the Congress of the International Society for Burn Injuries taking place in Sydney, Australia.
In a statement, the IBF said that Herndon “has made a significant impact on the care and treatment of burn victims. The leadership he has brought to the burn care profession has been exemplary.”
Dr. David L. Callender, UTMB president, said, “This prestigious award acknowledges Dr. Herndon’s many contributions to the care of burn patients. His research has helped to define the Blocker Burn Unit as among the best in the world and this award places him among the elite of surgeons.”
Herndon has been supported in his research by the National Institutes of Health for more than 30 years. He is recognized for his multiple, seminal contributions to the burn field, including his discoveries related to an increase in a person’s metabolic system in response to a burn injury. Burn wounds trigger a system response that causes increased caloric needs to support the high energy expenditure, typically one and a half times greater than normal, caused by the release of adrenalin and other hormones. He literally wrote the book on caring for patients; “Total Burn Care” is now in its fourth edition, with translated versions in use all over the world.
He was an early advocate of burn-wound excision within 48 hours of injury followed by complete coverage with grafts and a proponent of skin banks. He has conducted more than 100 clinical trials to improve burn recovery. Moreover, he has mentored 174 fellows who work in burn care all over the world.
“It was humbling for me to be considered for this award, given the giants of research who have preceded me as recipients,” said Herndon. “Since I began my career as a burn specialist in the 1980s, great progress has been made in the field of burn injuries, particularly the reduction in mortality for those suffering from massive burn injuries. The focus on rehabilitation and improving long-term function has dramatically increased healing of not only the patient’s wounds, but the whole human being.”
Earlier this year, Herndon was awarded the Medallion for Scientific Achievement by the American Surgical Association, the highest accolade presented by the oldest surgical society in the United States.
The Blocker Burn Unit at UTMB was the first such center to be fully accredited in the United States. The center is named for Dr. Truman Blocker, the first president of UTMB and a combat surgeon in World War II. He treated survivors of the 1947 Texas City industrial explosion and with his wife Virginia, also a medical doctor, followed survivors for many years as a pioneer in the care of burn patients.
The Tanner-Vandeput-Boswick Burn Prize was established in 1984 by the late Dr. J.C. Tanner of Atlanta, Ga. Tanner, assisted by Dr. Jacques Vandeput, invented the Tanner-Vandeput Mesh Dermatome, a device that enables skin grafts to be expanded to cover a larger area of a patient’s burn. The IBF was created to promote and administer the burn prize. Tanner honored the contributions of the late Dr. John Boswick, first chairman of the IBF board of directors, by adding his name to the prize.