Dr. Henry Buchwald - 1988 Inductee
(1932 - ) Buchwald is a professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Born in Vienna, Austria, he came to the United States as a child when his family fled Nazi prosecution during World War II. An innovative surgeon and research leader, a genius who has made major contributions in the treatment of heart disease and related disorders, Buchwald is responsible for developing methods for reducing cholesterol levels and heart problems in many patients. During his tenure on the faculty at the University of Minnesota, he established the field of metabolic surgery. He was only 29 and a surgical resident when in 1961 he came up with the radical idea of using surgery to control cholesterol. Since most cholesterol in food isn't absorbed until it reaches the lower third of the intestine, the young surgeon reasoned that bypassing this segment of intestine should keep cholesterol out of the blood. Although there initially was much skepticism, it has since been proven that lowering cholesterol levels reduces the risk of death from heart disease, whether it is from reducing cholesterol in diets, from control through drugs, or from an intestinal bypass procedure - weight loss surgery to control morbid obesity.
He is also honored for the development of bioengineering devices, including the world’s first infusion port, specialty vascular catheters, peritoneovenouse shunts, an implantable glucose sensor, and the world’s first implantable infusion pump, a hockey-puck sized device which enables patients to receive precise drug dosages directed to a specific anatomic site. The pump grew out of Buckwald’s early interest in combining engineering and medicine to solve problems.
Dr. Buchwald has contributed extensively to biomedical research literature. As of 1988, when he was inducted, he had authored 228 articles, and 37 chapters in books. He had also written, or guest edited, five books. The Henry Buchwald Award is given each year by the University of Minnesota Department of Surgery to honor a surgical resident entering the senior year of residency training who has demonstrated - both on the ward and in the research laboratory - the character, integrity, capability, and performance to become an academic surgeon of the highest caliber. It was established to commemorate Dr. Buchwald’s 65th birthday.
NOTE: These biographies have been compiled from information accompanying the nomination form submitted to the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame, information available on the Internet and from a variety of other sources.