Pediatric surgeon honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

James L. Talbert, M.D., an emeritus professor in the division of pediatric surgery, was awarded the UF College of Medicine’s Lifetime Achievement Award April 29 as part of the college’s 2009 “Celebration of Research.”

Talbert became UF’s first pediatric surgeon when he joined the College of Medicine in 1967 as founding chief of the division of pediatric surgery, a position he held for more than 30 years. During his tenure at UF, Talbert developed innovative surgical techniques for the repair of congenital airway lesions and improved systems of care for injured children and pediatric cancer patients. He established a renowned program, currently led by David Kays, M.D., which grew to become an international leader in pediatric surgical care and research.

His introduction highlighting his myriad accomplishments required more than five minutes.

“I’m surprised and overwhelmed to be on the same list as so many great researchers mentioned here tonight,” said Talbert, as he stepped on stage after receiving a standing ovation. “The reason why I’m still here is because of faculty, faculty, and faculty. I love the faculty at the College of Medicine, the Health Science Center and the university at large.”

Although retired, Talbert continues to mentor and encourage faculty and students.

Talbert completed his medical training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, and then both his general and pediatric surgical residencies at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he served on faculty prior to coming to UF.