Award Recipients To Be Honored at The Liver Meeting Digital Experience 2020

Distinguished Achievement Award

The Distinguished Achievement Award is given to an individual in honor of his or her sustained scientific contributions to the field of liver disease and the scientific foundations of hepatology. The award honors a sustained contribution rather than a single discovery or major achievement.

Russell H. Wiesner, MD, FAASLD

Early in his career, Dr. Russell Wiesner was involved in the study of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) and Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) including the incidence of malignancy in PSC. These studies included the development of prognostic scores for patients in cholestatic liver disease, which led to the development of the MELD Survival Score. In 1985, Dr. Wiesner established the liver transplant program at Mayo Clinic, a program which ultimately defined his career. From 1985-1987, he also served as principal investigator of The NIDDK Liver Transplant Database Project. In 1992, he became a founding member of the International Liver Transplant Society (ILTS) and, in association with the AASLD, developed the Liver Transplantation journal for which he served as co-editor with Dr. Ruud Krom from 2001-2006. Finally, in 2000, Dr. Wiesner became a member of the board of directors of UNOS, serving as president between 2003- 2004, leading to the development of the MELD liver transplant allocation scheme. This revolutionized the prioritization of liver transplant donors throughout the world and led to many lives saved on the liver transplantation waiting list. To this day, the MELD system continues to be used worldwide.

Photo of Russell H. Wiesner, MD, FAASLD

Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award

The Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award is given in honor of the sustained service of clinician educators to AASLD or the liver community in general. The award recognizes the skills of outstanding clinicians and educators who have made momentous contributions to hepatology over an extended period.


Michael R. Lucey, MD, FAASLD

Dr. Michael Ronan Lucey attended Trinity College, Dublin, receiving an MB, BCh in 1976 and an MD by thesis in 1985. After completing fellowships at St. Bartholomew's Hospital and King’s College Hospital, both in London, and at the University of Michigan, he joined the faculty of the latter where he remained for 10 years. He was Chief of Hepatology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1995-2001 and he has been Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health since 2001. In each of these positions, he welcomed the opportunity to act as mentor to many medical residents, fellows and visiting international scholars. Dr. Lucey was a member of the first ABIM/ABP exam writing committee for Transplant Hepatology and served as president of the American Society of Transplantation in 2003. Within the AASLD, he served as Treasurer from 2008-2010 and has contributed to AASLD annual meetings, DDW, Single Topic Conferences and several committees. He is a co-author of two AASLD guidelines and from 2011 until 2017, Dr. Lucey was the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Liver Disease, the online multimedia educational journal of the AASLD.

Photo of Michael R. Lucey, MD, FAASLD

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is given to an individual in honor of his or her sustained service to AASLD or the liver disease community in general. The award recognizes service provided to the community of hepatology researchers and clinicians over an extended period; service that is well above and beyond that provided by many members who serve on the Governing Board and Committees of AASLD.


Donald M. Jensen, MD, FAASLD

In a career spanning over 40 years as an academic hepatologist at both Rush University and the University of Chicago, Dr. Jensen established himself as an important investigator in new HCV therapies, a highly regarded mentor and educator, and a renowned clinician. However, it is his dedication and service to the AASLD for which he is most proud. He has contributed as a member and leader of several AASLD committees including Journals Publications and Practice Guidelines and as Chair of the Hepatitis C SIG. Furthermore, high points of Dr. Jensen’s service to the AASLD over the years include the following: as Governing Board Treasurer from 2011-2013, he managed a time of exceptional growth of the association’s finances. Dr. Jensen, along with co-chair Dr. David Thomas, established the first online AASLD/IDSA HCV Guidance to best respond to rapid changes in the field. He also served as Associate Editor for HCV for the AASLD journal HEPATOLOGY during the rapid expansion of newer HCV therapies. Finally, as Vice Chair of the Tomorrow’s Cures campaign of the AASLD Foundation, Dr. Jensen guided the successful fundraising of $12 million to support research grants, education and mentoring of future leaders.

Photo of Donald M. Jensen, MD, FAASLD

Distinguished Advocacy Service Award

The Distinguished Advocacy Service Award is given to an advocacy organization or individual in honor of sustained service to the liver disease community in general. The award recognizes service provided to the hepatology community over an extended period that raises awareness or garners public and federal legislative support and promotes liver health and quality patient care.


Hepatitis B Foundation
Founders: Timothy Block, PhD and Joan Block, RN

The Hepatitis B Foundation was established in 1991 by Tim and Joan Block, along with Paul and Janine Witte, to find a cure for hepatitis B and improve the lives of those affected worldwide. Today, it is a trusted global authority and primary portal of information about HBV, with 4 million website visits from 100+ countries annually. They reach thousands of patients each year through email, social media, and community-based screening and linkage to care programs. Their advocacy has resulted in increased federal funding for HBV and liver cancer, and changes in federal law and policy to reduce HBV discrimination. To fulfill its research mission, two additional nonprofits were founded, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, with the goal of advancing research and entrepreneurship. Ms. Block served on the WHO Committee for HBV management guidelines; received awards from the White House and CDC for advocacy; and served on the ALF national Board. Dr. Block was a tenured Professor at Thomas Jefferson and Drexel University Medical Schools until 2015 when he joined the Blumberg Institute full-time. He has published over 250 papers with over 20 patents and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, U.S. National Academy of Inventors.

Photo of Hepatitis B Foundation Founders
  • Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients
  • Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award Recipients
  • Distinguished Service Award Recipients
  • 2019
    Jordi Bruix, MD
  • 2018
    Arun J. Sanyal, MD, FAASLD
  • 2017
    Mei-Hwei Chang, MD, FAASLD
  • 2016
    Scott L. Friedman, MD, FAASLD
  • 2015
    Charles M. Rice, PhD
  • 2014
    Jules L. Dienstag, MD
  • 2013
    Roger Williams, CBE, MD, FRCP, FRCS, FMedSci
  • 2012
    Anna Mae Diehl, MD
  • 2011
    Harvey J. Alter, MD
  • 2010
    Sum-Ping Lee, MD, PhD
  • 2009
    Nelson Fausto, MD
  • 2008
    Lawrie W. Powell, MD, PhD
  • 2007
    Juan Rodes, MD
  • 2006
    Neil Kaplowitz, MD
  • 2005
    E Jenny Heathcote, MD
  • 2004
    D. Montgomery Bissell, MD
  • 2003
    Nicholas F. LaRusso, MD
  • 2002
    Roberto J Groszmann, MD
  • 2001
    Jay H. Hoofnagle, MD
  • 2000
    Robert H. Purcell, MD
  • 1999
    Francis V. Chisari, MD
  • 1998
    James L. Boyer, MD
  • 1997
    Alan F. Hofmann, MD
  • 1996
    Irmin Sternlieb, MD
  • 1995
    Telfer B. Reynolds, MD
  • 1994
    Irwin M. Arias, MD
  • 1993
    Stanley E. Bradley, MD and Carl A. Goresky, MD
  • 1991
    Thomas E. Starzl, MD
  • 1990
    Rudi Schmid, MD
  • 1989
    Aron Rappaport, MD
  • 1986
    Hyman J. Zimmerman, MD