The ABA Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to recognize lifetime outstanding achievement and contribution to the field of burn care. Congratulations to Jeffrey R. Saffle, MD, FACS, the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, presented at the 51st ABA Annual Meeting, April 3, 2019, in Las Vegas, NV.
All of the best things in Dr. Jeffrey Saffle’s life have arisen out of his association with burn care.
A native of Utah, Jeff graduated from the University of Chicago in 1972, and the Pritzker School of Medicine in 1976. He then returned to Salt Lake City as an intern in the Department of Surgery, where he soon met two remarkable people in the Burn Unit: the Director, Dr. Glenn Warden, and the Nurse Manager, Melva Kravtiz. They were two of the finest clinicians Jeff has ever worked with, and they inspired his initial interest in burn care. He became the first burn fellow at Utah during 1978-1979, completed his surgical residency in 1982, and joined the faculty of the Burn Center as Associate Director. He was the ABA’s Traveling Fellow in 1984. He became Director of the Intermountain Burn Center in 1985.
Jeff joined the ABA in 1980; he has attended every ABA meeting since. Throughout his time with the ABA, he discovered kindred spirits all over the country who became his friends and mentors. He served as Chairman of the Committee on Organization and Delivery of Burn Care, and also served on the Federal Issues, Program, Verification, Archives, and Regionalization committees. He became Secretary of the ABA in 1996. He regards his Presidency of the ABA, in 2001-2002, as the proudest achievement of his life. Jeff also helped organize and conduct the ABA’s first Practice Guidelines for Burn Care in 1998-99, and helped start the ABA’s multicenter trials group. More recently, he developed a successful program in burn telemedicine. He served as Director of the Telemedicine Department at the University of Utah.
But, the greatest benefit of his burn career was meeting Susan, a burn unit charge nurse he met during his fellowship in 1979, and married in 1983; 36 years later, she is still happily in charge of his life. He and Susan now live in Minnesota, and continue to enjoy meeting and catching up with their many close friends at ABA activities. In their rare non-burn related moments, Jeff and Susan are involved in another ABA (the American Birding Association), and treasure their time spent in the outdoors, and in their travels.
ABA Past President, 2001-2002