Professional News

Zwischenberger Awarded Lung Health Champion

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2010) American Lung Association (ALA) presents the first ever Kentucky Lung Health Champion Award to UK HealthCare's Dr. Joseph "Jay" Zwischenberger, chair of the department of surgery and director of the UK Transplant Center, on Friday, Oct. 15, at the annual ALA Breath of Life Gala. The ALA honors Zwischenberger for his dedication to improving the quality of life for those suffering from lung disease with his research and development on the artificial lung transplant.

"We are proud to use the Breath of Life Gala as an opportunity to honor a physician who has made great strides in the advancement of pulmonary medicine," said Barry Gottschalk, CEO American Lung Association of the Midland States.

As a nationally established physician scientist, Zwischenberger has enjoyed continuous funding for his research since 1987 with more than 60 funded projects. His research team is focused on: the treatment of severe respiratory failure unresponsive to conventional medical management; pathophysiology of severe respiratory failure; perfusion-induced systemic hyperthermia for metastatic lung cancer; and artificial lung development.

"We are grateful for Dr. Zwischenger's leadership and passion as a physician, administrator and researcher," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "The work he is doing is making a difference in the lives of so many in this state and across the world, and we cherish this opportunity to celebrate him and his many accomplishments."

Zwischenberger has authored or co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed

publications, 65 book chapters, four books, and holds 2 patents.

“Each breath is an opportunity to enjoy family and community, especially when the air is fresh without smoke or pollution, said Zwischenberger. "I commend the ALA for the work they are doing to improve health in Kentucky.”

Zwisch, as he is known to many, says that his interest in surgery began when he rebuilt his first Model A Ford as a teenager, a passion he still enjoys today as an antique car enthusiast. He considers himself an amateur musician and is never far from his harmonica, often filling the halls of UK with his brand of bluegrass and blues, much to the delight of the patients and staff.  Zwisch also enjoys his “hobby” farm where he raises chickens, has an organic vegetable garden, and is learning the art of beekeeping. 

This annual event benefits the American Lung Association in Kentucky and its mission to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States today. Smoking, air pollution, and lung disease make breathing difficult for millions of Americans.

Monies raised from the Breath of Life Gala will help fund medical research, advocacy and education to ensure clean air and healthy lungs for all Kentuckians.

For more information, call the American Lung Association in Kentucky at 502-363-2652 or visit