Honorees

Donate Life

Donate Life, is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing the organ, eye and tissue donor registry. Founded as the Coalition on Donation in 1992 by the transplant community, Donate Life changed its name in 2006 while launching the first Donor Designation Collaborative. In its twenty-five years of existence, the Donate Life community has grown donor designation to nearly 129 million registered organ, eye and tissue donors in the United States. Our mission is to save lives by creating opportunities for all Californians to sign up on the official state organ, eye and tissue donor registry. We educate the community about the need and importance for people to register their donation wishes. Our vision is that one day all Californians will embrace organ, eye and tissue donation as their personal responsibility.

Dr. Richard J. Shemin, M.D.

Since 2008, Richard J. Shemin, M.D., one of the nation’s top heart surgeons, has held the position of Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, and Co-director of the Cardiovascular Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He continues to be a leader in the development of minimally invasive cardiac surgery, specializing in roboticassisted procedures, and collaborates with UCLA’s Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology. Dr. Shemin initiated UCLA’ s participation in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database to enhance quality improvement and patient safety. His current research aims to induce stem cells to become cardiovascular cells, in order to repair or replace damaged areas of the heart. Dr. Shemin has been honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from both the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University. He was recognized for Outstanding Leadership from the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education. Most recently, Dr. Shemin was awarded the Lifetime Commitment Award from the Jewish Free Loan Association in Los Angeles.

Dr. David J. Ross M.D.

Dr. David J. Ross is a pulmonologist at UCLA Medical Center and received his medical degree from Keck School of Medicine of USC and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Dr. Ross has focused on clinical and collaborative studies in the fields of lung transplantation and pulmonary arterial hypertension [PAH] at the UCLA Lung Transplant Program. Dr. Ross also devotes time to fund raising in support of development of a UCLA PEDIATRIC Lung Transplant Program, which is desperately necessary in Southern California.

Karla Gordy Bristol

Karla Gordy Bristol is the CEO of Bristol Entertainment. Karla is the co-host of the live weekly talk show, Karla & Rainelle Show. Karla has worked on projects for The Trumpet Awards, 100 Black Men of America, Ray Parker, Jr.’s Hollywood Star Reception, Miss Sacramento County USA Pageant, and numerous Hollywood award shows. She has interviewed celebrities and highly acclaimed individuals, produced concerts, shows and events, and appeared on TV shows and executive produced short films for television. Karla is on the Board of Directors of Ava’s Heart, and the Heroes Ball Red Carpet host for the second year in a row. She’s the proud daughter of Iris Gordy, a former Motown Records Vice President, and the late Johnny Bristol, Grammy nominated songwriter, producer, and singer; and the great-niece of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

CareDX Inc.

CareDx Inc., headquartered in Brisbane, California, is a global molecular diagnostics company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of clinically differentiated, high-value diagnostic solutions for transplant patients. CareDx offers testing products across transplantation, including AlloMap® and AlloSureTM for post-transplant surveillance and Olerup SSP®, XM-ONE®, QTYPE®, Gamma-TypeTM and SBT ResolverTM in pre-transplant testing. Additional information is available at www.caredx.com.

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SynCardia Systems, LLC

SynCardia Systems, LLC, is a medical technology company focused on developing and manufacturing the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t). The SynCardia TAH-t is an implantable system designed to assume the full function of a failed human heart in patients suffering from end-stage biventricular (both sides) heart failure. The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is the only artificial heart that is commercially available in the United States, European Union and Canada for use as a bridge to donor heart transplantation. Our mission is to eliminate end-stage biventricular (both sides) heart failure as a leading cause of death in the modern world. When all other treatments fail, the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) gives patients a second chance at life. Today, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart and its direct predecessors account for 96% of all artificial hearts implanted into people. Thirty-five years of research and development led to the first implant of the Total Artificial Heart into Barney Clark in 1982. Since that time over 1,475 Total Artificial Hearts have been implanted with over 500 SynCardia TAH-t implants since 2012.

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