Coming back to Le Bonheur
Umar Boston to lead new heart transplant program
When Umar Boston, MD, talks about his plans for building Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s heart transplant program, he is grateful that children suffering from heart failure can undergo heart transplantation here in Memphis without having to travel to other parts of the country.
That dream is what led him back to Le Bonheur.
Boston, a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon, recently became Le Bonheur’s surgical director of the Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory program and surgical director of the hospital’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease program. He trained at the Mayo Clinic and began his career at Le Bonheur in 2006 and left for St. Louis in 2012 where he worked in the heart failure and heart transplantation program at Washington University. Boston returned to Le Bonheur in late 2015 to help develop the hospital’s heart transplant program.
Coming back to Le Bonheur to build hospital’s heart transplantation program was “an opportunity of a lifetime,” Boston said. That opportunity, and the chance to work with prominent with prominent physicians like Jeff Towbin and Chris Knott-Craig, who both serve as co-directors of the Le Bonheur Heart Institute, drew him back to Memphis.
One of Boston’s first goals is to build the infrastructure of the transplant program, as well as to expand the number of physicians, nurses and staff.
Boston’s extensive work, leadership and experience in heart transplantation will be vital to the program’s success Towbin said. Boston also is one of the best in his field, Towbin added.
“Dr. Boston is a highly experienced pediatric heart surgeon with special long-term interests, experience and expertise in heart transplantation, mechanical circulatory support and adult congenital heart disease. He also has expertise in congenital heart disease surgery of neonates and children,” Towbin said. “In order to develop elite heart failure, transplant and adult congenital heart disease programs, a top surgeon makes a huge impact.”
And making that impact will help hundreds of cardiac patients per year. Since 2009, Le Bonheur doctors have performed more than 350 cardiovascular procedures each year, and the average survival rates for a majority of heart surgeries at Le Bonheur also are higher than Society of Thoracic Surgeon’s national averages.
While advancing the transplant program at Le Bonheur, Boston also plans on recruiting three additional heart transplant cardiologists to the hospital’s nationally recognized Heart Institute. Providing expert heart care for children is what inspires Boston and is the motivation for his research.
“I like dealing with children, and I like being able to make a difference in a child’s and their family’s life on a daily basis,” Boston said. “It’s a very tangible feel in that you are working to fix a problem, and sometimes you have to come up with very creative means of fixing a problem. I find that exciting and challenging.”
Education and Training
- University of Toronto – (B.S.1987- 1991)
- Howard University – (M.D. 1991-1995)
- Mayo Clinic– General Surgery Residency (1995- 2002)
- Mayo Clinic – Cardiovascular Research Fellow, (1997-1999)
- Mayo Clinic– Cardiothoracic Residency, (2002-2005)
- Mayo Clinic – Chief Resident in Cardiothoracic surgery (2004-2005)
- University of Alberta– Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiac surgery(2005-2006)
- Surgical Director, Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
- Surgical Director, Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
- Associate Professor, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
“We hope that we are providing diabetes control for children in this area because while everybody is waiting for a cure of diabetes, we cannot afford having kids in poor control,” Alemzadeh said.“We’ve shown through studies that when you are able to control children’s blood sugar levels you can actually prevent complications of diabetes. It shows conclusively that you can prevent it.”