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UCI Health surgeon receives lifetime achievement award

October 07, 2022
Dr. David Imagawa stands near a window in UCI Medical Center.

UCI Health surgeon Dr. David K. Imagawa

The Liver Health Foundation has honored Dr. David K. Imagawa, a leading expert in minimally invasive liver and pancreatic surgery at UCI Health, with its 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Imagawa received the award at the foundation’s “Salute to Excellence Dinner Gala” on Sept. 30 in recognition of his career of “lifesaving research, service to liver patients and leadership in healthcare.”

He is a professor and the Suzanne Dykema Endowed Chair in Pancreatic Cancer, chief of the Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery and vice chair of academic affairs for the UCI School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery at the University of California, Irvine.

Imagawa earned his medical degree and PhD in pharmacology from John Hopkins School of Medicine. He then completed an internship and residency in general surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he completed fellowship training in liver transplantation research and organ transplantation.

His clinical interests include pancreatic cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver cancer, bile duct cancer and islet cell transplantation. He is also one of the founders of Bruin Biosciences, a biotechnology start-up company that is developing a new drug delivery platform for liver cancer.

A prolific researcher, Imagawa has been the principal or co-investigator in more than 120 clinical trials and has published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals. An author of numerous book chapters and abstracts, he serves as an ad hoc reviewer for Transplantation, World Journal of Surgery, Annals of Surgery, Liver Transplantation, American Journal of Transplantation, HPB Surgery and Archives of Surgery. He also is a member of the Clinical Trials Committee of the Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (AHPBA).

Imagawa is a three-time recipient of the John Connolly Faculty Teaching Award, which is presented annually to an outstanding professor of surgery at the UCI School of Medicine. This year he was awarded the John Connolly Society Mentorship Award for his years of exceptional training and education of surgical residents.

Recognized as a “Physician of Excellence” by the Orange County Medical Association for each of the last 11 years, Imagawa is also a member of the Association of Academic Surgeons, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the Pacific Coast Surgical Society and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centerhigh-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.