Donald Trunkey, M.D., has won the prestigious King Faisal International Prize for Medicine. The annual prize of the King Faisal Foundation in Saudi Arabia rewards scientists and scholars whose research results in significant advances that benefit humanity.
Each year the foundation chooses a medical category to honor. This year’s category was trauma management. Trunkey, professor and past chairman of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine, is regarded as an internationally renowned trauma surgeon and the father of modern trauma systems. He conceived and validated an organized trauma system for a better outcome of the injured patient and disseminated this system world-wide. He was one of the first surgeons to incorporate the concepts of preventable death methods and evidence-based practice in support of trauma systems.
Trunkey received his undergraduate degree from Washington State University and his medical degree from the University of Washington. He served in the U.S. Army and later in the U.S. Army Reserves during the Persian Gulf War. In April 1986, he assumed the Chair at Oregon Health Sciences University Department of Surgery, a position he held until 2001. Trunkey is a founding member of both the Homeland Security Department and the National Foundation for Trauma Care.
Trunkey shares the prize this year with Basil Arthur Pruitt Jr., a burn specialist at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio.
Dr. Trunkey will be presented with a certificate written in Arabic calligraphy describing his work, a commemorative 24-carat, 200-gram gold medallion and half of the $200,000 prize. He and his family will travel to Saudi Arabia this month to receive the prize in a public ceremony.
King Faisal Foundation was established in 1976 by the eight sons of the late King Faisal, the Kingdom's third monarch. The foundation established the King Faisal International Prize to show appreciation to individuals who have benefited humanity by advancing health care or the science that underlies it. The King Faisal International Prize comprises five categories: science, medicine, Arabic language and literature, Islamic studies, and service to Islam. With the exception of service to Islam, each category is distinguished by a topic that changes each year. Since the inception of the prize in 1979, there have been 189 laureates from 38 countries.
As a leader in research, OHSU earned $307 million in research funding in fiscal year 2007. OHSU serves as a catalyst for the region's bioscience industry and is an incubator of discovery, averaging one new breakthrough or innovation every three days, with more than 4,100 research projects currently under way. OHSU disclosed 132 inventions in 2007 alone, and OHSU research resulted in 33 new spinoff companies since 2000, most of which are based in Oregon.