The Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has named its surgery research center in honor of Jesse H. Meredith, M.D. Meredith, who was on the faculty at Wake Forest Baptist for 41 years, is renowned for his innovations in surgery and his contributions to public health.
“Jess Meredith is well known as an innovator in many fields,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the institute. “His accomplishments have significantly impacted health care in this country and we are honored to add his name to our surgical research facility, where we are working to develop new regenerative medicine treatments.”
Meredith’s accomplishments include being the first surgeon in the United States to successfully re-attach a severed hand. He started the organ transplantation program at Wake Forest Baptist and also established and became director of the first burn unit and tissue bank in the state. He was a charter member of the Southeastern Organ Procurement Foundation, which set standards for donor organ procurement, preservation and tissue typing, and served as a model for the current national standards for organ transplantation through the United Network for Organ Sharing. He also founded and served as the first director of the medical school’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Meredith designed the first intensive care unit in North Carolina, at Wake Forest Baptist, which was also one of the first in the nation. He also helped establish a driver medical evaluation program in North Carolina and, with a colleague, planned and initiated the first comprehensive course for ambulance drivers.
Meredith, who came to Wake Forest Baptist in 1952, retired in 1993 as emeritus professor of surgery. Today, he serves the Medical Center as a member of an institutional review board, a group of citizens, physicians, researchers and others who review proposals for research involving people.
Meredith has received many awards during his career, including the Ronald Levine Award for his 40 years of service to the North Carolina Commission for Health Service, now the Public Health Commission, which is the rule-making body for public health in North Carolina. During his 30 years as chairman, more than 2,000 public health regulations were passed. He has also received the Harvey Estes Award from the N.C. Medical Society, the UNC School of Public Health’s John Atkinson Ferrell Award for Public Health Preventive Medicine and the State of North Carolina Award for Public Service, the highest honor the state can bestow.
A portrait of Meredith will hang in the institute’s lobby along with a plaque honoring his contributions.