Albany Med Remembers Beloved Surgeon and Founder of its Kidney Transplant Program, Dr. Neil Lempert
The Albany Med community mourns the loss of Neil Lempert, MD, ’58, beloved surgeon, mentor, colleague and friend, who passed away Dec. 6 at age 89. Dr. Lempert pioneered kidney transplantation in northeastern New York, founding Albany Med's renal transplant program in 1969. He served as director of transplantation until 1992.
“Dr. Lempert left an indelible mark on Albany Medical Center, and on the thousands of lives saved through our kidney transplant program,” said Dennis P. McKenna, MD, president and CEO. “He distinguished himself as a compassionate and tireless physician leader and was a respected and trusted mentor to hundreds of students and residents.”
In addition to the many lives his work has saved or improved throughout our region, Dr. Lempert’s work has reached across the globe, and continues to impact patients today. He also was a pioneer in the front-line research of anti-rejection drugs including cyclosporine, which helps the human body accept organ transplants. His work has directly led to increased survival rates for transplant patients.
Dr. Lempert received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1958 and served as research fellow in surgery at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown from 1963–1964. After a tour of duty in the United States Army, he returned to Albany Medical Center in 1967. In addition to his surgical responsibilities, he led an active basic science research program and became a beloved mentor to generations of medical students and residents.
Upon his retirement in 2000, the Neil Lempert Professor of Surgery was established to honor his legacy. Dr. Lempert continued to work closely with Albany Medical Center throughout his retirement and maintained his philanthropic commitment through the establishment of the Judith and Neil Lempert, MD, ’58 Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2019, among other gift commitments.
He was recognized with the Pillars Award in 2010, the Medical Center’s highest honor.