2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Dr. Alperin grew up in Marianna, Arkansas, a Mississipi
Delta town of 4,500 residents. Illnesses as a young child led to contacts with physicians that fostered his early aspiration to become a doctor himself. After several undergraduate years at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he transferred
to its College of Medicine in Memphis, receiving his medical degree in 1957.
His five-year postgraduate education continued in Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center. During this period, his interests gravitated to his future fascination with blood. As he relates it, “I met a woman.” That young woman
was a patient with thrombotic thrombocytic purpura, a rare disease that then carried a poor prognosis. He took over her care, enabled her to live additional decades, and became a hematologist as a result. He met another woman at Michael Reese, a staff
member in public relations: Lynn Manaster became his wife 60 years ago. Completing his training, he spent an additional year at Reese teaching on the faculty of Chicago Medical School and learning how to perform hemoglobin electrophoresis.
By then, Dr. Alperin had decided on a career in academic medicine. A colleague introduced him to Dr. William C. Levin, who invited Dr. Alperin to come to Galveston to serve a two-year senior research fellowship in hematology, after which he joined the
faculty and eventually rose to the rank of professor of medicine. He has held appointments in Internal Medicine, Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Pathology, serving five years as acting chief of the
Division of Hematology-Oncology and later as associate director of the Division of Hematopathology.
A Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Alperin received the Laureate Award from its Texas Chapter and was named a Diplomate of the International Board of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis, Hemostasis, and Vascular Medicine. Among his many other
society memberships, Dr. Alperin was a member of the Texas Medical Association and served as president of the Galveston County Medical Society.
As an active participant in investigative hematology, Dr. Alperin is the author or coauthor of more than 125 papers and abstracts reporting on nonmalignant disorders of the blood and transfusion medicine. Special interests have been nutritional anemias,
hemoglobinopathies, hemorrhagic and thrombotic disorders, transfusion therapy, and blood component therapy. These articles have appeared in numerous publications including the New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, American Journal of Medicine, American
Journal of Hematology, Transfusion, American Journal of Clinical Pathology, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and Archives of Internal Medicine. Noteworthy are his publications on folic acid requirements in pregnancy and sickle cell anemia,
and hemolytic transfusion reaction caused by anti-M; his work on vitamin K deficiency appeared in the English, Turkish, and Japanese editions of JAMA. For many years, he served on the Working Group on Hemoglobin Variants Subcommittee of the National
Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards.
Dr. Alperin has taught generations of physicians for 60 years. For 39 years, he served as Chief Faculty Marshal for the School of Medicine graduation; in 2015 he was honored to be named Senior Faculty Marshal. Among the many honors he has received for
his teaching, clinical skills, and professionalism are the Golden Apple Award from the junior class in the School of Medicine, and awards from the School of Medicine Alumni Association, the Department of Internal Medicine, the Department of Pathology,
and the School for Specialists in Blood Banking. For seven years, he was recognized by Texas Monthly as one of the “Top Hematologists in Texas.” The University of Tennessee College of Medicine Alumni Association presented him with its
Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the UTMB Academy of Master Clinicians honored him with their 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Perhaps the award Dr. Alperin has most cherished came in 2001 when his abiding commitment to education, centered on compassionate and scientifically based clinical care, was recognized, and he was named one of the six inaugural Osler Scholars in the John
P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine. After 58 years at UTMB, he is now a half-time clinical professor in internal medicine and pathology, serving as associate director of the Blood Bank and a consultant in hematology and transfusion medicine.
He remains a happily active Emeritus Osler Scholar.
The quotations below best summarize Dr. Alperin’s contributions to his chosen profession:
From a distinguished former colleague: I’ve forever regarded you as the consummate physician and hematologist. You were and are a bastion of the department as a teacher, consultant, and friend.
From a current colleague: You are and always will be a fabulous teacher and colleague . . . . I tell the students that they will meet true icons along the path of their education and at UTMB, you are the person I have put highest on the list. . . . you
are the expert and teacher, I continue to strive for excellence . . . and you are helping me.
And from a medical student completing his rotation on the hematology service: I’m thankful to have seen you interact with your patients and to take the time to sit by their bedside, hold their hands, and elicit a thorough history. The Oslerian saying,
“Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis” has shined through as the key to diagnosing many of our patients this month. I’ve seen you gather more pertinent history from a patient by simply showing patience and a listening
ear than most other residents or fellows I’ve worked with. Thank you for an unforgettable month and thanks for being UTMB’s own version of William Osler