top of page
Irene K. Kim

Irene K. Kim

2022 Excellence in Health Care Honoree

Associate Professor, Surgery, Director, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Surgical Director, Kidney Transplantation Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Kim completed her undergraduate education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T) and her medical school at University of California San Francisco (U.C.S.F). The daughter of immigrant parents from Seoul - South Korea, Dr. Irene Kim was raised in Bowling Green, OH. After graduating from U.C.S.F., She went on to complete her general surgery training at Tufts University. During her residency at Tufts Medical Center, she was deeply impressed by three transplant surgeons who embodied humanism, compassion, and surgical prowess. She experienced the ultimate sacrifice one family makes to save another person’s life and she felt it was the filed she wanted to dedicate the rest of her professional life to.

Following that decision, Dr. Kim completed her abdominal transplant fellowship at Stanford University, before being recruited to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 2012. Dr. Irene Kim was the first woman who joined Cedars-Sinai’s Transplant Surgery team. Under her leadership, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Cedars-Sinai set a new record in 2021 by performing 573 solid organ transplants.

Dr. Kim is most proud of the contributions she has made in creating and maintaining a cohesive and skilled transplant team at Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center. Her investigation into the effects of blocking inflammatory molecules that trigger an immune response allowed the surgical team to suppress the production of antibodies that would attack the new organ. It enables transplantation in people with strong antibody responses and increases graft lifespan after transplantation.

Dr. Irene Kim’s vision for the future of Comprehensive Transplant Center is to engage in relatively young transplant fields such as hand and limb transplantation and conduct more research around barriers in transplantation to overcome these barriers including removing immunologic obstacles preventing some patients from being transplant candidates.

As the daughter of immigrants, Dr. Kim focuses on equity and inclusion. Many marginalized communities do not have access to transplantation due to socioeconomic, immigration status, or language barriers. She envisions more outreach efforts to this group of patients.

Dr. Kim has served at leadership positions for several societies and is currently a Councilor for the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) and the Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee for The United Network for Organ Sharing.

Dr. Kim’s research in understanding the immunology mechanisms of highly HLA-sensitized patients was honored by the Transplant Society with the Leslie Brent award in 2015.

bottom of page