Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization

What is FELSO?

Induction into Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization is an honor bestowed on select physicians, nurses, perfusionists, therapists and researchers who have provided distinctive contributions to the global art and science of extracorporeal support delivery. Election to FELSO identifies global recognition of those who have advanced the field in diverse and lasting ways. The charter class of FELSO inductees was selected in 2015. Annually, a small number of awardees will be presented with the honor.

Qualifications for Fellowship:

  • Extraordinary, distinctive contributions to the art and science of extracorporeal support.
  • Examples:
    • - Outstanding innovations in extracorporeal support
    • - Significant research and/or device development
    • - Extensive publication in the field
    • - Distinctive leadership/public advocacy
    • - Objective evidence of extraordinary compassionate care
  • Recommendation by other recognized leaders in extracorporeal support and by Fellows
  • Emphasis on diversity in:
    • - Discipline
    • - International representation


Nominations for Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (FELSO) Now Open!

The ELSO community can now make nominations for induction to FELSO, the honorary designation recognizing extraordinary contributions to the art and science of ECLS. Applications will receive consideration by the FELSO Nominations Committee. Please see the application below for more information.  All applications must be received by April 15, 2019 for this years nominations.

FELSO Nomination Form

For more information please email FELSO@elso.org


Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization: Inaugural Class-2015

Robert H. Bartlett MD

• Surgeon/Intensivist
• Considered the Father of ECMO
• Conducted the first successful cardiac and neonatal ECMO cases in the 1970s
• Helped to establish ELSO in 1989

Konrad Falke MD

• Intensivist
• Established the first German ECMO center in Berlin in the 1970s

Luciano Gattinoni MD

• Anesthesia/Intensivist
• Conducted the first trials of extracorporeal CO2 removal and is the premier respiratory
• Intensivist/physiologist in Europe

John Gibbon MD

• Invented the heart/lung machine and cardiopulmonary bypass inspired by a patient who died of pulmonary embolism
• The first CPB case was in 1953 in Philadelphia

Robert E. Gross MD

• Pediatric Surgeon
• Regarded as the father of pediatric surgery, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, and pediatric surgical research

J. Donald Hill MD

• Cardiothoracic Surgeon
• Studied ECMO in the laboratory and performed the first successful ECMO case in 1971

Theodor Ted Kolobow PhD

• Experimental Surgeon
• Career entirely at the NIH where he developed membrane oxygenators and prolonged extracorporeal circulation.
• Trained scores of clinicians who developed clinical ECMO.

Pearl O'Rourke MD

• Pediatric Intensivist
• Performed the second prospective randomized trial of ECMO in newborn infants in 1987

Billie Short MD

• Neonatologist
• First neonatologist to fully develop an ECMO program based in neonatology.
• Drs. O’Rourke and Short established the first ECMO symposium in 1987, which continues to today.

John Toomsian CCP

• Perfusionist/Researcher.
• Working with Dr. Bartlett, has been involved with ECMO research since the mid 70s.
• Premier perfusionist in the development of ECMO.


Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization: Class-2016

Warwick Butt MD

• Founder of Australian ECMO
• Started ECMO program in Melbourne -1980s

J. Devn Cornish MD

• Charter ELSO Steering Committee Member
• Innovator in VV ECMO and ECMO transport

Robin Chapman RN

• First ECMO Coordinator at Ann Arbor
• Developed the ECMO coordinator role

Jean-Yves Chevalier MD

• Pediatric intensivist
• Performed first ECMO in France

Richard Firmin MD

• Developed ECMO in the United Kingdom
• Authored 1996 ECMO RCT demonstrating benefit in neonates

Masahiro Nagaya MD

• Pioneering pediatric surgeon in congenital diaphragmatic hernia
• Performed first ECMO in Japan

Antonio Pesenti MD

• ECMO surgeon, University of Milan
• Partnered with Luciano Gattinoni to perform groundbreaking ECMO work with extracorporeal CO2 removal

Giles Peek MD

• Pioneering ECMO surgeon
• Authored the game-changing CESAR trial-advancing adult respiratory failure ECMO

Peter Rycus MPH

• Executive Director of ELSO
• Indispensable to ELSO

Charles Stolar MD

• Pediatric surgeon
• Founded influential ECMO program at Columbia Advanced care of CDH

Jay Zwischenberger MD

• Prolific ECMO innovator and inventor
• Invented the double lumen venous cannula, bicaval cannula
• Chair, ELSO Steering Committee post-9/11

Warren Zapol MD

• Authored the initial Adult ECMO RCT
• Developer of inhaled nitric oxide
• Prolific scientist-determined how marine mammals avoid hypoxia and the bends
• Member, Institute of Medicine


Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization:  Class-2017

Steve Conrad MD

• Intensivist from Shreeveport, ELSO Steering Committee chair.
• Teacher and evangelist for ECMO worldwide as well as working on early forms of AVCO2R.

Heidi Dalton MD

• Pediatric Intensivist and former ELSO Steering committee chair
• ELSO conference chair for 6 years
• Instrumental in shaping the “ELSO-experience” into the collegial and collaborative atmosphere which prevails at both the global and regional ELSO conferences to this day.
• Respected researcher in the wider field of pediatric critical care has been an essential bridge between ELSO and SCCM.

Rodrigo Diaz MD

• Cardiovascular Anesthesiologist in Santiago Chile, established the first Adult ECMO center in Latin America.
• Trained most of the Latin American centers, and helped establish ECMO programs on his continent. • Major contributor to ELSO and to LAELSO.

Bjorn Frencker MD

• Pediatric surgeon, established the world-class ECMO program at Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Swedenwith colleague Palle Palmer
• Has trained scores of surgeons and fellows
• Active in ELSO and EuroElso
• Hosted the second meeting of EuroELSO in 2013

Barb Haney RN

• ECMO coordinators co-parent of the ELSO Center of Excellence Award
• The COE awardis globally recognized by ECMO teams, healthcare systems and payors as the hallmark of an expert ECMO center.

Phoebe Hankins

• Inaugural executive director of ELSO from 1989
• Organized the original ECMO courses at Michigan, coordinated the communication, and helped establish ELSO in 1989.
• Guided ELSO back from the financial brink when the 2001 meeting was cancelled because of 9/11.

Michael Heard RN

• ECMO coordinators co-parent of the ELSO Center of Excellence Award.
• The COE awardis globally recognized by ECMO teams, healthcare systems and payors as the hallmark of an expert ECMO center.

Tracy Morrison RN

• ECMO coordinators co-parent of the ELSO Center of Excellence Award
• The COE awardis globally recognized by ECMO teams, healthcare systems and payors as the hallmark of an expert ECMO center.

Andrezj (Andrew) Sosnowski MD

• Cardiac surgeon established the legendary ECMO program at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK with Richard Firmin
• Personally (and alone) conducted the first successful UK case actually done at Bristol Children’s Hospital over 100 miles from Leicester.
• Collaborator in both the classic neonatal trial and the CESAR adult trial

Palle Palmer MD

• Pediatric Intensivist, established the ECMO program at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm Sweden with surgeon Bjorn Frenckner.
• Pioneer of awake ECMO
• Pioneer of prolonged ECMO, “just take a coffee and wait for recovery”
• Pioneer of mobile ECMO


Fellowship of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization: Class-2018

Alain Combes MD

Alain Combes was the lead investigator of the EOLIA study which has addressed some of the inherent methodological flaws of the CESAR trial. The ethically mandatory and compassionate use of cross-over to ECMO in the conventional ventilation control group lead to a survival advantage for patients treated with ECMO. Alain is the consummate modern cardiac “réanimateur” adept at juggling different devices for the benefit of his patients whilst also traveling the world to lecture, teach and collaborate in research. Alain was an inaugural member of the EuroELSO steering committee and currently serves as Chairman.

James Fortenberry MD

James Fortenberry has been a longstanding and stalwart member of the ELSO community serving as at large and then as Chair of the ELSO Steering Committee. He is a leading member of the pediatric intensive care and ECMO community and is an active researcher, clinician, administrator and teacher.

Roberto Lorusso MD

Roberto Lorusso is one of the leading adult cardiac surgical ECMOlogists leading the tsunami of current interest in ECMO. Always immaculate in both manner and dress he was the inaugural conference chair of EuroELSO and later served as Chair of the EuroELSO steering committee. The success of this first regional ELSO chapter is in no small part due to the efforts of Roberto Lorusso.

Graeme MacLaren MD

Graeme MacLaren is the modern embodiment of the renaissance man, he is a skilled linguist, gourmet and connoisseur. In his spare time, he is a leading pediatric intensivist and ECMOlogist in Singapore and Australia. He has an uncanny ability to create collaborative working groups where others have been unable to find a harmonious path, this skill has led to many publications and his successful tenure as the inaugural chair of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of ELSO.