BloodCenter of Wisconsin researcher to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Winners announced for Health Care Heroes Awards

Dr. Richard Aster, a senior investigator at the Versiti BloodCenter of Wisconsin’s Blood Research Institute in Wauwatosa, will be the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of BizTimes Media’s annual Health Care Heroes Awards program.

The winners of the Health Care Heroes Awards will be honored at a breakfast event on Friday, Dec. 14, from 7-9:30 a.m., at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee. The event, sponsored by Concordia University Wisconsin, will include a panel discussion on the region’s opioid crisis. Click here to register for the event.

Aster has worked for the BloodCenter of Wisconsin for 48 years, and led the organization from 1970-96 first as executive director from 1970-75 and then as president from 1975-96.

He has one of the longest-running, fully-funded National Institutes of Health research grants, which was received in 1970 and is still active today. Aster, who is also a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, has authored more than 300 scientific papers, and been published in the world’s top scientific and clinical journals.

His research has focused on platelets and the body’s immune reaction to them. His research in the 1980s pioneered the first marrow transplant to a leukemia patient from an unrelated donor. That led to the establishment of a national program to recruit marrow donors, the National Marrow Donor Program, which now as 16 million donors in its registry.

In 2012, Aster received the Henry M. Stratton Medal from the American Society of Hematology for his work in the study of immune disorders that affect blood cells. He has been an active member of ASH since 1964.

Aster was also the co-founder of the BloodCenter Research Foundation and the Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation.

“(Aster) is a true health care pioneer,” said Fay Spano, director of communications for the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, part of Versiti. “He is internationally recognized by his peers as a visionary researcher and physician for his advancements in transfusion medicine and particularly in platelet and immunohematology research.”

Here is the full list of the 2018 Health Care Heroes Award winners:

Lifetime Achievement

  • Richard Aster, Versiti/BloodCenter of Wisconsin Blood Research Institute

Advancements in Health Care

  • Parameswaran Hari, Medical College of Wisconsin

Behavioral Health

  • C. Frederick Geilfuss II, Grand Avenue Club
  • Robert Gouthro, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Robin Monson-Dupuis, Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Community Service

  • Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center Community Advisory Board
  • Ascension Wisconsin – Be of Good Heart program
  • David Nelson, Medical College of Wisconsin

Executive Leadership

  • Coreen Dicus-Johnson, Network Health
  • Patricia Metropulos, Kathy’s House

Health Care Staff

  • Sheila Dodds, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin


  • Mariya Gozenpud, IndependenceFirst Inc.
  • Julie Katrichis, Milwaukee Health Dept.
  • Brianne Ortega, Waukesha County Public Health


  • Frank Downey, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center
  • Adnan Nazir, Taha Medical Center
  • Ronald Schulgit, Ascension Medical Group – Racine


  • Dawn Panfil, Hair & Body Solutions Salon and Spa

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Andrew Weiland
Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.