Twenty of South Florida’s top chefs came together to create an exclusive culinary feast for guests at the American Liver Foundation’s fourth annual Flavors of Miami event. Attendees enjoyed the distinct evening of dining with a purpose – a silent auction and fundraising for research, education, and advocacy efforts and to recognize this year’s physician honoree.

That event held at the Lowes Miami Beach Hotel honored Akin Tekin, MD, UHealth’s liver, intestinal and multivisceral surgeon, practicing at the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI) at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

“Awards for me are not personal; I accepted this as a member of a larger transplant team,” said Dr. Tekin. “We do our work with love and passion but when it is recognized by your patients, it becomes more meaningful to me.”

Sharing a testimonial to Dr. Tekin’s work and for his compassion and expertise was Jen Adams and her family. Adams’ daughter, Kylie Adams, was diagnosed at 3 years old with acute liver failure – which is the loss of liver function that occurs rapidly, sometimes even within days, and common in a person with no pre-existing liver disease. The transplant team performed a successful transplant led by Dr. Tekin. Through a long recovery process, due to other complications, Dr. Tekin was able to get Kylie back to living a normal childhood and return to school. She is now a happy and healthy 9 year old.

“It is a special feeling when your patients think you are a big part of their lives,” said Dr. Tekin. “Their appreciation is so warm and sincere that nothing can match this heartwarming gesture.”

Formed in 1976, The American Liver Foundation’s mission has been to serve the needs of liver patients and their families. Kathleen Flynn, executive director of the Connecticut division, is impressed with how Flavors of Miami makes a positive impact.

“We raised more than $200,000 to promote education, advocacy, support services and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease,” said Flynn. “It was our pleasure to recognize Dr. Tekin and applaud his lifesaving work with children affected by liver disease.”

Jackson Health System President and CEO Carlos A. Migoya, members of the MTI transplant team, Jackson employees, donors, philanthropic guests, and young Kylie with her family with her family were all in attendance to support Dr. Tekin and the foundation.

The Miami Transplant Institute, a unique affiliation between Jackson Health System and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, was this year’s presenting sponsor.